Over the last few years, the security industry, for both home security systems and business security systems has seen a remarkable evolution in security products and features, mainly relating to advances in technology that allow you to better monitor your security system from anywhere, and from virtually anything.
2018 looks to continue the trend of exciting, and accessible, security features that you can use to protect your property and loved ones better. Below we’ve compiled a few of the products and services we think will make a big impact on security systems this year.
Homeowners Will Get More Selective With Home Security Providers
Research and Markets, a leading market research firm, predicts that the market for home security products will reach $51.5 billion by 2022. As with any surge in market demand, new companies will be born to rise up and try to satisfy consumer demand. However, the home security space is unique in among the many providers of consumer goods.
When selecting a home security provider, you need to find a company that not only has a solid reputation for security services, but also a long, stable history of supplying home security monitoring and maintenance. You don’t want to enter into a multi-year contract with an unproven security provider who could be out of business before your contract ends or comes up for renewal. Consumers should look for home security providers that have a proven track record of stellar customer service and enough market saturation to sustain future growth.
Video Monitoring Will Become a Standard in Home Security and Less of a Luxury
Video monitoring is nothing new. Home security systems are often packaged with high-definition video capture and streaming products to provide greater protection than simple sensor-based systems of the past. Consumers now have the option to install video cameras internally, to monitor particular rooms or spaces within the home, as well as externally, to monitor access points and hidden areas around the home that could be entry points or access targets for potential thieves.
For years we’ve provided a number of cameras and camera systems, like our high-end, day/night cameras and DVRs and SkyBell doorbell, as options for new and current customers who want to see what’s going in or around their home at any time.
In 2018, we expect to install and monitor far more cameras and video security products to deter crime and keep home security and commercial security systems performing at all optimal safeguarding measures.
Video Alarm Verification Continues to Increase Emergency Response Times Over Simple Alarm Triggers
Late in 2016, we wrote about the benefits of video verification in alarm systems and how video capture benefits homeowners, business owners and law enforcement in different ways. One of the most eye-opening stats, however, was:
“With video verification, when a surveillance camera notices activity, the monitoring alarm center receives notice right away. A trained alarm center operator reviews the video footage, verifies what is transpiring, and reports it to the police right away. If the trained operator is watching a burglary in progress via video, it will be issued a higher priority. A burglary in progress is treated as a “priority 1,” by law enforcement. An alarm triggered without video verification is usually considered a “priority 3,” a much less important priority. The change in priority level from 3 to 1 means a much faster police response time. In the case of a tripped alarm, seeing is believing.”
In 2018, we think the proliferation of video cameras in security systems will only continue to increase the divide in response times for crimes-in-progress verified through video, and response times to possible crime-in-progress from traditional alarm sensor triggering.
Interested in learning how a new or updated alarm system can work for your home or business? Learn more about our services or contact us today to see how we can help.
As the seasons change, so should your precautionary measures to ensure your home security system is up to the task of protecting your home, your valuables and, your family. Weather changes and the holiday season mean no risks for your security, but with a few simple safety checks and updates, you can make sure you’ve done your part in preparing for fall and winter security needs.
Here are a few tips on what you can do to prepare your home for better security this time of year.
Make Sure Your Smoke and Fire Alarm Equipment is Working Properly
Fall is typically the time of year when temperatures go down, and people look for ways to warm up inside. Fires in fireplaces and the additional use of heaters and heating systems means that the potential for an in-home fire greatly increases.
And, with the holiday season, out come holiday decorations and Christmas trees – more fire-friendly elements inside and outside of the home. If a fire were to start, trees and decorations could accelerate a fire leading to a big problem.
In the event of a fire, your smoke and fire alarm equipment could mean the difference between life and death and thousands of dollars in property damage. To start, check that you have sufficient and up-to-date smoke and fire alarm equipment. Then make sure your equipment is working correctly, by testing all smoke alarms in your home and replacing batteries that are low. Also, make sure you have working fire extinguishers strategically placed throughout your home for easy and immediate access if something were to happen.
Ensure Exterior Lighting and Monitoring is Installed Correctly
As the holidays approach, thieves look for more opportunities to score quick wins and theft of packages or easy entry into homes. Homes with poor or limited exterior lighting are good targets for theft. If it’s easy to get in and out undetected, packages are much more likely to get stolen off your porch or within easy access for quick break-ins.
Protect your property and your loved ones by doing a complete walkaround of your house at night to make sure you aren’t an open target for potential crime. Identify dark spots and unmonitored areas to see if you need to update or add exterior lights to deter theft.
