Most people feel confident in their security systems until something goes terribly wrong. Whether it is an outdated system that doesn’t work all the time (and you don’t arm the system all of the time), the neighborhood watch drops the ball, or you have a flood in the home or worse a fire, you are less likely protected than you think. Therefore, an upgrade may be needed in your near future.
An upgrade to your security system not only protects you from those who wish to do you harm, but they also offer your family or business several additional benefits.
Today’s security systems are interactive. They are designed to notify you for various types of reasons. These notifications can be based on an event occurring or not occurring. For example, if your child is supposed to come home and turn the alarm off at 3 PM, but it’s 3:30 PM and the alarm hasn’t been turned off, your system can be set to notify you by sending a text message to your cell phone. Conversely, you can receive alerts every time your front door opens, or every time your system is armed or disarmed.
If you’re running a business and can’t always open the store, it would be nice to know that your staff disarmed the system and who disarmed the system and at what time. What if you had a power outage and were away from home? Wouldn’t it be nice to know? You could make arrangements to preserve the food in the freezer as well as make other preparations before you return home to no power.
Whether these alerts are emails, text messages, or automated phone calls, they can be generated at specific times of the day or based on an event to allow you to see who is entering your facility and what is happening. Additionally, real-time feedback allows you to set alerts for when a particular event happens, such as when a medicine cabinet, gun cabinet, or safe is opened. The same sensors that monitor gun safes and medicine cabinets can also be placed on laptops, desk drawers, and other valuable items. The system can be disarmed, but it can be programmed with our interactive model to allow you to receive an alert when your mechanical room door opens or the liquor cabinet opens in your home while the kids are home and you are out on the town.
All conventional systems installed up and through the early 2000’s utilized a POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) telephone line. The copper phone line was connected to your home, usually from a telephone pole close by or underground with burial grade cabling. The issue is that a majority of these lines still exist today and they are blatantly exposed on the outside of your home. They are mounted on the outside of the house in a box called a NID (Network Interface Device), which for years has been the property of the phone company. If you have a problem with your phone line, the phone company will test the service to the NID. Furthermore, if it works at the NID, then the problem is inside the home with the wiring, which most companies will excessively charge you once they enter your home to fix the wiring. Having the NID outside allowed the phone companies to service your system without entering your home. The major issue with this setup is it’s effortless for the common criminal to snip the line outside your home with a pair of scissors, cutting your main line of communication for making that call for help to the central monitoring station.
The more sophisticated earlier systems would realize that the phone line had been tampered with and would sound an internal alarm in the home notifying the owners that there is a problem. This technology was called phone line monitoring and could be added to most systems for a nominal charge. The newer systems have this feature built into the main control unit. As an added step, they also have the ability to have multiple ways to communicate to the central station, in case an exterior line was cut.
Communications include, but are not limited to the following:
- IP (through the Internet)
- Cellular (over the cellular network)
- via Radio such as a local Radio network (AES Intellinet) or
- via a phone line, which may not be a traditional POTS line, but may still be a land line that works through Verizon or Comcast.
With the cellular industry delivering faster speeds and newer technologies, the cost to monitor your system using a cellular communicator has dropped in price dramatically. You will need to continually replace the cellular radio as the FCC sunsets the technology being used at the time (meaning shutters the network until it is no more. For example, AT&T sunsetted 2G network in December of 2016. If you had a 2G cellular radio or cell phone and didn’t replace it back in 2016, it will no longer work. Currently, the carriers are supporting 3G, 4G, and 4G-LTE platforms. 3G devices will cease to work sometime around 2020. The official sunset date for 3G has not been formally released.
In summary, it is much better to have two forms of communication for your security system in case one of them is unavailable – one wired and one wireless connection would be optimal.
Upgraded security systems often come with mobile control capability. Between web portals and smartphone apps, users can control their security system from a simple-to-use Android or IOS app. Instead of using a cumbersome wall keypad, imagine being able to arm or disarm your system, check alerts, and monitor your home from your mobile device! No more worrying if someone is home, or if you didn’t close the garage door. It’s all there for you to control from your mobile device.
Auto-Arm and Temperature Control
Some new security systems come with auto-arm and disarm optional feature that takes the guesswork out of whether you set the alarm or not. This feature allows you to set arming and disarming schedules, so you don’t have to worry if someone will forget to turn the alarm on or off. The system does it automatically for you, on a schedule that you set.
Many systems are also equipped to monitor the temperature inside of a home or office. Not only does temperature control allow you to keep your home or office comfortable, but it also saves money on heating and cooling costs when no one is in the office. Most thermostats these days have scheduling built into them. However, the scheduling is only that. It doesn’t know when you are home or not. It just follows its schedule. When you integrate a smart thermostat with your security system and arm the system to “away,” you are in fact also telling the thermostat to forget the preprogrammed schedule and now do something else. This is because everyone has now left and it doesn’t need to abide by the regularly set schedule.
Newer security systems that not only monitor for intruders and theft but also include smoke and flood detectors can trigger a discount in homeowners or business insurance premiums. While most companies offer a discount of 5% for a smoke detector, burglar alarm, or dead-bolt locks, many companies will cut your premium by as much as 20% if you install a sophisticated security system that is connected to police, fire, or other monitoring systems. Many insurance companies are now requesting a complete house water shut off system, which uses water sensors placed throughout your home at sinks, showers, toilets, tubs, and other appliances that have a water connection. Once water is detected, these devices can send an electronic signal to the main water control valve to shut off the “Main” water valve to the house, thus tremendously reducing the cost to repair the water damage. Some of these types of systems are expensive to install, but most do qualify for insurance premium discounts. It is always important to contact your insurer for their recommendations and premium discounts before installing a new system.
Most of all, outdated security systems convey an unspoken message to family members and employees that their safety is not a priority. Installing an upgraded security system can have the unintended benefit of higher levels of productivity in business once employees feel safer in their workspace. Likewise, new equipment offers your family an unparalleled peace of mind in the face of potential dangers.
- AES Intellinet Radios
- Telguard Cellular Radios
- Alarm.com Real Time Alerts
- Insurance Savings
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