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Protecting the family: October is National Crime Prevention Month, a time when families should take into account the importance of home security. With approximately one in nine children coming home to an empty house after school, according to U. S. Census data, advancements in home automation and security technology can help parents remotely safeguard their homes and families. ADT Pulse ADTPulse. com allows parents to receive email and text alerts when the kids arrive home after school, check in during the day with real time video monitoring, and even lock and unlock doors if the kids arrive home before they do.

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It's important to note that in some areas you may have to file for a permit to have a security system installed in your home. Nearly all of the latest DIY and high end home security systems offer support for voice control via Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and in some cases Apple Siri, which allows you to unlock doors, change thermostat settings, open the garage, and arm or disarm your system with a spoken command to a connected device like an Amazon Echo or a Google Home speaker. Many also offer support for IFTTT If This Then That applets, which use triggers from IFTTT compatible web services and devices to create an action. For example, you can create an applet that says if a garage door is opened to turn on the floodlight. Whether you decide to go with a DIY system or opt for a professionally installed system, you'll have to pay a monthly or annual fee if you require monitoring, and in some cases, you'll be hit with a monthly fee to pay off the cost of hardware components. With most DIY systems, such as the SimpliSafe Home Security Kit, the Ring Alarm Security Kit, and the Nest Secure, you purchase the hardware outright and can avoid any monthly fees if you decide to self monitor. If you add monitoring, fees will vary: SimpliSafe charges $14. 99 per month for its no contract monitoring service, while Nest charges $29 per month. If you commit to a three year contract, the price of the Nest service drops to $19 per month. Ring's Protect Plus plan goes for $10 per month and doesn't require a contract. Monitoring for professionally installed systems tends to be more expensive.