If you haven’t already, you may also look into a front door camera, like the Skybell Pro, or surveillance cameras for the front, back, or sides of your home. Security cameras provide significant home security benefits, more so than just theft deterrence.
Let Neighbors and Loved Ones Know Your Travel Plans, But Don’t Advertise When You’ll Be Out of Town Online
This seems like common sense, but people are typically busier this time of year and can easily forget that a seemingly harmless Facebook check-in or Instagram post can alert home invaders to an empty house and good opportunity.
Potential thieves are smart, and they will use social media and online monitoring to know when you’re out of town and when your home is ripe for a break-in.
Be Internet savvy, and don’t give criminals an opportunity to target you by letting them know where you and your family are. You can still post the photos on social, just wait until you’re back home.
Interested in learning how Fortress Security can help prepare your home or business for the coming months? Learn more about our services or contact us today to see how we can help.
Smoke Alarm Systems are Necessary
Fires have always been and will continue to be, a life-threatening danger. Since smoke alarms became legally required of all residences in 1973, fire- and smoke-related deaths and injuries have decreased significantly. However, it is vital to not just abide by the minimum legal requirements for protection from fire and smoke accidents. Smart consumers are using the latest technology and systems available to better protect their families and property.
What National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Statistics Show
Between 2010-2014, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 358,300 home structure fires per year. This represents three-quarters of all structure fires during the period, and caused $6.7 billion in direct damage, or 69% of total direct damage from structure fires.
The most compelling statistic for necessitating an upgraded smoke alarm service, though, is that sixty-five percent of home fire deaths result from fires in homes with no working smoke detectors.
Non-home structure fires, or most often fires in businesses and offices, accounted for more than 136,000 fires in 2015, resulting in 125 deaths, 1,925 injuries and $3,300,000,000 in property damage according to the NFPA.
Smoke Alarm Service Options
With a wide-range of DIY smoke alarm systems and installations and a variance of professionally managed and monitored fire prevention and smoke alarm systems available, homeowners and business owners have more options for protection than ever before. But, how do you know that the system you’re using is the best level of protection for your loved ones and your property?
The answer is that superior technology, reliability, and tested accuracy are the core components to look for in a smoke alarm system. Combined, these elements will provide the best level of defense against potential harm, or death, caused by fire and smoke.
Fortress’ smoke alarm systems utilize photoelectric smoke sensors built to respond immediately using optical sensing chambers and thermal heat sensing technologies. Our preferred hardwired smoke detectors from the InterLogix 500 series are fully compatible with an array of control panels. And, our preferred wireless smoke detector, the Honeywell 5806W3, is proven to provide the highest level of fire and smoke safety for your home or business.
Interested in learning how a new or updated smoke alarm system can work for your home or business? Learn more about our services or contact us today to see how we can help.
Knowing when it’s time to upgrade your home security system is an important part of keeping your family, business and property safe. However, life changes can often creep up on you, and you never know what precautions you need to take until it’s too late. Discover some of the top reasons our customers choose to upgrade and see if you’re in the same boat.
Your Equipment is Outdated
Start by making sure you aren’t using a security system still running on the 2G spectrum. If you are, that system is no longer capable of keeping your family secure because it is being phased out in favor of the newer, faster systems. The 2G devices will not contact emergency services because they no longer have a functional network to contact. (Note: If you are an existing customer, we have already reached out to you and had any units replaced.)
Next, determine if your security system is still working with your lifestyle. The latest alarm system technology lets your home stay more connected to you, and the authorities, than ever before. Your security system equipment should be able to communicate not only with first responders, through things like cameras with video alarm verification capability, but also with you through your smartphone and smartphone apps that notify you immediately if the security of your home is at risk.
Upgrades or Additions to Your Home
Have you recently replaced any doors or windows in your house? Or, maybe you’ve added a room or redesigned the exterior of your home? Any home improvements or updates you’ve done to your house could warrant an overhaul to how your security system works and the best placement for sensors or cameras.
New Family Members in the House
Maybe you’ve recently moved your elderly mother into the home, and her eyesight isn’t great. You could make it easier on her and yourself with a larger, more visual experience of the Honeywell Tuxedo panel. Also, if you’re dealing with a loved one that has memory problems, a security camera would allow you to check in on them from time to time to ensure they haven’t fallen or decided to leave the house unexpectedly.
Additionally, if you’ve welcomed a new child into the home, you’ll want to keep a closer eye on them with a security camera — accessible from wherever you are thanks to Honeywell Total connect.
