Home and office security systems seem to get a lot of advertising attention these days. Every other commercial I see on TV seems to be about a newer, better security system. They all claim to somehow be both better and cheaper than the next guy. They generally advertise that you can set up and install their fantastic system in mere minutes, with no wires or power connections. But do you really want to protect your home or business with a battery-powered system that connects in minutes and is that inexpensive? (i.e. cheap) Read on for more discussion.
Per my security expert, who has been in this field for close to 40 years, “When I design security for a residence, I try to look at the whole picture for the client. The one-size-fits-all approach doesn't really work. I always try to take into consideration the property location itself, including things like topography, lighting, and visibility. If you can’t see your neighbor's property, they can’t see yours. What is the likelihood of an intrusion at a specific entry point? Or, more importantly, is the client at risk? What are the client's needs vs. wants? Should the alarm be local or monitored with video? Are there electronic entry systems?
Next, I would discuss devices and the best application of audio discriminators (glass break sensors, for example) vs. motion detection. Things like dual technology vs single and how they limit false alarms come into play. Zone supervision is often not well understood, and why using it is important.” These are all some of the many important points to consider when purchasing a security system.
The expert sums up by making an important statement: “I would also include a disclaimer to the client. They should remember that a security system only limits the time a burglary or assault can occur. It doesn’t prevent a crime from happening.”
Wireless vs. Wired
Most of the systems I see advertised on TV or in the big box stores are DIY wireless systems. If you’ve read this blog before, you know that professional electronics systems companies rarely use wireless connections for anything, yet alone something as important as security. My expert goes on to make the following comments in this area: “Personally, I don't like wireless devices but in some of cases it's the only option. Although technology has improved a lot over the years, we still have limited battery time and more RF interference than ever.”
Battery Backup & System Integration
Some additional things to consider are battery backup and control system integration. Particularly during monsoon seasons in Tucson, the power frequently goes out. You definitely want to make sure that your security system is still active if the power is out and you’re not home! Additionally, if you have a home automation system, such as Control4, Crestron or Savant, you can take advantage of integrating the security system into the automation system. You can, for example, arm/disarm the system using your automation touch screen. Or look at your cameras through your automation app. You can even program a single button on your keypad or touch screen to turn off all your lights, lower the shades, lock your doors and arm your security system!
Although some companies would like to tell you otherwise, a well designed home or office security system is a fairly complex electronic system. Simply setting up a couple wireless cameras and a wireless motion sensor may not be enough to adequately and reliably protect your home or your family. Like most things in the technology industry, you get what you pay for. If you want a high-performance, properly-designed system, it’s going to cost you a bit. But it’s definitely worth it, especially relative to what you’re trying to protect.