Your home is your castle, and every good lord and lady knows that you can't leave your castle undefended.
So how can you make sure your home is safe while you are away? The answer is simple – smart home technology. In fact, a recent study by Telus found that 56% of frequent travellers are looking to purchase smart home devices to provide peace of mind while they’re away.
It wasn't so long ago that home automation was the stuff of Jetsons cartoons, but the study found that by 2018, smart home technology will be as commonplace in Canadian homes as smartphones and tablets.
The good news is that you don’t have to wait until 2018; let’s look at five ways today’s smart home technology can keep your home safer when you travel, making it easier and less stressful for you to get away.
1. Lock and Unlock Your Doors From Anywhere in the World
Forget to lock up in the chaos before you left? Just remembered that you asked your neighbour to water the plants? Being able to lock and unlock your doors from afar is one of the most useful features of smart locks, like the August Smart Lock. Not only can you use your smartphone to make sure you lock every door, but you’ll also have the power to unlock them in case of an emergency. It also cuts down on how many extra house keys you’ll need to give out and eliminates the need for that “hidden” key under the welcome mat, which can really jeopardize home security.
2. Keep an Eye on Your Home
With smart motion-sensing cameras, like Nest Cam, you can know what is going on in your house at anytime from anywhere. If there’s motion in your home, you’ll instantly get an alert on your smartphone and can take a look at the live video feed to confirm whether it’s just your housekeeper – or something more sinister. If it’s intruders, you can immediately contact the authorities.
3. Monitor and Manage Your Heating and Cooling
We’ve all been there before – you arrive at your sunny destination and realize that you left your thermostat cranked up at home, running up your energy bill – and hurting the environment – while you’re away. Intelligent thermostats, like the Nest Learning Thermostat, will know when you go away and automatically turn off your heating or cooling, while giving you control from your smartphone. You can even turn on your heat or air conditioning a few hours before you arrive home to come back to that perfect temperature.
4. Get Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alerts on Your Smartphone
We travellers don't want to think about it, but our worst nightmare is getting that dreaded call from our neighbour or the fire department. However, with smart smoke alarms, like Nest Protect, you can get alerts the second your smoke or carbon monoxide detectors are tripped, assuring that you can get the right people to your house before it’s too late.
5. Remotely Control Your Lighting
We’ve all put lights on timers to make it seem like someone is home while we’re away, but when the same light comes on every night at 7 p.m. it doesn’t take thieves long to know that the house is empty. With connected lighting systems, like Phillips Hue, you can remotely control your lights from your smartphone, turning different lights on at different times of the day. You can even set them to turn on automatically when you return home.
“Today when we travel, we can control our locks, cameras, thermostats and lights right from our smartphones while we’re lounging on the beach or standing in line at the airport,” said Rob Currie, vice-president of Mobile Devices at Telus. “We’re just scratching the surface of what’s possible though, and the technology is going to continue getting better – and smarter – making it even easier and less stressful for us to get away.”
As our demand for smarter homes increases, so will our need for faster Internet speeds. Luckily, companies like Telus are connecting more and more homes in Canada to ultra-fast fibre networks, which have nearly limitless capacity and can transmit data at close to the speed of light.
So that means no matter how advanced smart home technology gets, a fibre-connected home with have more than enough capacity to support the devices we want for worry-free travel. And with things like 4K TVs, smart appliances and intelligent kitchens on the horizon, it will also make our time at home that much more enjoyable.
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