Smart Doorbells – Do they work? How Secure are they?

Smart doorbells are becoming increasingly popular due to the consumer market becoming more involved with the Internet of Things or IOT (noun: “the interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data”).  For instance, asking your Alexa or Google Assistant to turn the lights off without having to move a muscle is an example of the Internet of Things as one device communicates with another via the internet to complete an action with the command of your voice.

Smart doorbells work in a very similar way as when activated (in numerous ways depending on the brand and model) it sends a notification onto your smart phone via the designated app. But are smart doorbells secure and how do they work?

 

How do Smart Doorbells Work?

Smart doorbells work much like a standard doorbell; they sit on the wall outside your home and have a button to press so visitors can ring your doorbell and alert you to their presence.

The difference is you can see who is visiting your home even if you’re not there as they are fitted with cameras and many are fitted with two-way audio systems. The majority of smart doorbells work with wiFi and link through an app on your smartphone or even through your smart home hub.

 

What are the Benefits of a Smart Doorbell?

Security. Above all smart doorbells help improve the security of your home as someone is always ‘home’ or rather you the homeowner can always monitor your home. Here are a few reasons below on the benefits of installing a smart doorbell.

Smart Doorbell Video Camera

The video camera element on a smart doorbell adds an extra layer to your home security as it allows you to see who is at your home without having to open the door. If there is a shifty character at the door, opening it will leave you vulnerable to a potential attack and home invasion. Additionally, if you are worried about a burglar approaching your door or if a burglar has attacked your home, you can show the police video evidence which will significantly increase the chances of them catching the culprit.

Furthermore, if you are expecting a delivery you can see exactly the time of day it was delivered and where the worker left your package. As well as that you can rewind the video to see if any friends or family visited whilst you were out and can see the exact time the kids get home when they ‘promised’ they were back before curfew.

Two-Way Audio

Many smart doorbells are fitted with a two-way audio system meaning you can talk to someone who is stood outside your home through your smart home and the smart doorbell device. Any potential burglars are more than likely to make a run for it if you speak to them through the smart doorbell once knowing that you can see and hear every move they are making.

Can’t make it to the door in time for the speedy delivery driver with your parcel? Not to worry, with the two-way audio you can let them know you are on your way to the door or if you’re not home tell them to leave it in a safe place to avoid a time consuming trip to the post office.

Smart Locks

Not only are smart doorbells compatible with your smart phone and smart home system they are also compatible with smart locks. Smart locks in connection with a smart doorbell unlock your door through facial recognition. For one this combination is great if you have your hands full and your keys are lost in the bottom of your bag and secondly, you can never get locked outside as you won’t need your keys!

For more information on smart locks check out our blog The Best Smart Locks for 2020 here!

 

What is the Best Smart Doorbell?

 

Ring Video Doorbell 2

Ring Video Doorbell 2 is one of original smart doorbells on the market that offers a wide range of features. We’ve chosen it as the best in our roundup as many other sites have included the Ring Video Doorbell 2 in their list as well as it achieving a 4* rating on Amazon.co.uk with 4,247 reviews at this current point.

1080p HD Video

The Ring Video Doorbell 2 features 1080p HD video with a live view feature and infrared night vision so that homeowners can manage their properties security with a crystal clear view.

Two-Way Audio

The two-way talk feature is very handy and includes noise cancellation so you and your visitor can communicate easily.

Motion Activation

With built-in motion sensors you can set up alerts to your smart phone, tablet or computer every time that the motion sensors are activated.

Alexa Activated

The Ring Doorbell 2 works in conjunction with Amazon Alexa including all Echo devices and Alexa enabled devices such as the Fire tablets.

Cloud Storage

It is possible to rewind, save and share the footage captured by the Ring smart doorbell with the additional monthly subscription of cloud storage via Ring. Prices start from £2.50 a month for one device.

Price

At the time of writing the Ring Video Doorbell 2 costs £119 at a discounted rate on Amazon. The usual price of this smart doorbell on Amazon is £179.

 

What is the best Budget Smart Doorbell?

 

360 D819 from Gearbest

We’ve chosen the 360 D819 as our best budget smart doorbell as it includes many of the top smart features of the Ring Video Doorbell 2 at a cheaper price without the need to pay monthly for cloud storage. The only difference we notice from the specs is that it doesn’t seem you can connect this smart doorbell to your wider smart home devices.

1080p HD Video

Like the Ring Video Doorbell 2 the 360 D819 features 1080p HD video quality and a 162 degree wide-angle view so you never miss a beat!

