Alarm systems are like any other appliance or piece of equipment you use in your home or business.
After a while, they become outdated and need an upgrade. There's a reason nobody carries pagers anymore; technology has advanced.
The same principle goes for alarm systems. Here are a few signs to look for that indicate it's time to upgrade your alarm system.
Running a business is more than a full-time job. Managing the company's operations is likely to take up most of your time, and you probably run into inconveniences almost every day. Security systems for business can help you monitor your company and lessen the impact of a burglary.
While you may have accepted this responsibility when you started your business, it does not mean that you can't look for ways to make your life easier.
With security systems for business, you can streamline safety at your company and use some of the features to improve efficiency.
Top Reasons You Should Consider Upgrading Your Security Alarm System
Smart Camera Integration
A video monitoring system is one of the smartest investments a company owner can make. Security Camera Systems for businesses are one of the most effective crime deterrents available, and they can also help protect your company against lawsuits.
Along with that, some insurers may offer discounts for installing video surveillance at your job location.
While a standalone camera system will help, several benefits come with having cameras integrated with a smart alarm system.
To start, you will monitor the camera feeds from the connected safety app on your phone. Beyond that, you can set up the system to send you alerts for different types of activity. Some innovative camera platforms even can tell the difference between regular activity and things that may be suspicious.
Remote Control from Anywhere
With older alarm systems, you would have to stand in front of the keypad and push buttons to control the system.
With a smart commercial alarm system, you can manage your alarms with the connected smartphone app. That means that you can control the system wherever you may be on the premises of your business, or you can take control when you are away.
One way this can make things more convenient is during opening and closing. When you open in the morning, you won't have to rush to the control panel to disarm the system. When you close for the night, you won't have to hurry out the door after arming the alarm system.
Along with that, you can do things like checking your cameras, access bright lights or change the temperature on your smart thermostat.
It's Always Working
A conventional alarm system is pretty good at detecting intruders when armed, but that is about as far as it goes.
With a smart company alarm, you get a plan with the intelligence to work for you 24 hours a day. Not only that, but you can also manage safety at several company locations from one convenient dashboard.
Security alarm systems for businesses that have intelligence are constantly monitoring the sensors.
Even when it is disarmed, it can alert you to suspicious activity. Along with that, it can tell when it is supposed to be armed. If you forget to arm the alarm system, it can send you an alert, and you can arm the system from your phone.
Access Control Solutions
A smart alarm monitoring system can also offer you better business access control solutions. Instead of having to give physical keys to trusted employees, you can program keyless entry codes.
These codes can be added and removed with ease, and you can even provide different employees with different access levels. The security systems for businesses can also keep detailed access records, so you know who is coming and going at other times.
Along with improving safety for small businesses, a keyless entry system can also make the company more convenient. If you are running late, you can unlock the doors and disarm the alarms so your employees can start opening for you. If you take the day off, you can set the alarm to send you an alert with a video clip when the doors are unlocked at the beginning of the day and when your employees close up for the night.
Smart Thermostat for Improved Efficiency
With a smart thermostat added to your business alarm system, you can save money on your utility bills.
You can program schedules for heating and cooling and get detailed reports about energy consumption. You can also control and monitor the HVAC system from the same smartphone app that connects to your smart wireless system.
The smart thermostat can also be used to protect your inventory. If you have sensitive items to high or low temperatures, you can place a temperature sensor in the storeroom. You can then set the smart thermostat to ensure the storage area is kept at the right temperature to protect those items.
Smart lights are another feature that can make your profession more convenient and more efficient. The lights can be programmed to work on the schedule of your business.
When you are open for business, all of the lights can be on for customers, and when you are closed, you can turn off any unnecessary lights.
Beyond programming the lights, you can also control all of your bright lights from the system app. If you want to turn the lights off or on in one area, you won't have to walk over to a switch; you quickly open the app on your phone, and you can do it from anywhere.
You could even program some of the lights to come on in response to different events. Whether it is the opening of a door or a motion sensor is triggered, you can program the lights to come on automatically.
How Often Should You Update Your Home Alarm Systems?
When you installed your home security system, you expected it would last forever, right?
You were partially correct. The infrastructure behind your system doesn't change much. If well-maintained, your equipment may not last forever, but you should still get several years out of it.
