Home Sweet Home/Home Secure Home

Home Secure Home

Security-system innovations mean someone’s always watching.

Home Sweat Home/Home Secure Home
–Illustration by David Saracino

The days of dial-and-dash are over. It used to be that setting an alarm system meant hustling kids out the door while holding a pet inside the house with one’s foot, or juggling bags and car keys while setting the key code only to make a dash for the door as the beeps got increasingly closer together. No more—the era of the “smart home” has arrived, and with it, major innovations in home security driven by online and cellular technology.

In the old days, most alarms consisted of sensors on doors and windows, perhaps some motion detectors, or even a glass-break sensor. When these were tripped, the alarm company called the house. If no one responded, the police were dispatched.

Now, systems can be customized. Most security providers offer advances like water sensors that can be placed in the basement or near a sump pump to detect flooding, as well as smoke and carbon-monoxide sensors. Depending on the provider, if the smoke or carbon-monoxide sensor goes off, the furnace automatically shuts off so poisonous air doesn’t circulate through the house.

Wireless, infrared cameras can be set up inside and outside the home. When a door sensor is tripped, a 15-second video clip can be sent via text message or e-mail to the homeowner. This is particularly popular with parents who want to be sure children have gotten home safely from school—and to see who may have entered the home in their company.

Most importantly, no one needs to be home to access these services. Rather, a homeowner can watch video on a mobile device and arm or disarm the system online or from a cell phone. (With the ADT “Pulse” system, you’ll soon be able to use voice commands to manage your home system, so you won’t be texting while driving.) For that matter, you don’t have to arm the system at all; some can be set to arm automatically.

But that’s just the beginning. As homes have become “smarter,” security companies have increasingly started to widen their sphere of services into the lifestyle realm. Not only can one turn the lights off and on in the house from a computer, tablet, or cell phone, but, depending on your service and provider, you can get a text alert if the power goes off.

You can also remotely access the settings of the thermostat in your home, so if you’ve been away on summer vacation, for example, the house can be nice and cool by the time you get home from the airport.

Comcast, which is getting in on the home-security wave through its XFINITY Home service, offers something called EcoSaver. When paired with an XFINITY home thermostat, the system learns your home’s heating and cooling abilities as well as your personal temperature preferences and uses an algorithm to adapt the HVAC system to your needs by making small changes, which are designed to save energy.

Perhaps the best defense against an intruder is to simply lock the front door, but how often have you left for work and forgotten if you turned that deadbolt? New innovations allow for remote door locking. Or you can simply do away with the key altogether, says Peter Rogers, co-founder and senior advisor of FrontPoint, a security company based in McLean, VA. FrontPoint offers a slightly different solution than some providers in that theirs is a customized “plug-and-play” system that the DIY homeowner installs on his own.

“We’ve essentially gotten rid of our front-door key because now we have a key-pad door lock, and you can remotely open and close that lock and also set up codes so people can let themselves in and out and we can remove those codes,” says Rogers of his own home. Imagine, no more waiting around for the handyman: Now you can provide him an access code, get a text and a video showing him entering and exiting the home, lock the door when he’s gone, then erase the access code so he cannot enter again. This is also a useful function for owners of rental properties—no more chasing down spare keys or swapping locks.

As telephone landlines have disappeared, alarm companies have increasingly moved to new technology to connect their systems. Comcast’s XFINITY home app is available for both OSX and Android, which replaces the old dial-in pad, and the system works over broadband with a cellular-system backup in the event the Internet goes down.

Some providers, like FrontPoint, are relying solely on built-in cellular so there is no line of any kind that can be cut. Because most providers are producing strictly wireless systems, they can be disassembled and reconnected in a new home and can be used even in older homes.

A monitored home security system has many advantages. If the fire alarm goes off, instead of just making a lot of noise—which isn’t very helpful if the family is overcome by smoke or not home—it will alert the fire department.

And simply having that alarm company sign in the front yard is a deterrent to would-be burglars. For this reason, insurance companies often offer discounts on home policies if a house has a security system.

How much smarter and safer can a home get in the future?

“The home-automation element is at a plateau of sorts, so what’s happening now is enhancements to technology that exists,” explains FrontPoint’s Rogers. He points to geo-sensing as an example. “If you elect to use your phone to track where you are, when you leave home, it will automatically adjust your thermostat when you’re five miles from home or, if you did not arm your alarm system, it will alarm your system for you.”

“It’s adding a level of intelligence and analysis to events that are happening, so you now feel not just protected but more connected to your home,” he states.


If you would like liquidvideotechnologies.com to discuss developing your Home Security System, Networking, Access Control, Fire, IT consultant or PCI Compliance, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-859-9848 or you can email us at deveren@liquidvideotechnologies.com .
Article provided by Baltimore Magazine

