Nearly all smart devices can be integrated with your smart home security system. Synching smart devices to a security system enhances your home’s security, giving you peace of mind that your loved ones are safe. Home security systems can integrate with cameras, motion sensors, smart door locks, video doorbells, and a host of other smart home devices.
With so many integrations and a host of home security brands, the prospect of linking everything together might feel daunting. But in most cases, it’s as easy as pressing a button!
This guide shows you why you should integrate home security systems with your smart devices, how to do it, and which brands get you the best value for money.
What integrations make the best security system?
The best home security system is about more than just alarms. Depending on the size of your home you might choose to include extra security features, like indoor and outdoor cameras, for example. If you’re on a budget you might be looking for the best way to secure your property without breaking the bank.
At the very least, a robust home security system should contain the following:
Each component plays a vital role in protecting your home. Let’s look at how each of these parts works within a home security system.
Master control panel
The master control panel is the hub of your home security system. Older models use flippable panels and keys for manual access but most modern control panels are operated by touchscreen and can be controlled remotely via smartphone. This means you can monitor your home from further afield. Most control panels have a date and time function, weather and temperature gauge, a keypad, PIN access, speaker and intercom, panic buttons, and smart home automation features.
To ensure maximum protection for your home, CCTV is a must. There are two types:
- Outdoor security cameras. As you’ve guessed, outdoor security cameras provide footage of the area outside of your property. With smart integration, recorded footage can be sent to your smartphone or computer. It’s best to have a camera professionally installed around the perimeter of your property to cover blind spots and deter thieves. The camera’s weatherproof design means you can rely on the camera’s performance regardless of climate.
- Indoor security cameras. Indoor cameras are the ‘last line of defence’ against intruders. Should a break-in occur, the camera’s 360° catches criminals in the act.
The best home security system will have both indoor and outdoor cameras to provide the highest level of surveillance. Both indoor and outdoor cameras are designed with durability in mind so they can’t be smashed easily.
Smart door locks
Smart locks can be used as a complement to a burglar alarm. Smart locks can be controlled by a keypad, wirelessly via your smartphone, by touch (biometrics), or by an access card. This allows you to remotely open and close doors and windows and provides convenient keyless entry for family members. It’s best to invest in quality to ensure your smart locks are immune to hackers.
Doorbell cameras secure your home against intruders and can catch parcel thieves and other suspicious activity on camera. Video doorbells work by battery or can be professionally hardwired to your existing doorbell. Real-time alerts can be wirelessly sent to your smartphone or live-streamed. By enabling two-way talk you can speak to visitors without opening the door.
Gate entry system
Manage access to your property with a gate entry system. Gate entry systems are an essential security step for your home or business property that prevents intruders from even making it to the front door. You can control access via a keypad, voice, motion sensors, or wirelessly from a smartphone app. Controlling entry to your home or business provides an extra layer of security for family, visitors, or employees.
How to install a home security system
Installing home security systems boils down to two choices: wired or wireless. There are advantages to both but generally speaking wired is more reliable. Here’s a breakdown of pros and cons for each option:
Wired home security system
- Pros. Wired systems are more reliable and require little maintenance once installed. If your internet cuts out or thick walls interfere with your Wi-Fi signal, you can rest easy knowing that a wired system won’t fail you.
- Cons. The installation fee is higher and installers will need to drill into your walls to install cables and wires. In the event of a power cut, a wired system would shut down.
Wireless home security system
- Pros. You can install a wireless system yourself without drilling into walls, which is ideal for renters. Wireless systems are also portable so you can take them with you when you move.
- Cons. There’s a higher likelihood of interference with a wireless system. Baby monitors, microwaves, thick walls, and even metal filing cabinets can compromise the signal. Furthermore, you need to keep on top of changing batteries for optimal performance. In this case, wired might be the best home security system
Can I DIY my home security system?
You can ask a professional to install your home security system or you can do it yourself. There are pros and cons to each approach and the option you choose will largely depend on your needs, budget, and how tech-savvy you are.
Usually, professional home security systems contain more kit and need an installer to visit your home. Professional systems often feature a monitoring service which means a monthly subscription fee on top of the cost of the kit.