Technology is what changes. Like most home security system owners, you want the most up-to-date technology protecting you and your family.
Here are a few guidelines to help you understand home alarm systems and how often they should get an update.
You Have An Aging System
Whether you installed the system yourself or you moved into a home with a plan in place, age is one of the deciding factors when considering an alarm system update.
Unlike fine wine, a security system doesn't get better with age. In the home security industry, 10-15 years is old. It's not that the system itself is terrible, but it's likely restricted by outdated technology.
Old technology limits your system's capabilities. Further, older systems often have few, if any, options for upgrades.
Home security systems are like computers. Over time they become obsolete, and repairing them is more complicated, sometimes impossible.
If your system is over 15 years of age, it's time for a chat with an alarm systems specialist.
Still Using A Landline
If your current system operates through a landline, don't panic. Using a landline is still a viable option, but it does present a few disadvantages.
First, a landline uses wires. A burglar could cut the wires and disable your entire system. Second, you don't have as much versatility with a landline monitoring system.
Modern alarm systems rely on cellular networks. That said, landlines are still helpful because you can use them for backup.
The point is if you're relying 100% on landline monitoring, consider updating your security system.
Lack Of Routine Maintenance
Over time, all electronic devices operate less efficiently. One way you can extend the life of your alarm systems is by applying a little TLC.
Owners who never clean or inspect the physical parts of their security system miss the opportunity for early detection of problems. An inspection usually reveals loose wires and signs of damage.
If your system includes video surveillance cameras, those also need regular maintenance. Dusting the camera and cleaning the lens ensures clear images and uninterrupted feed.
Unfortunately, when you buy a home with a system already installed, you can't guarantee the level of care given by the previous owner.
If you've purchased a home within the last several years and don't have maintenance records for the security system, it's time for an update.
You're Ready To Go Smart
Today's home security systems are so much more than fire or intruder alarms.
Using innovative technology, home security systems can monitor water leaks. They can also tell you if your furnace or heating system breaks down.
What would life be like if you used your smartphone to control your alarm systems? Check with your security company and ask about updating to allow control of your HVAC system, turning lights on and off, and activating locks on your doors.
Another popular feature of modern alarm systems is the smart doorbell. This doorbell lets you see who's at your door and talk to them without opening the door.
Upgrading to smart video surveillance means you know what's going on at home, even if you're miles away.
When your security system triggers an alarm, it's sent to your smartphone. This gives you control over your approach and allows you to determine whether you have a real emergency.
With the popularity of smart home products, why not upgrade an existing home security system to a smart approach?
Your Lifestyle Changes
It's not uncommon for a homeowner's security to change over time.
For example, you've recently changed from a work-at-home job to a position where you commute every day.
Updating your security system ensures your home and personal property remain safe while you're away.
Many families today have elderly parents living with them. Updating your alarm systems can mean less stress for you when you leave a loved one with mobility issues at home alone.
A change in lifestyle doesn't mean you should give up your peace of mind. It's the ideal time for an update.
Can't I Change The Battery?
Battery changes are a critical part of your home security system. When your system isn't performing as well as it should, replacing batteries may solve the problem.
Check with your manufacturer about how often you should change system batteries. Most older system batteries last between 3-5 years. If your system is relatively new, you may get up to 7 years from your battery.
If you've purchased a home with an existing security system and you don't have a record of service dates, replacing the battery is an excellent place to start.
Your system should give you clues about low battery levels. Yours may use a combination of beeping noises, error messages on the control panel, and false alarms.
Replacing batteries may restore your system to good working order. If not, schedule an appointment with your security system service team so that you can discuss whether an update is appropriate.
Ready To Update Your Alarm Systems?
Now that you've learned more about how often you should update a home security system, you can take a few minutes and consider your current alarm systems and how well they work for you.
You may have an older system, or you may have one that hasn't had routine maintenance. It's also possible your security needs have changed over time. Perhaps you're interested in how smart technology can help keep your home safe.
Here Are Some Significant Reasons You Should Upgrade Your Security System
Home security technology has changed dramatically over the last decade. Even in the previous year or two, the advancement of smartphones and home automation have drastically changed the world of home security.
