For some of us having a security system on our homes and businesses is essential and is part of our modern lifestyle. For others it's a bridge that just hasn't been crossed yet or something we are contemplating on for the near future. Many studies have been made on the pros and cons of owning a security system on your business or home. The bottom line is that an electronic security system will eliminate or substantially reduce your losses should a break in occur. The effectiveness of the system will be determined by the level of detection purchased and what level of physical protection you have. Whenever possible keeping high value items in an interior area such as a reinforced safe room, security cage, safe etc. works best. Not many burglers are going to hang around once the alarm has been sounded and the police are on their way.
Many alarm companies these days are in the business of selling alarm monitoring contracts with just enough equipment to get you connected and obligated to pay an inflated monthly fee. Typically you get a package that includes a key pad and a sensor on your front and back door. The newly trained salesperson (most of these companies have a high sales force turnover) will tell you burglars probably won't come in the windows or other doors. These systems are sold with a low or zero down (they avoid necessary equipment and labor cost to do it right) and an inflated monthly charge on a long term contract.
We do it differently. We provide a professional and honest assessment of what your true security needs are. Doing it the right way does require more labor and equipment. There is a fair and reasonable charge for installation; however, our monthly charges are not inflated. When you do the math our systems provide more coverage at a significantly lower price when you factor in the true cost of ownership.
IP MEGAPIXEL SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS
The timing for buying a IP megapixel camera surveillance system today could never be better. The technology has finally evolved. Twenty five years ago HD and megapixel cameras did not exist. Low resolution marginally useful video was the the best available. IP megapixle cameras were first introduced in the mid 1990's. Growth was slow, prices were high, bandwidth, processors and storage were a challenge. By 2014 IP megapixle camera sales passed the industry 50% point and are continuing to grow. Today IP megapixel cameras are a win-win for surveillance consumers and installation companies. Camera, network, storage and processors have evolved and prices have dropped and are approaching that of analog camera systems. Analog cameras might be right for some customers but not for most, investing in IP megapixel cameras is investing in the future and brings the performance you need and expect. IP megapixel cameras are very adaptable to wirless applications via ethernet bridging radios. Multiple buildings, local and remote sites can all be integrated to one centralized monitoring / network video recording location.
As older analog camera systems age and require replacement of major components it's also a good time to consider upgrading to IP megapixel cameras or megapixel over coax cameras. New technologies have evolved that allow the existing coaxial cable to be used. If replacing working analog cameras is too costly a hybrid system can be implemented as well. Key critical areas can have high resolution cameras and other less critical areas can continue using the existing analog cameras.
In this day and age you would think that the average home would be fully automated. The fact is only a few are. If you leave for vacation (or the season) and you forget to turn off your lights, adjust your heat or air conditioning you could end up with significantly higher electric bill than expected. This can all be done automatically or remotely from smart phones or computers. In many medium size and larger homes walking in to a kitchen family room area may include a bank of switches or dimmers. Many times 6 to 12 unlabeled switches and/or dimmers. By automating these
HOME AUTOMATION (continued)
switches a one button touch or motion detector can activate a lighting scene such as Cooking, Dinning, Party, Movie, etc. When you open your car door the dome light automatically comes on. Why doesn't your foyer light come on when you open your front door? With an automated home it can. These technology enhancements improve comfort, convenience, safety and energy savings.
Home automation available today can be broken down into three levels. Basic Low-End, Mid-Level and High-End.
BASIC LOW-END HOME AUTOMATION: We have reviewed numerous Basic Low-End home automation controllers. Most of these are interesting devices but have limitations. They are usually small tabletop boxes (some not much bigger than a pack of cigarettes in some cases) cloud based, and require a smart phone, tablet etc. as an interface. Probably a good choice for a DIY limited budget tech-savvy handy-man or computer-person for an apartment or small house.
MID-LEVEL HOME AUTOMATION: HAI/LEVITON OMNI line fits this classification. It is fully scalable (hardware and software) to fit any size home small, medium large or even commercial applications. The user control interace can be a security style keypad, touch panel, smart phone or computer. It can also be integrated to higher end user interface options such as Crestron or AMX. It is the most comprehensive total home controller on the market. It is built from the factory (software and hardware) as a fully integrated security and home automation system. This means the standard door / window sensors, motion detectors , status, and modes of the security can be used for home control as well. The keypad and the touch screens are purpose built fixed location (wall mounted) user interfaces so if your batteries run down on your smart phone you can still arm or disarm your security as well as control lighting, heat and/or AC. Most home automation system installs are a learning curve for home owners. They start out with a general understanding of what they want. As they learn about the full potential they request more programming and more features to be added. With more than twenty years of working with HAI we could always be confident that anything the customer would ever asked us to do in a programming or hardware request that the answer would be yes.
HIGH-END HOME AUTOMATION: Crestron, AMX, Vantage and Lutron are the must-have in the High-End home automation world. They surpass non High-End Automation systems in certain key areas. The touch panel graphics are completely customizable. You can import art work, photos or have custom designs of any type or lay out. High quality lighting control-pads with engraved scene buttons come in many different styles, colors and materials. The large banks of conventional wall switches are eliminated and replaced with stylish microprocessor based decorative keypads with engraved scene buttons that talk to the lighting load panel controller. The lighting loads are home run to the load control panel located in an equipment room or garage. The switching and dimming is done from this panel. These systems do not perform security but can be integrated to certain security systems by installing a driver and serial interface cable. The driver emulates an alarm panel key pad allowing two way communication. The automation system can send commands like arm / disarm, alarm mode and status of sensors for controlling lights, temperature or even music.