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Senior Scene® | January Issue
DIY Home Security Options
By Bill Ford, Data Doctors
The DIY home security market has exploded with Inter- net connected devices that can monitor just about anything in or around your home. If you’re willing to be the ‘moni- toring company’ via your smartphone, there are numerous options that range from complete systems to various indi- vidual devices that can be used to create your own custom system.
Self-monitoring means that if you sleep through an
alert on your smartphone in the middle of the night, you won’t know about it until you wake up the next morning.
It also means that you will have to decide when to call the police or 911 based on what you are seeing on your smart- phone.
Wired vs. Wireless
Your  rst step is to access the areas that you want to monitor to determine if you have electrical power & wired or wireless Internet access. As Internet access goes, opting for wired devices over wireless devices can eliminate a common point of failure when Wi-Fi issues arise.
Devices that plug directly into an electrical outlet also eliminate the possibility of a battery failure, but can also lim- it where you are able to install devices.
Complete Systems
If you have a smaller home or apart- ment, you may be able to use one of the all-in-one solutions such as Canary (https://canary.is) or the up- coming Angee (https://meetangee. com).
These single device security sys- tems are simple to set up & can monitor motion, sound, tempera- ture, & humidity while providing video streaming to show you what it’s seeing. The primary device can monitor your primary living space with various sensor options for ex- tending the monitoring area if need- ed.
The popular SimpliSafe (https:// simplisafe.com) platform offers a much larger variety of monitoring sensors that are still simple to set up
because they are all wireless. While you are not required to pay for the optional $15 per month monitoring service, you won’t get the full functionality, such as controlling everything from your smartphone, unless you do. The monitoring ser- vice is month-to-month, so you have the  exibility to turn it on while you’re on vacation & discontinue upon your return.
Lowe’s Iris platform (https://irisbylowes.com) offers a similar package, including the ability to manage your devic- es remotely via your smartphone without having to pay for one of the monitoring packages.
One of the more complete systems, with a lot of op- tions for tinkerers, is from iSmartAlarm (https://ismartalarm. com) because it works with Amazon’s Alexa & the IFTTT platform (https://ifttt.com).
Individual Device Options
There are a plethora of camera-based monitoring systems that range from the Ring Doorbell, Spot & Flood- light Cams (https://ring.com) to Nest Cams (https://nest. com/cameras), which can work with optional alarm sensors (https://nest.com/alarm-system).
For those needing completely wireless security cameras, both Arlo (https://arlo.com) & Blink (https://blinkforhome. com) offer wire-free devices so you can put them virtually anywhere you have a Wi-Fi signal. The batteries generally last 1 -2 years & both companies offer weatherproof options for outdoor use.
If your Wi-Fi signal range is an issue, you can upgrade to a ‘mesh network’: https://goo.gl/MMbSuu. (In the fu- ture, I will address mesh networks). SS
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