AI Facial Recognition

This feature is learnt after it sees a face over a number of times so that it can accurately detect family, friends or strangers.

Two-Way Audio

Again like the previous smart doorbell this one features two-way talk so that you can communicate with your visitors without having to open the door and even when you’re not home!

Motion Detection

A smart feature this doorbell offers is that if it suspects suspicious activity outside your door then the video shooting will be pushed to your phone so you can keep an eye on it.

Cloud Storage

What makes this device more affordable than its counterpart is that there is no need to pay a monthly subscription for the cloud as 48 hours of cloud storage is included free of charge. You can also buy an extra memory card up to 128GB to store the files on.

Price

The current asking price on Amazon for the 360 D819 is £84.95, including free delivery.

 

Keytek® Locksmiths Blog

Like our blog? Why not have a look at our others including What is a Smart Home? and The Best Smart Locks for 2020. We cover all things security in our blog, so whether you’re moving house and need some security tips, looking to update your home security or wanting safety tips over the holidays we have the blog for you!

 

https://www.techhive.com/article/3277467/best-video-doorbells.html
https://www.independent.co.uk/extras/indybest/gadgets-tech/best-video-doorbells-a9135211.html
https://uk.gearbest.com/access-control/pp_009314368068.html

Video Doorbell 2

The Keytek® Summer Charity Event

In the warm summer months, we here at Keytek® gathered together in hopes to raise money for charity. Our 2019 charity was the John Thornton Young Achievers Foundation, this fantastic charity raises money to help provide opportunities for children and young adults that have big ambitions and motivation but might not have had the best start to life. Recipients of this charity are the embodiment of the foundation’s core values; determination, unselfishness and cheerfulness in adversity.

This charity has helped almost 2000 young people achieve their dreams and go on to achieve great things, and we were very proud to support them as our 2019 Charity.

Our 2019 summer charity event found us out under the ruins of Corfe Castle battling an obstacle course that tested the very finest of Keytek’s athletic workforce! The Mud Trail consists of a 2km trail lined with obstacles, balance beams, rope traverses, cargo nets and water tubes to provide 2 hours of endless fun. However, once you add the tonne of mud covering and encasing every obstacle that’s when things get really interesting!

Caked under at least 3 layers of mud, all of us here at Keytek® thoroughly enjoyed the day under the sun traversing through the various obstacles with grace, letting our hair down and making the most of time out of the office. We had falls, slips, slides and even the occasional head first drive into the mud, but overall  it was a great day that allowed us to come together as a workforce and not only do something extremely fun but allow us to raise money for charity.

Many of our gracious Locksmiths sponsored us through the event alongside our family members, and got many a laugh with all of our muddy faces! Through their generous donations we managed to raise a grand total of £925!

We are proud to support John Thornton Young Achievers Fund, and help give young adults the chance to purse their dreams through scholarships and bursaries.

If you would like to know more about the John Thornton Young Achievers Foundation, click here to view their website.

Love Lock Bridges Around the World!

Love is in the air this week and many couples around the world will be signifying their undying love by attaching a love lock with their initials engraved to a bridge and throwing the key into the water below; the love is then thought to be locked into place for eternity.

Love locks have become more and more popular over the last two decades with new love lock locations sprouting across the world. Take a look at our favourite 10 love lock bridges below!

 

Most Ljubavi, Vrnjačka Banja, Serbia

Most Ljubavi or the ‘Bridge of Love’ in Serbia has had love padlocks secured to its bridge dating back over 100 years. This according to many sources is where the love lock tradition began, today there are hundreds of love locks lining the bridge and the story attracts visitors to the bridge from across the world.

Where is the love lock bridge in Serbia?

The love lock bridge in Serbia is located over the river Vrnjacka reka in the Park Promenade.

Can you still put love locks on Most Ljubavi?

Yes, currently you can still put love locks on Most Ljubavi and you can buy locks nearby.

 

Pont des Arts Bridge, Paris, France

The padlock bridge in Paris is arguably the most famous love lock bridge in the world situated conveniently in the ‘City of Love’.  Although it may be the most famous, the Pont des Arts Bridge love padlocks are no more. With hundreds of love locks being added every year the bridge could not cope with the weight which amounted to around 45 tonnes and posed a danger to the historical bridge and the people who walked across.

Where is the love lock bridge in Paris?

The love lock bridge in Paris is situated over the river Seine close to the Notre-Dame de Paris.

Can you still put a lock on the bridge in Paris?

