Home Security Systems

Home security systems are increasing in popularity as they become more accessible to homeowners over the last few years. But what are home security systems? How do home security systems work? And what are the best home security systems on the market for 2021? Find out all of this and more in our blog below!

 

What is a Home Security System?

A home security system is used to protect the home against burglars by using interconnected devices that work through a central control panel that alert the homeowner to a possible intruder when triggered. A home security system is often made up of multiple parts including the following:

 

Control Panel

The control panel is the hub of a home security section and is what connects all the devices and is the device that arms and disarms the security devices. It is often a small device mounted on the wall with a touchpad and can work via pass codes, voice control or wireless key fobs.

 

Outdoor Home Security Cameras

Outdoor security cameras are usually placed to view the entry points on the exterior of the home and can be hooked up to the mains or smart security cameras can be wireless and connected to the internet. Outdoor home security cameras work by providing a continuous live stream footage that can be sent to your home and often include features such as alerts when movement is detected, infrared night vision, two-way audio and storage. Find out more about Outdoor Security Camera’s here!

 

Indoor Security Cameras

Indoor security cameras are also an option for homeowners who are installing a home security system. Much like an outdoor home security camera the indoor cameras provide live streaming and often include features such as notifications sent straight to your smart phone when triggered. Indoor security cameras are often useful if you have pets in the home or if you are unfortunate enough to be burgled to trace the intruders steps which helps you identify what is missing and helps the police with their investigation.

 

Motion Sensors on Windows and Doors

Motion sensors are placed on main entryways such as the front door or on downstairs windows. They detect motion and alert you when triggered.

 

Alarm

Sometimes an additional alarm is required if the control panel does not have one built in. An alarm sets off a loud ringing sound when triggered by the other security devices which not only alerts you to a possible intruder but more often than not scares off the intruder before they get a chance to enter your home a steal your possessions. Some alarms are also connected to the local police and alerts them to a possible break-in when triggered.

 

How do Home Security Systems Work?

Home security systems work using a term called the ‘Internet of Things’ which refers to the interconnectivity between appliances in the home. In this case it applies to the smart home security system working together to provide seamless protection against intruders. Home security systems or smart home security systems provide warning of an intruder when triggered in the form of a loud siren sounding and an alert sent to your smart phone.

 

Best Smart Home Security Systems for 2021

Our top three picks for the best home security systems 2021 are as follows:

 

Hive Smart Home Security

The Hive Smart Home Security System is a great product for those who are new to smart home security systems and are looking for an easy to use home security system with a sleek, understated design. They offer a wide range of features and 5 different packages including a bespoke package to your home via their quiz online so you can choose the best home security package for you. Find out more on their website here.

 

SimpliSafe

SimpliSafe home security systems are another product we love for ease of use. You can simply open up the box and get it running, no tools or experience required. SimpliSafe also offer a few different home security packages so that you can choose one that suits your home and needs. The most basic package ‘The Foundation’ retails for just £200 and includes the hub, control panel, entry sensor and SimpliCam camera which is a great deal. What is really great about SimpliSafe is that there are no contracts. Find out more on their website here.

 

Blink

Blink home security systems are perfect for those who already may have Amazon smart home products as it is an Amazon company. The camera’s start at just £35 and are controlled by Alexa so you can say ‘Alexa show me the front door camera” for example making Blink really affordable if you already have Amazon smart home products in your home. Find out more about Blink on Amazon here.

 

Keytek® Locksmiths

We are dedicated in helping people secure their homes across the UK. If you enjoyed this blog why not check out How to take a Taxi Safely and The Future of Security 2021: Ring Indoor Drone!

 

 

https://www.security.org/home-security-systems/what-is-a-home-security-system/

https://www.safewise.com/home-security-faq/how-do-security-systems-work/

 

 

Keytek Joins Checkatrade!

 

We are now proudly a member of the UK’s number 1 way to find trusted tradespeople, Checkatrade! As the UK’s leading Locksmith community, we continually strive for excellence as we set the standards for the industry and being a Checkatrade member is a further commitment to our high standards of practise.

 

What is Checkatrade?

Checkatrade is the ultimate place for customers to find professional, reliable, and trustworthy tradespeople, with their list of certified members ranging from builders to plumbers to Locksmiths to gardeners. They offer a partnership between members and customers, where only the best businesses are connected to customers to ensure excellent products and customer services.

All members need to adhere to ‘The Checkatrade Standard’ where 7 detailed guidelines are laid out, providing best practices for everything health and safety to resolving issues. Compliance of these guidelines ensure that all members are up to scratch and customer receive only the best experiences.

Checkatrade also provides customers a platform to leave detailed and informed reviews about businesses to share their experiences with other would be customers and to ensure the real gems of the industry shine through.

 

Why Have We Joined Checkatrade?