Every security feature in your home can be controlled from your cell phone, including your locks, alarms, video cameras, and even your doorbell.
- Criminals Love older technology. For a criminal, older technology is a real advantage. It means that it is the technology they have already seen and have already figured out any weaknesses it may have. Criminals are also using new technologies to crack older systems.
- Many older systems use landline telephone lines to communicate with the central system. Landlines limit the technologies implemented in the design, such as smart technologies and wireless cameras. Landlines are also vulnerable to being cut and disabled by criminals.
- Some alarm system owners only keep the landline for the express purpose of using it for the security system. This means they end up paying more for a less reliable connection that limits their services.
- Many of the existing security systems were installed using 2G technologies. AT&T and T-Mobile announced in 2012 plans to discontinue and shut down the 2G network by January 1st, 2017, to expand the newer 3G and 4G networks in what they call 2G Sunset. Systems installed using 2G technologies will no longer access the wireless s plan and thus not communicate to the central monitoring system.
- Newer technologies support home automation products and services. These products can be controlled remotely from one interface.
- Wireless technologies support high-resolution digital camera technologies. Digital footage can be easily stored and viewed later or in real-time.
- Newer systems provide Smartphone accessibility which offers peace of mind while you are on the go. Having access to wireless supported alarms, locks, appliances and electronics mean you can check their status anytime and anywhere from a smartphone.
- Upgrading your security system to the most advanced offerings provides unprecedented access. That access can remove elements of human error, such as forgetting to turn the system on, by allowing the user to check the system's status and turn it on remotely.
Tips For Your Security System Upgrade
One of the most common requests we receive from customers is a "security system upgrade." While this may seem like a simple request, it could refer to many features or services.
In general, a security system upgrade allows us to utilise existing alarm components while adding new equipment and features. People have several potential reasons to call us for this type of work.
Sometimes security systems simply reach the end of their lifespan and fail, as all electronics do over time. Occasionally, homeowners get impatient with outdated systems and wish to work with more modern technology.
Whatever the reason behind it, we wish to help you design your security system upgrade. In this post, we share some tips and best practices for improving your home security. Some of these ideas add additional features to your alarm.
A few of them add convenience and ease of use to your system. Some of these tips even do both! Let's dive in with one of our most popular reasons for upgrading security systems: adding cellular monitoring.
Move Away from Landline-Based Monitoring
In addition to upgrading security equipment, many customers wish to upgrade their alarm system's monitoring method. Having central station monitoring creates a police response anytime one is needed.
A monitored security system sends a distress signal to a central station when your security system detects potential danger. Someone at our call centre receives this signal from the security system and attempts to contact the home. If this fails, or if the person who picks up cannot provide a user-designated security password, the central station dispatcher then calls the police.
By far, the most common request is to switch from landline monitoring to cellular monitoring. This allows a security system to communicate with the central station without a phone line.
Therefore, customers can now cancel their phone service and still have a monitored security system. Additionally, if a burglar cuts your phone lines or attempts to break into your home while the lines are down, your system will still communicate with the central station.
Furthermore, your cellular dialer can add convenience and security above and beyond, providing a reliable communication path. In our post on Using Your Smartphone to Add Security to Your Alarm, we discussed the generational expectation that customers can control their electronics with their smartphones.
Our interactive cell dialer powered allows users to arm and disarm their security systems remotely. It also allows them to receive notifications regarding security system status changes.
These status updates can include low battery alerts, power failure notices, and other similarly essential messages. Adding these features is one of the most popular reasons homeowners upgrade their burglar alarms.
Utilise Additional Security Equipment and Coverage
Many burglar system upgrade requests come from people wishing to beef up their alarm's security coverage. Several circumstances can cause peoples' security needs to change.
Turning a room into a home office, for example, often calls for installing contacts to add extra security to an area that will now feature a lot of valuable equipment and information. Turning spare rooms into children's rooms or playrooms can also trigger an increased need for security for couples having children.
Additionally, we can install sensors that address security issues other than burglary. If you take advantage of interactive cellular monitoring, you can receive notifications from sensors placed around your house.
In our post on Unconventional Uses for Contact Sensors, we discussed how we could do this. Adding door contacts to closets, gates, or jewellery drawers can help you secure your valuables.
