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Protect America delivers the home security system equipment to your door and allows you to handle the installation and setup yourself. The company says that setup should take less than an hour. A key offering is SMART Connect, a free home security smartphone app developed by Protect America that allows remote control from anywhere, and is available for both Android and iOS. Furthermore, the company offers a landline option along with cellular and broadband, which can be a great backup when needed. On the other hand, the least expensive Protect America plans actually do require a landline, which some customers may find annoying. Eyespyfx features free software called MyWebcam broadcaster, which will let you use any USB or built in webcam as a security camera.

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You can lock/unlock your door, arm/disarm your security system, turn your lights on or off, set the preferred temperature on your thermostat so it’s comfortable when you arrive. You can even preset it to close your garage door if you forget and it will do so once you’ve traveled beyond a certain range. You will probably want good security cameras and/or doorbell cameras so you can see who’s coming and going, as well as what’s happening in and around your home at all times. You might also want the panic button and the two way talk feature so your family can instantly call for help when needed. Window and door sensors and equipment that offers a cellular backup option so you don’t have to worry about the loss of security if any lines are cut or you lose power. Perhaps some environmental sensors to protect you and your family from fire or water intrusion events. And, of course, the convenience of home automation features so you can control and manage your home handsfree and/or remotely. If you are a renter, your needs will be a bit different. For example, you will probably need a portable security system. A portable system is one that is wireless and usually a DIY installation. This will keep you from having to drill holes in your landlord’s walls, which could cost you in repair damages when you move out.

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With a professionally monitored system, when a smoke or intrusion alarm is triggered, an agent will first try to reach you via the two way control panel before calling your listed phone number. If you fail to respond, the agent will call 911 to dispatch an emergency responder to your home. The nice thing about professionally installed systems is you don't have to lift a finger; after you've placed your order a technician will come to your home, set everything up for you, and show you how the system works. It's important to note that in some areas you may have to file for a permit to have a security system installed in your home. Nearly all of the latest DIY and high end home security systems offer support for voice control via Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and in some cases Apple Siri, which allows you to unlock doors, change thermostat settings, open the garage, and arm or disarm your system with a spoken command to a connected device like an Amazon Echo or a Google Home speaker. Many also offer support for IFTTT If This Then That applets, which use triggers from IFTTT compatible web services and devices to create an action. For example, you can create an applet that says if a garage door is opened to turn on the floodlight. Whether you decide to go with a DIY system or opt for a professionally installed system, you'll have to pay a monthly or annual fee if you require monitoring, and in some cases, you'll be hit with a monthly fee to pay off the cost of hardware components. With most DIY systems, such as the SimpliSafe Home Security Kit, the Ring Alarm Security Kit, and the Nest Secure, you purchase the hardware outright and can avoid any monthly fees if you decide to self monitor. If you add monitoring, fees will vary: SimpliSafe charges $14. 99 per month for its no contract monitoring service, while Nest charges $29 per month.

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