No, due to the weight of thousands of locks Paris officials removed them and put up Plexiglass to prevent more being added.

Why did Paris remove lovelocks?

In 2015 Paris removed the lovelocks to help maintain the structure of the bridge as previously railings on the bridge had fallen off and there was a danger the bridge could deteriorate further.

What happened to the locks on Lovers Bridge?

Paris auctioned the locks in bundles or as the whole railing when they removed them from the bridge. They donated the money between three charities that were helping refugees in Paris and raised a total of €250,000.

pont des arts bridge

 

Luzhkoz Bridge, Moscow, Russia

To combat the potential hazard of damaging the structure of the bridge, Moscow installed metal ‘trees’ along the centre of the bridge which has space for hundreds of locks to be secured onto. The love lock trees became so popular that the authorities extended the trees to along the entire street that sits next to the canal.

Many brides and grooms visit the love lock trees on their wedding day to lock in their love and celebrate with a traditional toast of vodka!

Where is the love lock bridge in Moscow?

The love lock bridge in Moscow sits over the river Moskva River in the district of Tset near the State
Tretyakov Gallery.

Can you still put love locks on the bridge in Moscow?

To prevent damage to the structure of the bridge Moscow officials installed metal structures in the shape of trees to encourage visitors to continue with the love lock tradition without causing any damage.

 

Mt. Huangshan, China

Possibly the highest location where you will find the love lock tradition is Mount Huangshan which is often described as the ‘loveliest mountain of China’. It is renowned for its beautiful scenery which is why it has probably attracted couples as a place to place their love locks to lock in their love.

The tradition supposedly started here as it was inspired by a true story of love between a forbidden couple who jumped into the valley below so that they could be together forever.

Where are the love locks on Mt. Huangshan?

The love locks on Mt. Huangshan are particularly found on Lotus Peak which is 1,800m above sea level.

Can you still put love locks on at Mt. Huangshan?

Yes, you can put love locks on the mountain, as long as you aren’t afraid of heights!

 

Hohernzollern Bridge, Cologne, Germany

The love locks started appearing on the Hohernzollern Bridge in 2008, in 2011 they were counted and found that 40,000 padlocks had been attached to the bridge. It has been estimated that, that number is now 8 times higher!

The bridge is mostly full with padlocks now but there is still a small section of space left that is located in the last third of the bridge opposite Cologne Cathedral. Can’t make the trip to Cologne? Not to worry, you can add your virtual love lock here: http://www.lovelockbridge.cologne/index.html#virtual

Where is the love lock bridge in Cologne?

The Hohenzollern Bridge crosses the Rhine River and is located in the Innenstadt district, buses, trains and trams also cross over this bridge.

Can you still put love locks on the bridge in Cologne?

Yes, you can still add your love locks to the Hohenzollern Bridge, if you can find room that is!

cologne germany bridge at night

 

N Seoul Tower, Central Seoul, South Korea

The N Seoul Tower or the Namsan Seoul Tower is a communication and observation tower based on Namsan Mountain in Seoul and is 236m above sea level. Like the rest many locals and tourists flock here to attach their love lock onto the railings of the observation deck. The N Seoul Tower encourages couples to leave their mark by selling the locks and have installed ‘heart’ benches that dip in the middle so that it forces the couple who sit upon closer together.

Instead of throwing the keys off the top of the tower as this poses as a danger to those below there is a post box at the top of the tower to post your key to keep the lock from being unlocked. Posting the key is a great idea that could be adopted by many other famous love lock bridges sites so that it does not end up in the sea and pose a threat to marine life.

Where are the love locks in Seoul?

The love locks in Seoul are found on the observation deck on the N Seoul Tower.

Can you still put love locks on N Seoul Tower?

Yes, you can still add love locks to the lock trees or the railings at the top of the N Seoul Tower.

N Seoul Tower South Korea

The Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge), Amsterdam

In Amsterdam there used to be a two love lock bridges. First there was the Magere Brug more commonly known as the Skinny Bridge in Amsterdam and the Staalmeesterbrug. From 2015 these locks have been removed due to the bridges not being able to operate properly as parts had been broken off.

Amsterdam is still a romantic city with its 165 canals and its ‘chocolate box’ houses. To symbolise your love with your partner in Amsterdam the tale goes that if you kiss your significant other whilst passing under the skinny bridge the love will last forever.

Where are the love locks in Amsterdam?

Previously the love locks were found on the Skinny Bridge in Amsterdam but they have since all been removed.