From the outset, Keytek® Locksmiths has been committed to providing customers with experienced, professional, and trustworthy Locksmiths and we believe Checkatrade matches us in this vision.

We, as a leader in the industry, are committed to the further education and expertise of all Locksmiths to ensure that all customers receive only the best Locksmith services. We feel our partnership with Checkatrade ensures that customers can be assured of the excellence that we as experts provide. To become a member, we had to meet a specific criteria with our qualifications, insurance references and code of ethics vetted rigorously by Checkatrade experts to confirm our high code of contacts already in place.

 

Receiving Customer Feedback Through Checkatrade

All Keytek® Locksmiths adhere to a professional code of conduct, where feedback plays an important role. We strongly believe that customer feedback is an essential part of maintaining our high practices of conduct and now that we are a member of Checkatrade, it has opened another platform where customers can share their experiences with us, and we can continually self-assess to ensure service excellence.

 

What this Means for Keytek Customers

For all Keytek® customers; whether past, present, or future, our membership with Checkatrade ensures that they will not only continue to receive excellent customer service but are offered even more avenues for feedback where we can continue to improve and adapt our services.

We strive to consistently raise our already high standards and to further promote the confidence that customers can have in their home security and the standards of the Locksmiths they are calling out.

Locksmiths are often called out in times of crisis and stress and ensuring professionalism and expertise from all Locksmiths in the industry through partnership with external moderators only raises the bar for the industry as a whole. We believe our partnership with Checkatrade not only be hugely successful for both customers and our Locksmiths but also for the entire industry.

 

Regulating the Industry

Unfortunately, as an unregulated industry, there are many rogue Locksmiths out there that don’t offer the professionalism and standards of practise that we would expect from our Locksmiths. This can lead to over pricing, lower standards of practise and no accountably for poor services.

This can understandably cause potential customers to be wary when booking with a Locksmith so our partnership with a recognised regulator such as Checkatrade we hope will only increase customer confidence.

Luggage Locks – The Guide to Luggage Security

Have you booked your trip away for 2021 yet? You may have everything in order but have you remembered to think about the security of your luggage whilst it is in the hands of the airport or when it is sitting in your hotel room when you’re out for the day? Whilst you may have thought to remember to ensure you and your belongings are insured, there is no harm in taking a few extra security measures so you’re not left stressing about your lost things when you’re enjoying your well earned break!

 

Types of Luggage Locks

There are a variety of luggage locks on the market but which is the best to keep your luggage secure to prevent theft?

 

Luggage Key Lock Padlock

Luggage padlocks that operate with a key are one of the most popular padlocks on the market as they can be used for a variety of uses from securing your luggage to securing your garden shed.

The benefits of using a simple key operated padlock are that they are cheap and easily found in any local hardware store. On the other hand, these types of locks are easily broken as the keyhole can be subject to interference and keys can be easily lost, rendering the lock useless.

 

Combination Luggage Lock

Combination locks are keyless forms of locking your luggage together, instead of using a key to secure the lock they use a combination of 3+ dials of which the user sets a pin code to gain access once locked.

Combination luggage locks are much more convenient than key operated locks as there are no other compartments to carry around and potentially lose. They are stronger than their counterpart as there is no weak point, as there is no keyhole but again the lock is rendered useless if you forget the code.

 

Cable Luggage Lock

These security luggage locks are similar to combination luggage locks but instead of a stiff shackle it has a flexible, extendable cable so that it can easily pass through multiple zipper points on luggage.

Cable combination locks are perfect if there are multiple compartments on your suitcase or backpack, there is no need to fiddle around with multiple locks as a cable lock is able to do the job of multiple locks. Additionally, if you wish to secure your luggage to solid objects there are extenders available to buy to be able to do so. The disadvantages of a combination cable lock are the same as a regular combination luggage lock.

 

Key Card Luggage Lock

These locks do not require a key or a combination code to gain access; rather they use a key card to unlock the padlocks.

Key card locks are a great alternative for those who may lose a small padlock key or forget the pin to their combination lock. Most key card locks come equipped with 3 cards, x2 credit card sized so they fit nicely inside a purse or wallet and one smaller to fit onto a key chain, making them harder to lose than standard padlock keys. There is still a disadvantage to these locks as no lock is 100% secure and it is possible to lose all three key cards.

 

Why You Should Use a Luggage Lock

Using a luggage lock can help to deter opportunistic baggage handlers or security officers to rummage through your suitcase or bag at the airport once it’s checked in, furthermore it ensures that your bag stays closed through transit so that your underwear doesn’t become sprawled on the tarmac.

Using a luggage lock just gives that extra layer of security and peace of mind that when you aren’t with your hold luggage that your stuff is secure. We would however always recommend that anything of significant should be carried with you in your hand luggage.

