Smart Home Devices What to Know

It is now easier than ever for people to have their lives at home made simpler and more secure through smart technology and devices, allowing full control of our home at our very fingertips. Smart devices include, cameras that use facial recognition, send notifications to our smart phone and allow remote interaction through two-way audio speakers and/or visual display. Smart door locks and doorbells, which allow remote access to allow a delivery person to leave a package inside the doorway from instant instructions. Smart lighting that can learn and adjust to mood and set ambient lighting for every occasion. Smart sensors that sense when to recognise familiar movement from your pet, or child, to unfamiliar movement that could be an intruder. Smart leak detectors to detect when a pipe is leaking and to send an early warning, to prevent pipes from bursting and causing damage. Smart devices to monitor and support elderly care and independent living, including smart thermostats to control heating to be tailored and kept at an optimal temperature and smart alarms that can be monitored remotely.

There are different kits and brands available and an understanding from manufactures to enable communication between devices; which can include control through a central hub. The key advantages of smart devices in the home, are that they allow us to maintain security, safety and life preferences, wirelessly through our smart phones, at our convenience.

How can Smart Security Devices be Useful?

Top Devices – Smart Security Cameras

Top Devices – Smart Security Locks

The Value of Smart Home Devices

Cyber Risks


How can Smart Security Devices be Useful?

Smart security devices allow monitoring and maintaining the safety of your home easier through smart technology. Remote access may be one of the most useful features that most smart devices offer. Allowing you to securely see packages being dropped off at your home whilst you are at work, from your smart phone, through smart doorbells. Or monitoring when your children are home and interacting with them through two-way speakers through smart cameras. Returning in the evening to a welcoming warm home, with a smart thermostat, enabling you to conserve and save money by tailoring your heating priorities. Or going on holiday and coming back to a leak that has already been rectified, as your smart leak detector notified you of the leak before it caused excessive damage, enabling the problem to be rectified even whilst away from the home. Some kits allow consumers to set how their system responds when a device is triggered. This can be particularly useful if a vulnerable family member has been absent or not contactable by sending an alert to your smart phone. Or many smart systems can double up as a baby monitor. For more information on security, see PolicyCastle’s blog on Security Made Simple.

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Top Devices – Smart Security Cameras

PolicyCastle’s tips on 3 of the smartest security cameras:

  1. Nest Cam IQ Indoor, Nest

Nest IQ’s facial recognition means it can tell the difference between your dog and dog walker and your family members or an intruder. Notifications including a short video clip are sent to your smart phone of ‘familiar faces’ that you pre-set, and notifications of any faces not recognised as ‘unfamiliar faces’. It can follow an image around the room and allow you to interact with your children when they get home from school through the app on your smart phone. The new 4k sensor assists facial recognition and allows you to zoom in on live feeds without losing quality. The video footage is not stored in 4k quality and instead compressed, but this is likely due to the size and cost on the impact to your broadband package and update to the Cloud. Both features do require a subscription to Nest Aware. If you currently own a smart camera such as the original Nest Cam Indoor, the Nest IQ may not yet warrant the upgrade. However, if you do not already own a security camera the Nest Cam IQ Indoor offers one of the best in up-to-date technology.


  1. Samsung SmartCam

Samsung SmartCam for indoor use is a lot more reasonably priced than the Nest Cam, which means it comes with less extra perks, but its features easily cover the basics for a smart indoor camera to protect your home. With HD video quality, it will track movement around the room day and night with night vision surveillance. Video footage is stored to a MicroSD card so no subscription is required. Live video feeds can be watched from your smart phone, with two-way voice communication. Notifications will be sent to your smart phone of an intruder. It may not be as straightforward to set-up particularly for Android users. However, if you are looking for a basic smart camera with all the necessities, the Samsung SmartCam is a good choice.


  1. Ring Floodlight Cam

Ring Floodlight Cam for outdoor use is the first in offering a motion-activated security camera with built-in flood lights, including a siren alarm and two-way audio. Two high beam LED smart lights illuminate every corner of your home. It features a 140 degree HD camera with motion detection which recognises faces and objects. This can be customised for notifications to only be sent to your smart phone when there is a potential intruder. If you are looking for the highest tech in outdoor security to protect your home, Ring Floodlight Cam is the best in current tech and protection.

For more on the smartest of security cameras The Independent has put together their top list for 2017.

