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Task: Create A Home Operating System Part 2: Security & Automation

Security used to be a lock and key. Now it’s gotten a bit more complicated.

Ever since home automation and security has become more affordable and (somewhat) easy to self-install, tech geeks have rejoiced while the rest of the household has no idea how to use it. Time to change that.

Remember the rules: We mention the thing and questions to get your mind thinking of possible scenarios. You, or the person who knows how everything works, should write down notes and snap some photos if you think it’ll help. Don’t forget to use the same notebook or digital document from the previous Home Operating System task: Common Areas

New School Security

If you’re in charge of the security system, write down an easy-to-understand guide for the people in your family. Focus on troubleshooting. How can it be accessed? (If it’s via a portal, share the login details with your passwords.) What happens if it’s not working correctly? What’s the model number if you have to replace a component when a rogue squirrel takes out one of your cameras? What do you do if you catch someone breaking in? Do you have lights set on timers to give the appearance you’re still home when you’re away?

Old School Security

Not all security systems are digital and fancy. We still use keys, even though some of those are going digital too. Where do you keep the extra key? (If you say “under the mat” we might give you a hug. Sure, it’s completely insane, but still very adorable.) Are there instructions for entering or leaving the house? Do you keep an extra with a neighbor (and have you shared that neighbor’s info in your personal VIP contacts)? Do you always leave a window unlocked just in case you get locked out? What happens if you need access to a door inside the house that’s locked? Are those kept somewhere special or do you use a well-worn credit card to break in? This is a good time to take a leisurely mental stroll around every possible way a person can enter or leave your home.

Home Automation

Do you have an Alexa Echo, Google Home, Nest, or any other plug-and-play device that helps you control your home with your voice? You may have also integrated it with a smart plug to control the lights and air conditioner, or something more complex that controls the thermostat, blinds, and whatever else you can automate.

Info to include: The device(s) you use often reveals everything they need to know, especially when it comes to accessing the software and settings. If it’s tied in with Amazon, Google, Apple, or another massive company, you’re most likely using the same login details as you do for the rest of their services. Are there any special instructions or tips? Do you connect it to any other devices, like connecting it to a better speaker or smart plugs, which may require login details to a separate app?

The Task

Use the same Home Operating System notebook or digital document to write down the ins-and-outs of any security systems or home automation gadgets you have around the home. If you don’t know how these things work it’s time to confront the person who does and get it on paper. Don't forget to include any login details in your password keeping method of choice!

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