The Safe Home


How much would you be willing to pay for safety in your house? 

This is a series on the environments you can create if you really went all-in on the smart home. Today, we talk about safety.

Let’s start with a hypothetical: you have unlimited resources, and you’re able to get any kind of smart device you want. How would you make your house as safe as possible, for those inside and outside?

Here’s how such an experience could play out.

The Safety Optimized House

You pull up in your car, preparing to enter the house. It’s getting dark outside. You pull out your phone and pull out an app. You click a button and your entire house lights up.

You get out of your car, and you head up to your porch. The porch, like the rest of the house, is lit up. Great. You pull out your keys, unlock the door, and step into a well-lit house. You won’t trip over anything, and in fact, anyone else who walks in won’t trip over anything, too – you’ve got a sensor in the room that will dim the lights on whenever someone arrives.

Your Alexa pod is situated nearby. You say, “Hey Alexa – trigger dinnertime.” Various lights close and open, and you’re left with the correct group of rooms lit and others not. You proceed with your evening routine.

A few hours later, it’s bedtime. You get to bed, and you go to sleep. A Ring cam faces out towards your porch, and a Nest cam faces inside of your house. Noise at night – you suddenly wake up. You tap on your phone/call Alexa and tell Alexa to open all the house lights at once. Immediately, all lights open and your room lights open to a dim. You briefly check to see if there’s anything going on from the Nest cams, and once satisfied, you tell Alexa to close all the lights and you resume sleeping.

At work the next day, someone comes by and drops off a package. They ring the doorbell. You’ve got Ring installed – conveniently, it’s a video doorbell. You confirm that they’ve got the right address, and the package is dropped off.

The night eventually arrives again. Similar to last night, you hear a noise – this time, it seems like the Ring cam has detected some motion. You tell Alexa to open all house lights once more, take a peek, and find that it’s a friend paying a surprise visit. If this was someone more malicious than a friend, the lights could have warded off an intruder. Either way, you didn’t have to leave your bed to find out.

Away for Vacation

It’s vacation time, and you’re not in town. Your house is empty and it’s getting dark. What do you do?

Someone rings your doorbell. You take a look from your phone. It’s just a mailperson leaving a package, so it’s nothing to worry. But later that night, something else is detected going on around your house. You open all your house lights from your phone, hundreds of miles away from your physical house, and leave it open for a couple more minutes.

You monitor a few of the indoor cameras. Nothing noticeable. Satisfied, you set lights to half brightness, leaving the house well-lit but not completely maxing out the electricity.

A Safer Neighborhood

A lot of the safety is based on being able to automate aspects of your house remotely. The hypothetical situations above demonstrate that. But it seems like there might be some cases where an entire neighborhood implementing such measures can deter crime. Here’s one case by Ring that ended up being pretty successful.

It’s not conclusive, but it’s nonetheless a good trend to have.

How Much Would You Pay?

How much would you have to pay for this?

Several aspects of this example function just fine as standalone products. Alexa can be used for entertainment, in addition to lighting control. The Ring doorbell acts just fine as a standalone product. The smart lights themselves don’t inherently need anything to control them, save for a smartphone. But altogether, the bundle would come out to about $1,000.

For some, that’s a perfectly fine price in exchange for safety. Other home security packages cost less on a monthly basis, but will accumulate a similar fee over the course of several years. As much as we know, the setup we described in here will last at least that period of time, probably more.