Technology is disrupting more than a few businesses, and one of the industries coming under pressure from the digital economy is the home-security business. DIY enthusiasts are kitting their homes out with all manner of cameras and monitoring equipment to keep an eye on everything from their valuables to their pets. But there’s more to security than just a camera. ‘Light up’ we’re told, to keep burglars out and secure windows and doors. Global tech giant have introduced some DIY kits that can help you do, just that.
I tested the Panasonic Home Monitoring & Control Kit which comes with the basics to get you started in securing a couple of key entry points to your home, and keeping an eye on what’s going on when you’re not there.
The kit comes with two Window/Door sensors, an indoor camera, a smart- plug, a motion detector and a hub unit that all the devices connect to. The various components have a stylish, stark look to them, as well as feeling well made. The sensors screwed in to the windows easily and attaching the camera to the wall equally so. Remember to look out for any internal wiring in your home when you’re installing equipment like this.
You’ll need to download the Panasonic Home Automation app for iOs or Android to make it all work but set-up is straightforward, despite the app looking a little rudimentary. The Panasonic hub will find the devices you have installed and it talks to them using DECT, a wireless system usually associated with cordless phones. It’s an unusual choice, buty a secure one, as it makes the kit invisible to most consumer electronics and provides reliable connection over longer distances.
Once installed, the hub takes control of things and has various lights and audible alarms to tell you the status of the system. The indoor camera is not of a particularly high quality, but the footage it records is adequate and it can be recorded on to a memory card that’s slotted in to the hub, meaning that there’s no monthly fees associated with the kit, unlike competitors. Although the camera footage isn’t of a high quality, it can double as a useful baby or child monitor. You’ll get notifications on your phone from the hub for security alerts, for instance when a door or window is opened, and can instantly view what’s going on in the house via the indoor camera. Arming and disarming the system using a smartphone or tablet is quick and reliable.
There are a few downsides to the Panasonic kit with connectivity being the biggest issue for me. IFTTT, which stands for ‘If This Then That’ allows users to create formulas, or recipes, for home appliances. For instance, you could have the heating switch on automatically when the lights in the hall are turned on. Panasonic lack of IFTTT integration is more than irksome for me as a consumer, and a missed opportunity for them. The kit does allow some automation, but the benefits could be amplified significantly if we could integrate this kit with the rest of our home technology.