Smart home technologies have filled our homes with connected devices and devices, including security cameras.
It’s easier than ever to set up your own home security system to monitor parcel deliveries, make sure kids get home safely, and have a peek at your home on the go. But if you don’t want to install a complete smart home security system, there are plenty of relatively inexpensive ways to keep tabs on your home when you’re on the go. Here’s how to get the most out of your devices to better protect your home.
1. Don’t hide your cameras
Unless you want to catch someone doing a specific activity – like breaking into your car – don’t bother hiding your outdoor security cameras. Most burglars consider the presence of security cameras when choosing a target and avoiding homes where they could be caught in the act, according to research from the University of North Carolina.
2. Protect more than your front door
Choosing the right location for your security cameras will depend a lot on the layout of your home. However, there are a few key areas that are more important to cover than others.
Your front door sees a lot of traffic, from visitors to deliveries. Covering your driveway with a camera or video doorbell keeps an eye out for intruders, but keep an eye out for more mundane things like knowing whether your delivery driver is handling your packages properly.
You should also cover the less visible areas of your home. Rear doors are a common entry point for intruders, as they are more likely to be left unlocked (lock your back doors!), But the main floor windows on the sides or back of your home also present an attractive option for intruders. Consider placing a second pair of eyes in these vulnerable spots.
3. Install a motion detection system
You don’t have time to monitor your cameras around the clock or watch hours of video, so make sure you get a camera with motion detection.
Some cameras allow you to set certain spaces in your camera’s field of view to monitor movement. So, for example, you can be alerted when something shows up at your doorstep, but not when a cat is running around your yard.
Some smart camera systems also require a subscription for advanced features. Nest cameras, for example, can detect general motion, but with the Nest Aware subscription, the camera can tell the difference between a tree swinging in the wind and a person approaching your door.
Determine the type of activity you want to monitor and activate the appropriate function on your smart camera after connecting it.
4. Do you have the power?
It goes without saying that your outdoor cameras will need a power source. Consider if you want a battery powered camera or if you want a camera that connects to a nearby power outlet. You won’t need to run a power cable through your home to plug it into an outlet, but be aware that battery-powered Wi-Fi cameras tend to drain quickly in cold weather. Look for an outdoor Wi-Fi camera that can connect to the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz radio band to reduce network congestion. If you’re having trouble getting a good signal outdoors, try a wireless range extender.
5. Secure your accounts
You install a smart security system that allows you to keep an eye on your home, especially when you’re not there. However, if you don’t secure your account properly, you are leaving the metaphorical door open for intruders who can also watch through your cameras.
To avoid this, be sure to change your camera’s default passwords. Older or non-branded cameras often use very simple security, and passwords are easily searchable on Google, which can put you in frightening situations.
For smart cameras like Nest, Amazon, or Wyze, be sure to give your accounts strong passwords and enable two-factor authentication, if available. If your camera is connected to a Wi-Fi network, make sure your router is also secured with WPA2 encryption. You can never be too careful.