The ‘connected’ global home security market is expected to grow by 48% by 2020. But are the latest new age advancements in home protection really all they’re cracked up to be? James Matthews investigates

Today, with the steady march of connected devices invading the home, and specialist companies looking to improve how we integrate those assets, the future of home security is undergoing transformational change, from the touch-point basics of remotely controlling lighting, seeing inside our houses and having sensors on door detecting movement, through to an all singing all dancing suite of smart-home solutions.

Keeping our loved ones and property safe is a serious business. The home security market alone is estimated to reach a worth of almost $50 billion by the year 2020, with tech upgrades hugely expanding the potential capabilities of this sector.

“As security products become connected, they inherently gain new ways to provide safer and more secure homes,” Chris Mitchell, CEO of sound-sensor software company Audio Analytic explains: “However, they also inherit a set of new responsibilities by making sure we are not exchanging improved physical security for less digital security with no net benefit. Not only do we need to protect our physical property, but also our personal data – whether that’s bank details or signals picked up by our smart devices.”

Visible deterrents it would seem however - do serve a purpose in the fight against crime. According to research from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, 60% of convicted burglars stated that the presence of a security system influenced their decision to target another home.

One firm leading the way with an advanced security solution designed specifically for high-value homes is Nest, owned by Alphabet, the parent company of Google. Their revolutionary IQ system boasts both indoor and outdoor cameras; the high-quality lens and digital sensor primed so when it sees an intruder, it can alert the owner by streaming footage at a high-enough resolution to make ‘caught on camera’ evidence useful.

Clever software also means the transmitted video can says Matt Rogers, Founder of Nest. “If they even try to break in, you can send a video clip to police to help catch the perpetrators quicker. It’s bad news for bad guys.”

The company, which has expanded its security range over the past 8 years, offers a diverse mix of products spanning Smoke and CO2 alarms through to their ‘Hello’ doorbell cameras soon to hit the market.

“Nest has never been about inventing gadgets for the sake of it. We listen to the security concerns clients have in their homes. We work out how to improve upon existing systems and develop the technology specifically to meet those needs,” explains Matt. But home security doesn’t stop at high-tech camera systems and alarms.

One firm championing some inspired solutions is Creative Home Engineering. The Arizona-based company creates bespoke hidden passageways in homes - a popular model being the classic bookcase. Have one fitted and not only will your home resemble a spy-movie from the 70s, but it will also conceal valuables with space to incorporate a panic room.

“A secret room can dramatically increase the resale value of a home,” says company CEO, Steve Humble. “Installing a security measure like this sets a property apart. There are very few changes to a home that cost below $10,000 that can have this value impact. It’s practical, offers a unique safety feature for personal protection and is something that many homeowners dream of having.”

Hidden Passageway doors are constructed with forced entry protection, with doors created in any disguise be it a shelving unit, blending into the existing wall space or something ‘otherly’ and quite unique.

“We’ve put panic rooms behind motorised facades of washing machines and even created innovative secret doors at the top of grand ballroom staircases that close like the lens of a camera,” adds Steve. “The process is different each time, whether it be choosing a room that’s not overly used - like a utility room or walk-in closet - or even put into the plans for a new build. We’ve yet to see an idea we cannot make a reality.”

Perhaps the most important safeguarding step of all however - is ensuring that adequate insurance cover is in place for those treasured possessions. Advises Adam Leyens of Insurance Brokers Heath Crawford: “A genuine High Value Home Insurance policy will have increased contents cover limits, meaning that you don’t need to specify individual items or collections unless they are over £10,000 – £15,000 to replace.

“You will be able to break out your contents between categories of fine art such as paintings, silver and antique furniture. This might sound like extra work, but you will secure a much more competitive premium. A good insurance broker will be of real assistance here too. It’s most certainly worth it – for the peace of mind.”

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