Home security is evolving, and now it is possible to check out the security status of your home and so much more using only your smartphone.
We already know how smartphones can be used to monitor web resources and network performance, but did you know that you can turn your smartphone into a home security tool as well?
If you have an old phone or two laying around, you can opt to turn them into home security devices instead of selling or tossing them. Monitoring your home using your phone is not just possible, it’s easy.
All you need is a working smartphone (many home security apps are cross-platform, so it doesn’t really matter whether it’s an Android or an iPhone), a mobile home security app, which you can find in app stores or on official security websites, and a bit of time to set it all up.
There are three ways you can use your smartphone to monitor and control your home security even when you’re not physically around.
Turning It into a Security Camera
As long as you have an old functional phone with a working camera, you can turn it into a security camera or even a baby monitor.
First, you will need to download a suitable security camera app. Apps like these are widely available these days, with the majority of them offering features such as local and cloud streaming, motion detection, instant security alerts, and local and cloud storage options at a small premium.
One popular cross-platform security camera app available today is Alfred. It’s free to use, with an optional premium version that can be subscribed to monthly at $3.99 or annually at $29.99. Users could also pay a one-time fee of $16.99 to remove ads. The Alfred app is available for both Android and iOS.
Another option is Manything, which offers a live feed and motion detection features for iOS and Android devices. The app is free to use, but it has a few extra premium options in case you want to connect multiple cameras and record the data into the cloud.
Once the app is set up on the old phone, you can choose to have it as a camera while using another phone as a viewer, or vice-versa. When you’re satisfied with the setup, your improvised security camera will be ready to install. Just make sure you keep it plugged into a power source if you want to have a steady feed at all times.
Using Proximity and Smart Lock Features
Smart locks provide another opportunity for us to manipulate the security features of our homes remotely. Activating the smart lock feature on your smartphone allows you to keep it unlocked when it’s around devices you’ve paired with (like Bluetooth speakers and computers), but it can also be used inversely to lock and unlock your doors automatically when they detect your presence.
To be able to do this, you will first need to install smart locks on your doors. Smart locks come with remote control capabilities, so you can quickly lock and unlock your doors remotely using only your smartphone. Paired with a nice DIY security camera, smart locks can give you unprecedented control over who enters and who leaves your home when you’re not around. This utility is particularly helpful for avid travelers.
Some of the most popular products currently on the market are August Smart Locks, Kwikset Smart Security, and Schlage Smart Locks, among others.
Linking with Your Home Electronics and Security System
Smartphones are becoming more versatile than ever, especially for those who have smart home devices connected in their house. Now, it is not only possible to connect your device to your security system, but also to your thermostats and air conditioner. While the former capability will give you better access to your home security system even when you’re nowhere near the area, the latter allows you to control how much energy is used when no one is in the house.
You can remotely set off an alarm if your smartphone camera shows you that there’s an intruder in the area. If you have smart locks installed, it is easy to lock your doors to keep the intruder out or to trap them in as you alert local law enforcement.
Linking your smartphone with your thermostat and air conditioner won’t necessarily stop burglars, but it will make it easier for you to monitor and control your home’s energy consumption. As we all know, a rampant HVAC system can also rob you blind if you’re not careful about monitoring its usage.
So, the next time you’re tempted to toss out your old device when the latest product version comes out, don’t. Smartphones can be invaluable home security tools if you find the right ways to use them.
It will only cost you a fraction of what you’ll pay for a professional home security camera installation to set up one or two smartphone security cameras, but the peace of mind you’ll get knowing that you can view your home whenever and wherever will be priceless.