By Adrian Justins
Most new high-end properties will have high-tech security systems built in. These might include biometric locks, CCTV cameras and video door phones. But there is also no shortage of off-the-shelf devices that can help deter potential intruders and minimise the possibility of a break-in. Many products now have smart features that allow for remote monitoring and operation and integration into home automation systems. Here is our round-up of some of the best gadgets available.
Soma Smart Shades 2, £129
A smart blind can be opened and closed remotely, giving the impression that an empty property is occupied. Soma Smart Shades 2 converts a manually operated roller blind into an automatic one. The neat 7.5cm-tall white control box attaches to the window frame using sticky pads or screws and uses a motorised cog to pull the blind’s chain up or down. Operation is a cinch using the Bluetooth-connected phone app and automations can be set to open the blinds at the same time every morning or to close at sunset. With the optional WiFi Soma Connect (£69) adapter the blind can be activated remotely using Apple Smart Kit, Samsung SmartThings and Home Assistant plus Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice assistants. The battery lasts about a month and can be charged via mains power or the provided solar-powered charger.
Yale Conexis L1 smart lock, £150
By installing the Yale Conexis L1 lock, door keys become a thing of the past. Instead, the system uses tags that connect by radio-frequency identification (RFID) to unlock the door. Each tag must be paired using a phone app, which can also be used to operate the lock via an encrypted Bluetooth connection (main picture, above). Visitors can also be given revocable virtual keys through the app. Professional installation is recommended.
Google Nest Cam (outdoor or indoor, battery), £179.99
The Nest Cam is instantly recognisable as a security camera, yet aesthetically it is a world away from industrial-looking CCTV cameras. Cutting-edge features include 1080p high-definition video recording, night vision, Google voice assistant control and a two-way microphone. AI-based facial recognition and the ability to detect animals and vehicles help filter out unnecessary alerts, which are sent to the Google Home app on your phone. Three hours of video recording are included and a cloud subscription for unlimited recordings is available from £5 a month. The battery-powered camera is attached to a wall mount using a powerful magnet, which makes it easy to remove to recharge while a safety/antitheft harness is available to prevent larceny.
Blusafe Mirage padlock, from £39.95
Blusafe’s Mirage fingerprint-activated padlock is an elegant alternative to combination or key-operated locks. It is much quicker to open, there are no keys to worry about losing and up to 20 fingerprints can be registered. The USB-charged battery on the padlock lasts up to eight months or roughly 4,000 operations on a full charge, depending on conditions. Available in two shackle lengths, 35mm and 45mm, the Mirage is IP65 water resistant and so suitable for outdoor use.
Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 with Plug-In Adapter and Chime, £229.99
More than just providing a visual deterrent, a smart doorbell allows you to view a live feed on your phone and interact with visitors. The Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 with Plug-In Adapter and Chime can play a pre-recorded message when you're too busy to answer and photos can be previewed in notifications without the need to open the Ring App. The camera angle is wide enough to show head-to-toe perspective, including parcels placed on the doorstep. An indoor Chime allows you to hear visitor alerts around your home, or you can connect to an Alexa-enabled device. Live view and two-way talk are included while a Ring Protect subscription (from £3.49 per month) is required to store unlimited video footage in the cloud for 180 days.
Photography: Ring LLC