 

TSA Approved Luggage Locks

TSA approved luggage locks are great for those travelling to the US. This is because the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) agents are required to spot check through the luggage that comes through US airports. TSA approved luggage locks are all accessible through a universal master key, meaning if your luggage is checked in airport security the TSA can open the lock with the universal key without causing damage to your TSA approved lock or to your suitcase.

If you are travelling to the US and lock your case with a non TSA lock the agents are within their rights to do whatever they have to do in order to gain access, including damaging the lock rendering it useless. These rules are in place to ensure the safety of yourselves and other travellers.

 

Luggage Lock Alternatives

A great alternative to using a luggage lock to keep your zip closed and secure from chance burglars is to use a cable tie. These can be picked up very cheaply in any local hardware store, these will work just as well as a lock to prevent your luggage from spilling open and are much cheaper to replace than a lock should your luggage be checked and prised open by airport security.

 

Luggage Straps

Security luggage straps are a great way to keep your belongings secure against the rough and tumble your luggage goes through at the airport. Luggage straps work by wrapping tightly around a suitcase and clipping shut with a clasp. They are adjustable in length to ensure a snug fit and are available in different colours or with a personalisation option so your luggage is clear to spot amongst the rest.

Additionally, there are security luggage straps on the market which include a combination lock on the clasp which will keep chance burglars at bay as well as some including a name tag so that it is easily identifiable to airport security should you and your luggage arrive at different destinations.

 

Luggage Tracker

Another way to help keep your belongings safe is to buy a GPS luggage tracker. These are usually small, lightweight bits of technology that fit inside your case and most claim that they are traceable from anywhere in the world. The majority of GPS luggage trackers include an app that works with your smartphone so if your luggage was to disappear whilst travelling, you can easily track it down with a click of a button!

 

Clingfilm

Using cling film to wrap around your luggage has been a method used by many for years. Cling film is a one-use plastic and is extremely bad for the environment, so in this case we recommend that you avoid using it for your luggage.

 

The Top 5 Luggage Locks

Diyife TSA Luggage Locks

This lock is our top pick for the best luggage lock to secure your suitcase. A standard 3 dial combination lock with a cut resistant steel cable that will fit through most zipper holes ensures that not only can this lock be used on pretty much any luggage but your stuff inside is secured as it travels. If you travel to the USA frequently, this lock is even TSA approved and should for any reason they need to open your case, to get their key out they must re-lock this luggage lock.

Coming in a pack of 2, this luggage lock costs £7.99 can be bought from Amazon.

 

eGeeTouch Smart TSA Travel Lock

For those who are tech savy, the eGeeTouch Smart TSA Travel Lock may be for you. The most expensive lock out of our top picks but it takes away the need to remember a combination code or a key and simply opens with the use of a smart phone, smart watch, or the accompanying NFC Fob. Compatible with both IOS and Android, not only does this lock secure your bag but you can use it to track where your luggage is, ensuring that it is always safe. Unfortunately, the battery of this lock isn’t rechargeable, which isn’t the most environmentally friendly as you will have to buy a new lock once it runs out, however the battery life supposedly lasts approximately 3 years! (or 4000 lock/unlock cycles).

You can currently buy a pack of 2 for £35 or a single lock for £19 from Amazon.

 

Master Lock 4688D Combination Lock

One of the most popular locks on the market, the Master lock is a favorite because of its versatility and resistant features. The flexible cable makes it easier to secure zipper holes together. Another 3-number combination lock, this one is TSA approved. Compact, lightweight, and secure this lock is a good choice for all.

Find it on Amazon for £15.98.

 

Tarris TSA Lock Search Alert

TSA approved but with a built-in search alert, so should you be a frequent flyer to the USA this lock will tell you if your bag has been opened and inspected. The indicator changes from green to red if the lock has been opened by an agent, but otherwise the lock is just a standard 3 number combination lock.

This lock is slightly more expensive at £15 but is well worth the expense if you are a frequent flyer. Find it on Amazon.

 

Forge TSA Approved Ultra-Secure Dimple Key Travel Lock

Known for its durability and versatility, the Forge Lock is a simple key lock, so you don’t have to worry about forgetting or fumbling with a combination lock. Little known fact is that if your luggage is opened by the TSA they are under no obligation to resecure the lock, however with the dimple key they must lock the luggage before they can remove their key.

Find a pack of 2 for £15 on Amazon.

 

Keytek® Locksmiths

For more security tips and information check out the Keytek® Locksmiths blogs on our website! We are the largest Locksmith community providing emergency Locksmith services across the UK!

How do TV and Film Keep their Secrets Safe?

In this day and age of television on demand and people binge watching TV shows, the TV and Film industry have had to up their game to prevent spoilers coming out before shows and films are released.

