Buying Guide to Security and Surveillance
With burglaries on the rise, at any time, home security has become an important issue for everyone. Locking your doors and windows or having watchdogs isn’t enough. Awaiting the right opportunity, intruders can trespass into your home even if you are there posing a threat to your life. It pays to have a solid security system installed in place preferably by a professional service provider for the safety of your family and your home. There are low and high-end security and surveillance systems, while all don’t necessarily guarantee 100% protection, but you can be reassured that the burglar is not going to get in easily, giving you plenty of time to call the authority and raise an alarm.
Plenty of options are available for setting up a home security system including motion detectors, web-cam and CCTV surveillance, alarm system, locks, wired and wireless security systems, and many more. This buying guide to Security and Surveillance will shed light on some of these methods and help you decide which system or combination of systems will work best for you.
Different types of security systems:
Home security systems can also be classified as wireless or hard wired as well as monitored and unmonitored. Alarms and Security Cameras are two major security systems that are part of home surveillance.
Wireless home security systems involve battery-powered radio transmitters and receivers that connect with other security components such as motion detectors, sensors, sirens, keypads, smoke and fire detectors and CCTV cameras. If security is breached, the wireless security systems can be set to automatically call programmed numbers to alert them. Being wireless, these security systems are portable. However, there are limitations to this system, all the components work within a specific distance range from each other, there are chances of electromagnetic interferences from other similar sources and the batteries need to be recharged or replaced periodically.
Wired home security system, involves passing wires through the wall and crawl spaces to connect to sensors that in turn connect to a central control panel. Similar to a wireless alarm system in its functioning and other security components such as camera, sensors, motion detectors etc, but minus the radio receiver and transmitter, the hard-wired alarm systems use the home power unit for drawing power. It is also equipped with a rechargeable battery pack as backup for emergencies during power outages. Being concealed, there are no electromagnetic interferences or any distance limitations between the various components of the security system, that is found in the wireless type. However, since the wires are embedded inside the wall, you cannot take it along with you in case you change residences. Installation issues may arise if some place in the home is inaccessible for wiring.
Monitored and unmonitored are another way to classify a Home surveillance system. A monitored alarm system is connected to security company’s’ call centre and alerts them as soon as the security is breached. The company contacts the owner to check whether this was a genuine alarm or a mistake. However, experienced burglars have been known to cut off exposed telephone lines before entering the premises and the company is never alerted. As a backup, the alarm system can also be connected to the company via a cell phone or a radio connection. This is however a paid service. In the unmonitored alarm system, a loud siren starts ringing inside and outside the house when security breach happens. This alerts the owners as well as the neighbours who are in a position and willing to alert the police. Often the blaring siren also deters the thief making him think twice before breaking in.
Listed below are a few types of Home Alarm Systems that are available to thwart crimes. Though designed with one goal in mind, each has its own unique features and effectiveness.
Motion detector alarms use ultrasound microwaves or light patterns to protect your home. If the intruder walks into the invisible light patterns or breaks into the microwaves, the alarm, if on, will be triggered off instantly.
Infrared Motion Alarms use the body’s thermal heat for detection. Passive infrared technology creates an invisible protective wall with crisscross beans. The alarm will set off when it detects body heat crossing its path. Infrared systems come with a remote and a keypad version for setting the alarm on or off.
Pressure Alarms use the differences in air pressures in the room for detection. These highly sensitive alarm sets off when the door or window is opened or closed. When the alarm is set on, it can provide protection up to a 1000 sq. ft. Some of the super-sensitive alarm systems are set off even when a door knob is touched. Being portable, these security systems can be carried along with you wherever you go.
Simple yet effective Magnetic Alarms use the principle of magnets and are installed on the doors and windows. A two-part system, one part is attached to the window or door frame and the other is fixed to the movable door. When the door or window is opened, the magnets separate and the alarm is triggered off.
Highly popular and effective, Electric current home alarms create a steady electric current and can be placed anywhere around the house. If an intruder passes through the circuit the electric current will be interrupted causing the alarm to be raised. Place it in the hall, the entryways, garage, basement, near windows, just about anywhere from where you think that a person might enter. These types of alarms ring loudly to scare the intruder and alert the owner. Few of these alarms also sent a silent alert to the local police station in case of intrusions.
