Many of us are very familiar with modern integrated security systems in our workplace, using automated access control, CCTV and intruder alarms to protect people and to secure the premises. But what about your home? Why has some home security seemingly lagged behind the impressive technology at commercial sites?!
From a security industry point of view, this is not entirely accurate – the technology has been available for homeowners for some time. Your average millionaire’s mansion probably has the sort of the security that surpasses most workplaces - but it always came at a cost.
Installing an effective security network in a domestic site traditionally involved a big investment, but the smart phone and the age of the Internet of Things (IoT) have transformed expectations and technology. Even more significantly, it has also made it considerably more affordable for those of us who don’t have a Ferrari on the driveway!
Bringing Security Home
Bringing integrated security into a home environment is something that has started to accelerate over the last three or four years. The price point of home automation systems has reduced rapidly and the adoption of wireless technologies and sensors into the home has made this idea much more attractive to owners.
Overall, there has also been a big increase in systems that promise to make the management of our lives easier. Digital assistants such Google Home or Amazon Echo, along with the ubiquitous smartphone, help us all plan and run our busy schedules.
There have been big social changes too, the old-fashioned idea that one person goes out to work whilst their partner stays at home has long been replaced by a general desire for everyone to have a healthy career/life balance.
The effect on the domestic home is that it often stands empty for a much larger percentage of the day and therefore effective security, which features integrated and connected systems, is far more important.
IP-enabled home security systems are a natural companion to other popular remote home services, such as remotely monitored smoke/carbon dioxide alarms or thermostat controls for home heating.
Keeping an Eye
All the key parts of any commercial security system can be included in a domestic property – access control, CCTV, intruder detection, fire alarms – all linked to a convenient secure online portal or smartphone app. With a high degree of universal compatibility amongst these devices, it is easy (and very cost-efficient) to include these in your home network.
As well as protecting property, there is a growing interest in using CCTV to monitor pet safety and behaviour. For instance, you might want to ensure a young puppy is happy and secure (and not chewing your possessions!) or that your cat is regularly using the cat flap to spend time in the garden or re-enter the house to eat its meals.
Flexible, integrated security systems are perhaps even more helpful for rented properties. A decade ago, if you wanted to rent a property you would need to send traditional keys out to tenants. Now it is possible to use a Bluetooth low energy reader in a home environment and to give a credential to a tenant on a smart device. This is especially useful in short-term lodgings where tenants come and go regularly.
The other benefit to this is for maintenance teams. In the past, the homeowner/landlord/tenants would have to be there in person to let a maintenance worker or repairer in. Now, however, you can give a credential to a contractor so they can come in within a certain window of time, whilst ensuring this isn’t misused during other periods! Equally, you can monitor the contractor’s progress and ensure all is well using IP CCTV cameras – all via a smart mobile device.
Home Security in the Future
The current worldwide population of 7.6 billion people is predicted to rise to 9.8 billion by 2050, which will put enormous pressures on all housing infrastructure. With that many people living in ever-increasingly close proximity to each other, flexible but reliable security will be in ever greater demand.
If the worst happens and intruders enter your home, there is a clear audit trail to follow and integrated security is a big help to law enforcement teams if criminal proceedings are required. This is something that was undreamt of even a few decades ago and yet is an obvious and important step in securing what you hold most dear.
The security systems that have been developed for commercial properties are perfectly suited to the increasing numbers of dwellings and give the landlord/homeowner greater peace of mind that their property and possessions are safe.
I suspect it won’t be long before integrated security systems will be as commonplace in the home as double glazing, central heating, a fitted kitchen and a large TV!