Crime Has Increased in the Neighborhood
Has a recent wave of crimes hit your area, and no one has caught footage of the thieves? Be the hero of your neighborhood and add a surveillance camera to your property to capture footage that you can send to your neighbors on the Next Door app along with the local authorities. In the process, you’ll keep would-be criminals from picking your house as an easy target. It’s a win-win situation because they know if they hit your home, the footage is going to end up online, and the last thing they want to do is get caught!
If you need an upgraded home security system, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We can help you pick the upgrades to solve life’s little changes and challenges.
Over the last few years, the affordability and widespread use of security cameras in home security systems have meant that more and more, home burglaries and property crimes are caught on tape. Criminals have fewer places to hide and have a hard time arguing their way out of a conviction when their face is on tape in the middle of a burglary or assault.
Security Cameras For Burglary Prevention
But, security cameras are not just useful in monitoring and recording crime, they also prevent burglaries from taking place before any damage is done.
According to urban.org, “surveillance camera systems can be a cost-effective way to deter, document, and reduce crime. Urban’s research has shown that in Baltimore and Chicago, cameras are linked to reduced crime, even beyond the areas with camera coverage. The cost savings associated with crimes averted through camera systems in Chicago saved the city over four dollars for every dollar spent on the technology, while Baltimore yielded a 50 cent return on the dollar.”
For homeowners, this means having strategically placed security cameras to see-and-be-seen inside and outside of your home can make your home an undesirable target for potential thieves. It’s not worth the risk to break into your home and get caught on camera when there’s another target a few streets over that’s not under constant camera surveillance.
Security Cameras for Monitoring Inside Your Home
Security cameras are useful for monitoring activity inside the home, too.
In the normal day-to-day, home security cameras can give you an extra set of eyes and ears around the house to help keep your family, and your property, safe. For families with kids, for example, cameras inside can mean that while you’re cooking dinner in the kitchen, you can also keep an eye on what the kids are doing in the playroom.
Or, for the more unusual and unfortunate events, cameras inside your home can let you know when someone is inside when no one is supposed to be there. Earlier this month, in San Diego, a couple away for the weekend on a camping trip, watched a break-in happen live on their phones when their security system’s app was triggered and began streaming footage of robbers inside their home.
Security Cameras for Monitoring Outside Your Home
And, security cameras are useful for monitoring activity outside the home. Well-placed external cameras can not only keep a homeowner more protected, but they can also improve the safety of your neighborhood.
Footage from security cameras can be used to identify vandals, car thieves, front-porch thefts and other crimes that occur on the streets or alleyways of many neighborhoods.
Don’t have cameras installed in your current system, or looking to upgrade to HD and other options? Fortress offers a range of cameras that are professionally installed and can be set up in just a few minutes, and usually the same day it’s requested. Give us a call or fill out a Contact form to speak with one of our reps today.
Do-it-yourself home security systems have become increasingly popular over recent years. Homeowners, and renters, see DIY home security systems as an easy and inexpensive way to protect their home and their belongings. And, with a slew of home security products on the market, and thousands of DIY YouTube videos, an entire DIY system can be purchased and set up in a matter of hours. Sounds pretty easy, right?
Buyer beware! Many DIY home security systems can bring on more headache and hassle than security and can leave homes and families more vulnerable than they were before the system was installed.
To find out why DIY home security systems might not be the best solution for your security needs, we’ve compiled the top concerns and problems we hear about DIY security.
1.Thieves Can Easily Hack into Your DIY Systems
Far and away, the number one problem with DIY systems is that they can be easily taken over, turned off or manipulated by thieves and crooks. Instances like these have been well documented – by Forbes, Business Insider, SecuritySales.com, and more.
According to an article from Forbes last year, many mass market security devices can be easily hacked into and compromised. “Anyone who can locate a SimpliSafe owner can use basic hardware and software, bought for between $50 and $250, to harvest customer PINs and turn alarms off at a distance of up to 200 yards away.”
2. Faulty Installation Can Mean A False Sense of Protection
Another problem with the DIY’ers and YouTubers of home security systems is that a 20-minute installation video can make a very important security feature install look much simpler than it really is. Professional technicians go to school and receive extensive training for this very purpose. Protecting your home and your family shouldn’t be left to chance, and by attempting to install your own system, you run the risk of setting up equipment incorrectly or in the wrong places, and leaving your home unprotected.
3. Customization is Key to Properly Securing Your Home
Every home is different. Everyone’s family and lifestyle is different. Your home security system needs to protect both, and that’s why one simple system won’t work for everyone.
