The Best Home Security Systems and Video Doorbells (part 2)

BEST OUTDOOR CAMERA

Arlo Pro 2

PC Mag awarded the Arlo Pro 2 its Editor’s Choice award because of its impressive video quality, compatibility with other smart home devices, and other perks such as its rechargeable battery pack and geofencing mode. Arlo’s cameras not only have automatic night vision, but are also weather-resistant, making this system the best pick for outdoor monitoring. It also has a three-second Look Back feature that captures activity that triggered a sensor, and you can set up activity zones to highlight specific areas where you want to receive motion and sound alerts.

Though Arlo cameras come with a free basic subscription plan that allows you to add up to five cameras and access recordings from the past seven days, there is a Premier plan for $10 per month or an Elite plan for $15 per month that provide additional storage, cameras, and unlimited tech support. At Best Buy, some reviewers preferred the original Arlo Pro since they found the 1080p resolution wasn’t an improvement enough to warrant the increased price.

BEST VIDEO DOORBELL

Google Nest Hello

Video doorbells like the Google Nest Hello are becoming more popular home security options due to their ease of use and affordability compared to whole-home setups. The Nest Hello is expensive for a video doorbell, but still more affordable than many complete home systems. If you simply want to be alerted to people at your doorstep, even if they don’t ring the doorbell, this is a good option for you. It can tell the difference between a person and an object, and with the Nest Aware subscription, it can identify a person as someone you know or a stranger.

Tech Radar reported that the audio “provides clear, crisp sound, making it easy for the person at the door to hear you,” such as when giving instructions for where to leave a package for a delivery. You can also set pre-recorded messages for when you’re away. You may require a professional to install it due to the wiring necessary, but some DIYers at Home Depot completed the installation themselves.

The Best Home Security Systems and Video Doorbells (part 1)

Today’s home security systems range from simple video doorbells to monitor who’s on your front doorstep to full security systems with multiple cameras, sensors, and keypads. There’s no longer a need to sign up for expensive professional monitoring contracts – most of these systems offer free DIY monitoring as well as optional contract-free, affordable professional monitoring subscription plans. No matter your needs, you’ll find a security system that works for your home and budget below.

BEST OVERALL

SIMPLISAFE

The SimpliSafe system is the best complete home security you can get that has 24/7 professional monitoring, no contract, and easy DIY installation. It has plenty of sensors to monitor doors and windows throughout your home, and they’re practically invisible so you won’t notice them. If this 12-piece kit somehow doesn’t include all of the components you want, SimpliSafe offers other bundles and add-ons like freeze sensors to help prevent burst pipes, extra entry sensors, keypads, and up to four more cameras.

The standard plan for professional coverage costs $14.99 per month, which is more than if you opt-out of professional monitoring, but SimpliSafe doesn’t require any contract. For $25 per month, you have more control over the system remotely through the SimpliSafe app. If you don’t want to pay any monthly fees, you can simply use it as an alarm and alert the authorities yourself.

BEST FOR ALEXA USERS

Ring Alarm

While most home security systems allow you to control your devices remotely through apps, Amazon’s Ring Alarm products provide the easiest hands-free voice control by connecting with Alexa. Alexa Guard also sends alerts to your phone while you’re away. Though this system is a great DIY option for customized whole-home protection, you can also opt into a 24/7 professional monitoring service for just $10 a month without a long-term contract or cancellation fees.

Though it’s cheaper than many complete DIY systems, Ring features quality, sleek hardware. Reviewers liked how Ring designed the hub and keypad separately, so users can place them where they prefer. And if you already have a Ring doorbell or security camera, the Ring Alarm will connect seamlessly under the same app. Amazon reviewers also recommended the Ring system as a replacement for others looking for a lower monthly cost for professional monitoring.

Number of security staff at Tokyo Olympics 2020 set to fall below requirements

The number of security staff at next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo is likely to fall considerably short of the required amount, according to reports in Japan.

Japanese news agency Kyodo reported organizers are fearing a shortage in security staff and are set to turn to the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) for help with the security operation at the Games.

Initial estimates predict the Olympics will be supported by around 14,000 private security guards, 21,000 police officers, and 9,000 volunteers.

