I, Robot — We couldn’t resist this new gadget that looks like a toy but multi-functions as a serious home surveilance sentry. The Control From Anywhere Home Sentry, can be set for up to 10 customized paths to patrol regularly within the home until it receives new orders. Homeowners can remotely command the robot to capture audio, hi-resolution video and still photos that can be emailed immediately to them. And the sentry has a two-way microphone and speaker so it can provide real-time communication if necessary. First shipment date expected mid-December.
A New Key To Safety— The smooth operation of many of today’s home security systems depends on memorizing lengthy codes and/or toting cumbersome devices. Now, ADT is offering a simplified solution in the form of a new key tag called Safepass. Both password-free and portable, the Safepass tag can be waived in front of the alarm system to activate or disarm it. The tags, which are small, lightweight and easily attachable to a backpack or tote, can be programmed to work only at predetermined times. This makes them a boon for parents with in-home childcare providers or older school children who come home to an empty house. www.adt.com
Window Dressing— There’s no time like hurricane season to remind homeowners about the pervasive havoc a fierce storm can wreak. Designed to resist wind-blown debris, earth-quakes, forced entry and even errant baseballs, a new window film by V-Kool is more effective and less expensive than many laminates. While impact may cause the glass to shatter, the invisible films will hold the shards in place so the glass remains intact in its frame. The film also can reduce a home’s energy consumption by blocking solar heat. www.v-kool-usa.com
Lock, Stock & Remote— Aftermaking a big entrance into the home security market with its keypad locks, Schlage is stepping up its keyless line this year with the introduction of LiNK, a new system that allows home security devices to be locked, unlocked and monitored via a PC, cell phone or any other device with a Web browser. The new, battery-operated locks–which can be used with traditional knobs and levers as well as deadbolts–use Z-Wave RF technology that can connect with a broadband router. www.schlage.com
Spies Like Us— Increasingly, homeowners are seeking surveillance products that can be easily hidden. Veteran security monitoring products company Swann Communications is answering the call with its new Flashlight DVR. This all-in-one portable solution combines a high-powered flashlight, color camera and digital video recorder in a durable aluminum alloy case. Users can switch on the flashlight and activate the covert recorder to capture footage that can easily be transferred to a computer via a USB port. To keep it functional at a moment’s notice, the flashlight is powered either by three C batteries or a rechargeable battery. www.swannsecurity.com
You’ve Got Mail— As more and more people order products by Internet and phone, packages are increasingly being left on unsecured doorsteps when homeowners are away. Janzer Corp.’s new Secure Mail Box and Package Drop, a free-standing unit that can hold up to 50 hardcover books, aims to alleviate purchasers’ potential worries about weather damage or tampering. Constructed of stainless steel and aluminum and secured by a three-point locking system, the Janzer box is available in stylish onyx, almond or sandstone. www.janzer.com