Security System Options to consider
Things to consider when looking at a new security alarm solution
Today, consumers have many options when looking for security solutions for their home. The choices can be overwhelming as we are bombarded with TV and radio ads about video door bell and camera systems that claim to “replace” the need for a traditional alarm system.
Let’s carefully look at some important considerations related to security today;
#1. Motion activated cameras that send out alerts via Smartphone
Commonly advertised products on the market are video doorbells and wireless cameras. Many of these are available in most retail channels as well as online. There are professional versions of some of these products complete with professional installation and enhanced features. Many video doorbells often include built-in motion activated cameras that, upon detection of any activity nearby, send alerts to your smartphone or tablet. This often becomes a nuisance as the alerts that continually pop up on your phone or tablet all day get very old, very fast. I know! I own one of these products advertised on TV.
My doorbell camera is convenient when there is someone at the door. I bought the professional upgraded version of the retail model because I wanted something better than the basic model commonly sold on TV and online. I am very happy with it as a doorbell. I love the fact that my wife does not have to physically go to the door to answer the door bell. We live in a gated community that has “No Soliciting” sign posted clearly at the entrance, but few salespeople pay attention to signage. In my city, ignoring the “No Solicitation” sign is against the law..
Nonetheless, I can not monitor my phone 24/7 as I use my phone for work, participate in sports and the constant alerts are a distraction to say the least. Having multiple cameras with motion based alerts means I would literally need my phone on me and active ALL OF THE TIME. This makes it less attractive as a “security” device that is primarily a live look in based on alerts.
If I wanted to access any kind of recordings with this product, I would have to pay a monthly cost per camera and would still need internet to access the recordings. If my internet ever went down, the camera wouldn’t be recording.
A better solution for recording video from cameras would be to have an actual camera system with a Digital Video Recorder that can be played back and exported as needed rather than get notifications with live view only.
#2. System Design
Most professional security installation companies will design a system around the customers needs and perceived threats. Additionally, the system will be designed to be professionally monitored by a UL Listed central station.
During a site assessment, consideration should be made and determine the vulnerabilities that exist at the site. For example, most homes have a security “hole” in the system, which is the Master Bathroom tub area glass feature.
Crooks know they can knock out the glass on an operable glass window and leave the “frame” intact, allowing entry without alarm activation. Or they might break out a solid glass feature in the bathtub area and they are immediately in the “honey hole”, as most people keep their valuables in the closets off the master bath. You need to address this problem area with at least a glass break sensor. I also like to create a 24 hour zone on any closet containing a safe. A simple “keyed” bypass allows you access into the closet any time. When activated, it becomes an instant alarm with no countdown to activation.
Additional devices can be put on safes that indicate tampering or opening. We have a safe system with a built-in contact for communication to the alarm panel.
On last thought. I don’t know too many people who want a camera in their master bath, hooked into the Internet by wifi.
#3. Wireless Alarms
Wireless alarms were actually introduced in the early 90’s. Most reputable security installation companies tried them briefly and then continued on with wired devices, citing problems with interference, batteries and operational challenges.
In recent years, wireless has come a long way and is used in many applications with an existing system where additional devices are needed and running wires is just not possible because of their home’s design limitations. We use wireless glass break detectors, motion detectors and wireless door contacts when needed. Again, this is not the best option but may be the only option. You still may have battery issues but the devices will tell your control panel when the batteries need to be changed.
Many of these totally wireless devices have a central control hooked up to the Internet to communicate alarm conditions either to your phone or a central station. What happens if a smart thief cuts your cable or Internet wires outside? Does your system offer redundant communication via wireless? If not, no signal can mean serious losses.
If I felt anything could be close to the protection level of a good wired alarm system with redundant communication, it would be a stand alone system using cellular and wifi.
These new systems also offer encrypted wireless signaling between the central control unit and the sensors in the field. This means they can not be hacked, unlike many popular security options today. If you are having a new “wireless’ system installed, ask first if the wireless communication between devices is encrypted. Very Important!
Easy to install and hook up, the systems come pre-programmed to make the activation easy and fast. I “cellular communicator insert” offers the redundant monitoring and smart phone app use to arm and disarm your system.
Call us today if you are thinking of an alarm system for your home or business. Our professionals will come to you and assist in the design best for your situation.
Call 713-378-7589 to schedule your appointment.