How many entry points does your home have? How many windows do you have that are easy for potential burglars to access? How many exterior blind spots do you have that are hidden from view of the street or your neighbors? Or, maybe you need more lifestyle sensors, like remote keyless entry for school-age children and cameras that let you know when they’ve safely come home from school in the middle of the afternoon?
All of these are problems with solutions easily provided by professional home security systems. Don’t try to piece together different products and create your own unique (and overly complicated) DIY system. Let an industry expert identify the right types of products and setup for your specific home and lifestyle needs.
4. Poor Security Equipment Quality
Products created for mass market consumption can often sacrifice quality to make production and costs of goods decrease and keep prices low. This means that a lot of the out-of-the-box home security products that you can buy at retailers or online will be of a much lower quality than products provided and relied upon by professional security system providers.
Don’t take our word for it, though. Check out what consumers and have said about SimpliSafe, LiveWatch, and others.
5. No Smart Home Technology and Integration
Ok, so that’s not exactly true. There are ways to install and rig DIY security products for SmartHome use, however, this can definitely lead to vulnerability issues and faulty performance when not done correctly.
You also have far fewer options to integrate with a DIY system than you do with a system setup and installed by a team of professionals. And, as with any new technology and integrations, you want to be sure to leave yourself ways to upgrade and enhance the tech as newer, “smart”er versions become available, which can be limiting with specific manufacturers and product lines.
6. Monitoring Can Be Tough
Think about it. Do you really want a minimalist, low-grade service responsible for safely monitoring and responding to your family’s security needs?
The marketing message of $10/month, no contract “monitoring” service sounds attractive, but remember, you get what you pay for.
With a professional services company monitoring your home, you’re guaranteed a 24/7 central monitoring service that can dispatch police, fire and medical aid immediately.
Want to learn more about your security system options? Contact Fortress today.
Simply put, an automated home security system means your home is programmed to your lifestyle needs, wants and preferences. Want your lights to come on when the sun goes down, regardless of if you’re at home or not? Maybe you need to let someone in, but you can’t get to the door? Or, for budgetary reasons, do you want to set your home’s temperature to optimal settings only when someone’s in the house? All of this, and more, are some of the conveniences that come with an automated home system.
With a smart home and an automated system, you can arm and disarm your security system and camera system according to a schedule, remotely control camera monitoring and recording, manage your temperature settings, turn lights on and off, lock and unlock doors, and manage major appliance controls. Just set it and forget it.
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Over the last few years, there have been remarkable upgrades made to home surveillance cameras, which is good news considering that most home invasions originate through the front door, back door or garage. Simple security methods at these access points can do a lot to deter potential burglars, prevent home invasions and keep your family safe.
But it’s not just home invasions homeowners need to take be wary of anymore. According to a report released last month, more than 23 million Americans have had packages stolen from their front porch and outside of their homes. And, often, the only way to catch these “porch pirates” is to have them captured on video through home surveillance cameras.
Good news, though. Homeowners can now equip their homes with video monitoring and surveillance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, that is accessible to them from anywhere in the world. And while most high-tech security systems used to come with a high price tag, home surveillance and top-of-the-line home security equipment is now surprisingly affordable.
To start, you just need to know what features you need, what features you want and find the product best suited for you (and your budget).
One of the first questions you’ll need to ask yourself is, “do you want a wired or wireless camera?” Both work well, and both have individual pros and cons.
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Use of technology in our daily lives continues to grow, thanks to simpler, cheaper technology, including the ability to stream and store video data. This has become evident in the home security industry with the rise in popularity of home security camera usage.
A decade or two ago, this might have sounded like something only a retail store or warehouse might put to use, due to the costs of equipment to record and store footage. But now people use webcams to broadcast things 24-7; anything from a box of puppies to the construction of a building. Why not use similar technology to ensure the safety of your family and your home?
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If you’ve already set up a security system at your home or business, then congratulations! Despite the fact that there are over 2,000,000 burglaries reported each year, only 1 in 5 homes in the US have protected themselves with a monitored security system. That should bring you plenty of piece of mind, knowing that your prominent home security signs will encourage burglars to move along to a more easy target, as well as knowing that if a break-in does occur, the authorities will be alerted immediately.
But depending on how long ago you installed your equipment, it might be time for a security system upgrade. There have been some pretty astonishing advances in security technology over the past few years, ranging from secure wireless monitoring to home-automation conveniences. Take a look around your home or business and see if any of these products are right for you and your lifestyle. Read More »