A slew of the latest smartphone apps allow you to be away from your door but never far from the action – with sophisticated sensor technology, video software and the near-ubiquity of broadband connectivity, you can now protect your family, possessions and property from almost anywhere. Now that it’s easier to oversee a comprehensive network of security products from the palm of your hand, there’s no reason not to take a stand for stronger security at home.
While there are hundreds of such apps on the market, there are a few that have earned widespread acceptance and renown. If you’re interested in benefiting from cutting-edge functionality to make your life more pleasant and as well as more secure, then one or more of these apps is bound to pique your curiosity:
The Frontpoint mobile app integrates with the company’s security equipment without any additional payment demanded from end users. Instant notifications whenever sensors detect something amiss, the ability to manipulate individual devices from afar and real-time video feeds have led to high ratings from satisfied customers. Fans of niche phones will love the fact that it’s compatible with Windows Phone and BlackBerry as well as the more common iOS and Android offerings. Unfortunately, you must be a customer of Frontpoint to use the app.
Vivint’s Sky App ties together the home automation firm’s full range of smarthome systems, not just security devices. Besides being able to access door locks, alarms, cameras and sensors, Vivint’s clients also find it a breeze to adjust lighting, temperature levels and small appliances. The Sky architecture can also include voice activation and manual control panels within the residence, but the Sky App lets you keep tabs on your house when you’re at work, traveling or otherwise away from home. Vivint Sky is available for Android and iOS users in the form of a downloadable app and as a website for those with other mobile platforms.
The free i-Security app for iOS 7+ and Android 2.3+ lets you monitor the views from up to 64 video cameras around your house. Depending on the specific cameras you’re using, you might also be able to change viewing angles and zoom in and out from within the app. You can observe what’s happening live and save snapshots of the action if you wish. You can even configure i-Security to send you an email notification whenever it detects motion around the premises.
If you don’t want to invest hundreds or thousands of dollars in surveillance equipment, then the no-charge Alfred app is for you. Alfred allows you to repurpose your old cell phones and turn them into cameras. You can control an unlimited number of them from the app, which is compatible with Android 2.3, iOS 8 and more recent versions of these operating systems. Features like two-way talk and motion detection mean that you aren’t missing out on much by putting your old phones to work rather than buying dedicated cameras.
August Smart Lock
The August Smart Lock installs atop your deadbolts to make your existing door locks smart. After you download an app for iOS 7+ or Android 4.4+, you’ll be able to lock and unlock your doors with the press of a button. You can distribute as many free e-keys as you wish to friends and family, so they’ll be able to access your property when you’re not around. One problem lies in the fact that you can’t operate your locks outside of Bluetooth range unless you spring for the August Connect device or a compatible hub.
Mobile apps are crucial to the wider development of home automation, because they allow for seamless control from a single interface even when the homeowner is not physically present. Free, or low cost mobile apps add desirable elements to dedicated security products to enhance their utility at almost zero cost. We can’t tell for sure exactly what the future has in store for us, but a greater expansion of protective apps and increased interoperability among them is surely in the cards.