Nest, Canary, iSmart: the smart gadgets that can monitor your home (and check on your teenagers)
May 28, 2015 | By:
Home security systems using smart technology include alarms that sense movement and heat, gadgets that track your children through their phones, and keyless locks

The Canary monitors movement, temperature and humidity and sends data to your smartphone

If you’ve read our series on the connected home or have a house packed with gadgets that inform, educate and entertain there’s really only one more issue you need to solve. You need to keep those shiny gadgets safe from light-fingered interlopers who are too lazy to get proper jobs and buy their own stuff.


Luckily, there are plenty of systems already available that promise to do just that. Canary is a well-designed standalone modular system that – unlike a conventional alarm – doesn’t need you to do a lot of drilling and wiring.

That one detail makes it as attractive for Generation Rent as it is for those of us who have our own houses but aren’t necessarily as handy with a drill as we should be.

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The neat little Canary units not only feature motion-activated cameras and microphones that report any suspicious activity to your smartphone, they monitor temperature and humidity as well. That makes them useful for keeping an eye on an elderly relative as well as watching over your home when you’re on holiday.


iSmart is designed along similar lines. It tracks entry and exit, using the unique IDs of each registered user’s smartphone, meaning that it knows who is in or out at any given moment.

That may seem a big Big Brother for some, but it’s an attractive option for Helicopter Parents with teenage children. After all, whoever heard of a teenager going out without their phone?

Throw in something like Apple’s Find My iPhone and you’ll know where your kids are at any time of day or night. But I didn’t tell you that.

The connected home: how to remotely control your heating

But coming back home, probably the most integrated web-savvy home security product right now is Nest.

Home_Connected home_Security_Nest device_620x349 press pic

Nest started with thermostats and has launched smoke alarms and front door locks


Nest’s first product was a thermostat that learns its owners’ habits and the system has expanded to spawn a smoke alarm and a front door lock. Cleverly, the August smart lock will enable you to grant temporary access to builders, cleaners or emergency services personnel without the bother of cutting and handing out individual sets of keys.

And because you can revoke access whenever you like, it’s actually more secure than a traditional key.

And connected home security is already spreading beyond the home – the upcoming Skylock is a bike lock that provides keyless access to your bike, and can even send a message home in the event of a collision.

It’s still very early days, but you can see the beginnings here of a house that knows who’s in, who’s out, and can make a reasonable guess at whether they need any assistance.