There’s a rumour that Amazon have employed military style security to guard the secrecy of their new Lord of the Rings series. It seems there is a ‘bunker’ with a security guard on the door and fingerprint scanners, all to protect the writer’s room. Sceptics might say that the overdramatic security is a publicity stunt to peak people’s interest in their new TV show. Either way it’s a drastic way to keep the details under wraps. This is not a new trend however, the TV and film industry have been closely guarding their secrets for a long time and it seems the bigger the show/film, the bigger the security.

Television

The whole country seems to be caught up with Line of Duty fever at the moment and with the finale airing this Sunday, viewers are clamouring to find the secrets to the shows ending. Being one of the most popular TV shows in the country, you’d think they would have all kinds of tactics to keep the information safe. However, their security protocols are pretty old school. Everyone involved has to sign NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) meaning they could get sued if they tell anyone information (this does include spouses and family!). They also film in Belfast, which means they avoid a lot of the paparazzi that you would find in cities like London or Manchester. One thing that might surprise you is that the cast, even the main actors, are not told the shows full plot line. They are often only given their own lines, or parts of the scripts and they are NEVER given the script as a whole. This means that they are in the dark of what will happen when the show actually airs. For a show that is so popular and one of the few shows that comes out weekly, they do pretty well to keep the endings of the police drama a secret.

You might remember how the whole country became obsessed with Broadchurch a few years ago? Well, this meant the security had to be tightened on the subsequent series. Scripts were sent out with false titles (Tea and Sympathy) and the head writer Chris Chibnall used an alias and had alternative scripts written. All this so the public could be surprised by the twists and turns week to week.

One of the most closely guarded secret in the UK television industry is the identity of the new person playing The Doctor in Doctor Who. For years the speculation around this makes the headlines, bookies suspend odds and people scramble to find out ahead of time who it could be. The BBC employ classic tactics such as having people audition for fake parts, with fake names and over skype to stop any chance of a spoiler leaking. They will also take any person who leaks a spoiler to court, hopefully deterring anyone else from doing it.

 

Hollywood

You might think that the UK TV industry goes to some extreme lengths to protect their secrets, but it’s nothing compared to that of what the Hollywood film industry do to stop movie spoilers coming out. Part of the difference is that the American press are more intense when it comes to finding out spoilers. Flying drones over film sets, bribing crew members and hacking laptops are only some of the techniques that have been employed to find out the plot twists of the most recent blockbusters. So, it makes sense that the big movie companies invest heavily in security tactics to prevent leaks.

The most well-known film franchise of recent years is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, these films have employed some radical techniques to prevent leaks. The actors weren’t allowed to take any scripts home with them and all scripts would be accounted for at the end of every day and destroyed. This made sure that human error wouldn’t mean the script was lost and then leaked. Actors would also only be given the scripts for scenes that involved them, meaning they were in the dark about what was happening in the rest of the movie. The cast were also banned from taking any photos from behind the scenes, in case any information could be gained from the images.

Disney had a similar technique on the set of the new Star Wars films, they would print their scripts on red paper, meaning that if anyone attempted to photocopy it or scan it, it would be completely unreadable. On one major Hollywood film, the actors were sent scripts electronically and they would self-delete after a certain amount of time. They were also cautious of drones flying overhead with cameras (as information had been leaked this way before) so sometimes actors would have to cloak themselves in blankets to walk to a covered set.

Big film companies also add things like unique watermarks, or slight changes in the script, so if there is a leak, studios can identify where the leak came from. Studios also have the ability to block sites that share leaked information, and stop them from showing up in searches. Google recently revealed that they receive over 2 million take down requests per day. Studios can also sue websites that feature leaked, confidential information. This means that even if they did receive spoilers, they may not want to publish them anyway.

 

So, it seems that movie and television studios are going to more and more extreme measures to keep their secrets from being leaked. Do you think that these measures are appropriate? Or do you think it’s all one big publicity stunt?

 

References:

https://www.businessinsider.com/how-movie-studios-prevent-leaks-2016-1?r=US&IR=T#studios-protect-alter-watermark-and-destroy-film-scripts-3

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2019/apr/09/spolier-alert-tv-and-film-protect-their-blockbusters

https://screenrant.com/hollywood-script-security-leak-prevention-2013/

https://www.cinemablend.com/new/How-Far-Marvel-Now-Going-Prevent-Leaks-86497.html

Staying Safe Whilst Walking Alone

We here at Keytek® are in firm support of ensuring that everyone has the right to walk home safely. We want to express that the below tips and products are not the solution to the difficult situation we find ourselves in now, but rather suggestions on how you can try to keep yourself save in these uncertain times.

 

The realities of walking alone, especially at night, can be daunting. This leaves many feelings unsafe and anxious whilst exercising, commuting, or travelling. In our society, the idea of “text me when you get home” is a constant reminder that we need to be vigilant when travelling alone and need to be cautious to keep safe, no matter our age or gender. We have done a bit of research and have compiled a few things you can do to try and keep yourself safe and the most important apps to have on hand.

