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Planning Retirement Online

LaterLife TechnoFile

Modern technology has so much scope and power to dramatically improve our lives. However it also changes at an incredibly fast rate, and keeping abreast of what's out there, and how it can help you, is a full time job!

So to accompany the 150+ articles in Jackie Sherman's YoucandoIT Question & Answer series we are introducing a new article series: The LaterLife TechnoFile

Technofile will help you to understand some of the bewildering array of technology available today, and possibly help to keep up with your grandchildren!

Home Security

National Home Security Month is taking place this month (October), but regardless of the time of year your home’s security is always something to keep in the back of your mind. We don’t mean to cause unease and scream that everyone needs to install a panic room, but we are referring to locking your doors and not leaving a key under the mat! This article is going to look at some of the new technology that puts emphasis on securing your home, offering you extra peace of mind.

Technology tends towards the complex these days, but when it is complicated it is being designed for maximum ease of use by developers. Most technology comes with a network of support, which can be through forums or via a telephone helpline; so you never need to be afraid of adopting methods you aren’t familiar with yet. Customers and the differences in their needs are a focus point for people developing technology, which means there are a lot of good products out there.

This article will focus on current home security technology as well as what may be coming to the UK in the future. We’ll also finish with some basic security steps anyone (not just the technophile!) can take to secure their home.

Now let’s look at the more technologically advanced solutions:

Since it’s National Home Security Month, as a first step we got in touch with the organisers to hear if they had any home security recommendations, and they suggested Keyfree Pin Code locks.

“Digital locks are ideal gadgets for making life easier. The PIN code function can be set using the keypad to any 4 to 12 digit number of your choice, which also helps avoid fiddling around with keys if you have arthritic fingers, plus you can also set a separate visitor code for relatives, neighbours and carers.
For peace of mind, the PIN code can also be reprogrammed from the inside of the door at any time. The fob system has a 15-metre range to activate the lock, so when it’s pouring with rain or you’re struggling with the shopping bags, you can unlock your front door from the car. Stockists include B&Q and Homebase, as well as smaller hardware stores and online retailers.”

But the world of tech has greater ideals than better locks and bolts! Recent advancements in smart home technology mean that you can keep an eye on your home even when you’re not there.

Do you ever leave the house and wonder ‘did I remember to lock the back door?’ or ‘have I left the kitchen window open?’ Rather than turning back to check, if you have a smartphone or tablet (and with a few home improvements), you could simply open up an application, and with a few swift taps, close the window, lock the door and ensure the alarm is set.

The Loxone App, for example, can be set up to send instant notifications either via email or phone call when your burglar alarm is triggered, so that you can take immediate action. And if you own a second home, an app such as this can give you greater peace of mind when you can’t physically be there.
Similarly, if you have a video intercom, and someone rings your front doorbell when you're not at home, you can see and speak to your visitor directly from your phone. So, for example, if Royal Mail arrive to deliver a parcel and you're not in, you can speak to the delivery driver, and open the garage door to let him drop off the parcel safely.

There are other advantages to using smart home technology to automate your burglar alarm. There is no need to spend a fortune on an expensive alarm panel, since some systems will allow you to use the alarm you already have. You can save money on monthly fees, and even receive a discount on your home insurance. The amount you can save will depend very much on your individual circumstances and insurer, but research indicates that savings can be anything from 5% to upwards of 12.5%, so it’s worth giving your insurer a call to discuss their specific requirements.

Looking to the near future, another method of home security currently only available in the US and Canada is Kevo by Kwikset. This smart lock works through Bluetooth interaction with smartphones or a key fob and means you no longer have to fuss with your keys to open the door!

Once you are within range of your lock you only need to touch the keyhole with your finger which enables the door to unlock. Different colours illuminate the keyhole area so you will always be able to tell if the door is locked or unlocked. You can also monitor and control who has access to your house: for instance, if you are going on holiday for a week you could send your neighbour an eKey on their smartphone to give them access to your home to feed any pets and water the plants, and even limit their access to specific times. Due to its pairing with an app you are also able to keep a tab on who is leaving and entering and when.

Technology is becoming a more important and effective way of protecting your home and helping you to feel safe whilst away. As with all technology there is still room for development and wild ideas, but the signs are good for the interaction of technology and home security.

But before you go online to order your Mission-Impossible-style remote turrets, laser-grids and heat detectors here are some decidedly low-tech solutions:

  • Have an outdoor light that is fitted with a motion sensor. It can be an easy way of deterring anyone who is trespassing.
  • Ensure you have a deadbolt on outside doors.
  • If you don’t already have one get a peephole fitted to your front door, so you can see who is knocking on your door.
  • Restrictor Window Locks (that prevent windows opening more than a few inches) are stereotypically marketed as protecting a child from falling out a window, but if a child can’t squeeze out a burglar is going to find it very difficult to squeeze in!

Previous Articles:

Can technology ever replace people in the care industry?
Planning Your Holiday - Online
Techno Phone not Technophobe
Bio-Printing: What it is and what does it mean?
7 of the Best Free Healthcare Related Apps

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