OK, you might find this a little hard to believe at first. But that’s OK. You don’t (yet) have reason to believe me.
But, I’m Batman.
That’s right. The crime-fighting crusader that prowls the night, righting wrongs. That’s me. You see, the thing about Batman is that he’s not actually a ‘superhero’.
There’s nothing really ‘super’ about him.
That’s probably why everyone loves Batman. He’s just a really smart guy that’s good with gadgets and technology. He didn’t come from another planet. He’s not a mutant. He can’t defy physics or the space/time continuum.
He’s just a man. A man with lots of cool toys. And all these gizmos and gadgets help him fight crime.
That’s why I’m Batman.
I’m no more genetically blessed than the next person. I am but a man. However, like Batman, I’ve got a pretty nifty array of gadgets and tech that help me fight crime.
And it’s those gadgets that I put to good use on Thursday as I helped investigate, and hopefully catch, a criminal.
Learn to love your machines like I do
I’ve had a Nest camera up at my house for a few weeks now. Nest is the ‘smart home’ company that Google owns. They make only a few smart home devices. Their most popular and most well-known is the Nest Thermostat.
I have to admit I do already love my Nest thermostat. It has already learnt our routine. It knows how long the house takes to warm up. It knows when it’s sunny outside. It knows the relative humidity inside. It knows when we’re away to override the usual heating schedule.
It’s actually really smart. And hopefully, it’s going to save me a few quid on my energy bill.
I have also come to love my Nest Protect. This is my smart smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarm. Who would have thought someone could love a smoke alarm, right?
Well, I do. First off, it’s there to keep us safe from smoke and CO. But it also works as a night light/motion detector. It means that, if a late night toilet stop is on the cards, it will light up when it senses us nearby. Saves having to turn on all the lights and wake up my wife.
But what it also does is track any movements in the house. Now, I find this the most fun part. It’s fun because almost every night, between the hours of 3:00am and 7:00am, there’s a lot of commotion in my house.
It’s not me. It’s not my wife. We’re fast asleep at those times. But almost every night, the motion detector senses movement — sometimes as much as 30 times during those hours.
It’s our cat. We now call it the ‘Kitty Witching Hours’. He must go berserk from 3:00am to 7:00am. Or that’s when he prowls around the house making his ‘kills’ of hair bobbles, shoe laces and small soft toy meerkats.
The funny thing is that the cat has as much of a routine as we do.
I also now love my Nest Cam Outdoor that little bit more.
Detective or Batman — either will suffice
This morning I found a small note through our letterbox. It read:
‘Burglary Alert. There has been a burglary in your street.’
It then went on to give an approximate time of the burglary, between 8:30pm and 9:00pm. ‘Hmm,’ I thought to myself. ‘I wonder if my Nest Cam Outdoor picked up anything?’
I opened up my computer and jumped on. I had a bit of a look for any suspicious characters walking around during those times last night.
I saw a man walk past our house along the pavement. He continued past, paying no attention to our house. Then, three doors up, he turned in and headed for the front door.
My Nest Cam has good range, and it just covers enough area to have caught the man in the top right corner of the footage. At first, it seemed like nothing much.
And then he took a few steps back from the door, and made a fast lunge at it, leading with his foot. He did it again. He was trying to kick down the door.
‘Holy [expletive],’ I said to myself. This was him! This was the guy that robbed the house down the street. Now, at this point, I didn’t know which of our neighbours he robbed.
I called the police station to say I had security footage of the burglary. And yes, it was the house I suspected that he had attacked.
I continued to monitor the footage, going back as early as 8:00pm, and saw him come and go from the front of the house numerous times. He walked past twice, perhaps looking for the right time to attack.
He tried to kick the door down a few times, and left. He came back, loitering a little more as a few passers-by walked past. A parking car (another neighbour) spooked him off for a while. But then he came back. He made several visits up until about 9:10pm.
After that, he didn’t return.
After a bit of breakfast, I continued to watch the footage from last night. I made it up until the police arrived.
I then cut out the hour and a half of footage and loaded it on to a USB stick. On Friday, the police detectives swung by my house to pick up the footage.
As of right now, I’m not sure if they’ve caught the guy. But there’s plenty of footage to get a good description and picture of him. And even then, there are exact times when he was around that they could match up with other CCTV footage from nearby.
There’s a fire station up the road, and a corner shop the other way. They both have CCTV. I’m sure he’s on that footage, too.
A perfect world of smart home is just around the corner
The fortunate thing is that I’ve got a Nest Cam out the front of my house. I’ve also got a Ring Doorbell. Both are cameras that record footage from the front of my house. It’s clear they’re there. And in that respect, hopefully, if anyone thinks about trying to rob our house, they’ll think again.
But it also serves a secondary purpose of helping those around us. Sure, I didn’t catch him in the act and manage to chase him down. In that respect, I’m no Batman. But I’ve got enough that the police should be able to find the burglar.
This is the benefit of technology. The benefit of home security. The reason why companies like Google spend billions on companies like Nest. The technology they develop is bloody good. It’s easy, it works, and it does as it says on the box.
I’ve spent around $1,000 on my Nest equipment. In the scheme of things, it’s nothing. And it makes perfect sense as to why smart home devices are a burgeoning industry.
A perfect world would see every home on the street with a home security cam to thwart off would-be criminals. We’re not there yet. But it’s just around the corner. And as these technologies become more accessible, and easier to install, the safer we’ll all be.
And as this world of smart devices continues to grow the companies, like Nest and Google, it will become more and more valuable. Both from a financial perspective and also from a living standard perspective.
Editor, Money Morning