These sensors provide notifications whether your security system is armed or disarmed. Therefore, you'll know if guests or family members snoop or stumble into an "off-limits" area of the home. Let's look at another benefit to upgrading to interactive cellular monitoring.
Add Smart Home Capability and Features
Adding smart home capabilities is one of the most popular reasons homeowners call for a security system upgrade. Many people think of a smart home hub as a voice-activated device (which may or may not do what you ask it to). However, the same interactive cellular dialer that you use to control your alarm system remotely also acts as a smart home hub.
This allows you to control smart home appliances with your phone without buying a separate smart home service. Some of these appliances and devices add tremendous convenience to your everyday life. For example, smart lights allow you to return to a well-lit home every day.
More importantly, some of these devices add security as well. Smart thermostats allow you to control the temperature of your home remotely. They also alert you to dangerously high or low temperatures in the house.
Take Advantage of Equipment That Keeps an Eye on Your Home
Home surveillance cameras have made a significant surge in the security market over the last several years. New technology has helped make adding surveillance a very desirable security system upgrade feature.
Several years ago, we used this method for every single camera installation we completed. This installation provides continuous recording of each camera's footage and 3-4 weeks of video storage. However, this type of installation comes at a relatively high cost compared to some of the options on the market today.
Install Monitored Smoke and CO Detection
Monitored smoke and carbon monoxide detection add potentially life-saving security to your home. For this reason, we recommend adding this detection when performing any security system upgrade.
We discussed earlier how a monitored burglar system sends for help when a security contact causes the alarm to activate. Likewise, monitored smoke and carbon monoxide detectors call for help upon activation.
You have a couple of different options for adding this security to your home. Adding individual sensors provides spot detection at each location that you install them.
The "Firefighter" wireless relay (pictured) detects the sound of a smoke alarm. It then relays a message to the alarm panel. The panel, in turn, calls the central station, which then dispatches the fire department.
This automatic response to a fire emergency can save your home in the case of a fire in an empty house.
More importantly, it can save the lives of those caught inside during a fire. The benefits of adding this detection equipment make it perhaps the very most important aspect of upgrading your home security system.
Ways To Upgrade Your Existing Home Security Systems
With home security technologies emerging rapidly, chances are your existing system may not be up with the times.
However, if your home security system works and does its job correctly, it's hard to justify buying a new system, right? If it's not broken, don't fix it. We get it.
Lucky for you, it's possible to upgrade your existing home security system. These four security system upgrades may be the best solution for you!
Upgrade 1: Update Old Panel Board
Many security systems can be added on without replacing all of the nuts and bolts. Simply changing out your control panel board for a newer model will give your system far greater capabilities.
For example, some older systems out there can't be controlled via smartphones. Upgrading the panel gives you the ability to control your home remotely, anytime, from anywhere.
Perhaps the best part of upgrading security control panels is that old devices still work with new, boosted boards.
Don't worry about your old appliances from 18+ years ago not working with the updated system because chances are they will work just fine!
Upgrade 2: Switch To Wireless Monitoring
Upgrading to wireless monitoring is how a large majority of people choose to upgrade older systems.
Nearly all systems, even the ancient ones, can be monitored wirelessly. Traditionally, alarm systems have been connected to telephone lines, and when the alarm was tripped, the signal was sent via the phone line.
Recent technological advancements now allow security systems (even old ones) to be monitored by sending signals via cell towers instead of phone lines. By sending signals this way, it eliminates the possibility of burglars cutting phone lines before breaking.
The upgrade to wireless home monitoring takes an old system and brings it into the 21st century by improving the technology and making it even safer than ever.
Upgrade 3: Install New Keypad
A new keypad may be all the facelift you need for your existing home security system.
Gone are the days where the only option is old clunky keypads with a few buttons. Security companies now offer modern touchscreen keypads with many additional display features such as weather forecasts, time, date and much more.
Upgrade 4: Add Smart Home Features
By swapping out an old panel, moving to wireless monitoring, and putting up a new keypad, your system will look as fresh as anyone else's in the neighbourhood.
These combined upgrades take an ancient system and make it smart home compatible. Now all that is left to do is add door locks, smart thermostats and other smart home features to your newly updated system!