 

Tips to Stay Safe When Walking Home Alone

We would never recommend that anyone walks home alone, we would always suggest trying to walk home with a friend or in a group, however if you do end up walking home alone there are a few tips you could consider. These tips not only are suggested to make your journey safer but also help to reduce the anxiety you might be feeling.

 

1.      Think About Your Footwear

The first tip you might hear is that you should always wear appropriate footwear when walking, and unfortunately it is true. Although a nice pair of shoes might match your outfit perfectly, if there is a chance that you might have to walk home, we would always suggest wearing comfortable shoes.

This doesn’t mean that you need to carry around a pair of running trainers, but rather consider a pair of comfortable flat shoes or a pair of worn in comfortable shoes.

2.      Plan Your Way Home

If you find yourself walking home on your own, no matter what time of day it is, make sure you know where you are going and that you stick to as many main roads as possible. Walking through an alley might save you a few minutes but it’s not worth the extra risk that comes with it. Not only will knowing your way home make you feel safer, but it will also help you to feel more confident whilst walking.

3.      Phone a Friend

If you feel nervous or anxious, phone a friend. This can be a partner, friend or relative, but give them a call and stay on the phone with them until you reach your destination. This will allow you to feel more relaxed as you focus on getting to your destination and will help to make you less of a target for crime. Be cautious however to remain aware of your surroundings so that you aren’t distracted from traffic or others.

4.      Keep Your Keys in Your Hands

This might seem overzealous, but it means that when you reach your destination you can enter quickly, without having to fumble around in your bag or become distracted at the door.

5.      Try to Remain Calm and Confident

Easier said than done but being sure of yourself makes you a lesser target for crime. Walk calmly and steady to show that you aren’t panicked and are aware of your surroundings. Don’t be afraid to look people in the eyes or even greet them as you go past.

6.      Carry a Whistle or an Alarm

If you are nervous, or regularly walk home alone, consider carrying an alert whistle that is easily accessible to you when walking. This can help to alert others in the vicinity that you feel unsafe or threatened and need assistance.

7.      Walk in the Direction of Oncoming Traffic

Walking into traffic ensures that you are more aware of the cars passing you by and can prevent a car from coming up behind you.

8.      Avoid Carrying Multiple Bags

Try to carry as little bags as possible as carrying multiple can give the impression that you may have valuables on your person, and it can also restrict your ability to react quickly if need be.

9.      Don’t Distract Yourself with Your Phone

It can be easy to resort to looking at your phone for comfort, but we strongly advise against this as it can distract you from your surroundings. Refrain from texting or playing a game as it takes your attention away from your destination and can make you a target for crime. Listening to music through headphones may seem like a good idea but it makes it harder to be aware of your surroundings leaving you vulnerable to people approaching or road traffic.

10.  Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

If you feel unsafe, or are feeling threatened by another person, don’t be afraid to walk into a supermarket or hospitality establishment and ask for help. Surrounding yourself with people if you feel you have become a target will reduce the risk to yourself and help you to find a solution. For example, if you feel unsafe, walking into a supermarket and asking for help will always start to deescalate the situation and someone can hopefully help to find you a way home safely.

 

If you ever feel that you are not safe or are being threatened, don’t just ignore it or carrying on walking home, always look to find help and place yourself into a situation where it is harder to get to you.

 

What Should I Do If I am Being Followed?

The feeling of being followed is unnerving and unsettling and although thankfully is usually just a result of feeling uncomfortable or an overactive imagination, it is important to ensure that you take your instincts seriously and remain calm as you get to a safe location.

 

1.      Stay Calm, Steady and Confident

Controlling the fear is important as it allows you to think rationally. Your gut might tell you to run for it, but in fact this could put you in more danger. The best thing for you to do is to subtlety pick up the pace ever so slightly and see how the person following reacts. Have they sped up? Have they remained at the same pace?

Most of the time, the person we think is following isn’t, so taking the few seconds to calm down and assess the situation can make the world of difference.

2.      Change Direction

If you know the area well, an option to see if you are being followed is to slightly change direction. This could be taking the longer way around or crossing the road when safe. If the individual copies your movements, then you should seek help immediately.

3.      Go Somewhere Public

If there is no-one at home or you feel threatened, we recommend that you go to a crowded public place where you can tell someone about your fear. At night, it can be harder to find a safe place, but places such as bars and supermarkets might be a good option. Express your suspicions to a member of the security team or member of staff who may be able to help or remain at your side until the police arrive.

4.      Don’t make it Obvious

If you feel a serious threat that someone is following you, don’t make them aware of this. Panicking, running or even looking over your shoulder can give the game away which might prompt a confrontation. Whilst they believe you unaware, you have the advantage to get to a safe place without raising suspicion.

5.      Call the Police

If the situation calls for it, discreetly call the police and inform them of the threat. The trained phone operatives will help guide you through the situation whilst they get help on the way.