A DIY systems means you can tailor your kit and subscriptions to suit your home and budget. To begin with DIY home security didn’t feature monthly monitoring or long-term contracts, but nowadays you can purchase monitoring subscriptions as an optional add-on to your home security. The DIY route means you have to feel fairly competent at installing equipment and troubleshooting technical issues.
Professional installation service
If the thought of researching tons of kit and linking all your devices makes you sigh, then a professional system might be a better option. Many of today’s systems offer integrated packages with monthly monitoring, indoor and outdoor cameras, and smart home integration. You can start off with an entry-level system and upgrade if you decide your home needs extra protection. This will also lower the price. For bigger budgets, you can optimise your home security system with superior equipment and monitoring.
With professional installation, you don’t have the hassle of set up. Professional installers will set up and optimise your system and then show you how it works. They’ll ensure that all your devices are speaking to one another, a service that’s sometimes worth the cost alone! There’s nothing worse than finding out that elements of your DIY kit aren’t compatible.
How much does an integrated home security system cost?
The average home security system costs £500, though you can pay well over £1,000 if you want premium features. On the cheaper end of the scale, you can buy a simple system for around £200.
The difference in price depends on the size of your property and how many security features you need. The bigger your property the more cameras and sensors you need. Subscriptions to remote monitoring services also add to the price, as does installation by a professional.
You need to weigh up saving money versus the feeling of safety. Knowing that your family is watched over gives you peace of mind. Arguably, you’ve more to lose by hanging onto an outdated or inefficient system.
Another big cost you need to consider is whether to go fully wired or wireless. Wireless is cheaper but less secure. If your budget allows, a wired home security system won’t let you down in an emergency.
Truthfully, smart home security can cost as little as much as your budget allows. Our experts recommend the following companies as most of them offer starter kits with the option to add subscriptions and extra kits as you go, plus all their systems come with smart home integrations:
- Control4 – well-respected within the home security market and offer a range of smart security options
- SimpliSafe – versatile and offers everything from window sensors to panic buttons
- Ultraloq – cutting-edge door locks and compatible with other smart home technologies
- Luma – worth a mention for robust and reliable surveillance cameras
How compatible are security devices with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant?
Most home security systems and devices integrate easily with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
Apple HomeKit and other smart home devices are trickier to pair with a home security system. Shop around to find the best compatible system and be sure to seek professional advice if you’re unsure. Luckily, the hotly anticipated Matter was released recently, making it easy to connect smart home devices within your home, regardless of brand.
Matter is driven by Amazon, Google, Apple, and Samsung SmartThings to help boost interconnectivity between smart home devices. This means that previously incompatible devices can work together, simplifying the process of picking a home security system.
Bear in mind that regardless of brand, all equipment requires installation. DIY-ers might relish the challenge, but fitting a whole-house security system is demanding and potentially time-consuming. A professional home security system means a professional installer can quickly get your system up and running while talking you through how to use it.
Do integrated home security systems need upgraded annually?
Yes, ideally you should upgrade your home security system regularly. Your security system and smart devices protect your family, your belongings, and your peace of mind. But when was the last time you updated any of it? If the answer was a few years ago (or never) then its time to upgrade.
Technology is constantly evolving, and unfortunately so are crooks’ methods of breaking into your home. Old tech is extremely easy for intruders to bypass from CCTV to locks.
If you’ve made changes to your home’s layout be sure to consider any blind spots that might have arisen. Overgrown hedges or tree branches can also obscure potential suspicious activity, rendering it useless to the police. Intruders are adept at taking advantage of gaps in cover, which is why you should make sure that security cameras always have a clear line of sight.
Many homeowners buy alarm systems and considered their job done. But if an alarm is the only safety measure in place in your home you should think about upgrading to a more comprehensive security system. While alarms alert you and the police to intruders, they don’t capture video footage e.g. in the case of a parcel thief. Knowing who is on your doorstep via a video doorbell before you decide whether to answer is another smart security upgrade that eases anxiety.
Put simply, protected homes are more valuable. By installing a wired security system you could add over £10,000 to the value of your property. A house that comes with a modern home security system is a bonus to new buyers as they won’t need to install one themselves and know that their new home is protected from the get-go.