The number is lower than the 50,850 security staff at Tokyo 2020 claimed it would need for the Olympic Games in its bid book in 2013.

It is likely the number will grow owing to changes to the Games since the Japanese capital secured the hosting rights six years ago, adding to the concern for the Organizing Committee.

According to the All Japan Security Service Association, the number of job openings for security staff is also far outweighing demand.

Kyodo reported there are 550,000 trained security guards in the country but at times the number of jobs available is eight times more than the volume of applications.

Tokyo Olympics 2020 is set to seek help from the SDF, the unified military forces of Japan that were established in 1954.

But the SDF is also struggling with recruitment, with American international affairs magazine The National Interest reporting it has not met its targets for the last 10 years.

Those interested in becoming security guards at Tokyo 2020 could be put off by the expected high temperatures in the city during the Games.

Tokyo 2020 will implement a number of measures designed to combat the heat – which has become the key issue for organizers in the build-up to the Games – including those for security guards, such as breathable uniforms.

Despite the concerns, officials are confident they will be able to recruit enough private security guards and other staff for the Games.

Protect your home with Eufy’s 1-camera home security system

Clip the on-page coupon to bring the Eufy Security eufyCam E wireless home security camera system down to $159.99 on Amazon. That’s on top of a pretty awesome discount at $180. The system usually sells for around $238 and was even going as high as $489 in early September. This is an all-new low for the 1-camera kit.

The camera comes with a base station that can control up to 16 cameras so you can add to it as you go. A 16GB microSD card is all you need to store up to a year of recordings. The camera can last one year on one charge and records in 1080p.

This 100% wire-free camera system is IP65 weatherproof-rated and has an internal battery that can last for a full year on a single charge (or three years in standby mode). One of the biggest concerns with getting a wireless security camera is whether or not the battery’s going to let you down when you need it most, but this one definitely won’t. It films in 1080p resolution and features night vision as well so you can see anything going on outside no matter what time of day it is. And using the EufySecurity app, you’ll be able to check in on the camera’s video feed no matter where you are.

Unlike other security systems, the eufyCam E doesn’t require that you pay for a monthly service to use it. A 16GB microSD card is included with its purchase so you can store up to a year of recordings without needing anything extra, but the home base supports up to 128GB so you can upgrade for more room if you want to. You’ll also receive mounting hardware so you can install the camera easily around your home.

If you’re looking to add more cameras to your setup, you can do that at any time in the future for $179.99 per camera. The packages above also include the required base station that helps the cameras all work together seamlessly, and it can support up to 16 total cameras and 34 sensors. The sensors are available for $39.99 apiece on Amazon.

Vivint security systems review: High-tech equipment and flexible payment

Vivint includes high-tech features in every one of its monitoring packages. Unlike its competition, Vivint offers customers mobile access to their security systems from the Vivint Smart Home app.

However, the advanced equipment and tech features of Vivint come at a price. Vivint has high equipment costs and contracts up to 5 years long – unless you can pay for your equipment up front. In case of that, you can enjoy all the perks Vivint has to offer without a long-term contract.

Pricing

The unique Flex Pay of Vivint allows customers to pay for none or part of their equipment costs up front as well as spread the rest of the equipment costs out every month if they sign a 42- or 60-month contract.

Or customers can go the contract-free route, letting them pay for all their equipment up front and then after that pay only the monthly monitoring fee.

This flexibility is rare and helps take the sting out of the company’s more expensive equipment prices. However, be aware that once you get into a contract, if you cancel it early, Vivint charges 100% of the remainder of your contract.

Monitoring plans

Vivint’s top monitoring plan is priced at $49.99 per month, which is standard for the security industry. Vivint’s basic monitoring package costs $29.99 per month.

Although this isn’t the lowest monitoring price on the market, it’s still a decent value. All Vivint’s plans come with cellular monitoring as well as remote access through its mobile app – which most other companies charge more for.

Features and equipment

Unlike almost other home security companies, Vivint manufactures most of its own security equipment. Therefore, it leaves more space for innovation and responsiveness to customer needs and wants.

