Innovation That Matters

Home security with an energy-monitoring twist

Work & Lifestyle

Home security may be an age-old need, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be addressed in a thoroughly modern way. To wit: AlertMe, a service that combines home security and energy monitoring for automatic delivery via the web or a mobile phone. Originally released in January, AlertMe is a wireless system whose security component monitors doors and windows and detects motion or other potential emergencies within the home. Users can self-install the technology without the need for wires or drilling; rather, they simply place a set of sensors around their home. Those sensors then communicate wirelessly with a hub that gets plugged into the home broadband connection. Then, in the event of a burglary or a smoke detector going off, a sensor is triggered to alert the hub, which sends the information to the AlertMe servers; those, in turn, send an instant alert to the user via mobile phone. The system is controlled via key fob, with battery backup and GPRS connection in case broadband goes down. In September, AlertMe announced a new application for its platform that will add energy-monitoring capabilities to the security system. Called the Smart Plug, the new technology plugs into any outlet and uses the same AlertMe hub to monitor and control the energy use of any appliance that’s plugged into it. Customers can see both live and historical consumption and control appliances remotely through the web or phone. The device can automatically turn on lights, for example, and it can also alert users remotely when key appliances fail. Perhaps even more compelling, it can automatically turn off appliances when users leave the house and then turn select ones on again–say, a kettle readying water for tea–when they’re on their way home. AlertMe’s security kits are available now, starting at GBP 149. The energy-monitoring Smart Plug is due to be released soon, the company says, with pricing reportedly at about GBP 25 per plug. Heating control and meter-reading features are due to launch next year. Meanwhile, the UK-based company is currently setting up a network of authorized distributors; one to get in on early? (Related: Stylish fire protection kitsVisualising energy useGreener driving with Fiat & Microsoft’s plug & play eco-monitoring system.) Spotted by: Cathy Bruen



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