It’s not an exaggeration to say the smartphone revolutionized home security. At the very least, it evened the playing field. Once upon a time, and a time not that long ago, the words home alarm system and do it yourself (DIY) were never used in the same sentence. Home alarm systems were too expensive for most homeowners and too complex for all but professionals to install. But enter the smartphone and a never-ending assortment of apps and security systems have been democratized. With the right phone, and the right products john Q. Public can put together an affordable, functional home security system.
Smartphones Enter the Security Scene
At its most basic, a security system is a network of sensors that detect what is going on in a home, connected to equipment that has the capability to monitor them. Cameras, microphones, and motion sensors are examples of sensors and computers and laptops have traditionally been the traditional monitoring components. However, as cellphones became smartphones, they too became a monitoring option. Todays smartphones have much the same electronics as found in security systems. So they can sensor as well as monitor. But they are best used in conjunction with a wireless home security system.
Wireless Technology Alters the Landscape
Today’s security systems offer wireless connectivity. With no cables to run, or wall holes to drill, homeowners can do the installation themselves. These home alarm systems offer a lot of options for homeowners to consider, cameras, sensors, and monitors – yes, but also
- window sensors
- smoke detectors
- carbon monoxide detectors
- audible alarms
- water leak sensors
- alarm system control
- live video monitoring
- front door locks
- home automation
- lighting command
- notification options
Not All Alerts are Created Equal
The reason homeowners install a home alarm is to make sure their home and loved ones remain safe. This doesn’t change when they’re at work and their kids, in school. They want to know when an intrusion or potentially dangerous condition occurs. Therefore alerts are a major part of today’s security systems. Options prevail here as well. Email is still offered, but the vast majority of people prefer texts or recorded voice messages. Some systems allow multiple recipient notifications, allowing spouses, neighbors, or caretakers to receive the alert as well.
This sounds good but, as the old conundrum says “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it still make a sound? In other words, what happens if you don’t get the alert. Cellphone signals can fail. Some people are notoriously lax in checking emails. Third party recipients may or may not be able to get through to the homeowner. To compound the situation, it may only be a loved one or roommate who returned home and forgot to disarm the system. As an article in Huffington Post points out, this can cost you money:
Some people install a security system that sounds an ear-piercing alarm if their house is broken into but doesn’t send a signal to a central monitoring station. That’ll save you from paying a monthly monitoring bill — typically $20 to $50 a month or more. If you’re lucky the neighbors will call the police, but be aware that police departments often charge a stiff fee for responding to false alarms.
But there is another option – monitored security.
Home Alarm Can Call Your Cellphone
The best option is to use a monitored security service. Homeowners can install the equipment, but security professionals will monitor alarms and call the designated cellphone number should any sensors be tripped or alarms activated. Should the homeowner not pick up or respond, only then will the service alert the police.
To paraphrase Protect America, without monitoring, a home alarm is just a glorified noise maker. If you’re interested in having your home’s security monitored, get a free quote from Protect America.