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

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

Is Airbnb Safe?

 

Every two seconds around the world someone books a room through Airbnb! It is currently has an estimated worth of over $35 billion and has big hotel chains quaking in their boots! Unlike hotels where the property has been designed for the comfort of frequent guests, Airbnb allows hosts to list their own homes for others to stay in whilst they aren’t there. So how do you stay safe when booking and staying in an Airbnb property?

 

Safety Checks when Booking

 

1.      Read the Reviews

Reading the reviews from previous guests and how much they rated it will give you a good indication of what the property was like and whether there were any problems. Airbnb only lets previous guests write a review so although it isn’t 100% guaranteed as reviews are so individual you can probably count on them to describe their own experience true to words.

 

2.      Weather and Travel Advice Check

Do your research on your chosen destination before booking to ensure that it is safe to travel and double check again in the days and weeks leading up to your trip. It is especially important if you are travelling to somewhere where there may be strikes e.g. political strikes and somewhere where extreme weather happens frequently.

 

3.      Travel Insurance

Straight after booking take out travel insurance. Should you get injured on holiday you don’t want to be left with a sore head and an empty wallet!

 

4.      Secure Payment

When booking, always pay through Airbnb rather than paying the host directly. Airbnb have a secure payment system that has a ‘multi-layer defence strategy’. Going through Airbnb ensures you won’t be subject to scams and they are able to offer refunds in some circumstances. Airbnb states that they will never ask you to wire money across or prove credit card information so if this does happen to you, report it to Airbnb immediately and do not send and money or reveal the information.

 

Safety Checks on Arrival

 

1.      Carry out a Property Safety Check

When you arrive at your accommodation walk through the property and do a risk assessment. Make note of where all the emergency equipment is, including the fire alarms and fire extinguisher. If you can’t find something important, contact the host immediately to ensure your safety.

 

2.      Emergency Numbers

Write down the local police and hospital/ emergency room numbers and addresses.
In an emergency, most people panic and make silly mistakes. Be prepared with the numbers to hand so if the worst were to happen you save time trying to locate the correct place.

 

Airbnb Community Standards

Airbnb has set values of trust they expect their hosts and guests to follow and have established them into five standards. These are – safety, security, fairness, authenticity and reliability. You can read these more in-depth here: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/trust

 

Keytek®

 

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