We've dealt with a huge range of security products in the past. From lone IP cameras to full DVR systems, from cheap ebay purchases to medium and high level full definition cameras. In the last decade we've seen a gradual change in quality, mostly for the better (if you discount the rubbish people buy off ebay). High definition cameras mean it's now possible actually identify the person who just robbed you. (I've seen plenty of grainy images of people you would never identify even if you knew them.)
Until recently there still existed a divide between what was possible for home users and what professionals could enjoy. That's now changing quite quickly with the new generation of smart home systems available. We've recently been given the Home Smart Kit to try and so far we're very impressed.
Everyone's getting hot about home automation these days. You know when Apple gets involved it's going to be big. Smart lights that allow you to control the colour from your phone from Philips (and just about everyone else) have been around for a while.
I personally don't see why you'd want to control the colour of your lights from your phone. It smacks me as a cheap gimmick that indicates how that smart home automation is still in it's infancy.
Home modders have used Arduino and Raspberry Pi to hack their own systems. Some of that stuff's getting pretty sophisticated but it's not exactly within the realms of what most people can achieve.
Cheap home automation systems that are effective, have a simple set-up and work reliably are few and far between. That's why we're loving Home Smart Security's home smart kit. It contains a smart home security base unit, that's also the camera, a passive infra-red sensor and a smart socket. The smart socket allows you to turn things on and off from your phone. Want to come home to a cool house? Connect it to your air-conditioner and turn it on as you leave work.
Want to scare you boss by turning on the office radio while you're in the line at Subway? Luke does.
Want to turn on the compressor? Yes, that was Luke again.
Obviously we're a little taken by the idea of home automation. The heart of the Home Smart system is security though. The base kit comes with a passive infra-red (PIR) and a you can get a reed switch to alert you of intruders. This is professional level kit. It's the sort of thing our office alarm system uses. The PIR and the reed switch both come with batteries and sync directly to the base unit (which looks like an IP camera). All you need to do with these fellas is stick them to a wall, door or window and they're ready to go.
The quality of the video was fantastic. I've always been at pains to get our clients to buy decent gear when selecting security cameras. Too often the video on cheaper units is not clear enough to make it useful when it's actually needed. The high def video on the Home Smart stuff was very impressive, especially when you consider the cost of the unit.
One thing I would like to have seen is an alarm unit that fits with the system. The system has some incredible features, such as alerting you on your phone when there's an intruder (and you can then view the camera on your phone). That's great but I'd like to have seen a nice loud alarm to scare away intruders. There's a port so you can add one but nothing from Home Smart that's as plug-and-play as the rest of the kit.
Setting this up was a doddle. It could hardly be easier. It's all done through your smart phone. This video shows you the basics of it.
My main concern with stuff like this is it's doing us out of money. We're often called in to help with configuration of security systems and with this stuff I really can't see why we'd be required.
One you've got the main unit set-up the other stuff connects to it. You can add a reed switch just by sticking it to the wall and syncing it to the base unit. The peripherals run off batteries so you don't need to do any wiring.
I've run through the set-up about a half-dozen times now, just to test it. It's been reliable every single time. That's a great sign. I find most equipment works the first time, hence why I tested if through multiple challenges.
The Home Smart Kit is $450 and it's a great place to start as an all-in-one home security and automation package.
Follow this link to buy yours online.