10 Pieces of Tech You Need at Home While You’re Away
Summer vacation is just around the corner, and that means long periods away from home sweet home. Obviously you have to post those pool selfies, but you’re also essentially advertising the fact that you’re not home, leaving your abode vulnerable to break-ins. Instead of asking your snoopy neighbor to watch the place while you’re away, maybe it’s time to consider a home security system that you can control poolside on your phone. From being smart about your sprinklers to turning on a few lights at night or even sending you live video footage of any unusual activity, these ten gadgets will give you peace of mind the whole time you’re away.
1. Smart Lock ($250): For those times when you need to let someone in the house while you’re gone, but can’t give them a spare key, you’ll want this battery-operated lock system. An app on your Smartphone replaces a key, allowing you to lock and unlock doors remotely so you can give the house sitter, dog walker or other visitors temporary access — whether it’s unlimited, for a week or just a brief window.
2. Smart Lightbulbs ($15): Connected lightbulbs are among the easiest-to-use smart home gadgets. Linked up to your phone, these lights can be programmed to dim at bedtime and sync with a smart lock so it turns on when you come home. And because you can control the lights from anywhere, you can also use them as a security measure when you’re not home.
3. Dropcam Pro ($200): If you’re curious about what your dog does all day, you can set up these Internet-enabled home-security cameras around the house. You can watch the footage as a live stream from your Smartphone or computer or set the camera for custom alerts (like a warning text every time there’s movement near the cookie jar).
4. Chamberlain MyQ Garage ($130): So you’ve started your epic summer road trip, you’re miles from home and suddenly you can’t remember if you closed the garage door. With a Smartphone-enabled controller you can open and close the door from anywhere. It can also send you text alerts when the door’s been open for longer than 45 minutes.
5. Automated Sprinkler System ($250): Even if you’re not in a drought, it’s always cool to save water. Most sprinkler systems will water your lawn according to a set schedule, even if it’s been raining all week. This high-tech watering system pays attention to local weather data and skips watering sessions if it has recently rained or if rain is in the forecast.
6. Wink ($300): Wink is a touchscreen hub that is mounted on your wall and operates as the command center of your secure home. You can use your Smartphone to control your various gadgets as well, but the Wink — unlike your phone — never gets lost.
7. Nest ($250): You’ll never come home to a freezing cold house again with this smart thermostat. Nest learns what temperatures you like, turns itself down when you’re away and can be controlled from your Smartphone when you want to make adjustments.
8. Manything Webcam App: If you have a spare iPhone, iPad or iPod, you can DIY your own home security for free with this app. Manything turns your spare iOS device into a free home-monitoring camera in seconds. With live streaming, motion alerts, remote control and cloud recording, it’s the easy way to watch your home when you’re away. (Free on IOS)
9. Canary Security System ($250): Part of the intimidation of home security systems lies in how complicated they are to set up. Canary hopes to revolutionize home security with a simple device that does it all and claims to be so easy you can set it up in minutes. Canary’s algorithm-based motion detection learns over time to send you smarter notifications, which means the longer you have it, the more effective it becomes. When Canary senses anything out of the ordinary, you receive an HD video of the event, as well as the option to watch live. Then you can sound the alarm, contact the authorities or call a neighbor — it’s up to you.
10. Cocoon ($400): Currently an Indiegogo project, this tiny device promises to protect the whole home with unique technology that senses activity everywhere, even on other floors. It’s pet-friendly and learns your environment so you don’t get false alarms, no matter how many things your cat knocks over. It connects to your Smartphone so you can check in at anytime and there’s no need to set it when you come and go because it uses Smartphone locations to know who’s at home.
Have you experimented with home security technology before? Tell us what you would or wouldn’t try in the comments below!