The best security tech for home and away
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
I own a safe that is bolted to a wardrobe floor and gets opened a handful of times each year. I’d use it more often – and to store a wider variety of things – if it were more accessible and less annoying, and that’s the thinking behind Trova Home: a safe that’s biometrically unlockable, more attractive than your average metal box and thus blends harmoniously into your home, both in terms of decor and function.
It follows in the steps of the Go and the Go Plus, two portable mini-safes designed to keep items discreetly hidden while on the move. It’s bigger (vaguely shoebox-sized), heavier (2.2kg) and can be attached to a surface via a bolt or a Kensington lock if you want. But the ability to move the Trova from room to room changes the way you might think about a smart safe. Items you hide from kids (remote controls, phones, medication) now have a convenient and accessible resting place. Objects you don’t want nosey visitors peeking at (and your imagination may be better than mine in this regard) can be stowed away easily. Commonly used household phrases such as “Where did you put X?” or “Have you seen Y?” stop being uttered as often, because you think, “It’ll be in the Trova.”
From the outside it’s sleek and uncomplicated, with a USB charging port, power button and LED light. You open it via the Trova app, which in turn leverages your phone’s authentication system (so a face ID, fingerprint or passcode). There are a couple of other ways to open it: either via NFC (like making a contactless payment) or, in emergency situations, by pressing the power button in a morse-code-like pattern you’ve pre-programmed. It has WiFi connectivity, so it can be opened remotely, and secondary users can be authorised too. If it moves, or it’s tampered with, you get an alert. Trova Home may not be the place for priceless jewels or your last will and testament, but it fulfils smaller security needs better than a traditional safe ever could. Trova Home, £449
A guardian angel
Wing is a personal safety device that’s small, extremely loud (120dB) and can send alerts to friends and family if you find yourself in an emergency. It’s the younger cousin of the wrist-mounted Run Angel, and can be clipped to clothing, bags, belts and so on. Charge it up, connect via Bluetooth to the accompanying app and add up to three “guardians” who’ll be informed via SMS and email when the alarm is activated. That’s done via a button press, which instructs your phone (which has to be nearby) to send out the alert; a double press will send it without an alarm, if discretion is important. The alert has the date and time of the activation, and a link to a map showing your location. runangel.com
Always on the lookout
Effectively an always-on security camera for your car, this does everything you’d expect of a dashcam, but also beams crisp video to a Garmin app and cloud-hosted storage via an LTE data connection. When the car isn’t running, the cam can be powered from your car’s OBD-II port via a £45 optional extra. The cam doesn’t have a touchscreen, but is a neat, user-friendly box nonetheless. Once I’d activated a subscription via the app, I was soon able to watch people wandering past my car remotely. The app offers alerts for theft and sudden impacts, should unruly teenagers choose to jump repeatedly on your bonnet. Garmin Dash Cam Live, £349.99; LTE connectivity from £9.99 a month
It may feel safer to pay a company to look after your home security, but self-installed sensors are becoming more reliable and much easier to set up. This kit consists of a hub with a 1TB hard drive (two years’ worth of recording), and a set of four wireless, hi-res, waterproof cameras with long-life batteries (we’re talking weeks) that are easy to swap out and recharge. Initial setup requires you to attach an external screen to the hub – a TV will do – but as soon as the cameras are detected (in my case very swiftly) you can detach that screen and use the Swann Security app for live views, activity reports and to set up notifications for heat and motion detection. swann.com
A sleeping beauty
Having spent much of the past few months staring at a baby monitor, I’m aware of the insatiable desire for information about your sleeping infant. In conjunction with the SimHome app, the USB-powered, 360-degree Baby2 gives a crystal-clear, parent’s-eye view of the overnight action, but – crucially – built-in AI features can send alerts if it detects that the baby’s moving about, its face is covered, it rolls over or it’s unhappy. It measures room temperature and breathing patterns, and in the morning generates a sleep report (although you’ll be brutally aware of many of those details already). Then, as they get older and move to a bed, the Baby2 can ping you if they leave a safe area you’ve defined. Simshine Baby2, £199