Secure your fortress with the Internet of Things

istock 000039089378large

Today's Best Tech Deals

Picked by PCWorld's Editors

Top Deals On Great Products

Picked by Techconnect's Editors

A man’s home is his castle. Unfortunately, moats and drawbridges are no longer strong options for most homeowners looking to protect themselves. Security means defending not against barbarians at the gates but against thieves staking out your home and trying to sneak in undetected, often when you’re away.

Fortunately, modern households have a new resource to deter thieves and detect trouble before it happens: the Internet of Things. Here’s how you can use simple appliances – or elements of your home itself – as focal points in a home security strategy.

DIY Alarm Systems

If your home isn’t already wired for security with door sensors, window sensors, and motion detectors, you can now easily add them without having to rip open the walls. Do-it-yourself alarm kits let you attach battery-powered, wireless sensors anywhere there’s a risk of unauthorized entry. These devices connect to your existing wireless network and can send real-time notifications to you when a sensor is tripped, via an email, text message, or mobile app. Check out Viper and SimpliSafe for a few examples of solid starter security systems.

Surveillance Cameras

Whether you want to keep tabs on who’s at the front door or just want to keep an eye on the pets while you’re away, a wide range of security and surveillance cameras can now fit the bill. Just configure the camera on your network, place it on a shelf or attach it to the wall, and aim it where you want it to watch. Most cameras can be set to record only when they detect motion, and numerous cameras, like the D-Link DCS-2136L, can store their video feed on a Network Attached Storage device that’s part of your home network. Using a tool like QNAP’s TS-451 NAS gives you access to the Surveillance Station feature, which can be paired with QNAP’s VMobile app to turn your mobile device into a full-fledged security monitoring station. The TS-451 can monitor up to 24 IP cameras simultaneously (camera licenses additional) – either real-time or recorded video. It is compatible with thousands of IP cameras from over 80 major manufacturers.

Smart Locks

YouTube is littered with videos of people who’ve figured out how to pick a standard door lock in a matter of seconds, making key-based security nearly worthless. Enter the smart lock, a technology which brings the medieval lock into the digital age at last. Smart locks from companies like Goji and August let you decide who gets in and who doesn’t – and even when they can come in – via a smartphone app. Instead of turning a key, authorized users tap a button on their phone to unlock the door – and some can even automatically unlock when an authorized visitor approaches the house.

Automated Lights and Appliances

One standby of any home security strategy is to leave some lights on when you’re away from home for an extended period, but old-school light timers are cumbersome and difficult to program. These tools have received an upgrade in recent years, as well. Products like the Belkin WeMo let you turn lights and other appliances like your television on and off through a device that attaches to any wall socket. A mobile app lets you control the lights manually even if you’re on the other side of the world, or set up schedules to automate things.

This story, "Secure your fortress with the Internet of Things" was originally published by BrandPost.