If you're off to the bach or beach this holiday, it would be nice not to stress about whether the house gets broken into while you're away.
Not everyone can afford a full-blown monitored system with a scary sounding siren, so I've checked out some recently released mid-range tech and low-cost options to help you keep an eye on your belongings from the comfort of your beach towel.
Nest is part of the Google family and its ultra stylish indoor and outdoor cameras are finally available here.
For those who want to get a bit fancy, Nest Cam IQ is its premium offering at $549.
This camera sets itself apart from others with a facial recognition feature which scans faces and can spot a 'stranger'. This is someone that isn't programmed into the system. It's done via the cloud rather than the camera and requires a subscription, which costs $16 a month. The camera speaker lets you shout at that burglar too.
This range of home security products was first introduced to New Zealand by Spark back in 2015 and it recently announced a new video plan.
Through a Morepork Video camera, a Wi-Fi connection and power (most of these systems need plugging in), you can check in real-time via your smartphone.
You can also use the two-way audio feature to talk to your family member with either two legs or four, straight from your phone.
Motion alerts allow you to check in on your home when any out of the ordinary activity is noted and video can be recorded, stored and reviewed for 60 days in secure cloud storage. It's easily saved and shared direct from the app, if you want to post it on Facebook and track that baddie down.
The unit starts at $299.95 plus a monthly subscription of $9.95 with the first six months free (on a 12 month plan).
Ring became well known for its networked webcam equipped doorbell. Now it has a motivation activated HD security camera with a built in floodlight, a siren alarm and two-way talk.
It is installed as a hardwired security camera, is weather resistant and provides 1080p footage with a 270 degree range of motion.
It's pretty easy to adjust the sensitivity of the motion sensors for the lights. The device costs $429.
Netatmo Presence is an outdoor security camera which is installed as an outdoor light. It is smart enough to differentiate between people, cars and pets and you can customise zones to montior.
Presence comes with an 8GB microSD card pre-installed and you can choose to save videos to Dropbox, your own FTP or straight to your device.
Video storage is entirely free. No subscription, fees or contract. The actual device costs about $500
- Apps and old smartphones/tablets
For a very low cost way of keeping an eye on your home, there are apps like Manything and Presence which work on both iOS and Android devices and let you repurpose old camera equipped devices such as smartphones or iPads as dropcam style monitoring systems.
All you have to do is point the device where you want to see, then view from your current smartphone or desktop.
You can set up sensitivity thresholds and motion detection zones and record into the cloud but you need to pay for extra cloud storage.
- General tips
Of course, you don't just need tech to keep your home and contents safe this Christmas. Here are some things everyone can do.
Eliminate hiding spots: Make sure those bushes don't get too high and light up dark spots
Leave a radio or TV on: Plug your radio or TV to a smart plug that you can set or control from your smartphone.
Give the appearance of being at home: Get a neighbour to put out and take back in those bins while you're away.
Social media bragging: Don't share too much about what you're up to during the holidays. Those holiday snaps are great but they can give lots away.
Of course the best detection against burglars this Christmas is to stay at home and not go out and who wants to do that in weather like this?