Vivint allows you to stick with the basic cameras and sensors for a standard home security system, or to create a powerful smart home complete with smart thermostats, automatic lights, doorbell cameras, and more.

The quality of Vivint’s equipment is one main reason we recommend it, but remember that high quality also means high cost, and it might not fit into every budget.

2020 Tokyo Olympics to boost security with facial recognition technology

At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics next summer, hundreds of terminals from NEC and Intel will scan the faces of athletes, volunteers, sponsors, and other accredited people.

If you are an athlete, sponsor, volunteer, or journalist at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, you will be using a facial recognition system from chipmaker Intel and Japanese electronics giant NEC to get where you need to be.

According to Ricardo Echevarria, general manager of Intel’s Olympics program, Intel and NEC are collaborating to provide a large-scale face recognition system for the Olympic Games. He said that the system was designed to help Olympics organizers ensure smoothly secure verification for more than 300,000 people who would be accredited at the games. They will register with photos from government-issued IDs.

Facial recognition has developed by leaps and bounds with the arrival of the sophisticated pattern-matching abilities of modern AI technology called neural networks. However, many are alarmed about pervasive computer surveillance, leading cities such as Somerville, Massachusetts, San Francisco, Oakland, and California, to bar police from using the technology.

Intel made no comment on the data retention aspects or privacy of the technology while NEC said that’s the purview of the Tokyo Olympics organizers, who didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Intel and NEC said that it won’t be a wholesale replacement for the old ways as accredited personnel at the Olympics will still have to wear traditional ID lanyards. However, the facial recognition system will be required: if someone tries to get access with one that’s stolen or loses their lanyard, the facial recognition system will block them, according to NEC.

Intel is also helping to run a global esports gaming competition in parallel with the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Players from a group of 20 countries will compete in the videogame event, also including participation from gaming companies Epic Games and Capcom.

It is building virtual reality training realms which organizers and athletes can use to visualize arenas and other facilities.

Streamlining Security and Home Automation

As a smart home security system connects to your Wi-Fi network, you can control and monitor your security devices by using your smartphone and an app. Entry-level security systems normally consist of a motion detector, some door and window sensors, and a hub communicating with these devices using one or more wireless protocols like Wi-Fi, Zigbee, Z-Wave, or a proprietary mesh network. You can also add extra motion, door, and window sensors in order to provide coverage for your entire house as well as build a comprehensive system including door locks, indoor and outdoor surveillance cameras, lights, sirens, garage door openers, water sensors, smoke/CO detectors, and more.

security system

About wireless protocols: In a perfect world, all home security devices would use the same wireless standard to easily communicate with the main hub, but factors like power requirements, price, signal range, and size make it impossible to settle on just one. For example, smaller components like door/window sensors typically use Zigbee or Z-Wave technology as they do not require much power and can be powered by smaller batteries. Moreover, they operate in a mesh topology and can extend the range of networked devices. However, the protocol doesn’t provide the bandwidth that you get with Wi-Fi, which is the reason why it is usually used in security cameras in order to provide smooth video streaming, and in other devices which require a fat pipe. Additional, Zigbee and Z-Wave devices are connected and controlled through a hub, while Wi-Fi devices can be directly connected to your home network and controlled only with an app. Finally, Zigbee and Z-Wave devices use AES 128 encryption, and as they operate in a closed system with a dedicated hub, they can offer more security than Wi-Fi devices.

Any smart security system that is worth its salt can offer components working together in a seamless environment and can also be manipulated using customized rules. Some security systems store locally recorded video on a solid-state drive or an SD card, while others offer cloud storage. In fact, locally stored video is good for do-it-yourselfers on a budget; however, you have to be careful not to overwrite video you might need later. Although cloud storage makes it easier to store and access recorded video, it can cost a lot of money per year depending on your subscription. Some systems provide both local storage and cloud storage, and some offer a dedicated storage drive which gives you DVR capabilities with time-lapse recording, making it easy to find a video event that took place at a specific time.

Steps to Choose a Security System for Your Home

Selecting a home security system is very important to protect your home and family. There are a variety of options and costs to consider before making a decision. It is best to purchase a system that has non-proprietary features and can be modified or repaired by generic parts.

