Like all parents, security is very important to me, particularly now that two of my three children are getting more independent. I was very happy, then, to be offered a brand new Panasonic Home Monitoring and Control Kit for review. The kit helps you create a home network that can be monitored remotely via a smartphone app.
What you get
The Home Monitoring and Control Kit comprises a hub, an indoor camera, a smart plug and two sensors to be used on windows and doors. In addition, I was sent an outdoor camera and an indoor siren.
It was all very easy to set up and I was soon sporting a proper geeky grin at how cool it was to control things without having to get up from my seat. All you need to do is connect the hub to your home network, install the app on your phone or tablet and pair each device with the hub. This can be done by pushing a button on the hub and doing likewise with the device in question.
Although you connect the kit to your home network, the devices communicate with each other using an Ultra Low Energy wireless standard, which creates a network that is invisible to anyone trying to find a WiFi connection. This makes it much more secure.
How we’ve used it
The indoor camera has been designed to double as a video baby monitor – it has a built-in thermometer and plays a selection of lullabies – so it will be useful for keeping an eye on Amelie once we get her into a bedtime routine.
It also came into its own at Christmas when the cat wouldn’t leave the tree alone. To get her away from it, I set up the vacuum cleaner in the smart plug; one push of a button on my phone and she’d soon be running away!
I’ve also found the smart plug a useful way of saving time in the morning – I set up the kettle the night before, push a button when I get out of bed and it’s boiling by the time I get downstairs. Lazy, I know, but it makes a difference!
The door sensors have also proved valuable additions to our home. Xander has recently discovered that opening the front door is immensely entertaining. Thanks to the sensors, I’m alerted if he tries anything and am able to intervene before he discovers that there are dangers beyond the door.
There’s very good street lighting where we live so, to give the outdoor camera a sterner test, I trained it on our shed where the only lighting comes from the windows of a neighbouring property. The picture above was taken on a very dark and misty night, but you can still clearly see the wrong un’ – who reminds me of someone – trying to open the door.
The indoor siren may be small but, like my kids, it’s far from quiet! It works as you would expect; if a door or window sensor is triggered and the system isn’t disarmed by its owner within a short amount of time, it belts out a piercing alarm and flashes a strobe light for good measure. It made me feel like I was up to no good when I tested it, so it should certainly have the desired effect if it’s ever called upon.
I’ve been very impressed by this kit. It’s easy to set up and monitor from afar and has given me peace of mind that all is well when we’re out and about.
The Panasonic Home Monitoring and Control Kit retails at £229.99