Ahh... that sweet feeling of peace of mind.One of the most amazing things about having a security system is truly having peace of mind. Here at Audio Video Extremes we are passionate about giving people the capability of knowing what’s going on with their house at any given time, day or night. We believe that being in the know is the best way to take control of your home and your sanity. The best security system for someone else may not be the best for you, so we want you to have all the information. From our recommendations on parts and brands to up and coming tech, let’s break down how to find the best security system.
Understanding how the tech you’re relying on to keep you safe works is important. So, it only makes sense to start there. What is a home security system and how does it work?
Essentially, it is a high-tech system that secures your home from the inside out. However, something people forget is that security systems don’t just have to protect you from intruders; they are tools to help you live a safer, more efficient life.
For example, some security systems allow you to electronically lock cabinets… if you have children, this could be a lifesaver for medicine or cleaning supply cabinets. Select security systems even use video technology to help you find lost belongings, protecting you from your bad habit of misplacing your keys every night.
Security tech doesn't have to serve the sole purpose of surveying and recording your home. With the leaps that technology has taken, home security is so much more now. But with this rapid growth in technology, there are many more moving parts (literally).
The average home security system is comprised of a few different parts. With that being said, keep in mind that the parts will vary from system to system, but we have listed the basics.
Obviously, to collect surveillance footage you need to have a surveillance camera, but the type of camera can vary in shape, size, and ability. Keep in mind that you will likely want more than one camera. Below are some of the most common shapes and types of cameras on the market.
Bullet camera: These cameras somewhat resemble a bullet (hence the name).
Pros: Easy to use, easily seen (an easy way to discourage intruders), night vision, heat and motion technology
Cons: Fixed view
Dome: Once again, named for their shape. Dome cameras are very common.
Pros: Wide view, more discreet, night vision, heat and motion technology, hard to gauge where they are recording, more resistant to tampering
Cons: Shorter range
IP Camera: Uses a network to send digital signals via ethernet cable.
Pros: Many have analytic software, high-quality image, night vision
Cons: Needs a wired connection
Wireless IP Camera: Similar features to IP camera, but connects to wi-fi.
Pros: Connects to wi-fi, private connection, less interference with other devices
Cons: Needs a strong wi-fi signal to work well
Control panels are all about communication. They communicate with your safety company, communicate alerts to you, and communicate with the other parts of your security tech for a wholistic security system. Depending on the system you invest in, this is also where you could control temperature technology, and other home automation features.
The control panel can be sleek and modern, making home security look better than ever. But, if you're not into that kind of thing, there are also more traditional panels. Again, this will depend on which system you choose, but nevertheless, a good thing to keep in the back of your mind during this security journey.
Arguably one of the most crucial parts of your home security system are sensors. Whether they are specifically door/window sensors, or motion sensors, they all essentially perform the same function... sense activity.
Motion sensors create an invisible area that is being surveyed, sounding an alarm if motion is detected. This information is relayed to the control panel and any other devices connected to the system.
Sensors work best when put in thoughtful places, so ask your provider for their advice, and do some research on your own because what you learn may change the way you set up your system. For example, many burglars go to the master bedroom first, so it is important to place sensors in there in case they somehow trick their way past front door security measures.
However, these sensors aren't just for detecting intruders. They can alert you that your teen has broken curfew so you don't have to wait up all night. They can also sense that a room is unoccupied, signaling to your home automation technology to turn the lights off, saving you money. (Score!)
There are many security and home automation brands, but in our professional (and personal) opinion, a few are superior. Here is our breakdown of some of the best.
If you're looking for something that does everything, this is the tech for you. Control4 offers features such as locks, sensors, lighting alarms, and audible tones to ward off any intruders. It also allows you to control virtually any device in your home or business, automatically. Control4 makes your life easier in many different ways, as it is focussed on much more than just security. Our clients love this modern and thoughtful system.
Pros: The connectivity and ease-of-use puts this one at the top of our recommendations. Offers temperature control, a part of home automation that can be overlooked.
