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January 1, 2016

Technology to help you monitor your home, even from far away

New technology lets you monitor and even control your home using your smartphone.

When you’re away from home, it’s natural to wonder about things you can’t see that may be going on around your house or property. It used to be that you’d only be able to know if your package had arrived or if your house was safe when you were within its four walls—but that’s not the case anymore. Take control with home-automation features that give you peace of mind by letting you answer these questions remotely.

Did My Package Finally Arrive?

Count on your smartphone to tell you when there’s activity at your front door. To have eyes on your house at all times (and review what went on later), you want a wireless camera. The most advanced units include built-in motion detectors and face-recognition technology to sense a human presence. New technology lets you sync your camera to your smartphone, letting you check in on your house anytime you have your phone in your hand, just by opening an app. Take a quick look around, then feel free to put your mind at ease.

Did I Lock the Door?

Outfit your entry door with a sensor that communicates with your smartphone; just tap the app to see if the door is locked. For even more information, add sensors on windows, doors and garage doors that allow your smartphone to tell you if they are open or closed. You can also install an electronic lock that lets you know when someone opens the door and who opened it, based on the number that person used on the keypad. You can give your partner and each of your kids his or her own number, so you know who gets home, when. You can give your neighbor one if you’ve asked her to bring in a package, or if you need to give a trusted handyman or relative temporary access. You can always delete the number later, denying them access after the job or drop-off is done.

Does it Look Like I’m home?

Smart lights and window treatments are your best bet to help it look like someone is home. Yesterday’s whole-house timer won’t fool most criminals (and probably never did). Today’s more advanced lighting systems and smart motorized blinds and shades let you simulate a real schedule. Lamps and window shades appear to work independently (because you program them that way), but you can control them as one unit on your smartphone to make it look like you’re home and moving about your home as if it were a normal night.

Is Something Burning or Leaking?

Install a Wi-Fi-enabled smoke detector and moisture sensor; you’ll get the message as soon as things go wrong. To avoid extensive water damage from burst pipes, take another precautionary step and install a valve that will automatically shut off the water supply, giving you peace of mind when you’re away from your home.

Used with permission. © Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.