When safety gets smart

When safety gets smart

When safety gets smart

Out on a family vacation and can’t stop worrying about your home’s safety? It’s time to think beyond the good ol’ locks and take your pick from the plethora of hi-tech home security options available today, writes Mehernosh Pithawalla

Every day, we come across so many incidences of burglary. In such circumstances, investing in a technologically advanced electronic home security system can be a great source of mental peace. However, in India, the adoption of security solutions is still at 2.7%, which is much lower than most other countries.

However, the market today is filled with security solutions with differing prices. With the influx of fly-by-night operators, the market is now flooded with unbranded products, which are bought in bulk and sold in the country as low-priced security solutions. So, it is important that you assess your needs and select products that not only meet your budget, but are also high on performance and functionality.

Taking a closer look

It’s important to take a closer look at the security measures that each product offers and evaluate their applicability to your specific needs. For instance, if you experience frequent power outages at home, a security system that uses battery back-up would be a pragmatic choice. Changing lifestyle patterns is also an important factor to consider. If your family travels frequently, then there is a need for the security system to alert you via IP connectivity or GSM network.

While after-sales may not sound too important, in case of security solutions, it becomes a critical factor to be looked at. Home security is serious business and any downtime can increase the risk of being susceptible to an untoward incident. Hence, opt for a brand which is equipped to provide excellent after-sales services. In other words, look beyond the price factor and consider the quality and services provided, too.

Home security systems today come with a variety of functions, ranging from the basic to the advanced. Basic home security systems or burglar alarms are typically wired to a central control panel in the home. This  gets activated when the windows or doors are tampered with while the system is armed. Advanced systems, on the other hand, are equipped with motion sensors, glass-break detectors and home automation options such as controlling home lighting and temperature.

As technological advancement is supposed to increase convenience and security, consumers need to look out for products with technological integration that drastically increases convenience. If the nature of a security product is similar to the ones found in the previous decade, then the security system is probably outdated. In the last few years, several technological advancements have taken place in the home security systems. As a result, it is important to stay abreast of the latest developments before making a purchase.

Choices galore

One of the key trends that has been on the rise is the do-it-yourself (DIY) security system. This is mainly for people who prefer to use a plug-and-play system. Safes that send you alerts, video door phones that allow you to speak to your visitor on the mobile phone and a CCTV that allows you to monitor your home from your smartphone are the other popular options among homeowners.

The choices can be confusing. However, with the right research, depending on your needs, you can choose a home security system that offers a sense of security to your family members. Let’s first look at some of the major choices available today:

* Monitored alarm systems: These systems connect the alarm to a monitoring company that is able to call the nearby police station if there has been an intrusion into the house. This can be done through various options including a landline phone connection, a cell phone chip in the alarm panel or via a broadband Internet connection.

* Unmonitored alarm systems: These alarms create a loud noise that is audible both inside and outside the home. While this can be a deterrent to the burglar, the only disadvantage is that you would have to call the emergency services yourself.

* Wireless alarm systems: These systems also don’t require monitoring. They are a good option if you want to connect motion sensors or cameras wirelessly.

In case you are just looking to add more features to your existing security system, you have plenty of choices there too. You could invest in sophisticated add-ons such as a closed-circuit camera system for full monitoring inside your home and outside. The other popular additions that work in most homes include the following:

* Automated lights: This feature gives you the ability to remotely control your lights through a smartphone or tablet.

* Panic buttons: These buttons are ideal as you can signal the alarm to call for help without having to leave your room.

* Intercom system: Through this system, you can communicate with the people standing outside your home. That way, you can determine whether or not you need to open the door.

While a burglary tends to critically injure the financial safety of the home-owner, it also leaves an indelible psychological impact. The financial loss may be recoverable, but the emotional trauma may last forever.

In that context, it’s important that you have a home security system in place — something that you can trust. Because in the bargain between investment in security and the price of security, it’s important to consider if it is really worth the risk.

But deciding to invest in a sound home security system is only the first step, as selecting the right one is the crucial step. Here are some handy tips to help you make the purchase that’s best for your home and family:

* Buy from a reputed brand that has been in the market for several years. This will ensure continuity of service.

* Go for a brand that provides technology integrated products such as home safes with an alarm and alerts to your mobile phone.

* Do check if the company also provides an installation service with the products.

Now that you know what you need to look out for in your home security solution, choose wisely.

(The author is head - marketing, sales and innovation, Godrej Security Solutions)