Smart Living

House Beautiful April 2017: Intelligent doorbells

Source: House Beautiful magazine April 2017

The latest in clever home technology and the most stylish gadgets around


Find out what’s new in home security technology with this insight from Andy Mack, director of Cyberhomes.

Consider the options

Simple battery-powered smart doorbells can be screwed onto your door or gatepost and connected to your Wi-Fi. More complex video intercoms have to be inset into the wall, programmed and integrated into the rest of your home system by a specialist such as a CEDIA ( member. Standalone doorbells start about £100, while a fully integrated video intercom can cost up to £1,000.

Sound and vision

Camera-based doorbells allow you to check ID before you open the door, while those with the option to record video footage let you see who rang the bell while you were out. As they can’t see you, callers won’t know your house is unoccupied. Internet-based designs link to an app on your smartphone or tablet to alert you when someone is at your door—you can then speak to the caller even if you aren’t at home.

Special features

A smart doorbell linked to a home network can include:

  • Motion detectors that turn on the lights at the front of the house as someone approaches.
  • An intercom that can call multiple touch screens and mobile devices within the home.
  • The option to open the gate or unlock the front door remotely.
  • The ability to briefly pause music or TV you are listening to/watching when a doorbell ‘chime’ (or any chosen audio track) alerts you.
  • PIN codes or fingerprint access for family members and trusted guests.
  • Notifications on your phone for different events—every time the bell rings or the front gate is opened/closed, for example.

Stay secure

If you have a doorbell connected only via Wi-Fi and your connection is unreliable, you may miss calls. Make sure you change a default password to a secure one to minimise the risk of it being a target for hackers. If the doorbell also has the ability to unlock the door, ensure it’s well installed—it could reduce your security if someone could pull it off the wall and ‘short together’ wires to unlock the door. High-end products will have an encrypted relay module to prevent this.

Posted by
on 10 Apr 2017