The Future Of Communication – 5G And Security

5g-network-300x183In the past, we’ve written about how to protect your network’s connected devices, and the importance of good cybersecurity with the upcoming launch of 5G. This week we decided to take a step back and go into a bit more detail about 5G itself. So, what is 5G?

5G is the fifth generation (hence, 5-G) of wireless communications. Right now most cell phones communicate over a 4G network, such as LTE.  5G rollout has already started in certain areas, with nationwide coverage expected sometime next year.

Like other generational improvements, faster speeds are one of the main features of 5G networks, with anywhere from 500mbps-1.5gbps speeds available. But this generation is unique, in that it has a number of other benefits.

  • lower latency
  • lower power requirements
  • increase in number of connected devices

When it launches, unless your device is equipped with 5G technology, it won’t be able to take advantage of these benefits. But most new devices launched after the 5G rollout will come 5G-capable.

So why does this matter? These improvements in communication speed and reliability are able to power a number of cutting edge technologies that will be used more and more frequently in the near future, such as virtual reality, driverless cars, remote surgery, and more.

In terms of security specifically, 5G connectivity will allow more devices to communicate even faster over your home network – for example security cameras, motion detectors, smart home devices, and many more. By involving machine learning and AI, your smart home will be able to learn more about your behaviors in order to provide increased convenience and protection.

If you live in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on how 5G can help protect your home or business, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Protecting Your Smart Home – Cyber Attacks & 5G

For those who own alarm systems, whether they are video surveillance, access control, burglary, or fire protection, our systems watch over us and protect us around the clock.

But in today’s day and age, just about everything is connected to the internet. In many cases, this includes our alarm system. And like any device that is connected to the internet, if not taken care of properly, it can be at risk of attack from hackers. With the upcoming launch of 5G, it is extremely important this year to protect anything connected to your home network to prevent these cyber attacks.

“Attackers used an army of hijacked security cameras and video recorders to launch several massive internet attacks” said a news piece by the Wall Street Journal. Many times, these cameras were infected by pre-compromised routers that already existed.

Here are some tips about how to protect your alarm system as well

Router security:
We recommend using WPA2 security for your router. Most routers, unless they are fairly old, are capable of this type of security. For more information on this, check out your router’s brand’s website – Belkin, Linksys, and Netgear are common brands.

Firmware updates: It is very important that any device that connects to the internet, from thermostats to alarm systems to routers to televisions to computers, always has the most up to date firmware. Each device’s manual or website will have instructions on how to do those, and if there is a phone application that interfaces with the device, you can often do it through the application.

Password protection: Many devices come with generic user names and passwords. These are easy targets for hackers. Make sure you change any default passwords, and try not to use the same password on multiple devices. It is most important that this is done on the router.

New hardware:
According to Kenneth White, a security researcher and director of the Open Crypto Audit Project, “If the company that made your [device] isn’t selling that model anymore or offering security updates, that’s a good sign for you to throw it in the trash.”

How Z-Wave Communication Can Turn Your Home Into A Smart Home

Smart home AccessIn the wake of home automation, smart home, or connected home technology you may have come across the term Z-Wave technology. What is it? Z-Wave technology is, “a wireless technology that makes regular household products, like lights, door locks and thermostats ‘smart’.” It’s what allows your home devices to “talk” to each other and be controlled remotely via your mobile device. Why is this important? Well, if you have home automation or been considering it, it’s all about ease of integration, flexibility, and interoperability. Home automation and its perspective devices are an integral part of a comprehensive home security system. At Perfect Connections, Inc. our licensed integrators have been providing comprehensive home security solutions for over 25 years. We believe in making your life easier and more convenient by providing technologies that not only operate effectively but help provide superior protection.

Having strong communication between devices is crucial to the efficacy of your system. It seems Z-Wave technology has the majority grip on the market as it stand today – over 1,700 in 2017,and over 2,400 by the end of 2018.This is beneficial to integrators and end-users alike. The quantity of smart products that operate on Z-Wave technology opens the door to highly flexible smart home applications. This means you can outfit your entire house with automation devices that can be controlled from your central control panel or a single application on your mobile device versus having to control devices piecemeal because they don’t operate on the same technology.

According to Mark Walters, chairman of the Z-Wave Alliance, “…greater than 80 percent of the North American security company-based lifestyle solutions are powered by Z-Wave.” The wide breadth of automation product availability within the Z-Wave family provides immense system scalability for homeowners and integrators. Meaning your initial product installations are not finite. Security and automation devices can be added on an as needed basis. For example, you may start with automated door locks, lighting, and garage door control but you may find that with time your needs expand to temperature management, skylight controls, and/or guarding against potential water damage; it’s always nice to only have to go through the installation process once, but it’s comforting to know you have options after the fact. While most homeowners rely on the experts to properly install devices in their home, the range of Z-Wave technology products does open the door to a more DIY approach. However, it is important to note that it is always wise to consult a licensed security system integrator to ensure proper product installation and operation. This technology also provides an open platform for integrators and consumers who prefer products from a specific manufacturer, making it easier to get exactly what you want.

What about existing household technologies, will they be affected by Z-Wave home automation devices? Today our lives are inundated with technology, your home probably has a slew of devices that operate on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The potential issue with a house full of devices operating simultaneously is the communication disruption they can incur on one another. Luckily with Z-Wave technology you don’t have to worry about interference with or from other household devices. Its operational capabilities were designed specifically for home control. It’s a low energy consumption, bandwidth efficient technology that won’t inhibit other home devices. Z-Wave technology also has a vast international presence throughout Europe further expanding their territory for consistency, device compatibility, and home automation integration. On top of that, Wi-Fi consumes a lot of power, and Bluetooth is limited in signal range and number of devices.

