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Home Alone – Smart Home security worthy of Macaulay Culkin

By Alex Wood 9 November 2015
Summary

Home Alone is 25 today, but iced steps and booby traps are things of the past. Here's what Kevin would really use to deter robbers now.

Not only do darker evenings lead to an increase in burglaries, but with Christmas on the horizon, you might find you have more valuables around to tempt criminals into your home.

But the burglar traps deployed in Home Alone are showing their age – harassing intruders with a blowtorch or iron will see you on the wrong side of the law, and frankly you may not own a stash of Micromachines or a tarantula.

But armed with your smartphone, and with the help of companies like Nest, OneFineStay and MyFox, its becoming easier than ever to install smart security. Better still, these systems give you professional grade security at a fraction of the cost of a traditional system.

The Memo investigated the market and tested the best smart home security gadgets to keep you safe this Christmas.

 

Sherlock Smart Lock

Found at The Memo’s HQ at the Collective and my own home, Sherlock is one of London’s best kept secrets.

Developed by the brilliant team at OneFineStay, the high-end rentals site affectionately known as the “posh AirBnb”, Sherlock opens doors with your smartphone.

By attaching to your existing locks, Sherlock’s installation is simple and doesn’t require you to take apart your front door. It’s easy to add guests to the system, giving them temporary access to your home without the need for extra sets of keys.

The service uses banking-grade security to keep your property safe and works on iPhone, Android and even good old-fashioned SMS. Sherlock is currently in closed beta trials, with plans to launch next year.

Who’s it for?

Homeowners looking for an easy way to add smart features to their existing locks. Sherlock is popular with OneFineStay’s rental property owners.

Design

Sherlock comes in an unobtrusive glossy white box that sits next to your front door.

The good

Will blend in with any decor and won’t require you to modify your existing locks.

The bad

Some home insurers won’t cover homes with Sherlock, check with yours before installing.

The bottom line

In complete contrast to the Apple Watch, Sherlock only does one thing, but it does that one thing incredibly well. Find out more at OneFineStay.

MyFox's home security system is by far the easiest way to install a smart burglar alarm in your home.

MyFox Smart Home Alarm

This quirky internet-connected security system is the easiest way to fit your home with a smart burglar alarm.

In our tests it took just 30 mins to get up and running with MyFox’s iOS app.

MyFox features a unique door/window impact sensor that detects somebody trying to break in and sets off a warning signal before they have entered your home.

The deluxe package also includes an excellent HD security camera with a handy privacy mode. By default the lens is covered until you leave home and activate the alarm, offering you piece of mind when you are out and privacy when you are not.

Who’s it for?

Homeowners looking for the simplest and smartest way to install a burglar alarm system.

Design

MyFox’s Smart Alarm will suit any stylish modern home and its glossy white design will appeal to any Apple fan.

The good

Easy to install. In our trial we liked that the system works with a traditional keyfob as well as a mobile app, offering the best of both worlds.

The bad

Priced high at £245 for the starter package. If you add more sensors and keyfobs the complete system can easily cost £500.

The bottom line

There’s no easier way to install a modern smart security system in your home. MyFox Smart Home Alarm (with camera) from £245 on Amazon.

Nest Cam

Nest is better known for its internet-connected heating thermostats and smoke alarms, but the company’s latest product is its own modern take on the security camera.

The Nest Cam records high definition images in 1080p and integrates beautifully with any other Nest products you own, meaning you can access everything in your home from one well-designed app.

Who’s it for?

Safety conscious families.

Design

Nest Cam’s glossy black design doesn’t match the industrial design found in the company’s elegant Thermostats.

The good

Integrates well with other Nest products and can be managed from the same app.

The bad

If you want your video clips stored in the cloud it will cost you £8 per month.

The bottom line

High quality images from a trusted brand. If you already own a Nest product, the Cam is a sensible upgrade. Nest Cam from £159 on Amazon.

Cocoon's ground-breaking technology could be the future of home security.

Cocoon

Cocoon describes itself as “The World’s Smartest Home Security”. The team behind this up-and-coming Leeds-based British brand debuted their innovative subsound  listening technology inside No.10 Downing Street.

Cocoon does away with the need for traditional sensors on your walls and instead listens to the everyday background noise in your home to detect out of the ordinary sounds.

Following a successful crowdfunding campaign which saw the company raise almost a quarter of a million dollars, Cocoon has been on trial in homes up and down the country and the first production devices are expected soon.

Who’s it for?

Everybody from renters in flats all the way up to homeowners.

Design

Cocoon is the most compact device in our trial and will suit any home.

The good

No wires required, Cocoon protects your home with one small, simple device.

The bad

Cocoon does not currently work with other systems like Nest, but this may change before launch.

The bottom line

Cocoon’s unique technology sets it apart. After first spotting it being pitched at No.10 Downing St, we can’t wait to see it installed in homes up and down the country. Available for preorder at Cocoon.life.