Cons: Could be more technology than some people want.
This is also a more connective system. Honeywell Home offers heating control, water leak detection, and do-it-yourself security. All of which can be controlled remotely using the Home app. Honeywell Home is a more middle-of-the-road system- it is a step up from a security camera and monitor system, but doesn't offer as many smart home features.
Pros: Honeywell Home offers modern technology that, similar to Control4, is more connective than purely protective.
Cons: The design isn't as sleek as other home automation options, and there aren't as many helpful features as other brands.
DSC is a more straightforward system. Its sole purpose is security, and it is very good at its job. This system typically includes a high-quality camera, a control panel, and sensors.
Pros: DSC offers a simple, classic security system. No frills.
Cons: Not as connective as other options. (See later notes on teamwork)
The Importance of Teamwork
Contrary to the name, security systems will only take home security so far. Using home automation technology along with a separate security system, or using a system that does both, takes your house to a whole new level, because you don't only need protection from intruders.
Things like ensuring privacy and detecting gas leaks need to be considered as well.
Although security systems will deter crime, having more complete automation allows you to truly control your home from the inside out.
Home Automation Meets Security
Home automation may seem like an unnecessary feature to include in your home, but the benefits speak for themselves. When combined with security tech, home automation is incredibly powerful.
For instance, "mockupancy". This can easily be done with certain automation systems. The technology will mimic your daily routine so that to outside observers, it appears you are home - decreasing the risk of intrusion.
As mentioned, another important security concern is privacy. With affordable automation technology, you could close the windows or blinds in your house by the touch of a button, ensuring you and your loved ones can live peacefully, without any peeping toms or creepy joggers looking in.
Two-way technology is also a huge way home automation and security come together. It's not enough for your security to communicate to you, now we need to be able to communicate back. This is helpful when you aren't home and someone rings the doorbell, or when you're at work and you need to be able to easily check in with your people and pets at home. These are more concerns to be thinking of when choosing the best security system for you.
Up and Coming
Some of the latest technology that is being released is biometric technology, which we are very happy to be testing right now. Biometric technology includes things like face recognition, fingerprint detection, iris recognition, etc. This technology is cutting edge and expected to keep growing in popularity.
Although full biometric home security systems aren't always the most affordable route, certain biometric elements are very helpful and doable. Imagine having the ability to unlock your gun safe via fingerprint. Or enter certain rooms via face recognition. With this incredible technology, the options are limitless. Don't be intimidated by the sound of biometric technology, the entire purpose is to provide you with convenience. Are you getting excited yet?
The Best Investment
There were nearly 300,00 robberies in 2018. There was a robbery ever 1.9 minutes. In 2017, over 285 children got ahold of a gun and ended up hurting themselves or someone else. These statistics go on and on. It can be startling, but this is why having control and protecting your home from the inside out is so important.
Home security is what you make it. You could strap some cheap cameras to the ceiling, or you could invest in an entire system that will provide you with genuine peace of mind. However, not every system is right for every person. Doing your research is a huge part of choosing the right system for you.
Many people are concerned about pricing, and rightfully so. Good news -home security doesn't have to put you in debt. There are many affordable options, but cost can vary greatly depending on what system and services you decide on. Because of the customizable nature of home security, there isn't really a range that will reflect cost accurately. Your family is unique, making your security and automation needs unique. If you are on this security journey and want a free quote, we would love to assess how best to protect your loved ones in their safe place... home.
There are a lot of parts that go into making your home a stronghold. Not every system is created equal, and home security is most definitely not a one size fits all situation. It varies from home to home and should be treated that way.
Contrary to popular belief, the most important part of home security is connectivity. The ability to control everything about your humble abode is extremely valuable in terms of security, and something to be thinking about in the decision making process. Many systems can survey your home and record intruders, but fewer systems can alert you on multiple devices, or even go a step further to prevent intruders in the first place with techniques such as mockupancy, or the ability to ensure your doors are locked while you're on the go.
You know what they say... home is where the effective security tech is, or something like that.