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Jacqui Hames Blog, September 2017

The Smartphone phenomenon has come under particular criticism in recent times for destroying the art of conversation and turning our youngsters into automatons, not to mention the cause of accidents, as we walk or drive distracted by the promise of an exciting notification or snippet of gossip.

Having learnt to type on a manual typewriter, modern day computer technology has constantly provided me with a challenge but one I’ve embraced wholeheartedly, even if it’s been a struggle occasionally to negotiate the seemingly impenetrable technical language. Despite that I have tried to integrate all the latest innovations into my daily life. Indeed it’s allowed me to be self employed working from anywhere I choose to be. Freed from the chains of an office desk, I’ve written blogs and documents containing graphs and photos on trains, negotiated contracts in lifts and I once conducted a live interview with LBC radio from the frozen food isle of Tesco!

Jacqui Hames PHOTO.jpg

Unfortunately, as any parent with children studying for exams will tell you they can also be great time wasters. Under the guise of ‘research’ for homework, access to social media, unlimited music, films, photogeraphs etc can eat away time faster than Dr Who’s Tardis.

For me the challenge is to ensure that this extraordinary technology makes our lives easier, more efficient, and yes more pleasurable, but not at the cost of losing touch with reality. It will never replace the thrill of live theatre or the soaring beauty of a  concert, watching the changing of the seasons on an early morning walk or the face to face conversations laughing with loved ones over a delicious meal.

Security, I believe, is no different. There is a balance to be found between technology and traditional security methods, but it needn't be a choice of one over the other. Technology has an ever-growing part to play in improving our home security; from smart phone alarms with instant alerts and home viewing capability, through to doorbells which ring your smartphone and allow you to view and talk to a caller from the comfort of your office, and even smartphone locks, where a key is no longer needed.  Technology undoubtedly adds to the security of our home and makes it easier than ever to protect our family, but it is important to acknowledge there will always remain a place for traditional security items which we often take for granted.  An alarm is far less effective, for example, if there are poor quality locks on the windows and doors. Worryingly, a recent ERA survey showed, unbelievably, that 45% of people admitted to going out and not even locking their door in the first place.  Secure Letterboxes, 3* Door Cylinders, Window locks, Door Chains and Viewers, Nightlatches, Mortice Locks, Padlocks… These are just a few of the many products that are an absolute must for home security and something technology complements, but can never replace.

Perhaps the most futuristic innovation in the pipeline involves using our phones to manage our homes as well as our security. It's already possible to control lighting and heating via a smartphone but the launch of the ERA HomeGuard Cloud Alarm, which integrates with Lightwave smarthome products, will enable the user to pre-set reactive smarthome conditions when you arm or disarm your security alarm.  There are obvious benefits of being able to have instant lights and heating the moment you arrive home and disarm your alarm, as well as the reassurance that everything switches off when you arm the alarm as you leave for work in the morning. Alongside the convenience of integrating with other smarthome products, I’m particularly interested by the HomeGuard’s potential for having ‘alert’ conditions such as SOS, which will alert your phone and other designated contacts if an SOS alert is triggered, giving even more scope to making us feel secure in our home.

All this sounds amazing, in particular I’m eagerly awaiting an app that will do the hoovering and ironing for me too. Who knows where these extraordinary developments will take us, but if it keeps me and my family safe then I will embrace the future with gusto - even if I don’t always understand the technical jargon, I suppose my son could always explain it to me. Ah well.