Smart. Safe. Secure.

April 16, 2016

This article was originally published in our Spring 2016 edition of Home Smart Home.

The FBI reports that in 2014 we had 1,121,416 residential burglaries nationwide. Spacing those out evenly across the entire year gives us one burglary every 28 seconds.
But here’s the good news: that number is down 10% from 2013. In fact, that statistic has been steadily dropping each year since 2011. Not coincidentally, by 2011, more than 75% of U.S. homes were connected to the Internet. Wireless home monitoring was the new trend.
Now, in 2016, that trend is hotter than ever. Industry advancements and enhancements have taken residential security to a whole new level, specifically when it comes to smart homes. Creating a “burglar-unfriendly” environment has never been simpler. (Or more ingenious!)


Lilin has introduced an intelligent video solution—a camera that allows the user to define an area within the field of view for motion detection.

For instance, one could train the camera on the front face of a house and specify the area directly in front of a window for motion detection. If there is movement within those specified coordinates, it will trigger an alarm. But if the bushes below the window blow in the breeze, it will raise no alarm, even though they, too, are on camera.

And with smart homes, everything works together. The camera’s function can be tied in with other security tactics. It can be programmed so that once motion is detected in front of the window, the lights inside that very room turn on at full brightness, an audible alarm begins to blare, and push notifications are sent to the owner and anyone else on the call list.


Security systems grow more intelligent each year. In the most recent operating system from Control4, all smart home “events”—motion in an area in the house, doors opening, alarms tripped, etc.—can be indexed and kept in sequence as a searchable history. Seeing all the daily activity in context like this allows the homeowner to better identify false alarms and to create more custom-tailored security procedures.

If the owner receives an alert that motion was detected inside the home, he or she can quickly check the History tab to see if any doors had been opened, window glass broken, or any other sensor triggered before the motion was detected. If they see no previous events, they can chalk it up to the dog moving around the house. If, however, they see a more conspicuous sequence, they know to immediately alert the authorities.


At a glance, the History tab shows the homeowner his or her own patterns. The homeowner, in turn, can then program against it. Say the motion sensor is used as an alarm trigger at night in the downstairs part of the house, but not in the upstairs. If the owner gets up in the middle of the night and goes downstairs to grab a snack, the alarm would be tripped. But the History tab allows sequential “If/Then” programming, such as if motion is detected in the upstairs part of the house just before it is detected downstairs, then it knows not to trigger the alarm.


The Control4 Mockupancy™ capability makes even more practical use of smart home event indexing. It remembers patterns and can be programmed to repeat them. Think of it as a “whole-home” DVR.

If the old method was setting lights on timers to give that lived-in feel to outsiders while the family is away on vacation, the new method is to tie in that smart lighting with media and any other automated features. TVs can go on and off, music can play in the back yard, blinds open and close and more. It can all be programmed to mimic the homeowner’s actual patterns, and the schedule can be randomized plus or minus a half hour. There’s no better theft deterrent than a house that seems bustling with life and activity.


The advent of wireless security naturally led to full mobile control, as well. Security panels no longer need to be hard-wired into the wall by the front door—now they’ve been re-imagined for touch screens, tablets, and mobile phones.

If one wakes up in the middle of the night to an alarm going off in another part of the house, he or she can now reach over to the nightstand, grab their mobile device, and with one tap, the home security system is dialing the authorities.

With more technical capabilities, more versatility, and the holistic connectivity of whole-home automation, the resources are there for anyone to make their castle into a well-defended fortress.
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