Privacy-Minded Home Security Options for the Camera Averse

As a homeowner, security and privacy can be an important priority. Learn about how to secure your home without always keeping a watchful eye.

Guest post by Eric Murrell 

It’s never been easier to secure your home, thanks to an abundance of new gadgets on the market. Setups that once required professional installation and thousands of dollars in highly technical equipment are now easy to put together with off-the-shelf products and a few inexpensive apps. It’s a great time to be a consumer, and frankly, a bad time to be a criminal.

All of these new gadgets and services are great, but what if you’re worried about your privacy? Hacks and security breaches in the news—or simply the fear of loss of privacy between family members—have made some people uncomfortable with a camera-based security system inside their home. Thankfully, you can still make high-tech upgrades to your home to keep you safe without always keeping a watchful eye.

The first option to consider is a modern twist on a classic home security setup: motion sensors. Whether it’s a motion-sensitive light on your front porch or a few sensors placed around the home, motion-activated lights and alarms can be a surprisingly effective deterrent to the average thief.

Using today’s smart home technology, it’s easier than ever to add battery-operated sensors to strategic spots around your home. Both inexpensive and easy-to-install, these new sensors can trip lights and alarms like the old ones, but can also pair with a smart home hub to send instant alerts to your smartphone the moment an intruder is detected. Take a close look at your new thermostat or other smart devices; many include motion sensors that are already built-in.

To add an additional layer of security, purchase smart door and window sensors that serve as a first line of defense from the outside world. Like the motion sensors, inexpensive models are available that integrate with most smart home platforms. It’s simple to configure open and closed alerts, but you might find it even more helpful as a passive form of home security. Worried that you forgot to close the garage door after letting the dog out? By taking a quick glance at an app while you work, you can know for sure.

Even if you rule out in-home smart cameras, do consider having smart cameras outside your home so you can see if packages are delivered and if there are any trespassers in your yard. The most well-regarded systems now include location-based privacy features that use your smartphone to automatically adjust their settings, offering an unprecedented combination of privacy and security. Using the GPS signal from your phone, it’s easy to activate your full security network when you leave the house, and have the cameras automatically turn a blind eye the second you pull in the garage.

Security is personal for every family. Explore your device options, and even ask your internet service provider if they offer a home security solution, as bundling services often results in additional savings. Likewise, your ISP may offer the ability to control all of your existing home security gadgets from a centralized app. Whether you install array of sneaky sensors or smart locks, there are a wealth of connected home devices that can help keep your family safe without betraying their privacy. A good night’s sleep is only an app away.

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blog

Posted on September 12, 2017 at 3:36 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Alexa, Apps, burglary, crime, gadgets, insurance, real estate, safety, security | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Alexa: Open Gen Blue News”

Thanks to Amazon, “Alexa” has become a household name. Now, Coldwell Banker is turning up the volume with a Skill for agents and brokers to get real estate news on-the-fly. We’re calling it Coldwell Banker Gen Blue News. Want to learn more? Let us break it down for you.

What’s a Skill? An Amazon Alexa Skill is an app for the voice-controlled Amazon Echo speakers.

How does it work? Once you enable the skill, just prompt Alexa with, “Alexa, open Gen Blue News.” In less than 90 seconds, Gen Blue News delivers best practices, industry insights and quick challenges to help you grow your business.

Why develop the Skill? Coldwell Banker surveyed its brokers and agents and found that 79 percent of respondents would be interested in a smart home speaker, like an Amazon Echo or Dot, that was equipped with real estate news and industry insights. Your wish is our command!

What can I expect from the Gen Blue News Skill? Episodes will feature quick tips and useful info to stay ahead in the market, challenges to act on immediately to drive business and agent success stories that offer an important dose of inspiration.

Who can I expect to hear from in the Gen Blue News Skill? You’ll hear the voices of brand leadership, industry insiders and the brokers and agents who make up the Coldwell Banker network. The first episode of the Skill features Brad Inman, founder and owner of Inman News, the leading source for real estate industry news. This episode is all about how agents can suit up for change with the innovative technology available in the real estate business.

How can I try this out for myself? You can search for the Coldwell Banker Gen Blue News Skill in the Amazon Alexa smartphone app, or using your Amazon Echo or Echo Dot, you can ask Alexa, “Enable Coldwell Banker Gen Blue News.”

Don’t have an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot? Don’t worry, the Echo Dot is available as part of the Smart Home Staging Kit alongside products from Nest, August and Lutron. Or you can buy on the Amazon Marketplace. If you’re with Coldwell Banker please log-in to Coldwell Banker Exchange to get your exclusive discount code.

Learn more about the Coldwell Banker “Home of the Week Skill” here!

*Article from Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blog

Posted on August 3, 2017 at 2:46 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Alexa, appliances, Apps, Buyers, buying, community, Entertainment, financing, gadgets, real estate, Smart Homes, technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Coldwell Banker Real Estate Gets Vocal – Announcing Our First Amazon Alexa Skill

Smart Home Ready!  Meet Alexa and Coldwell Bankers first Alexa skill!

Coldwell Banker teamed up with Amazon’s Alexa to create its first Alexa skill, an extension of the popular Home of the Week series.

We’ve all heard that real estate is local, but Coldwell Banker has put its own spin on the adage, declaring all real estate is Vocal by announcing its first Amazon Alexa Skill, which will be available by the end of June.

What’s a Skill? An Amazon Alexa Skill is essentially an app for Amazon’s voice controlled Echo speakers.

How does it work? By prompting Amazon’s voice assistant with Alexa, Ask Coldwell Banker for the Home of the Week,users will hear a one-minute description of a featured Coldwell Banker listing and can be connected to their local Coldwell Banker office. The Skill is an extension of the Home of the Week video series which profiles the hottest Coldwell Banker listings each week.

Why develop the Skill? Consumer demand spurred development of the skill after a January Coldwell Banker survey found that 72% of consumers with smart home tech wanted voice control products. Coldwell Banker also surveyed nearly 1,000 Coldwell Banker real estate professionals and found that 79% of respondents report that home buyers are interested in smart home technology, underscoring growing demand for voice controlled assistants and other smart home devices.

Not only will this fulfill consumer demand, it will also provide agents with the ability to market their listings in a new and exciting way. Alexa users will be connected with their local Coldwell Banker office through the Alexa smartphone app.

How can I try this out for myself? If you have an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot, you can search for the Coldwell Banker Home of the Week Skill in the Amazon Alexa smartphone app, or simply ask Alexa to Enable Coldwell Banker Home of the Week later this month.

If you don’t already own an Echo or Echo Dot you’re in luck! Coldwell Banker is thrilled to announce that the Echo Dot will be joining its existing Smart Home Staging Kit alongside products from Nest, August and Lutron. Now homeowners and agents showing smart homes can control the house’s core functions through simple voice commands.

Interested in buying your own kit? Be sure to visit SmartHomeStaging.com and speak to your Coldwell Banker agent to take advantage of the exclusive promotional pricing!

So what’s next? Coldwell Banker looks forward to expanding its voice control capabilities for agents, buyers and sellers in the near future. Stay tuned!

Source: CB Blue Matter

Posted on June 6, 2017 at 2:55 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Alexa, real estate, Smart Homes, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , ,