Security Systems for Homes in the Digital Era


The advent of the “Internet of Things” where seemingly every home appliance offers Web connectivity as a feature has shaken up the world of home security, making it easier to build your own system as part of a DIY home automation installation. If you don’t want the hassle of “do it yourself”, big companies like ADT still offer a wide array of security systems for homes, but we’re going to take a look at how to easily add security features within a home automation system. Going about it yourself gives you an extra sense of control and accomplishment while still offering a similar level of home security as the large players in this sector.

SmartThings offers Easy to set up HA Kits with Security

SmartThings is a company that continues to garner a lot of buzz in the DIY home automation scene. In fact, they were recently acquired by technology giant, Samsung, who is smartly letting the company continue to run its own operations. So if you decide to invest in a SmartThings home automation setup for security, rest assured the company won’t be going away any time soon.

There are a lot of starter kits available from SmartThings letting you to build your home security system on a budget. It is also easy to expand the system to make your house more secure or even add other “traditional” home automation functionality, like temperature and lighting control. An investment of only a few hundred dollars is all you’ll need to get started.

A Closer Look at the Basic SmartThings Security Starter Kit

SmartThings’ basic HA starter kit offers everything to install a security system for your home or apartment for only $200. This bare-bones setup includes three sensors for detecting motion, presence, or whether a door or window has been opened. A home automation hub ties everything together without any wires, and you are able to set up the entire system using your broadband connection in about 15 minutes.

You manage your new security system with an app for your Android smartphone or tablet, or an iOS version for the iPhone or iPad. The days of spending thousands of dollars for a wired home security system with a monthly monitoring fee nearly equal to your cable bill are over!

The “Smartest” SmartThings Home Security Kit

Of course, a security system with only three sensors is probably more suited for an apartment or small condo instead of a home. SmartThings offers three home security kits that range in price from $389 to $759. Labled “Smart”, “Smarter”, and “Smartest”, these kits offer progressively more features and functionality based on their price.

The Smartest kit is especially worth checking out. It adds to the number of sensors in your system, but also provides a moisture sensor that detects if you have a leak in your house or if your sump pump is overflowing. A siren strobe alarm serves to ward off intruders with flashing lights and a loud klaxon, and automatic light dimmers and switches control the amount of light when you or someone else enters the room.

Status updates and messages are seamlessly delivered to your smartphone or tablet, allowing to remotely monitor and manage your system. Most importantly, the SmartThings hub is an open design compatible with a host of third-party IP device makers, including ZigBee and Z-Wave. Plus you can purchase additional sensors from SmartThings.

Larger Security Systems for Homes still Make Sense

Other home automation companies, like Control4, offer their own DIY security systems. If you own a larger home, a wired system from a company like ADT might be your best option. SmartThings makes a great and expandable product, but its hub only has a range of 50-feet, so consider that when choosing to design your own security system.

Ultimately, with home automation entering the mainstream, expect more companies to offer their own devices for home security. Considering the open nature of the SmartThings system, if you choose them as a vendor you can assume your DIY security system won’t become obsolete as more devices hit the market.

Photo Credit: Intangible Arts