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Top Devices – Smart Security Locks

PolicyCastle’s tips on 3 of the smartest security locks:

  1. August Smart Lock Pro + Connect

August Smart Lock allows keyless access to your home by using your smart phone to replace your keys. Offering access to friends and family, using a fob and card which can be amended at any time. Notifications are sent straight to your smart phone if there is a potential intruder. The door locks automatically and auto-lock technology senses when the door is open or closed. August Smart Lock installs inside of your door so you can use your existing keys at any time. It unlocks when you arrive home and can connect with Alexa or Google Assistant to unlock through voice activation. August Smart Lock is one of the best choices in smart lock technology.


  1. Yale Conexis L1 Smart Door Lock

Conexis L1 does away with keys and allows you to open your home through your smart phone alone. Choose to give access to friends and family through sending a Mobile Key to their smart phone. Or via Key Cards, Key Tags and Phone Tags and choose to revoke these at any time. You can receive notifications to know when someone is home. Installation is compatible with most existing multi-point locks on the market. Conexis L1 is a good choice for a smart lock from a well-known, valued brand.


  1. Bolt by Lockitron

Bolt is one of the most affordable smart locks for the features it offers. It uses a low Bluetooth energy which enables usage even with power outages. It enables shared access with family and friends through any smart phone. Notifications are sent to your smart phone when the door is unlocked. Sense notifications enable the door to unlock when you arrive home. If you lose your smart phone you can change your password remotely, meaning the security of your home will not be compromised. If you are looking for a reasonably priced door lock, Bolt offers all the necessities.

For more on the smartest of security locks Appcessories has put together their top list of 2017.

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The Value of Smart Home Devices

Elderly Care:

Smart devices will be a key element to the benefit and support of elderly care. The option to have smart beds, to monitor health and the whereabouts of a resident or patient.  Smart heating, such as Nest Thermostat to ensure no elderly person is cold in winter. Smart fall detectors to assess whether a person has fallen and send an alert, for example the SureSafe GO2 Anywhere Alarm. These small adjustments could transform and save lives. There is a plethora of smart systems to maintain independent living, offers a list to best utilise smart home tech.


Second Homes and Holiday Homes:

Smart devices will also be beneficial to owners of a second home and holiday home, giving peace of mind whilst the property is not in use.  One of the main reasons second homes and holiday homes are considered an increased risk to insurers is due to their extended unoccupancy, to see how to protect a property from long-term unoccupancy see PolicyCastle’s blog on Conceal and Protect. Leaving properties unoccupied results in a higher risk of escape of water, with smart leak detectors offering a solution to this, such as LeakBot. Extended unoccupancy also increases the risk of theft, attempted theft and vandalism and smart security systems can also offer a long-term solution to this.  See PolicyCastle’s blog on Holiday Home Insurance as well as Smart Home Insurance.

Get your quick quote for home insurance with PolicyCastle here


Cyber Risks

Cyber risks are a real concern for people thinking of purchasing a smart home device and their concerns are warranted. Hackers are becoming more sophisticated to extract personal and financial data and it may be possible for access to be made through a smart home device. Such as a vulnerability found with Hue Light bulbs, where they could become compromised and hacked. It is also possible that devices may stop working, which can be dangerous to your home and an inconvenience, such as with smart locks. However, by using up-to date software, installing security software, using strong passwords and separate networks for your smart devices to your personal devices (like your smart phone), you can eliminate any form of security risk. PolicyCastle gives its view on whether Smart Home Insurance could become too intrusive.

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At the IFA 2017 Trade Show in Berlin in September, there were many futuristic electronics and home appliances that we can see now being introduced into the smart home, or will be available for the future of smart homes. Panasonic showed their invention of their fridge of the future with a fridge on wheels. Only a concept at present, their idea is to assist the elderly and the less able by their smart fridge bringing itself to you. Panasonic has also invented a washer/dryer/folder that produces washed, dried, folded garments in 10 minutes, proposed to be available in the next 5 years. For Highlights on the IFA 2017 Trade Show click here.

Get your quick quote for home insurance with PolicyCastle here


Smart home devices will be one of the most important components for a consumer’s peace of mind, whether that is helping families to feel more secure in the home, or to enable independent living for longer. Each aspect of a person’s life will be connected to ensure a safer way of life, which in turn will allow insurers to recognise this reduced risk and be able to reward their customers in a future of smart tech living.

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