Streamlining Security and Home Automation

As a smart home security system connects to your Wi-Fi network, you can control and monitor your security devices by using your smartphone and an app. Entry-level security systems normally consist of a motion detector, some door and window sensors, and a hub communicating with these devices using one or more wireless protocols like Wi-Fi, Zigbee, Z-Wave, or a proprietary mesh network. You can also add extra motion, door, and window sensors in order to provide coverage for your entire house as well as build a comprehensive system including door locks, indoor and outdoor surveillance cameras, lights, sirens, garage door openers, water sensors, smoke/CO detectors, and more.

security system

About wireless protocols: In a perfect world, all home security devices would use the same wireless standard to easily communicate with the main hub, but factors like power requirements, price, signal range, and size make it impossible to settle on just one. For example, smaller components like door/window sensors typically use Zigbee or Z-Wave technology as they do not require much power and can be powered by smaller batteries. Moreover, they operate in a mesh topology and can extend the range of networked devices. However, the protocol doesn’t provide the bandwidth that you get with Wi-Fi, which is the reason why it is usually used in security cameras in order to provide smooth video streaming, and in other devices which require a fat pipe. Additional, Zigbee and Z-Wave devices are connected and controlled through a hub, while Wi-Fi devices can be directly connected to your home network and controlled only with an app. Finally, Zigbee and Z-Wave devices use AES 128 encryption, and as they operate in a closed system with a dedicated hub, they can offer more security than Wi-Fi devices.

Any smart security system that is worth its salt can offer components working together in a seamless environment and can also be manipulated using customized rules. Some security systems store locally recorded video on a solid-state drive or an SD card, while others offer cloud storage. In fact, locally stored video is good for do-it-yourselfers on a budget; however, you have to be careful not to overwrite video you might need later. Although cloud storage makes it easier to store and access recorded video, it can cost a lot of money per year depending on your subscription. Some systems provide both local storage and cloud storage, and some offer a dedicated storage drive which gives you DVR capabilities with time-lapse recording, making it easy to find a video event that took place at a specific time.

Steps to Choose a Security System for Your Home

Selecting a home security system is very important to protect your home and family. There are a variety of options and costs to consider before making a decision. It is best to purchase a system that has non-proprietary features and can be modified or repaired by generic parts.

Step 1. Decide whether you prefer a professionally installed security system or do-it-yourself security system that you will buy and install the system.

Step 2. Select a system that has no more than a one-year monitoring contract. Although signing a contract can reduce the up-front cost of equipment, you must take into account a cancelation fee in case that you want out of the contract down the road.

Step 3. Count the number of your home’s doors and windows that need to be secured. This will help in deciding how many sensors you really need.

Step 4. Get at least one smoke detector on your security system, including automatic monitoring. If you are away from your home, the smoke detector can help save some of your valued belongings.

Step 5. Keep all main level doors contacted with a device in order to tell the main panel if it has been opened. If your home has some doors that cannot be reached with wiring, you can use an area coverage motion detector, typically 35 foot (10.7 m) range to protect them.

Step 6. You should use motion detectors in areas that have windows which are accessible from ground level. This can cut down on total cost, too.

Step 7. Consider how your basement can fit into your security options. The wiring of the basement windows and doors are easier for the technician if you have an unfinished basement. But if your basement is finished, a wireless addition to your system might be required to protect your basement, doors, windows, and main floor.

Three Pillars of Sports Venue Security (p1)

Stadium security has gotten much more complicated than defusing confrontations, apprehending seat jumpers, and ejecting rowdy fans. Events of these days are all about the experience of the total fan  – the street vendors, the tailgating parties, the additional activities outside the gate. All these activities happening simultaneously stretches the security resources to the max. Therefore, it’s hard to find a spectator venue which doesn’t deploy network surveillance cameras like a force multiplier. Video systems provide the stadiums 3 important advantages: identification, situational awareness, and operational insight.

Improving Situational Awareness

Sports venue are like small cities. In addition to the retail shops, seating bowl, restaurants, and concession stands, there are escalators, elevators, parking garages and parking lots, ATMs for patron convenience, meeting rooms, first aid stations for medical emergencies. With various entry points, security needs to draw on full network cameras to improve situational awareness, resolve problems quickly, and protect public safety. By using network-based technology, it also helps in sharing situational awareness with local and state enforcement as well as first responders when needed.