 

Best Personal Alarm Devices for 2021

 

TooDoo 130db SafeSound

Stylish and practical, this device can attach onto your keys, purse or bag and once activated sets off an alarm. At 1030 dB and with a range of 600 feet, the high-pitched beeping is both an effective alert and deterrent. As an added feature a built in LED is situated on top which boasts a light of 80 lumens.

To activate the alarm, the top strap needs to be pulled from the device, this will then sound the alarm, which will last for 1.5 hours uninterrupted on full batteries. To deactivate the device, the pin at the end of the wrist strap simply needs to be replaced into the slot.

 

Safesound Personal Alarm

Small, compact, and effective, this alarm is connected to a keychain that allows you to attach it easily to your bag, purse, keys or even belt loops for easy access. In an emergency you simply need to pull the pin out of the top of the device or press the SOS button twice, which will activate 130-140dB alarm to alert others around you. As an added feature there is a LED light at the end of the device to illuminate dark surroundings.

As an added benefit, you can get this device in different colours which makes it easier to match with your bag or keys so that it can be more discreet.

 

Heart Shape Personal Security Alarm

A more discreet alarm that looks more like a keychain, this device is a reflective heart shape but is also a deceiving alarm. Simply pull the pin from the top and a 130dB alarm will sound that can be heard from up to 600 feet, alerting others that you feel threatened or are in danger. The battery included has a yearlong 365-day standby time, ensuring that should you need it the alarm will sound.

 

Phone Apps to Keep you Safe

One Scream

This app is the perfect companion for those travelling alone, especially at night, to feel more confident that even if you can’t reach your phone or personal security alarm in an emergency you are still offered some protection.

How does the app work?

When running on the background of your phone, One Scream can detect a panicked scream, identify your location, and send an alert to help to your dedicated emergency contacts even if buried at the bottom of your bag.

When you are in danger and cannot reach your phone

  1. Your panicked scream triggers the app.
  2. A loud siren is activated, the phone starts vibrating, and a notification pops up.
  3. There is a 20 second period to allow you to cancel the alarm.
  4. If not aborted, an automated message is sent to your emergency contacts alongside your location.
  5. If you and your emergency contact have an android phone, a phone line is opened so that they can hear the real events.

How to set up the app

To set up the app, simply add up to 3 different contacts to be notified when you need help and activate the app to run in the background of your phone whist you are on the move. Your emergency contacts will also need to download the app from the app store to get the notifications should there be an emergency.

 

One Scream FAQs

What if I don’t have signal or a connection?

If you don’t have signal, the app will still work in terms of creating a loud siren but will not be able to notify your contacts. Not to worry however as this is still a very effective alert system for people in the surrounding area and acts as a deterrent.

Is my location monitored?

Your location is only detected when the app has activated due to detecting a scream, otherwise your location is not shared.

 

Parachute

When an emergency occurs, the Parachute app starts a visual and audio live recording whilst also sending a live location to your designated emergency contacts. Your emergency contacts can then access the live recording to understand the situation and see in real time what is going on, whilst also allowing you to see the status of the alerts and whether the alerts have been successfully received.

How to set up the app

Once downloaded from the app store, the app requires a monthly subscription, however with the vast amount of features the cost is high value for money. You then need to allocate emergency contacts with information for how to contact them.

 

Emergency SOS (ISO, Apple)

A built-in feature for Apple phones, this allows for an emergency SOS to be sent out to both your emergency contacts and the local authorities to alert that you are in need for help.

How does it work?

Once set up in the phone’s settings, you simply press the lock button on the phone 5 times to activate the emergency SOS, from there a loud siren activates from the phone and you have 5 seconds to deactivate the distress call before your emergency contacts are notified of your situation and your location and a call to emergency services are connected.

How do I set up the Emergency SOS?

The emergency SOS is already active on all iPhones but should you wish to add emergency contacts, you need to go into the settings searching for ‘emergency SOS’.

How to add emergency contacts

  1. Open the Health App and tap your profile picture.
  2. Open the Medical ID.
  3. Select Edit in the upper right-hand corner.
  4. Scroll to the emergency contact section and tap the green plus button.
  5. Create a new contact with their details and their relationship to you.
  6. Tap done to complete.

 

Hive Sensors: A Review

At the start of the century everyone had dreams of the ultimate smart home, that made life easy and left you feeling secured. Now no longer a dream we introduce the Hive Home Ecosystem!

A specially cultivated range of products designed to not only bring security and ease but style and streamline everyday life. Within their ecosystem you can find smart home solutions ranging from thermostats to lightbulbs to security cameras, and today we are reviewing one of their most interconnected products: The Hive Motion Sensor!

 

Hive Smart Sensors

There are currently two different sensor ranges within the Hive Home ranges, Hive window and door sensors and the Hive motion sensor.