Can you still put love locks on the bridge in Amsterdam?

No, since 2015 Amsterdam officials have removed all locks in Amsterdam in worry that they will cause damage to the bridges like they did in Paris.

amsterdam skinny bridge

 

Butchers Bridge, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Butchers Bridge overlooks the river Ljubljanica in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. The bridge was designed in 1930 by architect Jože Plečnik and was finally opened in 2010. Since its opening Butchers Bridge has become a popular spot for tourists to attach their love padlock to the bridge.

Where are the love locks in Ljubljana?

The love lock bridge in Slovenia is called Butchers Bridge and crosses the river Ljubljanica facing the bigger ‘Dragon Bridge’.

Can you still put love locks on Butchers Bridge?

Yes, you are still allowed to put love locks on Butchers Bridge in Slovenia. This is one of the few bridges left where love locks are permitted and there is still some space left at this current time.

 

Brooklyn Bridge, New York, US

Brooklyn Bridge which opened in 1883 is part of the iconic New York City skyline and is a popular filming location for TV and film. Like many other love lock locations you are no longer allowed to attach love locks to Brooklyn Bridge.

The Department of Transportation said goodbye to the love locks after following suit of the Pont des Arts Bridge and after the weight of the locks snapped the street lights on the bridge due to the pressure and causing one of the lanes to close for two hours!

Where are the love locks in New York?

The love locks in New York used to be on Brooklyn Bridge in the Two Bridges district but have since been removed.

Can you still put love locks on Brooklyn Bridge?

No, like many other bridges around the world you can no longer put locks on Brooklyn Bridge. There is a fine of £100 for those caught locking their love locks.

Brooklyn Bridge New York

Ponte dell’Accademia, Venice, Italy

Like Paris, Venice is another romantic city that many couples travel to as a romantic gesture. There are many proposals and celebrations of anniversaries and to mark the special occasion what better way than to attach a love lock?

As you may have guessed like many other love lock bridges around the world it is illegal to do so in Venice. Like the other bridges across the world, Venice can’t take the weight of the sheer amount of love locks attached to the bridges which causes the historical structures to buckle under the weight.

Where are the love locks in Venice?

The love locks in Venice were on the Ponte dell’Accademia bridge over the Grand Canal outside the Accademia.

Can you still put love locks on the bridges in Venice?

No, it is not permitted to put love locks on the bridge in Venice as the structures are too weak to cope with the weight.

 

Love Lock Bridge Alternatives

The notion to lock in your love with your significant other with a love padlock is still a popular attraction for tourists. But with bridges and other historical structures unable to take the weight of thousands of love padlocks cities are turning to other ideas like the love lock trees in Moscow.

In Uruguay thousands of love locks have been secured onto a fountain placed on a street corner in Montevideo. So many so that the owner has renamed the fountain to ‘The Fuente de los Candados’ or the ‘Fountain of Locks’. In Toronto’s Distillery District they have turned the love locks into a piece of art by installing a metal railing with a heart shape and the word ‘Love’ spelled out for tourists to attach their love padlock.

 

The History of Love Lock Bridges

There are several tales and legends about where the history of love locks originated but most commonly the history refers back to Most Ljubavi, the love lock bridge in Serbia. The history is not one of love however but one of tragedy as a young couple fell in love and would meet on the bridge every night. Due to the war the man was sent away on duty for the military and whilst in Corfu fell in love with another woman.

The woman is believed to have died young with a broken heart and since young girls in Serbia would come to this bridge with their loves and engrave their initials onto a lock and lock it onto the bridge so that their love would be never ending.

 

The Future of Love Locks 2020

With many cities banning love locks not only as they are causing damage to the historical architecture but they are also adding to the excessive waste that is consuming earth. As the love lock tradition is to throw away the key often into the river below once locked.

The future of love locks is turning digital, there are a few websites out there that allow you to create a digital love lock. On these sites you can choose design and write a couple of lines and ‘attach’ these locks to ‘anywhere’ in the world. This allows couples to take part in the love lock tradition without causing any harm to the earth or risk being fined.

love locks around the world infographic

 

10 Most Famous Love Lock Locations

  • Most Ljubavi, Vrnjačka Banja, Serbia
  • Pont des Arts Bridge, Paris, France
  • Luzhkoz Bridge, Moscow, Russia
  • Huangshan, China
  • Hohernzollern Bridge, Cologne, Germany
  • N Seoul Tower, Central Seoul, South Korea
  • The Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge), Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Butchers Bridge, Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Brooklyn Bridge, New York, US
  • Ponte dell’Accademia, Venice, Italy

 

https://locksafeguard.com/love-lock-bridge-locations/
https://theculturetrip.com/europe/serbia/articles/heartbreaking-origin-love-locks/
https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/love-padlocks-cologne-s-hohenzollernbruecke-bridge
https://www.connexionfrance.com/French-news/Paris-love-locks-raise-thousands-at-auction
https://www.easemytrip.com/travel/10-of-the-most-famous-love-lock-destinations-in-the-world.html
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/feb/14/the-lock-of-love-padlocks-on-bridges

What is a Smart Home?