Outside the venue. Network cameras which are mounted on the roof not only give a comprehensive view of the gate entrances and parking lots but also the surrounding thoroughfare. Using a mix of HD and PTZ cameras and megapixel fixed dome allows security to spot vehicles and capture critical details which could expedite criminal investigations and forestall liability claims. Adding video analytics like license plate recognition can provide one more layer of security.

 

Inside the venue. Because the lighting conditions are different throughout the venue, stadiums usually opt for wide dynamic range cameras which can provide more detail both in shadow and bright sunlight. They are especially useful in areas such as loading docks, where it is very important to verify what is being delivered. Another security strategy is to link the network cameras with panic buttons throughout the stadium to quickly assess the emergency’s nature and dispatch the suitable assistance to that location. 

Fire Detection and Alarm Systems: A Brief Guide (part 3)

 

There various types of fire detectors. The major ones are smoke, heat, and flame detectors. Within each type are a lot of additional specific types. Here we are discussing the most popularly used for building fire detection and alarm activation.

Heat detectors are the most basic type of detectors. They are produced in several types which are divided into two main categories; line and spot. Line detectors provide a continuous detector through all areas of the coverage. Spot detectors are single units which are installed in single locations of the protected area. While spot detectors are more widely used, line detectors are usually reserved for special situations.

Spot detectors are most commonly rate-of-rise, fixed temperature, or a combination. Rate-of-rise detectors are activated based on the rise speed of the temperature, not a fixed point. Fixed temperature detectors operate at a specific temperature. These two types of detectors are most suitable for the areas which may get hot even under normal conditions, for example, detectors in a warehouse which is not temperature-controlled.

Smoke detectors are available in many types. Photoelectric smoke detectors are activated based upon light scattering within the detector’s detection chamber. Light is projected through the detector’s chamber and then will be scattered if striking smoke. This light is detected by a photocell.

Ionization smoke detectors are the most common in home use. They detect the particles in smoke. When smoke passes through the detector’s chamber, the particles are ionized. These particles may be detected later by the charged plates in the detector. There are smoke detectors combined with a heat detector. The beam detector operates when obscuring smoke between the laser receiver and emitter interrupts the beam. These detectors are often used in large open spaces.

The air sampling detection system uses the tubing which is placed throughout the protected area. The tubing has small holes that are spaced out along the tube’s length and the air is drawn constantly into the unit, which can detect low levels of combustion products.

 

Fire Detection and Alarm Systems: A Brief Guide (part 2)

Where to Start When Choosing a System

You should choose the type of fire detection and alarm system which is suitable for your fire safety objectives that flow from a risk assessment of your operation and facility. Your risk tolerance and your afford to lose is the important parts of this process.

The issues when considering the type of fire detection and alarm system for a hospital are not the same as they are for a warehouse. In a facility where human life safety is the main concern, like the hospitals where the patients mostly aren’t able to evacuate themselves, an early warning is necessary. Other facilities like hotels, dormitories where the occupants may be sleeping when a fire occurs also require an alarm system which provides more rapid notification.

Meanwhile, in a warehouse where the occupants are almost awake and aware and there are often fewer of them, the alarm system may not need to provide notice as early. In other facilities where life safety isn’t a major issue, the fire detection and alarm system can be slower.

When selecting a fire detection and alarm system, you also must consider the commitment which will be required over the system’s life. Requirements for these systems such as testing, inspection, and maintenance are extensive. Meeting these requirements over the system’s life will usually cost more than the original installation.

Initiating devices are the elements which originate the signal. This group of components also includes detectors, manual pull stations, and supervisory devices.

A manual pull station (Figure 1) may be just a switch which activates the alarm system when being operated by a building occupant. A manual pull station should be placed where it is easy for the building occupants to find. They are mostly located along travel routes which would be used while exiting the building.

Fire Detection and Alarm Systems: A Brief Guide (part 1)

A fire detection system is the security system designed to discover fires at an early stage so that the time is available for the safe evacuation of occupants. It also plays an important role in keeping the emergency response personnel safe. Early fire detection helps to start control efforts while the fire is still small. Therefore, we can reduce the property loss and minimize the downtime for the operation.

