Building a smart home with home security is not as hard as it would seem. There are plenty of home automation controllers that already include home security features that make it easy for you to connect to a variety of smart security devices. From smart door locks with keyless access control to door/window sensors that will notify you as soon as they’re triggered, there is a wide range of security devices to choose from that can easily connect to compatible automation controllers.
But before you start selecting smart products, please note that in order for them to work with each other, they have to be compatible. Smart devices communicate with each other via communication protocols such as Z-Wave, ZigBee, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and others. Luckily, there are some automation controllers that are capable of supporting many of these protocols at the same time, providing you with even more options. And most of these smart automation controllers can be monitored remotely via your smartphone through a mobile app.
In a nutshell, to build a smart home with home security, you’ll need a home automation controller, smart security devices, an Internet connection, and a smartphone with the corresponding mobile app. Even though you can get away with having a smart home without an Internet connection, a lot of smart devices nowadays require it in order for you to be able to control and monitor your devices remotely using your smartphone.
A typical smart home set up with home security can include a smart automation controller, smart door lock, smart lighting, a few door/window sensors, a motion sensor, and one or two surveillance cameras. But obviously, the number of security devices you end up with will depend on how much security you want to add and how big your property is. Remember, you can always start off small and add more devices as you wish, so you don’t have to purchase every smart and security device available unless you want to of course.
To help you with this project, we put together a guide with various automation and security devices you can add to your smart home.
Home Automation Controllers
The home automation controller is the heart of a smart home. In order to have most of your devices communicate with each other in your smart home network, they’ll need to be connected to a home automation controller, alternatively called a smart home hub. Home automation controllers use communication protocols (Z-Wave, Zigbee, WiFi, etc.) to communicate with connected smart devices. But in order to have remote control of your smart devices via your smartphone, it will most likely need to be connected to the Internet.
Home automation controllers come in various designs, from tablets with LCD screens to small unobtrusive devices that can be smaller than most routers.
The Fibaro Z-Wave Home Center Lite controls scenes and manages up to 230 Z-Wave devices via online remote control. Easy DIY setup and intuitive user interface. Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home.
The Zipato ZipaTile 2 is an all-in-one DIY home automation controller with 6 built-in sensors and an IP camera. Supports Z-Wave Plus, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. Compatible with smart assistants Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit.
The Zipato Zipabox2 is a modular Z-Wave automation and security hub with potential to connect to various communication technologies via add-on modules. Z-Wave Plus, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi compatibility. Supports control over lighting, security, environmental sensors, access control, and more.
Smart Door Locks
Your front door is where your home security and smart home begin. Almost all smart door locks provide keyless entry functionality, allowing you to gain access to your home without having a traditional key on hand. Instead, they offer multiple methods to unlock your door such as numerical passcodes, Bluetooth electronic keys (via your smartphone), or with a standard turnkey. Smart door locks come in various designs from a keyless keypad deadbolt to an interconnected lever set with keypad, in pushbutton or touchscreen variants.
One of the greatest advantages of having a smart door lock is the ability to monitor and control them remotely using your smartphone via a mobile app. Most smart door locks include these features, allowing you to unlock your door from another location or share temporary passcodes to guests. In most cases, you’ll need to ensure that your smart door lock is integrated into your home automation network, or connected to your WiFi, depending on the brand/model.
Home Automation Setups:
• Adding your smart door lock to a home automation scene can make life easier and safer at home. You can create an automated scene that turns on interior and exterior lights when you unlock your front door after arriving home from work in the evening.
• You can also create an automation scene in the morning that turns off all the lights and activates motion sensors after you lock your door as you leave for the day.
The Yale ProSL is a slim motorized deadbolt with a touchscreen keypad, no keyhole, and built-in Z-Wave Plus for optional network integration. It unlocks via keycode entry or Z-Wave.
The RemoteLock Electronic Deadbolt Door Lock with WiFi connectivity allows remote unlock/locking, sends text alerts, and supports temporary codes.
The Kwikset SmartCode 912 is Z-Wave Plus certified and designed with backlit pushbuttons. It locks/unlocks via passcodes, Z-Wave, or standard turnkey and communicates with other Z-Wave devices.
Smart lighting is what most people think of when smart home automation comes to mind. Smart switches and dimmers are among the most common smart devices, but there are also smart plug-in modules that can add plug-in lights such as desk lights or floor lamps to your smart home network. Adding smart lighting to your home means you can schedule lights to automatically turn on or off at certain times in a day or when a motion sensor detects movement within a room. You can easily include them in home automation scenes, for example, by having a movie-watching scene that dims the lights low to create a theater-like environment. You can also have your lights gradually brighten in the morning to mimic the sunrise.
When it comes to home security, you can include smart lighting very effectively by creating a scene that turns on all of your lights within your property if an intruder triggers a door/window sensor or a motion sensor in your home.
The Leviton Decora Smart Wi-Fi 600W Dimmer supports dimmable LED and CFL lights up to 300W and incandescents up to 600W. It can be controlled directly from a smartphone or tablet app over Wi-Fi.
The GE Z-Wave Plus Dimmer Wall Switch (Gen5) adds Z-Wave control and local control to a dimmable light fixture (incandescent, CFL, LED), and it features Z-Wave Plus for wide compatibility.
The Leviton Decora Smart Wi-Fi Plug-In Dimmer enables control of plug-in devices over Wi-Fi with a free smartphone app. Supports dimmable LEDs, incandescents, and fluorescents up to 300W.
