This remote triggers alternative timelines

Ones in which you’re still surrounded by the things you love, mostly

Oh, will this unlock my doors?

Not your doors, nope. This is a new scheme by the government to cure the housing shortage. Everybody with a house will be sent one of these. It will lead you to, and unlock, another unspecified house within 20 miles.

Here's the gamble: do you abandon your current house, in the hope that another one might be better? No returns. You've also got to consider whether the occupants of your new home decided to stick because, if so, now you have to live with them. Once all the to'ing and fro'ing is over, any unallocated houses will be assigned to the homeless. It's a neat scheme, really.

Now I understand why your local MP blocked you.

Closed to new thought, that chap. This is not, of course, a random houser. It’s the remote for Y-cam Protect, a £149.99 security system that includes a hub/siren, door sensor and infrared sensor. You can add Y-cam cameras and up to 32 additional sensors – Y-cam is working on smoke, water and doorbell widgets – and control the whole caboodle using an iOS and Andoid app.

Wait, infrared sensors? That’s a bit 80s, isn’t it?

Ah, but dependable, affordable and flexible. The infrared and door sensors are wireless and battery powered, so you can just adhesive them to a handy surface, connect them in the app and wander off. Battery life is about a year, again notified through the app. And we’ve not yet talked about the ‘Triple Layer Security’.

Go on, then. What’s the triple layer?

First, a factoid: Y-cam says one in five burglars will attempt to cut your power and broadband cables before breaking in.

Needn’t bother. My broadband is always down anyway.

Well, exactly. That’s why the Y-cam Protect Hub has an 8-hour battery back-up and, if you pay the £5.99/month Plus subscription, a built-in SIM card for sending alarm notifications to you and to some trusted contacts, even if the Wi-Fi is down. There’s a handy side-effect to this independence – you can take the whole system on holiday with you. Bridlington static caravan break-ins are on the rise, don’cha know.

I did not. Presumably this works with Apple Homekit and whatnot?

Ah, in this case, presumably makes a ‘pres’ out of ‘u’ and ‘mably’. It does not. To connect Protect to IFTTT or Homekit or any internet of things networks would compromise the security of the system, says Y-cam. Whilst peering suspiciously out through its curtains, and stabbing the lock button on its remote...