Fire detection systems are mainly installed in buildings especially at risk like train stations, airports, universities, business and factory premises, homes for the elderly and hospitals. Detectors should be installed with alarms to provide notice to the building occupants and sometimes transmit the signal to a staffed monitoring station. In some cases, alarms send the signal directly to the fire department, although this isn’t the typical approach.

Although the fire detection and alarm systems have many advantages, they have one major limitation is that doing nothing to control the fire. Suppression systems like the automatic sprinklers can control the fire. They also provide notification to be able to do the role of a heat detection-based system if they are connected to the notification appliances throughout the buildings. However, they cannot operate as fast as a smoke detection system. This is the reason why facilities where rapid notice is necessary still need detection and alarm systems.

The most basic alarm system, which sounds only a local alarm with manual pull stations, does not include detection. It can cause a significant delay because of relying on an occupant to discover the fire. This type of alarm system is not typically used. If you want to be more quickly notified of the fire, you must install the more expensive system. The least expensive, which is also the slowest system to detect a fire, is a heat detector. Meanwhile, the system providing the most rapid indication of fire is the air-aspirating smoke detection system, which are five to ten times as expensive.

How to Use Your Commercial Security Cameras More Effectively

A security camera is one of the most important types of protection system for your company’s premises. Although almost commercial properties use security cameras, not every company uses their camera systems effectively and appropriately.

In order for your commercial security cameras to effectively detect, deter, and help prosecute crime, you need a comprehensive system that fits well your business hours and facility.

To use your commercial security cameras as effectively as possible, read through the following guide.

Choose a Reputable Monitoring Company to Work With

Choosing the monitoring company to work with is as important as choosing the high-quality cameras to the security of your commercial property. Because even the cameras that capture every movement can’t protect your business effectively if they are not well monitored. When installing a new security camera system, you should look for a camera supplier that also offers remote monitoring or video verification.

If you have an existing system, but it isn’t professionally monitored, you should partner with a reputable monitoring company. This ensures that you’re alerted exactly the moment a security breach occurs, instead of being notified after the tape is reviewed.

You may also need to hire onsite security employees to work during off-hours in order to observe the feed and respond to it all the time.

Choose the Right Camera Type

Security cameras are not one type fits all. Businessmen who choose the wrong camera type for their facility often end up with security systems that don’t make much improvement over their in-house security team.

Tell the security camera provider what you need from a security camera system. Have them evaluate your current system. You may need a low-light, fisheye, or other types of security camera.

Keep Your Camera System Current

Like any other tech devices, your security cameras only function well when their current software and firmware are well upgraded. If you don’t take this step, there will be gaps in your video surveillance.

Choosing the most suitable home security cameras

Home security has become a tech priority. Because there are so many deliveries, packages and services now coming to your door, keeping your home secure and safe is a major tech trend. Tech companies such as Google-owned Nest, Netgear, have tried hard to make the connected home CCTV camera more prominent. Now, let’s discuss more how to choose the most suitable security camera for your home.

What to look for in a CCTV camera

Home security cameras have to be able to identify visitors and send alerts in order to keep your home safe and secure. Most smart home cameras are linked up to an app such as the Nest or Ring app, to monitor your home when you are away.

Night vision, notification alerts, plenty of cloud storage for your recorded footage, and microphones to give out voice commands are the key features to consider when choosing home security cameras.

Some home security cameras have the audio capability of listening in for unusual noise. Some advanced cameras at a premium price like the Nest IQ also have facial recognition features.

Wireless cameras and power sources

One major feature to choose a suitable home security camera is its power source. If the camera is battery powered, you can place it anywhere with no wires. Just remember to recharge the battery when it runs low, which is normally prompted through its app.

Many smart security cameras can connect wirelessly with your smartphone while many others require fitting and don’t have a battery but a wired power source. Then, you have to find a suitable spot with a power source to place them.

Indoor and outdoor CCTV cameras

The other major decision is whether you need an indoor or outdoor camera. Outdoor cameras are often more durable but are trickier to install than simple indoor security cameras because they often come with a set of screws and mounts. Some models from the Arlo come with options for several mounts to choose how you want to set up your camera.