The Hive window and door sensors are installed on windows and doors and will indicate whether it is opened or closed. The Hive motion sensor however detects surrounding motions.

What do the Hive sensors do?

Just like it says on the tin these Hive motion sensors detect motion, however it doesn’t stop there. The Hive ecosystem is the pinnacles of smart sophistication as all their products interconnect, meaning that one well-placed sensor could open a variety of smart home solutions your heart can only dream of.

 

What can you do with the Hive Motion Sensor?

Using the Hive app, you can seamlessly integrate any motion sensors into your smart environment and connect them to any Hive devices to create ‘actions’. Actions work based on “if this, then that” to create a simplicity to smart living. Through the app, simply program one of these actions to include your new motion sensor and your away!

 

Security

Using the connectivity of the Hive app, once motion is detected in your home a smart notification will pop up on the connected smart devices to let you know of any suspicious behaviour and you can even take it one step further by connecting the motion sensor to other devices. Should you have a Hive View security camera, simply connect the two together so that if motion is detected near the front door, the camera turns on to give you a live view of what is happening.

 

Streamlined and Efficient

Struggling to find the light when you come home from work? Simply place a motion sensor close to your front door and set up an action where when motion is detected it will activate the hive smart plug that is connected to your hallway lamp, illuminating your house for you without even touching the switch.

The Hive motion sensors offer ways to create personalised smart home experiences that is tailored to the patterns of your life and which are going to best suit you.

 

What can you do with the Hive Door and Window Sensors?

As these are placed on doors and windows, these sensors offer great environmental and security controls that help to not only ensure that the security of your home is intact but to also help you cut down on your energy bills as well!

 

Security Notifications and Connections

As they detect when a window or door has been opened, you can keep track of who is coming in and out of your home effortlessly. Whilst at work your side door is opened, but not to worry a push notification is sent straight to your smart device and when connected to a Hive View camera placed in your hallway it automatically starts recording. This means that you can view the camera remotely from your smart device and see what activity has set off the motion alarm. Should the situation then call for it, using HomeShield you can call the local police, all from the app!

 

Energy Efficient and Money Saving

The Hive system is not the cheapest on the market, and for good reason too. These high-quality products can be a little bit of an investment to begin with, however the practicality, functionality and quality see you get a return on your investment. Save on energy bills when you create an action connecting your Hive thermostat with your new window sensor, so that when the window is opened your heating automatically decreases to not only save you money on your energy bills but also reducing your carbon footprint.

 

Placing a Hive Sensor in your Home

The Hive motion sensor is designed to be easily applied to any wall, corner or any other flat surface using the adhesive tabs which is going to provide a unique experience that fits to your lifestyle. Not only does Hive have amazing connectivity with the products in the Hive ecosystem but also to a select few other smart home brands such as the Phillips Hue Bulb.

 

Hallways

Placing a sensor in your hallway or entryway means that you can create a unique entrance into your home. Simply connect your sensor to a Hive smart plug or lamp with a Phillips Hue Bulb and when the sensor senses motion it will automatically turn on without even touching the switch.

 

Windows and Doors

Leaving the house in a hurry? You can double check all the doors and windows are closed from your phone for ultimate ease.

 

Landing

In a family home, you might have little children getting up in the middle of the night and wandering into the hallway. Simply placing a sensor just outside their door and linking it to a smart bulb or plug to turn on the landing lamp enables them to find their way without any bumps or tumbles. Within the app, you can even program the smart plug or bulb to turn off after a few minutes to ensure that energy isn’t wasted.

 

The Hive App

The control centre for smart home system is the Hive app. This app contains three different tabs that offer control, scheduling and monitoring of all the products within your home ecosystem and allows you to create ‘actions’ which tailor your smart home experience to your lifestyle and needs.

 

The Control Tab

This tab allows you to control all your smart products from one place. Should you want to turn the heating up or should you want to view your Hive View camera using live view, simply open the app and it will all be under this tab. Likewise, should you receive a sensor alert to your phone or smart device, it will be this tab that allows you to see which sensor has pinged and the situation.

 

The Schedule Tab

This tab allows for up to 6 pre-set time blocks to be set for optimising your smart products. In this tab you can create a system that is tailored to your lifestyle and not only is going to create ease in your day-to-day life but also help to save money on energy bills.

 

The Actions Tab

This is where you create those ‘if this, then that’ actions, where you can program certain actions to happen when a sensor picks up motion or a door/window opens. This tab gives you complete control to created personalised automations that will make things just that little easier.

 

Home Shield

Home Shield is the optional Hive security system that unlocks a handful of great security features within your ecosystem, all for a small monthly subscription of £9.99. Unlock features such as remote alarm access, friends and family access, intelligent alerts, live timeline, and voice control, just to name a few.