You may have heard of the term “smart home” being thrown about, but what exactly is meant by having a smart home? The Oxford English Dictionary defines a smart home as: “a home equipped with lighting, heating and electronic devices that can be controlled remotely by Smartphone or computer.”

Smart homes are becoming ever increasingly popular due to rapidly advancing technologies; they aim to make our lives easier and our homes safer too!  Have you ever had those niggling worries that you may have left your heating on when you’re out and about? With smart home technology there is no need to worry and rush back home to save on your heating bills. Find out why you can leave these worries behind in our blog below.

 

What are the Benefits of a Smart Home?

Any appliance in your home that uses electricity can ultimately be a smart object and respond to your instructions whether that is by voice command, remote control, tablet or Smartphone! Smart thermostats and lighting are becoming more and more popular, what a luxury it is to turn the heating on and get the coffee machine running just before you get home to escape a breezy winters day!

Smart lighting is also great when it is just too much of a struggle to get off the sofa to turn the lights off when watching your favourite Netflix series but it is also a good security measure too. You can set your lights on automatic timers to make untrustworthy people believe you’re at home when in reality; you’re in the sunshine relaxing by the pool on holiday!

How does knowing exactly what is inside your fridge freezer when you’ve just run into your local supermarket sound? A smart fridge can tell you exactly that by using internal cameras that connect to your Smartphone so you never have to worry about buying more than you need or forgetting an essential item for your Sunday roast! Plus smart fridge freezers allow you to watch TV or listen to the radio; making cooking and cleaning the kitchen much more fun, you may even be able to rope the kids to get stuck in and help too!

 

How much does it cost?

Smart home technologies are vast and varied, therefore, so are the costs. It depends on what you want to do to upgrade your home; it could be a small upgrade to a smart light bulb or a whole home revamp that could mean rewiring the electrics too! We’ve seen smart light bulbs from as little as £12.99 but costs for a full revamp can easily reach £8000… unless you’re Bill Gates whom has spent an estimated $100 million upgrading his home to a smart home! His home includes hidden speakers behind the wallpaper in every room and a heated driveway, how the other half live comes to mind!

 

What Technologies are out there?

Google, Amazon and Samsung have all developed smart home technologies which is hardly surprising seeing as they are all top names in Smartphone development. They ultimately all provide the same thing by connecting your appliances around the home to operate at your command but they do all have their own unique selling point. If you are thinking of buying one it is worth doing a bit of research into each product to discover what will work best for your home and your needs.

Along with the main hub that connects all the devices, you need a voice operated mini hub or download one of the purpose built apps on your Smartphone, tablet or smart watch to be able to give your appliances commands.

All three brands offer a range of smart appliances too including; door bells, thermostats, smart locks, cameras, light bulbs, speakers and more!

 

Smart Home Security

As well as making your life a little easier, smart home technology can also make your home a little safer. Starting around the perimeter of your home, cameras and motion detectors are now able to pick up movement in pitch-black darkness and are even able to differentiate the movements between pets and burglars so that you aren’t notified every time a cat jumps into your garden.

Installing smart door locks is another great way of making your home just that little bit safer, from wireless locks to locks that have a built-in camera there is a wide variety of options out there! To see our favourites reviewed take a look at our recent blog “Yale Smart Locks Buying Guide”.

Interior cameras are also a great way to monitor what is going on inside your home when you’re not there, it could be something as simple as checking out what your dog has been up to during the day but it can also be a great tool should your home be broken into.

 

The Future of Smart Home Technology

Whether you love technology or hate it, there is no denying that smart home technology is becoming more of a common thing to have in and around your home. As well as aiming to make our lives easier during our usually busy schedules, it is changing the way we think about security. Take a look at our blog “The Future of Home Security” to find out what other technical advancements are being made to improve our home security alongside smart home technology! Keep up to date with the latest security news with our blog here at Keytek®.