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Apps for that: Virtual keys, internet-connected doorbells, all-in-one home security

Jan 08, 20144 mins
Data and Information SecurityMicrosoftSecurity

The cross-section of new home security and automation products showed off at CES 2014.

CES 2014, of course, has all the big brands showing off new products, but when it comes to home security and automation, what’s new and doesn’t cost a fortune?

Issue virtual keys via a smartphone:

The August Smart Lock by FuseProject provides keyless entry by recognizing a user’s smartphone as he or she approaches the house. It keeps log records and offers “total control” by issuing virtual keys. The company said, “for example, you can issue a key that works 24/7 for a family member, or one that owrks a couple of hours a week only for your cleaning person.” The cost is $199.

Goji Smart Lock, due out in March, can be purchased for $278; it comes with “four lifetime electronic keys and two mechanical backup keys.” USA Today called Goji “a smart way to figure out who’s out there knocking. Download the mobile app for Apple or Android devices and you get texted or e-mailed a digital photo of the person who’s visiting. For security, a picture gets taken every time someone enters, so if a bad guy is sneaking in, you’re alerted right away.”

Doorbell goes digital

Doorbot, with a $199 price tag, is an internet-connected doorbell created because its developers didn’t hear the doorbell when they were expecting important packages. When someone rings the bell, the webcam – connected to your home Wi-Fi – streams it to your smartphone. It also acts as an intercom so you can communicate with visitors or delivery people. Additionally, Doorbot works with Lockitron, which is keyless entry by way of your phone. 

As a direct competitor, Skybell is a Wi-Fi doorbell with a motion sensor “that allows you to see, hear and speak to the person at your door no matter where you are or what you’re doing.” If a visitor presses the doorbell, it activates a live video feed that is sent to your smartphone app. You can even see who is at the door if they don’t ring the bell; it includes night vision so you can see who is at the door if it is dark. The cost is $199.

iSmart Alarm, which has both home security and automation, unveiled iSmart Alarm Doorfront at CES 2014. It “alerts users via their smartphones when someone comes to the front door or rings the doorbell and allows them to see, hear and speak to their visitors whether they’re at home or not.” It can be used independently or as part of an iSmartAlarm package. SlashGear believes it “has the potential to catch on in a big way.”

All-in-one home security unit for dummies

For home security, the Canary looks pretty cool. It is a new all-in-one home security unit that looks simple enough that anyone could set it up.

It has an HD video camera and microphone as well as safety sensors to track motion, temperature, vibration, sound, air quality and activity. That activity can also include watching over your pets via your smartphone when you are not home. Unlike many of the home security systems, Canary cost $199 with no additional subscription fees.

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ms smith

Ms. Smith (not her real name) is a freelance writer and programmer with a special and somewhat personal interest in IT privacy and security issues. She focuses on the unique challenges of maintaining privacy and security, both for individuals and enterprises. She has worked as a journalist and has also penned many technical papers and guides covering various technologies. Smith is herself a self-described privacy and security freak.