Every year, law enforcement and consumer safety groups issue warnings about safety issues that can arise during holidays. Thanks to new, affordable smart home technologies, there are now even more ways to use technology to help ensure a safe and secure holiday season.

Vivint customer Jennifer Gilbert has a full smart home system installed in her Sparks, Nevada house. "The holidays are always a hectic time for our family," said Jennifer. "It's easy to forget to turn off lights, including the Christmas tree, or to leave the house before making sure all the doors are locked. Vivint gives us that extra peace of mind that our home and family are protected so we can focus on being together and celebrating the season."

Home automation technologies are now easier to use and more affordable than ever before. In addition, homeowners appreciate the ease and convenience of being able to monitor and control their homes through a smartphone, computer, or other web-enabled device.

Cameras, motion detectors

Most alarm systems give families a basic level of protection. But for very little additional investment, video cameras can help capture what’s happening “live” inside a home, providing an extra peace of mind when you’re away.

Appliance and lighting controls

How many times have you forgotten to turn off the tree or outside holiday lights before you leave the house or go to bed? Some smart home vendors offer appliance and lighting controls that allow you to program specific on and off times, and even vary the times lights come on. If you’re out shopping and visiting friends, or traveling during the holidays, this feature can really cut down on worrying about whether your tree or space heater will become a serious safety hazard.

Smart access

Automatic door locks are another smart home feature that offers year-round safety and convenience, as well as special comfort during the holidays. Keyless locks can be programed with personalized entry codes for children, family members, and even neighbors who are feeding the cat while you’re away. You can also program the locks to send you a text when a code is entered so you know exactly who is coming and going, and when.

Remote control

The best smart home technologies include the ability to tap into your system remotely from your computer or smartphone. From changing settings, to checking in on your home (or pile of presents), to receiving up-to-the-second alerts, new smart home technologies can keep you connected to your home when you’re down the street at the neighborhood potluck, or across the world on a holiday get-away.

Live monitoring and notification

Sometimes an alarm just isn’t enough. Ask any police officer and you’ll hear stories about burglars finishing up their work after a home alarm has sounded because they know either the police won’t be notified, or if they are, they won’t arrive in time. The best smart security systems include 24/7/365 monitoring by live operators who will contact you immediately through your in-home panel or by phone when an alarm is triggered. Look for a vendor who can dispatch local emergency personnel to your home in short order if they’re unable to reach you. It just might make the difference between a pile of presents under the tree and a tearful Christmas morning.

“Keeping your home and family safe is always important, but the holiday season can present special challenges,” says Alex Dunn, Vivint’s chief operating officer. “Whether you plan to be away from home visiting friends and family, or at home enjoying your gifts, new smart technologies like Vivint’s home automation system can help keep your property and loved ones safe, and give you peace of mind to enjoy the season.”

About Vivint

Vivint Inc. is a leading provider of home technology services in North America. Vivint’s technology-based platform integrates a wide range of wireless features and components that deliver simple, affordable home automation, solar, and smart grid solutions. In 2011, Vivint's Full Home Automation package and Advanced Security package received a Consumers Digest "Best Buy" rating. Dedicated to protecting families, increasing energy efficiency, and simplifying lives, Vivint has more than 12 years of experience and supports over 570,000 customers throughout the United States and Canada. For more information, visit the company’s website at www.vivint.com.