Futuristic home monitoring and control technologies have quickly moved from concept to the mainstream as companies like Comcast began offering the services at an affordable value. With prices starting as low as $40 a month, cutting edge technology that keeps your family secure and lets you use your smart phone to control your home is within reach for many.
Typical “smart home” features focus on remote home control and energy management. With Comcast’s Xfinity Home, you can remotely set alarms, adjust digital thermostats, turn lights on or off, check water sensors for flooding problems, and watch secure, live streaming video of the home, inside or out - all from a touchpad, mobile device or computer.
You also get the ability to create personalized settings (or rules) to receive e-mail or text messages when certain events occur, or don't occur. For example, if the kids should arrive home by 4 p.m., the system can be set to send an alert if the door doesn't open between 3:45 and 4:15. You can even access pictures of who just entered or exited your house through your online portal. For added peace of mind, immediate text and e-mail alerts notify you when the alarm is triggered. That can also help reduce false calls to authorities.
Greater energy efficiency is another appealing benefit of home control. Homeowners can save up to 10% on their energy bills just by controlling their energy usage. Lights and thermostat can be controlled remotely using a smartphone, tablet or computer, or can easily be set to follow a schedule. They can also be programmed to go on or off based on events. For instance, set the thermostat to go down every time you leave the home and set the alarm to “away.” When you return and disarm the system, the thermostat will automatically go back to your preferred temperature. You can also use motion sensors to turn the lights on when you enter a room and off when the system senses you have left.
Not all services are created equally, so when choosing a provider there are many important questions to ask: Whether the security system is professionally monitored is a critical one. Many services simply make noise when an alarm has been triggered and do not contact the authorities for you. Whether the equipment and components are wireless should also be a consideration. Wireless is substantially beneficial as there is no drilling or damage to your home. Wireless equipment can also significantly reduce the installation fee.
Indoor camera footage should be encrypted and should not record unless accessed live or when set to capture an event, like someone entering a room during certain hours. It’s also important for motion sensors to be calibrated for pets in order to prevent false alarms. Xfinity Home offers sensors that are compatible with pets up to 85 pounds.
Battery and cellular backups are essential so your family and house is fully protected even in the event of a power outage. Lastly, buyers should take into consideration not only current needs, but the potential for adding components (cameras, sensors and other features) to the system and the associated costs.
The bottom line? Smart home technology has never been more affordable or easier to use. It would be alarming to pass on such a strong value for priceless peace of mind!