Step 1. Decide whether you prefer a professionally installed security system or do-it-yourself security system that you will buy and install the system.

Step 2. Select a system that has no more than a one-year monitoring contract. Although signing a contract can reduce the up-front cost of equipment, you must take into account a cancelation fee in case that you want out of the contract down the road.

Step 3. Count the number of your home’s doors and windows that need to be secured. This will help in deciding how many sensors you really need.

Step 4. Get at least one smoke detector on your security system, including automatic monitoring. If you are away from your home, the smoke detector can help save some of your valued belongings.

Step 5. Keep all main level doors contacted with a device in order to tell the main panel if it has been opened. If your home has some doors that cannot be reached with wiring, you can use an area coverage motion detector, typically 35 foot (10.7 m) range to protect them.

Step 6. You should use motion detectors in areas that have windows which are accessible from ground level. This can cut down on total cost, too.

Step 7. Consider how your basement can fit into your security options. The wiring of the basement windows and doors are easier for the technician if you have an unfinished basement. But if your basement is finished, a wireless addition to your system might be required to protect your basement, doors, windows, and main floor.

The Importance of Cybersecurity for Online Casinos

Casinos have become a target for scammers since the early days of their existence because the industry is highly connected with money. In the present, there are more and more casino businesses that are created on the internet while the threat from fraud remains unchanged. However, instead of fraud with chips and hidden headphones, there are new methods:

  • DDoS attacks
  • Stealing of user accounts
  • Hacking of games

Therefore, cybersecurity becomes more important than security in a brick-and-mortar casino. Casinos need to be more active than ever in order to protect their platforms, thanks to a million potential ways to hack digitized systems. There are successful online casinos such as Slotozzila, which are able to run a successful online gaming business, protect their casinos, and maintain secure games including quick hit slots. In many cases, online casinos allow users to try it for free to show that it is both fun and secure.

Risks of Hacking

Hacking user accounts is the top risk for online casinos, therefore, it is essential for operators to prevent it. If an online casino is vulnerable, it might reveal personal data of its users to scammers that can steal it from the client. For example, hackers can get credit card information to cause significant harm to the cardholder.

The Integrity of the Game

The integrity of the game is another important point of trust for the online casino. If hackers can compromise the integrity of the gameplay itself, there is a risk to destroy the reputation of gambling platforms.

Customers want to know that they take part in a fair game with a chance of winning. However, if hackers can have access to gaming software, the results for casinos and players can be disastrous. This casts doubt on the integrity of the games and opens the potential for great losses for casino operators. The only way for casinos and game developers is to invest in cybersecurity and regularly check the gaming software to make sure that there are no ways to hack it. But with the changing hacking methods, this is just an ongoing and fierce battle.

How to choose a home alarm system

A home alarm system is a huge investment, so choosing the right company can be a tough decision. There are many options to consider before making a decision. The best thing you can do is to purchase a system which has non-proprietary features and can be modified or repaired by generic parts.

When picking an alarm company, you should consider these things:

  • Cost: Most alarm systems require monitoring payments every month. Make sure to select and set up a plan that is suitable for your budget.
  • Contracts: Some alarm companies ask for multiyear contracts, while other ones allow you to pay month-to-month without a long-term commitment. Although contracts aren’t always bad as sometimes it helps you get deals on equipment or extra warranties, be sure that you know what you’re signing up for before you commit.
  • Equipment: While some alarm companies have a huge selection of equipment, others only offer the bare bones. Decide what you want for your home and your family and make sure the system you select can offer what you really need whether it is an automatic door lock, a smoke alarm, or an outdoor camera.
  • Mobile access: The best alarm systems make it easy for you to check on your system wherever you are. It helps you be able to see that your home is safe whether you are in your bed or in another country.
  • Smart home support: A home alarm system is more useful and convenient if it can be synced with smart devices such as locks and lights. We suggest you choose a system that is compatible with a wide selection of third-party devices.

Here we suggest the top four home alarm companies on the market:

  • Frontpoint – Best easy DIY installation
  • ADT – Best industry reputation
  • Vivint – Best home automation and equipment
  • SimpliSafe – Most flexible contracts