Understanding current Smart Home technology in the Philippines, to be honest, should be very high on your list of design criteria when designing your home.
Current Security Ideas
Previously I have talked about ex-pats building massive walls covered in broken glass or barbed wire to prevent theft or just allow a good night sleep for the nervous wealthy. Before I carry on with this article, let’s quickly look again at these three security measures from the bad guys’ point of view.
- High wall: go steal a ladder
- Barbed Wire: See point 1 and add a tarpaulin
- Broken Glass: See Points 1 and 2 and add a steel bar to smash the glass.
So, with the above three points, you have spent an enormous amount of money and achieved nothing, apart from people watching you in the pool. Also, consider the barbed wire. Do you want to spend your retirement constantly removing rubbish caught in the wire?
If you are planning a confrontation, keep in mind that gun crime in the Philippines is prolific.
Basically, for home invasion, do you want to know immediately, during or after. This also requires you to understand what you are going to do in the event of a home invasion. Are you running for the safe room and calling the police, or are you planning a confrontation?
My plan, and details I will go over below are to ensure I am fully aware, regardless of where I am in the world, that someone has entered my boundary. In my opinion, finding out someone is in the house is just too late, and effectively the horse has bolted.
Before we look at some tech, remember that your SMART home devices need electricity. Every bad guy knows that computers, cameras, and other systems take a few minutes to boot up.
This is why previously I suggested that all computers and security systems need a UPS on them so during the several minutes it takes for the generator to kick in and your computers to re-start, you are still secure and can still watch what is going on around you.
Wifi on the property.
Now your home is built, and you hopefully have Fibre to the Home, which will give you superfast internet; you need to cover your property so that all your devices will be able to connect.
Outside is easy as external antennas are relatively cheap. However, you have just built a concrete house with reinforced concrete walls, concrete cupboards and whatever else your contractor managed to convince you that concrete is the way to go.
Now is a good time to go onto google and search for “Faraday Cage”
If you build partition walls as I suggested previously, then the wifi signals, the Zigbee Signalling should be able to reach all areas of your home. If not, you will need to have repeaters and range extenders placed all over the house so the SMART systems can talk to each other.
This is probably a good time to contract a SMART home installer who will be able to set up all the network systems and also ensure it is secure. You will be amazed at the number of people who do not secure their wifi equipment such as cameras and wonder why they get hacked. The usual way to hack a network is to sit outside the house, find the wifi signal and then, believe it or not, hack it through the home wifi printer.
I can hear you now! What do I do if I don’t have a high wall with barbed wire or glass on top?
There are now systems that can be placed on either the top of your wall or the outside upper edge, which use lasers or infrared. These systems only used to be affordable by the rich and famous but are now very affordable. Have a look at some of the systems available from this company Ultra Secure Direct.
These can go on top of your wall or even just inside your wall, but as soon as someone enters your property, you will know immediately and also where they have entered your property.
Now your decision is what to do about it?
Do you want the bay guy to know you know he is there or not? If you do, then at this point, lots of lights and sirens are the way to go. This will likely be enough to see them high tailing it over the wall, never returning.
Keep in mind that in the Philippines, people who can only afford public defenders generally don’t want to get caught because, unlike the liberal west, they sit in prison from the moment they are arrested to their court date. This wait can take years, so your typical thief really won’t want to get caught.
These systems, such as RING, are great. They allow the monitoring of your front door or gate and allow two-way communication between you and the person.
Again, you need to be cautious with these systems.
I have had one for years, but when the doorbell is rung, or the system has alerted me to someone at my door, I will generally start the conversation with a “Hello”, but I will never let them know I am not at home. A simple “I am in the Shower, please come back later” is better than “I am out of town and won’t be back for a few days”, this may as well say “, I am out of town, please help yourself to my house”.
Also, try and make them understand they are on video. This, again, is a huge deterrent.
Cameras are getting better and better these days, especially when it comes to seeing in the dark and understanding the difference between the wind blowing leaves around and a Ninja sneaking up your garden.
We can all remember watching CCTV footage on YouTube of home invasions where the only thing you can see on the picture is a blocky smudge working its way through the home. Obviously, no use to police whatsoever.
Get the best cameras you can afford to ensure good quality evidence should you need it.
Also, ensure your system records to a local hard drive and simultaneously to a cloud server just in case your local storage system fails.
Next time I will introduce some other SMART systems you can have in your house to make your life that much easier.