Planning your home security system

More and more families are choosing to have a home security system installed in their home. While we all wish that criminals these days were as incompetent as “Harry and Marv” from the movie Home Alone made in the early 1990’s, we have to rely on modern technology instead of paint cans swinging from ropes and hot liquids. Below are a few tips to consider when planning for a home security system.

  1. Involve the whole family –Talk to your family about what responsibilities the system will bring and listen to any specific concerns. Make a list of pro’s and con’s.
  2. Schedule a risk assessment – Finding where your home is the most vulnerable is extremely imperative to deterring and preventing crimes against you. Most alarm companies will provide a free risk assessment prior to any work being performed.
  3. Choose the system type – Alarm systems are becoming more and more integrated each day. They are now doubling as “smart home” hubs. From an app on your smart device you can do things like check your front door camera for your children as they arrive home from school and then adjust the temperature of the thermostat to their needs. You could then activate the alarm system for peace of mind. Then, there is the standard type of alarm system. You have a keypad, door alarm contacts, motion sensors, glass break audible devices and others. It is fully controlled through the keypad(s). While it is just as effective, all it does is secure your home.
  4. Wireless or hardwired devices – Wireless systems are more popular than ever. They require minimal wiring to install the whole system and perform fairly well. Some of the down sides are that they are powered by lithium batteries that eventually will need to be replaced and that with any wireless device, they are susceptible to communication loss with the alarm panel. However, many times they allow you to put a device where you cannot get a security wire to. I tell my customers, if there is a way to get a cable there, then that is the first option, but wireless technology, while more costly, is still worth the investment for the added options alone.
  5. Video surveillance – Adding video technology is a critical decision as well. It can add a whole new element to securing your home. As discussed above, you can log in from anywhere in the world to check in on your home. You can set a camera to alert you when motion has been activated from a certain door or your driveway entrance. The question is whether to integrate it with your alarm system, or, have a separate security camera system installed. With a separate system, there is no monthly cost, you have the

ability for more cameras, more user functionality and higher resolution cameras. Whichever system you choose, the most important part of the installation, is the placement of the camera. With the right camera in the right place, video surveillance can be very effective. I always ask my customers, “Do you want to see that someone is there? Or, do you want to see who is there?”

I hope that you found these tips useful! Stay tuned for more helpful tips from us in the near future!

David Beckstead – President GreenLink Technologies, Inc.

What’s the difference between an analog camera and an IP camera?

If you are in the market for a security camera system, you have probably found that there are many options out there from which you could choose from. The most common decision is, to decide whether to go with an analog camera or an IP camera. Both types get the job done for business and residential applications. It mainly depends on what your needs are. Both cameras record with day/night capabilities and both, with the right camera, record in reasonable high resolution. The main difference is how it records and it’s fuctionability at the camera level. An analog camera sends a video feed back to a DVR, VCR or TV. The camera itself is what you would consider a “dumb” device. The live feed is simply passed back to the DVR via a coaxial or twisted pair cable and is then recorded onto a DVR or VCR. A separate power cable has to be run to the camera to provide 12-24 VDC power. An IP camera sends the video back to a web based server called an NVR (network video recorder). The camera itself is considered “smart”. Each camera is actually a miniature computer that can be programmed, or manipulated to perform certain functions at the camera level. It also has more zoom capabilities that enable a person to zoom into an object or event, while still recording the entire original view simultaneously. There are also IP cameras that are known as “de-centralized” IP cameras. This means that they have the ability to store data or footage within the camera on the camera’s hard drive. The footage can then be retrieved via any user that is given access to that camera on the network. Also, IP cameras operate on a single CAT5 or CAT6 twisted pair copper cable. Each pair within the 1 cable can provide video, 2-way data transmission and power.

This is a brief overview of the differences associated with Analog and IP cameras. Stay tuned for another blog post in the near future where I will go a little deeper into the differences in the cost, clarity and recording security.

David Beckstead – President GreenLink Technologies, INC.