Smart home - Smart security Ring camera

We all deserve a vacation, especially now. After spending so much time at home, we’re all due for some travel. Thankfully, we live in the smart home era. We can monitor the inside and outside of our homes from virtually anywhere, anytime. Best of all, you don’t need to hire professionals to get everything set up. If you’re planning your next family vacation, now’s the time to think about investing in a smart home. 

Before you head off on a Mexican beach getaway, here’s how to monitor your home with smart home tech.

Smart home - Arlo Security camera

Smart security cameras for home remote monitoring

When people are on vacation, they want peace of mind knowing everything is okay at home. Smart security products do exactly that with a host of security & access products. They provide real-time security alerts to your smartphone, record activity while you’re away (sometimes requiring a subscription to do so), and offer live viewing at any time.   

Depending on your needs, there are many smart security products from which to choose. Most people will want to start with smart security cameras. There are wired and wireless security cameras available for indoor and outdoor use. They can be used indoors to monitor pets, or outdoors to monitor an entire property from theft or vandalism.  

These cameras are often equipped with motion sensors that send real-time alerts and record footage to the cloud or, in some cases, to built-in memory or a memory card (or both!) Some cameras also have built-in AI technology that distinguishes animals from humans or even packages from people. This minimizes false security alerts. You can view a live feed when the camera detects motion or whenever you want to check in on pets.  

In most cases, smart security cameras work in conjunction with broader home security systems. This includes door and window sensors that detect intrusions or broken glass. Ring, Arlo, and Swann are some of the popular smart security camera brands. Most come with free and paid subscription services. Generally speaking, subscription services store footage for longer periods of time. They also offer additional features such as continuous, 24/7 recording.

Smart home - Ring doorbell

Smart locks and doorbell cameras for live communication and guest access

If you’re going away, it’s a good idea to have someone come over to check on things. For example, you might want your neighbour to water the house plants or feed the cat. Or you might want a cleaner or contractor to work on the house while you’re away. Whatever the case, smart locks and smart doorbells provide remote access through virtual keys. They monitor entries and exits, so you know when people enter and leave.  

With smart locks, send neighbours or family members virtual keys. This allows them to get in and out with their smartphone. In other cases, you may want to remotely allow someone like a contractor or cleaner in upon arrival. This is where smart doorbells come in. They provide motion detection alerts and provide live two-way communication at your front door. 

For example, imagine you’re sitting on a Mexican beach drinking a pina colada when your latest online Best Buy purchase arrives. With a smart doorbell, chat with the delivery person over video and tell them to place the parcel inside. Then, open the front door with your smart lock. That way, they can place the delivery inside your home. With your indoor smart security camera, watch them enter and exit. Chat with them in real-time so they know you’re still watching them. If you’re worried about porch pirates, this fool-proof method ensures your online deliveries go inside upon arrival.   

Smart home - CO monitor

Smart smoke alarms in the home

Outside of security, there are additional smart home products that provide travellers with peace of mind. Safety sensors and detectors ensure that if something happens while you’re gone, you’ll know about it right away. 

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. That’s just not a proverb in today’s smart home. CO & smoke detectors are battery-operated devices that connect to your Wi-Fi network and monitor indoor air quality. They feature a host of smart features that can distinguish among the different levels of urgency in smoke and CO levels. 

For example, if it detects a little bit of smoke, it will give you a heads-up through a push notification. If the situation gets worse, the alarm is activated and the device will let you know exactly what is going on. Built-in sensors also detect fast and slow-burning fires. The CO sensors pinpoint the location of carbon monoxide so you know exactly where it is coming from. This could be fuel-burning appliances, back-drafting fireplaces, or idling cars in garages.  

Smart home - smart water sensor

Smart water sensors to detect home leaks and floods

Water damage can happen at any time, even when you’re away. Water leak detectors provide any travelling homeowner peace of mind for any water-related issues. This can occur from appliances like freezers malfunctioning, or frozen pipes bursting. These smart water leak detectors detect moisture and low temperatures. If something happens, alerts are sent to your phone so you can take action or have someone go take a look. 

There are both powered and wireless water leak detectors. Powered devices plug into a wall outlet and feature a cable with a water sensor on the end. Conversely, battery-powered water leak detectors are standalone devices that can be set virtually anywhere. This could be near sinks, bathtubs, washing machines, water heaters and basements. 

Set personal preferences for receiving water and temperature notifications. For example, a homeowner may set alerts for whenever water is detected in the basement. During Christmas travel, set an alert if the temperature drops below 0 degrees Celsius. This keeps travellers ahead of any potential or actual water damage while away. 

Smart homes provide peace of mind for travellers

With smart home products, you’re always connected to your home. During travel, this provides peace of mind knowing everything is okay. Smart security cameras monitor activity inside and outside your home with live viewing and sometimes even recorded clips. With smart locks and smart doorbells, provide guests with virtual keys and have live two-way communication at your front door. Smart smoke alarms detect small fires and track developments in real-time. Finally, smart water sensors notify you of water leaks as soon as it happens so you can avoid costly damage.

The fact is, things can happen at any time, even during your family vacation. By building a smart home, travel anywhere knowing that your home is a fingertip away.

Head to Best Buy to see everything that a smart home can offer before you book your next getaway.    

Andy Baryer
Andy Baryer aka “Handy Andy” is a technology journalist, gadget reviewer, and DIY/how-to content creator. Known as the handyman of tech, Andy enjoys fixing poor wireless networks, building smart homes, and cooking with the latest kitchen gadgets. He’s a competitive whistler, a budding woodworker, and loves gardening in his home-built smart garden.