Leaving home for an extended period of time can be stressful, particularly if some family members remain behind. In the past we’ve relied on friends, family members, and neighbors to keep an eye on things, or worse, done nothing at all. Fortunately, in this modern age of awesome mobile technology, keeping tabs on the home, property, and family while away is simpler and more effective than ever before.
Here’s a look at 10 different ways you can keep an eye on your house, property, and family while away.
1. Phone Home
One of the most reliable and easiest methods of checking in at home is to simply pick up a phone and call. If family members have chosen to stay at home, establishing a predetermined time to call is a great approach. If no one is at home, calling a neighbor, friend, or family member is also a great option. Hearing someone’s voice give a quick status update can put your mind at ease.
2. Mobile Security Patrol
If you live in a gated community with its own security patrol, informing them of your plans to be out of town is an excellent idea. In addition to their normal patrols, they can pay particular attention to your property each time they pass by. You can call and check in with them while you’re away to get updates on your home.
3. Online Digital Communication
It’s not too hard to stay in contact these days, particularly with email, video chat, instant messenger, social media, and other sources on the web so readily available. If you’re somewhere where you can’t simply text a relative or neighbor near your home, getting online and reaching out to them via a social network is a great alternative. This method is not an ideal stand-alone solution and will be most effective when combined with other methods such as home security systems, home automation, and wireless security cameras.
4. Home Security System
One of the most effective methods for gaining peace of mind while traveling is to have a professionally monitored home security system installed in your house. Not only will your home be monitored around the clock by home security experts, whether you’re home or away, but you’ll also be notified immediately should anything happen while you’re not there. Considering most companies include free hardware in exchange for a guaranteed length of service, this is an excellent method and should rank high on your list of choices.
5. Wireless Cameras
While professionally installed and monitored home security systems can include wireless security cameras as part of the overall security setup, wireless cameras don’t require a home security system to help you effectively check in on your home and family.
SimpliSafe, Nest, iDoorCam, Dropcam, and Canary all offer solutions that include stand-alone wireless cameras connected to you via mobile apps, two-way voice communication, peephole cameras for exterior doors, exterior wireless surveillance cameras, and portable cameras that can be placed and easily moved to any location in your home. They also include the apps necessary to operate them from your smartphone, tablet, or computer. For anyone seeking an excellent security solution without the cost and installation of a home security system, these solutions are excellent and should be seriously considered.
6. Home Automation
Home automation allows homeowners to control most of the electronic items in their homes. This can include receiving text messages and pictures from a security camera any time the doorbell at home rings, knowing when doors open/close, monitoring liquor cabinets, and more. Through home automation solutions from companies like Vivint, homeowners can check-in any time. Many even provide a link to the security camera, making its feed accessible from any web-enabled device.
7. Mobile Video Apps
An app like AtHome Camera provides homeowners with the power of turning a couple of smartphones or tablets into a motion-sensor, image-capture system complete with event triggers and alerts setup and configured by the user. You’ll be able to check these while you’re on the go, plus use some extra devices you already owned.
8. Mobile Audio Apps
The mobile security approach taken by SecureHome turns your home computer into a listening device by tapping into the built-in microphone. The app is triggered whenever a sound is detected within the vicinity of the microphone. Alerts can be configured to instantly notify the homeowner via text message or email. It even works when your home computer is in “sleep” or “hibernation” mode, making it a terrific solution to include in your overall home security setup.
9. Streaming Video and Audio
Many security solutions include snapshot images triggered by motion detection or other events like a doorbell ringing. These are great solutions, but if you’re interested in live streaming video and audio, an app like AirBeam might be just the ticket.
Designed to work in conjunction with iPods, iPhones, and iPads, the AirBeam app offers high definition streams with CD quality audio and does so with as little lag and latency as possible. The app can be installed on as many devices as you have and can be viewed on any Apple hardware device including iPod, iPad, iPhone, and Mac computers.
10. Webcams and Video Chat
Most laptops, tablets, and smartphones come with built-in webcams and the software necessary to operate them. It’s easy to schedule a webcam or video chat, and free telecommunications software like Skype make it easy to accomplish even if both parties are half a world apart. Webcams and vide chats are an excellent way to keep in touch with family members while away on business or leisure.
Next time you’re getting ready to head out of town and need to figure out a way to keep an eye on your home, property, and family while away, know there are plenty of great solutions just waiting for you to put to good use.
–Elli Bishop of “The SafeWise Report”