I have added some stuff to the house to help me monitor it while away. I put in a blog a while back about the NetAtmo weather monitoring device. On top of that I have some cameras set up in various locations to watch the exterior of the house. I have two looking out the front, and 1 looking out the back. I also have a camera set up to monitor my garage – mostly because I hate turning around and going home to check if the door shut… I have also added a security system that uses my phone as the monitoring company. This and my Belkin WeMos already in place and set up and there are only a few pieces to get to have my house the way I want it.
I have 3 Phillips In.Sight cameras set up to watch the exterior of the house. Two of them are looking out the front windows watching the front yard and one angled to the driveway. The last looks out a back window at the deck and deck stairs. They are set up to monitor if someone parks in front of the house, in the driveway and walks up to the front door or comes up the back deck to the back door. If any detect movement, they record video and stills and sends an alert to my phone.
The Dropcam camera that watches the garage is set up to send alerts if the garage is opened or there is movement. I have it set up to only monitor when my phone is a block away or more, i.e. when I am not home. It will send me an alert if there is movement or the door opens. It works a peach, and the location-based monitoring means I wont send alerts when I am home and have to go into the garage and such.
I have 4 Belkin WeMo switches hooked up and programmed for different things. They are all on lights at this time. One at the front door that comes on at sunset and goes off at 11pm, one in the bedroom that runs on the same schedule. The main light in the great room is set to come on when I arrive home via IFTTT (http://www.ifttt.com) aka If This, Then That. I also use the bedroom light on as an alarm clock in the morning. I have it come on when I need to get up, and the light, coupled with the clock alarm, I am up no matter what. Considering it would take too long to log into my phone, launch the app and turn off the light. Up anyway now. The lights in the morning that come on, and if I leave at nights, everything will turn off when I am a block away. All thanks to IFTTT Location sharing with the phone.
The big piece is my alarm.I read some good reviews from some of my trusted tech sites and I decided to go with iSmartAlarm. I bought the premium package which includes a pan/tilt security camera. I added another keyring dongle and a couple extra door sensors and an extra motion sensor. It came with everything needed for a basic small apartment. The extras allow me to cover all my doors and both floors. If there is an alarm set off, then it contacts me and starts recording. There are a few pieces of equipment that they will be adding this spring/summer that sound very good. One is a sound and glass breakage detector and the other is a new doorbell that, when the doorbell is pressed or someone walks up to the door, it takes a photo. No ETA yet on those but I am looking forward to adding both. The app can control and set up all aspects of the alarm and is used to view and move the camera. It is all running very smooth and works a treat. I can even arm/disarm from my phone. You can also have multiple phones and emails for alerts set up so more than just the owner will get alerted.
As I have already gone in depth with the NetAtmo, please refer to Weather Info for more information.
There are, however, two pieces of equipment I wish to add at some point this year. First is the Nest learning thermostat. Being able to control my heat/AC while away would be great. I have a programmable digital thermostat now that works great, but I have to manually switch from heat to AC and with the way the weather has been going, it is impossible to guess what setting to use. Nest would solve that. I need to check the wiring and see if the Nest is compatible. The 2nd piece of hardware I want to add is a wifi garage door controller. For those times when I actually do leave the garage open, or if I have to open the garage for someone who is coming over while I am away.
Yes, some will call me paranoid, but I like being able to know what is going on in my house. Even when I am not there. What is really cool is I have helped some friends install the iSmartAlarm in their apartments and they say they sleep better because of it and feel more comfortable when away from home. I feel more comfortable now as well with it in my house.
On the downside, I can see how home automation can get to be a very expensive hobby. But I can also see how much fun it is to have a smart house that can take care of itself, to a degree.