A key driver of the Internet of Things is the demand for ever-smarter technology within our homes. In the past, the term ‘smart home’ conjured up images of expensive gadgets only ever found in the mansions of the ultra-rich. Yet, the assumption that the concept of the smart home is something of ‘Tomorrow’s World’ has been turned on its head in recent times, with highly advanced technologies introduced into households of all shapes and sizes.
Generally speaking, a smart home incorporates advanced automation systems to provide end-users with sophisticated controls over a building’s functions. Including energy control (heating, lighting), multimedia & security. The UK smart home market is growing rapidly and a study by AMA Research found that while it was estimated to be worth around £65 million in 2011, this figure is set to spiral to £210 million by 2019.
Someone with an established track record using RISCO products to create smarter homes for his clients is Rob Rathbone, MD of Cheshire-based KHG Security:
“We only offer cutting edge equipment, installed to the highest possible standards by time served, professional technicians. We’ve used intruder alarm technology from RISCO Group in a diverse range of installations over the years and have always felt that it offers a level of functionality and flexibility that is perfectly suited to meet the increasing demand from homeowners for connected homes”
As it becomes more cost effective to install IP-based security systems, the benefits are also becoming clearer to end-users. KHG Security has seen a rise in demand for its expertise in this area:
“Most of our customers initially see an intruder alarm system as a one dimensional product, but once we’ve installed it they’re often amazed at the extra lifestyle benefits it provides. Others are more tech-savvy and are fully prepared to exploit the full range of features that RISCO Group’s technology can offer.”
Two individuals that qualify for the latter group are Malcolm Gruber and Dominic McCormick. Both used the services of KHG Security to take advantage of RISCO technology in a plethora of innovative ways.
Having moved into his new home in 2015, Malcolm had intended to update the existing security system, however, it became a priority after one eventful evening:
“Unfortunately, I managed to lock myself out of the house and – having gone to lots of time and trouble to get a locksmith to attend and let me in – we started talking about intruder alarms and he recommended KHG Security. I already had a good idea about what I wanted, but as soon as I met Rob I was impressed with his clear interest in creating smart homes.”
After conducting a risk assessment, KHG recommended the installation of RISCO Group’s wireless Agility™3 two-way alarm system.
As a dog owner, Malcolm’s priority was the welfare of his pet when he went out. He comments: “Dogs can get distressed when they are apart from their owners, so I wanted to be able to check what was happening remotely. I now have three cameras located throughout my home, which I can activate via my smartphone at any time and take photos if necessary. This gives me valuable peace of mind about my dog’s welfare and means I can take any action if required.”
The Agility™3 also allows him to set and unset the system remotely, so that he can grant access to neighbours, dog-minders and his cleaner, as required. If an alarm goes off it takes a burst of four pictures that are instantly sent to him and if he doesn’t respond to the text notification and turn the alarm off, the ARC will call him directly.
Fellow tech-junkie, Dominic McCormick, firmly believes that the smart home is now within reach for all, and found a likeminded soul in Rob Rathbone.
“We only moved into our new home in January, but one of my immediate priorities was an IP connected alarm system. After consulting with Rob on the most suitable solution, we decided that a LightSYS™2 system would offer immediate benefits, as well as the opportunity to scale up and configure new ways of linking our home infrastructure to it.”
LightSYS™2 is a professional hybrid system that offers ultimate flexibility, with advanced IP and GSM/GPRS or STU adaptor communication, as well as a choice of wired, wireless, or bus detectors. “Like the Agility 3, it benefits from a smart phone app that enables users to control their alarm systems remotely,” states Rathbone. “Yet, despite its advanced capabilities, it is the easiest system on the market to install and support, with a simple keypad menu structure and seamless configuration software connectivity via RISCO Cloud.”
Comprising internal PIR detectors, as well as window and door sensors, McCormick is impressed with the functionality of the new system and has begun to adapt it to suit his specific needs. He explains: “I’m a keen user of the Raspberry Pi – a tiny, credit card computer that you can buy for less than £20 and runs Linux. I’m looking at ways I can combine it with the LightSYS™2 to make my home more IoT enabled. I’m already using the Utility Output feature on my new garage door to open and close it remotely in order to accept deliveries when I’m out. My latest projects include developing an electric lock and door opening sensor that can open a door when my hands are full, and the ability to open and close curtains with a smartphone based voice command. Longer term, it’s clear that integrating the LightSYS™2 with the Pi and other Smart devices will provide capabilities far beyond its initial purpose.”
Homeowners are looking to integrate all the different electronic systems they have and the explosion of smart devices has increased awareness of the lifestyle benefits of using technology in this way.
This piece originally appeared as a feature for Show Home Magazine in June 2016