Homeshield is an optional service however we do think that for the small subscription price and all the benefits that come with it, we feel like it is the perfect system for those looking to fully realise the potential of a smart home and are looking to integrate a security system as well.

Find out more about the Hive Home Shield here.

 

Hive Home FAQs

Do I need a Hive Hub?

To allow for the connectivity of the Hive ecosystem, you must have both a Hive Hub and the Hive App. These two products allow you to pair Hive products together and with the other select smart home solutions. Unfortunately, without the Hive Hub the connectivity of the system is lost, and the potential of these products cannot be realised.

However, when you consider the potential of these products as not only a security system but also as a smart home that you can adapt to your lifestyle and needs, the cost of the right products for you is far outweighed by the value of the product.

 

What are the requirements for the Hive app?

If you are an Apple fan you will need ISO 9 or higher to operate the Hive app and a minimum of 4.4 should you be an Android user.

 

Do Hive sensors make a noise?

Hive sensors currently do not make a noise, however when paired with the Hive siren you can set up your smart security system so that when motion is detected when it should be the alarm will activate.

 

Can Hive control Phillips Hue?

Yes! Phillips Hue is one of the select brands that Hive is compatible with and can get integrated into the Hive ecosystem.

Blink Security Cameras

Security cameras are becoming all the rage in modern security systems, with a variety of brands offering different features. One of these brands offering a range of high spec cameras is blink.

 

What are Blink Cameras?

Blink is an Amazon owned company that makes home security cameras and devices. Their aim is to provide; affordable, innovative, and easy to use home security devices. Among their product ranges are battery powered indoor and outdoor cameras, the mini but mighty plug-in cameras and a wide variety of other home security measures. All these devices come with an impressive array of features that offer great security factors for every home

 

Features of the Blink Camera Range

  • HD Video – 720p HD video means that all images of your home will be crystal clear, with little blurring or distortion.
  • Motion Detection – when activated any motion detected by the Blink camera will trigger the recording feature to capture a short video clip of whatever is happening in your home.
  • Instant Alerts – you will receive a notification to your phone, with a video attached. So, you can see instantly what is happening to set off your blink camera.
  • Live View Mode – you can instantly view a live feed from your home in the Blink app
  • Instant on- this feature means that your camera will start recording within a fraction of a second, meaning you won’t miss what’s caused the alert.
  • Temperature Sensor – the Blink camera has a built-in temperature sensor, meaning you can monitor the temperature at each location your cameras are in (a good feature if you plan to use this as a baby monitor)
  • Auto-arm/Disarm Function – you can schedule in the times you want your Blink camera to be armed and disarmed. This means you don’t have to set it manually each day.
  • Multi-System Support – if you have multiple properties, a holiday home or use Blink cameras for your business, you can have multiple blink systems that you can control from one app.
  • Privacy Assurance – you can be confident in the privacy of your footage, it’s non-hackable and the hardware-based LED indicator light shows you when the camera is active, meaning you’ll never be taken by surprise.
  • Low Light Illumination – a great little feature is the fact that the advanced low-light performance technology means you will always have full colour, HD video, whether it’s light or dark.

What we like about Blink Cameras

Easy installation, a wide range of features at an affordable price and a 2-year battery life is a big claim from Blink but by all indication these claims seem to be true, which leaves us thinking that the Blink cameras offers customers great security features in a minimalist package.

 

Easy Installation

The standard indoor and outdoor Blink cameras are wireless, meaning that they are a piece of cake to install. Simply attach to the desired spot and you are ready to go! Similarly, the Blink Mini is compact and easily plugged in with an optional swivel stand for optimal positioning.

 

Compatibility and Integration

Blink cameras have easy integration, not only do they connect to Amazon devices such as the Alexas and Echos, but they also connect to hundreds of smart home devices using IFTTT. This means that they can be seamlessly included into any existing smart system, to create a network of security in any home and with the ability to connect up to 10 devices to the cameras you can ensure security from anywhere.

 

Affordable

With the outdoor camera sitting at £99.99, the indoor camera currently at £79.99 and the mini at an astonishing price of £34.99; the features that this range of cameras boasts far outweighs the price bracket and makes for a very smart purchase!

 

Minimalistic and Compact

Small and discreet, you can easily position any of these cameras covertly to ensure that your security device is well hidden should you wish to keep your spy a secret.

Blink Camera FAQs

Do Blink cameras record all the time?

Currently the Blink cameras don’t continuously record, however they can be set to start recording when motion is detected for any time interval.

 

What is the maximum distance a Blink camera will detect motion?

When optimally placed they can detect motion up to an estimated 20 feet.

 

How does a Blink camera detect motion?

The Blink Outdoor used infrared to detect infrared energy (heat) from people, animals and vehicles.

 

What happens if a Blink camera detects motion?

When motion is detected the Blink camera will start recorded for the set amount of time and a push notification will be sent to any smart devices connected to the camera.