As mentioned previously, home security technology has advanced rapidly in the past few years. If your home security system is old school then you’re probably missing out on a multitude of smart integration benefits. For example, integrating CCTV with motion sensors that send alerts to your phone, or remote monitoring by a professional company. An integrated home security system is a smart choice when it comes to protecting precious belongings and the people and pets you love.
How tech-savvy do I need to be to install a diy home security system?
Most wireless security systems on the market today are designed to be user-friendly and easy to install yourself. A traditional wired security system has many benefits but if you’re looking to cut costs and do it yourself there are lots of affordable options available.
SimpliSafe offer the best all-round home security packages with professional monitoring and easy DIY installation. The great thing is there are no contracts, helping you keep ongoing costs affordable. Packages range from £300 – £500. If you wish you can add professional monitoring for £15.99/month.
If you’re looking for an affordable, DIY option, Ring security systems are your cheapest option with a great selection of security cameras and integration with Google Assistant and Alexa. Ring also provides self-monitoring and assisted monitoring options.
Maybe the DIY home security system doesn’t appeal to you. With a bigger budget, Abode is a great choice for a comprehensive security system as part of smart home. The Abode smart security kit has an array of integrations including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit. Their starter packs are perfect for DIYers and cost less than £300. Unfortunately, there’s no video doorbell but you do get an indoor and outdoor camera. Another benefit is that you trial professional monitoring for a month or two before deciding on a long-term subscription.
Do I need to pay a monthly fee for home security?
Monthly monitoring options are optional for most home security systems. However, a comprehensive system needs monitoring in some form. Knowing that a professional security company is monitoring your home can give you greater peace of mind. However, 24 7 professional monitoring can get expensive. That’s why many homeowners choose self monitoring.
Self-monitoring puts your safety in your hands. Some self monitoring systems even come with free cloud storage. Yet there are benefits to paying for a professional service, too. Here are the pros and cons of self-monitoring:
- Affordable if you pick a system that’s equipment only. Double-check the user agreement though, as some companies still chrage a self-monitoring fee
- You can assess danger levels yourself instead of relying on a middleman
- Avoid the stress of false alarms like a dog or children setting off sensors
- Flexibility – you can usually upgrade to professional monitoring if you wish
- You can’t watch your home 24/7 but a professional monitoring system can
- A self monitoring system is only as reliable as your phone. If your battery dies, you lose connection to the internet or cloud storage, then you won’t be able to monitor your home from afar
- The burden of correctly installing and syncing all your smart devices with your home security system falls on you
- Added stress of dealing with the emergency services yourself
Do home security systems offer pet-friendly features?
If pets are your priority you’ll be glad to hear that home security companies offer a variety of pet-friendly smart security systems. Our furry companions are a part of the family and most pet owners want to ensure the safety of their pets when they leave the house. With a fifth of smart alarms set off by pets, you’ll want to choose a smart security system that takes your four-legged friends into account.
Here are our top picks for pet-friendly security devices:
- SimpliSafe – the budget choice. For pet owners on a shoestring, SimpliSafe delivers affordable monitoring and easy DIY installation. Customise sensors based on your pet’s activities and size then rest easy knowing your furry friends are safe.
- ADT – the most reliable. ADT’s adjustable PIR sensors mean that even a Great Dane can’t accidentally set off a false alarm. 24-hour professional monitoring mean someone is always keeping an eye on your beloved pets.
In conclusion, the best home security system is one that fits your needs. Protecting your home from break-ins? Monitoring pets? Access control? How you intend to use smart home security will inform which smart devices you need.
However, bear in mind that a comprehensive system should include:
- motion detectors at the entrance of your home
- home security cameras
- smart door locks
- video doorbells
Before purchasing any product ensure that it’s compatible with your chosen smart home assistant. If self monitoring isn’t realistic for you then it’s worth paying monthly for professional monitoring services.
For more help, John Ross Smart Living are home security experts. We have decades of experience installing home security kit and know which products you can trust – and which aren’t worth the money! If you’re looking to enhance your home’s security and protect your loved ones and peace of mind get in touch.