Week 18: Paul's Smart home diary

Sorting out my security holes
Week 18: Paul's Smart home diary

Let's talk home security. Or rather, let's talk smart home security. Long gone are the days where people need to install clunky looking security systems on the outside of their house and pay a subscription to a firm to 'monitor' their abodes.

I've already spoken about my Nest setup and IFTTT recipes in my smart home diary in the past and this is where I started when it came to setting up some security for my new house.

In fact, you don't even need to get IFTTT involved if you simply want your Nest Cam's monitor to fire up your connected smart bulbs to deter baddies. If you're a Philips Hue user, it's as easy as typing "Nest Hue" into Google and following the easy steps on the first matched site to get the two speaking to each other.

I've made it so that, if my Nest Cams detect motion when it's dark outside, it turns on array of Philips Hue lights. I've also got it so as my Philips Hue lights randomly come off and on when my array of Nest devices – three Protects, a Thermostat and two Cams – tell them we (mine and my wife's phone locations are also used) are away.

Clever stuff.

I also considered throwing a few Samsung SmartThings sensors, for window detection and the like, into the mix – but I just couldn't get on with Samsung's app. Not for the first time, Samsung has overcomplicated matters and has made what should be quite a simple setup into quite a laborious affair. The Korean company should take a look at how Nest is doing things with regards to adding devices and setting up actions.

Back to my smart security setup and I still wanted something a bit more traditional. Something a bit more like those systems of the past but brought up to date for the modern connected age. I was sent both a Smanos W100 (below) and a MiGuard G5 to test.

Both of which, sadly, I gave up on after a few hours fiddling about. The Smanos system was a little less cumbersome but just kept coming back with 'Network Anomaly' when attempting to get it synced up to my router (a quick Google search revealed this is a common complaint) but the MiGuard M5 was a no-no straight out of the box.

It has a nice feature whereby you can add in a SIM card to the control panel to get text alerts but, even though the literature says you can set up the system using just the app (and no SIM), it's much more complex than it should be.

Also, to set up different modes you need to physically move pins on the circuit boards of the sensors. Exactly.

Companies like these two need to focus first and foremost on an app powered, Wi-Fi central, system if they are going to tempt in people looking for a modern smart home security setup. Landline connections and 2G texting is all a bit 2004.

I'm therefore going to have a hunt on the Works with Nest store for a compatible, and plug and play, security system. Really, I only need a couple of window sensors to back up what I've already got.

Now read Week 19


Week 1: Planning the ultimate smart home
Week 2: Getting started with home networking
Week 3: Deciphering the matrix
Week 4: Burying Ethernet cables
Week 5: Not much happened
Week 6: Things are heating up
Week 7: What smart home platform to use
Week 8: Do I really need a smart washing machine?
Week 9: Smart nursery made simple
Week 10: Lock all the doors, maybe they'll never find us
Week 11: There's more to connected speakers than music
Week 12: Plugging the gaps in a connected home
Week 13: Building a Nest
Week 14: Finally moving in
Week 15: Getting my house in order
Week 16: Home security made simple
Week 17: IFTTT recipes gone wrong

Shop for recommended smart home tech on Amazon

Nest thermostat
Nest thermostat
Philips Hue starter kit
Philips Hue starter kit
Canary smart cam
Canary smart cam
Withings smart scales
Withings smart scales

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