To protect and secure the home, and its contents, and to ensure the health and well-being of its occupants, the home is monitored, and users alerted to anything abnormal, or unexpected. Home monitoring is largely unchanged since AlertMe started to promote its first package some eight years ago. There are now many more devices, and the devices have improved, especially cameras, and door locks have been added.
The level of security depends on the time of day and the presence, or otherwise, of the occupants.
If all of the occupants are away from home, then the maximum level of security is applied. External doors are locked, all door / window sensors are armed, all motion sensors are armed, and all cameras are enabled for motion detection.
If at least some occupants are residence overnight, then some of the motion sensors may be disarmed, and internal cameras disabled. The system also needs to cater for exceptions, such as legitimate occupants returning during the night, or getting up early in the morning, as well as other nocturnal activities, such as letting a dog out into the yard or garden.
The settings during the day, when occupants are in residence, will depend on the individual residents. Some might be happy to have no security, apart perhaps from locking the external doors, whereas others might prefer some limited security, such as enabling outside security cameras, and monitoring other items outside of the house.
Examples of the latter are seen in the UK in terms of the theft of home heating fuel, which is often held in a plastic tank in the garden, and the theft of lawnmowers and other gardening equipment from outdoor sheds.
Means of detecting sound within the home can contribute to security. One of AlertMe’s first devices in its home monitoring kit was an alarm listener. Unless the property is very small, more than one alarm listener is needed, because interior doors are often closed. They are particularly useful for detecting the sound of breaking window glass. Coupled with motion sensors, they are an effective means of intruder detection.
The system settings are also adjustable to ensure the optimum balance between the alerts being generated, and false alarms being minimized. For example, motion may have to occur for a period of time, before the alarm is raised, and legitimate occupants need to be given time to disarm the security.
Any unexpected activity causes alarms / sirens to be sound, both texts and emails to be sent to nominated users, and a warning to be displayed on the app.
External agencies provide a security service, especially in the USA. Alarms can be sent to such a third party, either as texts or emails, or via the provider’s API.
Fire & Flood
Smoke, Carbon Monoxide and Flood Detectors can be attached to the system to monitor the health of the property. As with security, the system can raise cause alarms / sirens to be sounded, both texts and emails to be sent to nominated users, a warning to be displayed on the app, and an alert sent to third party services.
If children are home alone, such as between them returning from school and their parents returning from work, or at any other time when their parents are away, the system can be set to monitor their health and wellbeing, as well as their conduct in other ways.
If there are no-go areas within the home for the children, then the system can monitor the door(s), and motion within the room(s). Cameras can also be used. Those that connect directly with the cloud should be avoided, because the videos and images can be sent anywhere in the cloud.
The new hub provides a dedicated connection for WiFi devices, which is completely separate from the normal home WiFi. With a camera connected to this hub WiFi, streams can be stored locally on the hub, and without them being forwarded to the cloud. An authorized user can still access these streams remotely, via a secure encrypted connection.
Sensors on the external doors, coupled with motion sensors can trigger camera recordings of the children’s arrival, or anyone else.
Pets left at home can also be monitored in the same way.
The behaviour of older family members and close friends in their own home can also be monitored, to ensure their continued health and wellbeing. A more complete description of the use of home automation to support older people is included elsewhere.