Evolution 360°

Pelco New Evolution 360° Mini Indoor camera

Evolution 360° - Pelco

Pelco by Schneider Electric today announced the release of the new Evolution 360° mini indoor surveillance camera. With an impressively small diameter of only 4.25 inches (108mm), the Evolution Mini is one of the smallest 360° cameras in the industry, making it a great cost-effective camera for hospitality, education, retail and banking facilities—
anywhere a small, discreet, but robust camera is required.In addition to the new Evolution Mini product, we are delighted to announce that Pelco has extended the warranty period to three years for all Evolution 360° series cameras. And now with availability of the Pelco Endura 360 Viewer, all Evolution 360 series cameras can connect to Endura video management systems. This is in addition to existing connectivity to Pelco Digital Sentry and numerous third party VMS platforms.“Evo Mini offers a great way for customers to maximize their video security coverage and investment,” said Kevin Saldanha, Senior Product Manager, Pelco by Schneider Electric. “As with all products in the Evolution 360° series, this exciting new joint-venture product combines Oncam Grandeye’s award-winning 360-degree cameras and client-side de-warping technology, with excellent Pelco service and support, product delivery, and warranty fulfillment.”Suitable for ceiling, wall or table mounted applications, the Evolution Mini is an IP camera with a 5-megapixel sensor and no moving parts. The small unit is designed for quick and easy indoor installations where a professional, small indoor enclosure is required. The Evolution Mini has a convenient surface-mounting design that fully supports IEEE802.3af Class 2 Power-over-Ethernet for installation convenience.With client-side de-warping and retrospective analysis, customers have the best forensic tool available on the market today. De-warping on the network video recorder (NVR) provides an immersive experience that allows customers to go back in time to retrospectively view the total scene in its original form and then pan, tilt, and/or zoom within the 360-degree image — just like a live image. With this powerful tool, multiple users can view the same image with different perspectives concurrently from a single camera — either live or recorded.

Product Features:

• Constant 360° surveillance, no blind spots

• Ultra-small light weight enclosure ideal for discreet mounting

• No moving parts means silent operation and no wear and tear

• Fully supports IEEE802.3af Power over Ethernet (PoE)

• Quick and easy installation

• Minimum illumination 0.2 lux, providing clarity in low light

• Onboard Micro SD card and advanced event management

• Micro SD card slot for future local recording feature and advanced event management

• Configurable privacy regions

• Video Motion Detection within defined areas of interest

• Fully integrated with multiple VMS platforms to provide live and retrospective de-warping

If you would like liquidvideotechnologies.com to discuss developing your Home Security System, Networking, Access Control, Fire, IT consultant or PCI Compliance, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-859-9848 or you can email us at deveren@liquidvideotechnologies.com .
Article provided by Security InfoWatch

Home Security 101-Part 2


Smart systems consist of hardware that doesn’t look a lot different than it did twenty-five years ago. There are some specialized sensors and video cameras that weren’t common in the past and window and door contact switches have gotten a lot smaller, but the basics are the same: a control panel or console, magnetic contact switches, motion sensors, a siren. The new systems may also be connected to central monitoring stations, as do many old-style security systems. The big difference, however, is the degree of interactivity. New software platforms, such as alarm.com and iControl (pictured below) allow you to send commands, program home systems, view surveillance video, and receive alerts on a smart phone or computer—whether you’re at home or away.


Home Security - I Control Open Home Software Control PanelI Control Open Home Software Control Panel


When shopping for a system, review software platforms first. Alarm.com and iControl are the two biggest. The former has partnered with more than 2,500 dealers and the latter with ADT and Comcast. Among other things, you’ll have to decide between a “cellular primary” or “broadband primary” system. The former is a wireless connection to the monitoring station, making it immune to power outages or someone cutting a cable. It is limited, however, with regard to transmitting large quantities of video, so many cellular primary systems incorporate broadband for video. Broadband primary services, on the other hand, have cables running down the side of a house that can be cut, thereby disabling the system. Some services offer cellular back-up should this occur.

[Click to get help finding the right home security system now.]

Be sure to choose a reputable dealer; one that will sell you the equipment as well as a monitoring plan. Many dealers will install the system for you, but there are others that sell equipment and services for the do-it-yourselfer. Frontpoint Security, a national provider based in Virginia, for example, offers a GE-branded system, the Simon XT, that can easily be installed by the homeowner (along with alarm.com features, and a third party monitoring plan). Installing the system yourself can save you several hundred dollars and make you more knowledgeable about how it works.

Smart home security systems do not restrict the type of security hardware you use, although a dealer may limit your choices. The inside-the-house components may connect by wire (known ashardwired) or via radio frequency (wireless) or RF radiation. While hardwired components were considered the standard because they are more difficult to disable and don’t rely on batteries for power, the reliability gap has narrowed—or even disappeared—with new technology.

Alarm.com and its partners, for example, offer “smash and bash” protection for wireless home security systems. As soon as a point of entry is breached, the central station is immediately sent a pending alarm signal. It doesn’t wait to find out if the person who entered is you or a bad guy. If the system is not disarmed within the programmed amount of time, the alarm is treated as an intrusion. In this way, a smashed controller won’t stop the central station from calling the police.

A conventional system, on the other hand, does not send a signal for a period of time (typically 30 seconds while it allows time the homeowner to tap in a code and then more time for the dialer to call the monitoring station). It doesn’t sound like much time but for a smart burglar, it can be enough to disable the security system or to grab a purse or valuable and run.

Wireless hardware is, of course, much easier to install than wired components, making it more appealing to do-it-yourself homeowners. You can also take it with you should you move.

Home Security - Layout

Look for a home security system with a full line of wireless peripherals, including modules for controlling lights and appliances, thermostats, cameras, motion sensors (some can distinguish between a pet and a person), water sensors, and glass break and vibration sensors. Look for long-life battery power, too. Lithium sensor batteries, for example, can last three to five years. When they do run low, the system lets you know well in advance. Choose a controller with back-up battery so the system will stay active in the event of a power outage or if the Internet is down. If you will be installing smoke alarms you’ll need the extra power of a 24-hour battery back-up, not the 4-hour back-up offered by many manufacturers.


Smart systems all require a subscription to a third-party alarm monitoring service. Ask about which central station will be handling your account and be sure that it is UL certified.

If you would like liquidvideotechnologies.com to discuss developing your Home Security System, Networking, Access Control, Fire, IT consultant or PCI Compliance, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-859-9848 or you can email us at deveren@liquidvideotechnologies.com .
Article provided by Yahoo! Homes