It’s the phrase that few kids aged 6-17 like hearing: Going back to school is just around the corner. While in most provinces, school starts on one of the latest possible days (thanks to Labour Day being on Sept. 7th,) it’s still time to replace their bikes and game controllers with school supplies and gear up to go back.
It also means the re-introduction of a few things that you didn’t have to worry about this summer like dog walkers, babysitters and school buses/walks from school to home. It also gives you a great opportunity to find some new tech and smarthome products that help protect your kids and provide some piece of mind.
How can smarthome technology protect your children?
There are no Smarthome products that provide physical protection for your children, but they can definitely go a long way in providing peace of mind. If you’re familiar with Smarthome products, you know that they heavily thrive on the use of individual notifications. This is something you’ll be able to use on a daily basis to check in on when the kids arrive home
Perhaps the newest and most relevant addition to the idea of using smarthome technology to protect your children is a live ongoing camera feed from a designated point in the house. These cameras are fully stationary and can display a 24 hour feed on demand from the designated broadcast point in your house. While Dropcam Pro was one of the first big names in Canada to lead this charge, there are a lot of other choices out there right now.
The Canary is one to look out for and it’s exclusive to Best Buy Canada. The Canary features a user-controlled alarm, and a wide angle camera along with numerous cloud storage options. You can get notifications anytime there’s something out of the ordinary. It even has a two way microphone for you to communicate with the kids as they come in the door from school or to holler and check in on a sick or summer day. Lastly, Canary also comes with air quality screening for you to keep track of any considerable dips in air quality. Something we’ve faced here in British Columbia this summer is poor air quality due to the sheer number of wildfires in the province. Canary is something that can forewarn you of these air quality drops so you can keep the windows closed and air safe.
The Netatmo cam takes the security of your stationary camera a little bit further. While it doesn’t have the air quality checkpoint that Canary (or Withings Cam for that matter) have, it boasts something the others don’t: Facial Recognition. You can take your Netatmo and create special profiles for everybody that comes into your home and then receive notifications when they pass by. This way, you can tell the kids are home and/or safe without actually checking in and then receive notifications when there’s an anomaly or unknown that passes through and then check in on what’s happening.
There are a few others out there as well. All have the same general gist and overlapping features, but you may value air quality sensors over facial recognition, or cloud storage and call centre monitoring over a few extra degrees on the wide eye view of the camera. Click on most cameras on the site and find a great description or overview of the device itself and hopefully it will lead you to what you ultimately choose for your home.
Smarthome based Home Security is an a growing field and keeps you prepped at the ready even when you aren’t home. In fact, you can utilize the security measures of things like the iSmartAlarm even when you’re home. With smartphone-notifying window sensors, you can see when any of your windows are opened when they shouldn’t be and take action based on it. I recently spoke to a gentleman whose home had been broken into in the middle of the day while his wife and children were home. They were safe thankfully, but completely unaware of what had happened. While it seems like a frightening prospect to know that your home is being broken into while you’re there, a smartphone alert on an opening window would have been good to help phone the authorities while getting the family to safety.
Security doesn’t have to meet those traditional means either. Security can also come in the form of peace of mind that your home is safe from silent or invisible dangers. Take Nest’s Protect Carbon Monoxide detector, for example. You can do everything you can to protect your family from physical danger, but detecting carbon monoxide is really difficult. You can take the guesswork out of the equation with this, which can now connect and sync up with all of the detectors in the house to blare its alarm when it senses an incident and send you appropriate followup notifications.
It’s not necessarily an in-house safety or security measure, but inevitably, your kids will forget their house keys. Gone are the days of leaving keys under rocks or the kids sitting at the neighbour’s house until you get home. You can simply add keyless entry to your home and save the headache of cutting keys constantly. It seems that most kids old enough to be home alone from school for a couple hours have smartphones nowadays, so this is definitely an option to consider.
While the Weiser Kevo will definitely do the trick for those of you with iOS devices (and a growing number of Android devices,) The August Smart Lock is probably the way to go for multi-platform households. Not only does it work on iOS and Android devices, but it features proximity recognition, which means that the door itself will unlock as your child approaches in anticipation of their arrival. Best of all is that the device itself operates on Bluetooth and not through your home’s WiFi network. This means that in a network outage, your kids can still open the the doors and get into the house safely. You can then get a notification that your child has arrived home safely.
If you’re like me and use your garage door as your main home entry point, your options are a bit more limited. The Chamberlain MyQ is my go-to, especially for all of those recent times I’ve misplaced the garage door opener in my car (which happens more often than you think.) It too will send you notifications each time you open and close the garage door. However, the communication point with your smartphone is through your home’s WiFi network which means that like the other products that only work in this fashion, a network outage means the kids are out of luck getting inside through the garage. While I normally recommend this for every for pretty well every other possible purpose, “sole keyless entry point into your house when you’ve forgotten your keys” isn’t one of them.
These are some of the best ways you can use smarthome technology to protect some very important people in your life. Have you used any other smarthome products to keep your kids and family safe? Feel free to let us know in the comments below.
There’s a certain level of irony that as a populace, we are generally against more intense government monitoring but have absolutely no issue with turning our houses into our own self-contained “Big Brother.” Essentially the arguments are the same on both sides of the fence (for protection and security).
Not just for kids…. this technology is also great for monitoring mom and dad…. especially in their senior years.
I think it’s amazing that we live in a world where we can protect our kids this way. I’m setting my house up as a full smarthome right now, and I’m adding the Kevo, 3 Nest Protects, and a camera. I’ve had people tell me I’m crazy, but my main goal is to protect my kids and make sure they’re safe.
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