Panic button or personal alarms are manually activated and are often placed next to your bed or the doors. It can even be a personal wireless unit worn on the body.
Placed near the windows, these Glass break sensors raise an alarm if the glass is broken by an unwelcome source.
Stress sensors are a bit like mine detectors. Placed under carpets, rugs and floor joists these are activated when someone steps over it accidentally.
From low to high resolution to black and white and coloured, a vast range of Home security cameras keep an eye on the happenings even when you are not around.
Closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems an integral part of the video surveillance, are now a part of most new age homes. They provide vigilance 24x7 and the recorded footage can be watched on a TV or computer monitor. You can choose between wired, wireless and infrared in case of low lighting conditions or at night. Signals on a standard CCTV camera on the home video security system are transmitted via a video cable or via radio waves that are carried forward along the standard video cable. Wired or Wireless cameras transmit image or data signals over radio signals.
Cameras work effectively under good lighting conditions. However, for low lighting conditions or during night, special infrared cameras are used. Their infrared LEDs illuminate the monitored area via infrared light, invisible to the naked human eye. Every human being generates heat that is detected by the infrared sensors built into these cameras. Some of these cameras can be used during the daytime as well. Dome cameras, Bullet Cameras and C-Mount Cameras and panning cameras are some other types of security cameras.
Some CCTV cameras only monitor while others are also equipped to record the activities. This helps to maintain a history of past events. Some recorders get into action when they detect motion and snap a series of snapshots, while some are equipped to record live footage. The recorded images can be viewed on a TV or computer monitor.
Easy to install, the webcam are another type of home security camera system. The webcam surveillance system is cheaper than the standard CCTV camera. Special software is employed that uses your regular webcam for keeping an eye on the home. This program records the webcam videos into the computer’s hard disk and for viewing later. This type of security camera system also allows the user to keep an eye on his home even from a remote location through the internet or LAN. Special baby cameras and nanny cameras are installed by parents to keep an eye on their babies and to check if the nanny is taking adequate care and is not mistreating them. These cameras can be hidden in stuffed toys, within a cut-off cover of a book placed on a book shelf, outside a window, inside a planter, a clothes hamper, simply any place where its placement is not obvious. Some air conditioners, boom boxes, wall clocks, DVD players, artefacts and soft toys come equipped with a secret nanny camera for monitoring the activities around the home.
On detecting motion, the advanced webcams with built-in motion detectors start recording the activities. This helps you save hard disk space and also lets you watch only actual action and not empty footage. Advanced webcam software is capable of phoning the owner and sending an email with an image when motion is detected. Charged coupled device (CCD) and complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) are the two types of sensors used in a motion detecting webcam. CCD sensors are useful in low lighting conditions.
Motion detecting lights:
Motion detecting lights use infrared technology along with multiple detection lenses and go on instantly as soon as movement is detected. These lights can be used in the place of regular lights and can be placed inside or outside the home. These lights are based on timers and once triggered will stay on for a while before going off, saving electricity. These can be very stylish yet functional and are available in a large range of features and designs.
Installed around the apartment block, outside the entrance doors or facing the driveway the Bright flood lights are excellent in warding off burglars. They turn on instantly when they detect any motion and throw sweeping light in two or more directions. Adjustable models allow for altering sensitivity to motion and the distance range. Some models also come with wireless remote sensors that can be placed at places that you think are vulnerable.Keyless Entry Locks
The Keyless entry locks operate independently of electricity or batteries and allow you entry even during a power failure. Sophisticated security systems, these Keyless entry locks are of two types – the touchpad and tag. The touch-pad type lets you set a secret code which enables you to enter when you punch in the right numbers. The other type requires you to insert a magnetic tag or card into the lock for opening them. In case you have forgotten the security code, these locks also come with backup keys.
Fin al word:
Given the rise in burglaries and thefts, home security today, is among the most important issue when it comes to setting up homes. Measures used for ensuring security have moved from using simple locking systems and watchdogs to making use of high-tech surveillance and security systems for enhanced security. Buying high-tech surveillance and security systems is not easy due to the fact there are plenty of options available in the market. This guide will help you make a well-informed decision.
Security and Surveillance
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