When you think of do-it-yourself projects, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? It’s probably tools — a wall of gleaming, motorized chrome gadgets hanging on pegs in your father’s garage.
No disrespect to Dad or his home improvement arsenal, but these days you can tackle a DIY home security project with your smartphone as the main tool.
The key, of course, is connectivity.
Monitoring for you, by you
An estimated 18 million Americans have home security systems. Many of those systems involve off-site monitoring centers where dispatchers keep watch for alarm signals. However, advances in smartphone technology have made it easier for homeowners and renters to take on the task of monitoring on their own behalf.
Smartphone-based security even had a presence at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, the leading venue for every kind of must-have gadget.
The following list includes examples of DIY home security systems and smartphone apps:
The CubeOne device acts as the central hub. Users plug in the CubeOne and connect it to a wireless router that interfaces with wireless door and window sensors.
When a disturbance activates these sensors, the system dials the user’s mobile phone and sends a series of five photos taken a few moments apart. Users can also program the system to send text messages to other phone contacts.
This smartphone-, tablet- and laptop-accessible system comes from Lowe’s Home Improvement. Users can choose among three different packages — one focusing on security, one focusing on home automation and one that combines both elements.
Foscam Surveillance Pro
This application lets you monitor video from as many as six surveillance cameras on your iPhone.
Alarm.com provides home support systems that integrate security and automation systems. Compatible with iPhone and iPad.
Xanboo Wireless Light Dimmer
This device plugs into an electrical outlet. It lets users control home lighting remotely from a smartphone, giving would-intruders the impression that someone is inside the house.
No solution is foolproof
As you can imagine, any home security strategy can have drawbacks. By going the DIY route, you could run into problems with:
- Compatibility. Not all applications and devices on the market will be compatible with every type of smartphone.
- Going it alone. One reason why people pay for professional alarm monitoring is the reassurance it offers them. Knowing that you have the backing of a 24/7 monitoring network — and comprehensive customer support — can provide a certain measure of comfort.
- All thumbs.To put it plainly, not all DIY craftspeople are created equal. For those of us who aren’t mechanically inclined, the cost of a home professional system might be an acceptable trade-off.
Do your DIY homework
You can learn more about the upside of professional security monitoring at sites like http://www.besthomesecurity.com/. The key is arming yourself with as much knowledge as possible so that you can make an informed decision.
Thanks to mobile Internet technology, the quality of DIY home security continues to improve. If you decide that you and your smartphone are up to the challenge, you’ll certainly have no shortage of options.