Door/window sensors are magnetic sensors that report changes in the status of open/close objects, which include doors, windows, gates, cabinets, and other similar objects. These sensors typically consist of two components: a sensor and a magnet. The sensor installs on the door/window frame, and the magnet installs on the door/window itself. When the sensor detects the magnet has moved away (usually more than an inch) a notification is triggered.
Home Automation Setups:
• You can include your door/window sensor in an automation scene to turn on lights. My wife and I always seem to have our hands full when entering our apartment after an outing. I installed a door/window sensor specifically for this reason so that as soon as the front door is opened, the main kitchen light turns on so that we don’t enter a dark apartment. This has really been handy after grocery shopping and when it’s late at night.
The Aeotec Door / Window Sensor 7 Pro is Z-Wave Plus certified and detects the status change of an open/close object.
The Sensative Strips Guard is an ultra-thin door/window sensor that adds unobstructed and undetectable monitoring of open/close objects. It’s also Z-Wave Plus certified.
The Schlage Z-Wave Door/Window Sensor with Nexia Home Intelligence reports the open/closed status of a door or window. It works with Z-Wave controllers and Nexia-enabled products.
Motion sensors can be placed just about anywhere, indoors or outside, for security or automation purposes. In most cases, at least one motion sensor can be placed in a living room or a high-traffic area of a home where movement is common. Once a motion sensor detects movement within an area it will send a signal to your home automation controller or main security panel. Some motion sensors are even specifically designed to detect human-sized subjects, helping to prevent false alarms caused by pets moving around your home.
Home Automation Setups:
• Motion sensors are widely used in automation scenes, triggering various devices in a room where movement is detected.
• Outdoor motion sensors can send alerts to security alarms or activate lights.
• Indoor motion sensors can be used to turn on or off lights within a room, or activate the AC to bring the room to a predetermined temperature.
• I personally installed a motion sensor in my wife’s closet so it will automatically turn on the light when she walks in. The light switch for the closet is in an odd hard-to-reach area, which is why this automation scene works perfectly for her.
The Elk Wireless PIR Motion Sensor utilizes the 319.5 MHz frequency and features selectable sensitivity and a built-in tamper switch. It's also Designed to allow the presence of pets (up to 22lbs.) without signaling an alarm.
The FIBARO Z-Wave Motion Sensor, Gen5 is a 4-in-1 sensor that detects motion, temperature, lighting levels, and vibration. It’s also Z-Wave Plus certified.
Wireless IP Cameras
Add wireless IP cameras to your home to see and know what exactly is going on around your property. Most wireless IP cameras nowadays capture in 720P/1080P full HD resolution, ensuring that the footage you watch will be of high quality. They also can include various features from built-in speakers and microphones for two-way audio communication to pan/tilt/zoom functionality, all of which can be controlled via your smartphone. Wireless IP Cameras come in various shapes and sizes for both indoor and outdoor areas, allowing them to be installed in discrete areas such as on a wall or beneath a rain gutter. Some even have a pancake design with a 360-degree field of view, making them ideal for ceiling installations, and some can be installed in both indoor and outdoor areas.
Home Automation Setups:
Besides providing surveillance for unwanted intruders, wireless IP cameras can also bring you peace of mind by allowing you to check on your kids or pets after school. Most IP cameras allow you to use your smartphone to control them and view live footage. This means that after receiving an alert from your smart door lock that it’s been unlocked, you can use your smartphone to view the camera’s live footage of your kids returning home, ensuring that they’re safe.
The Vera VistaCam 700 Wireless Indoor Surveillance Camera Captures audio and HD video (720p) in color (day) and B/W (night). It features a built-in motion sensor for motion-activated recording and a microphone for two-way communication.
The SkylinkNet Outdoor Wireless Camera captures high-definition video (1280x720) and features simple plug-and-play functionality. You can view live footage and record clips via the SkylinkNet Mobile app (requires the Skylink Internet Hub, HU-100, sold separately).
The SkylinkNet Indoor Wireless Pan/Tilt Internet Security Camera (HD) captures audio and high-definition video. It features plug-and-play functionality and allows you to view footage (pan/tilt/zoom) via the SkylinkNet Mobile app (requires the Skylink Internet Hub, HU-100, sold separately).
Home Automation & Security System
If you prefer to install a complete home automation and security system that’s self-contained there are several options. Keep in mind that certain systems may not be compatible with smart devices from different brands.
The Qolsys home automation and security system consists of the Qolsys IQ Panel and a wide range of security sensors and products. The Qolsys IQ panels are offered in various models to support legacy wireless frequencies: 319.5 MHz (Qolsys S-Line, Interlogix), 345 MHz (Honeywell, 2gig), or 433 MHz (DSC) to allow you to reuse your old sensors without requiring an expensive translator. You can also purchase complete kits that include the IQ Panel and several sensors to get your home automation and security started on the right foot. Plus, Qolsys offers TakeOver Modules, which allow you to use current wired sensors. They come in two sizes, 8 and 16 wired modules. The panel can integrate up to 4 modules and 64 wired sensors.
Another great thing about Qolsys is it requires an active remote monitoring account with Alarm.com, which means you’ll be able to use the Alarm.com mobile app to connect key smart devices in your home on one platform. And Alarm.com offers 24/7 professional monitoring and emergency response services, providing you with peace of mind knowing that your smart home will be well protected at all times.
If you would like to convert your home into a smart home with home security or add additional smart products to your home, we can help. Just call us at 858-693-8887 (7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Pacific, Monday – Friday) for free tech support and product advice. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.homecontrols.com.