Technology

What’s hot in home security

The demand for home security technology is on the rise. With economies around theLION globe being pushed to the brink of collapse, the world is becoming increasingly volatile as more and more people find themselves subjected to financial hardship. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and even people who never considered indulging in crime for gain are resorting to various forms of illegal activity just to make ends meet. Not only are the wealthy being targeted, now even the middle class are falling prey to theft, as they still enjoy more luxuries than those forced to work long hours for insufficient wages.

Statistics have shown that home invaders of every stripe are much more likely to target houses that do not have any form of security, while shunning those that do. Strategically placed outdoor lighting, high quality dead bolts and trained guard dogs are better than nothing, but not always enough. A skilled and well equipped burglar can get through nearly any kind of lock within one minute, and there are ways to disable security dogs as well. For reasons such as this, experts suggest installing a home security system, and preferably one that is monitored by a live service.

As technology has evolved, so have home security options, and home security systems vary in both terms of effectiveness and affordability. Some home security companies provide free equipment along with a monthly monitoring contract, while others charge large sums for installation in addition to monitoring services. Ideally home security systems should be flexible, with or without home phone line requirements.

Points to consider when shopping for home security include:

Equipment requirements

Installation costs

Do you require a monitoring service? If so, what does the company offer along these lines?  Does the company conduct background checks on its employees?

Does the company offer a money back guarantee in the event of a security breach?

Is the equipment and its wiring tamper proof?

How vulnerable is the security system to hackers?

Some of the available home security technologies include:

Video/Audio surveillance

CAMERAHome surveillance can provide rock solid evidence that a crime was committed, can lead to the identification of intruders and can greatly increase the odds of justice being served. Surveillance systems should provide clear images even in darkened environments, and record audio as well.  Surveillance systems should not be vulnerable to hackers and should be protected from unauthorized access.  For indoor surveillance, such as the monitoring of domestic help, tutors and dubious visitors, micro spy cams are ideal, as they can be hidden within home decor, children’s toys and other miscellaneous items. However, to help guard against home invasion, more advanced closed circuit TV (CCTV) technology is required. CCTVs for outdoor surveillance should be weather proof, be equipped for night vision and should be linked to a voice or motion activated alarm system that instantly alerts law enforcement to the instrusion. Additionally, a customer should be able to monitor everything remotely with his laptop, while digital video recording (DVR) technology can be harnessed to keep records of activity. To increase the deterrence factor while reducing costs, dummy cameras can be installed alongside real cameras. In addition to deterring or identifying anti-social elements, surveillance technology can also be used to exonerate those who might be subjected to false accusations.

Access Control SystemsACCESS

Basically, an access control system is an electronic door lock, like those found in many office buildings. It will either require the user to enter a password, a numeric PIN code, or will be equipped with a proximity card reader, while more sophisticated models require biometric scans for a user to gain entry to a room or building.

Entrance Management Systems

GATEMeant to keep intruders out of the colony, or to prevent them from entering the front yard of an independent house, this is fancy terminology for a fancy gate. Aside from boom barriers to prevent vehicles from entering the property, such systems can also consist of an automated swinging or sliding gate, or an automated rolling shutter. The automated gates are opened via an access control system, and are equipped with a sequence timing mechanism to allow only enough time for a vehicle or pedestrian to gain entry before shutting again.

Home Automation Systems

Also referred to as “smart home” technology, these systems comprise total automationSMART of nearly all appliances, utilities, security devices and such. With fire alarms and gas sensors, safety can be enhanced, while remote access and timers can be used to reduce energy consumption, as lights can be dimmed or switched off entirely without the occupant being present. Aside from convenience, having remote access to one’s home can aid in fooling any would be intruders who might be casing the place while the occupant is absent. With remote access to lights, appliances, HVAC systems and motorized curtains, an occupant could create the illusion that somebody is at home, going about business as ususal. Additionally, such systems can be fully equipped with surveillance features, access control systems, motion detectors, magnetic door sensors and burglar alarms, along with centralized control of the locks on doors, windows and gates.

Monitoring Services

MONITORAs previously mentioned, some companies will monitor properties for a fee. This has it’s pros and cons. It’s convenient, because the occupant of the home doesn’t have to juggle surveillance with other responsibilities. With advancements in mobile technology, some companies also feature SMS and calls to multiple designated mobile numbers immediately upon detecting an intrusion. In the event that a crime is committed on the property, there will be more witnesses to call upon and the company’s employees would generally be considered neutral since they don’t know the occupants personally. However, the company should be very professionally run while holding their employees to exceptionally high standards of conduct. Does the company hire observant, professional and ethical people to watch over your property? Do they conduct professional background checks on everyone they hire? If the company has low standards and shoddy HR practices, what are the odds that a dangerous, antisocial individual is watching the home? Is it possible for a rogue employee to gain access to the home? Who watches the watchers? These are important questions to ask when shopping for monitoring services.

In addition to theft and vandalism, there are serious personal safety concerns, particularly for women and children, and this is especially the case in localities where police, politicians and religious extremists habitually encourage violent criminals by displaying apathy and hostility towards victims. If these factors alone weren’t enough to make one feel insecure, then consider the increasing incidents of violence being perpetrated against disenfranchised communities, along with manufactured civil unrest, and it’s no wonder that more people are finding it necessary to transform their homes into fortresses.

 

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Tracy Venkatesh

Tracy Venkatesh

Tracy Venkatesh has spent twenty years working and interacting with a socioeconomically diverse population in both the private and public sectors, and has held positions in multiple verticals including content development, healthcare, customer relations management, defense and law enforcement.

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