Home automation is a facet of comprehensive security systems that improves a homeowners posture in security. It is meant to improve lives through convenience and seamless integration. With home automation you can turn lights on and off remotely with the tap of your finger on your mobile device. You can arm or disarm your alarm system while on vacation. You can monitor an aging loved one who wants to maintain a level of independence by tracking their activity on your smartphone. Or you can use it to receive instant notifications of real time events like your kids arrival home from school. Like any system, home automation is only as good as the sum of its parts and the technology it operates on.

Z-Wave technology is the means by which many automation devices communicate with each other and the system as a whole. The strong hold it has on the market today seems to prove it’s effectiveness and dependability. It creates flexibility in product selection and system integration without interfering with existing household devices. Chances are if you already have home automation as part of your security system your devices operate on Z-Wave technology. This technology and the devices it encompasses show no signs of slowing down in our age of technological progression.

Our licensed integrators at Perfect Connections, Inc. have been providing custom and comprehensive security system solutions to homes throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992. We believe in providing technologies that enhance your home’s security and home automation devices do just that. Home automation is part of a comprehensive security system which should include fire and burglar alarms, video surveillance, access control, and a monitoring service. We help your home security stay relevant and provide technology that improves your quality of life.

If you live or run a business in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Image Credit: Image by Domoalert Smart Life Quality’s photostream-Flickr-Creative Commons

Have a Happy and Safe Halloween With These Home Security Tips

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Happy Halloween from all of us here at Perfect Connections! Here are some tips for you and your family to make sure the holiday is safe and enjoyable.

Tips For Your Home

Leave Lights On

A well-lit home is a safe home. Whether you’re in the house handing out candy to the trick-or-treaters, or you’ll be out in the neighborhood, keep some lights on around the house to show that someone is still home. Outdoor lighting also can help prevent any unwanted visitors, and makes it safer for any visitors coming for treats.

Your Security System

With the possibility for a lot of foot-traffic around your home, your security system may need a bit of fine tuning. Make sure any cameras are pointed at the areas that are most likely to receive the most traffic. The front door/porch, driveway, and if possible sidewalk and street outside the house are very important areas to be able to view. If you plan on leaving the house unattended, make sure your system is armed, and make sure anyone returning to the house know’s the alarm code to disarm the system.

Tips For Outside Your Home

Trick-Or-Treating

Make sure all candy is checked before being eaten. It is highly recommended that any candy that isn’t pre-wrapped is thrown out. And always remember – safety in numbers!

Cell Phones

If you’re sending your kids out into the neighborhood to trick-or-treat on their own, a cell phone is an extremely important tool to help them keep safe. Make sure they have a fully charged cellphone, and that they know which number to call in case of an emergency. If you’re going out with your children, make sure you have alerts set up so your security system can notify you of any incidents at your home.

If you live in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962.

 

Is Your Security Provider Licensed?

There are many reasons to make sure the person you hire to do a job is qualified. When it comes to installing camera systems, it’s the law.Video Surveillance-Christian Schnettelker

In New Jersey, a professional surveillance system installer needs to be licensed by the Fire Alarm, Burglar Alarm, and Locksmith Advisory Committee. According to Eric Marcy at Wilentz Attorneys at Law, “many local Informational Technology Companies have begun to dabble in installing CCTV monitoring as part of their product/service offerings.” While it may make initial sense to hire an IT professional to install network-based cameras, they may lack many of the qualifications that a licensed surveillance system installer has due to the training required to obtain the proper license.

Eric Marcy also states that “While Information Technology businesses may find the installation of CCTV and surveillance systems a natural extension of the services the business may offer, failure to have a proper license for such services will result in legal exposure and penalties. Prior to any Information Technology firm from offering, marketing or providing such services it should fully investigate the requirements necessary to allow it to provide such services. IT companies would be well served to consult with counsel to review the proposed services and proposed marketing to insure that the IT firm is not in violation of State law. ”

If you’re not sure if the person or company you are hiring is licensed, you can verify on the NJ Division of Consumer Affairs website.

If you live in Central or Northern New Jersey and are considering installing cameras in your home or business, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE. Our licensed integrators at Perfect Connections, Inc. have been providing custom and comprehensive security system solutions since 1992.

Smart Homes and 5G – How To Stay Protected

For those who own alarm systems, whether they are video surveillance, access control, burglary, or fire protection, our systems watch over us and protect us around the clock.

But in today’s day and age, just about everything is connected to the internet. In many cases, this includes our alarm system. And like any device that is connected to the internet, if not taken care of properly, it can be at risk of attack from hackers. With the upcoming launch of 5G, it is extremely important this year to protect anything connected to your home network.

“Attackers used an army of hijacked security cameras and video recorders to launch several massive internet attacks” said a news piece by the Wall Street Journal. Many times, these cameras were infected by pre-compromised routers that already existed.

Here are some tips about how to protect your alarm system as well

Router security:
We recommend using WPA2 security for your router. Most routers, unless they are fairly old, are capable of this type of security. For more information on this, check out your router’s brand’s website – Belkin, Linksys, and Netgear are common brands.

Firmware updates: It is very important that any device that connects to the internet, from thermostats to alarm systems to routers to televisions to computers, always has the most up to date firmware. Each device’s manual or website will have instructions on how to do those, and if there is a phone application that interfaces with the device, you can often do it through the application.

Password protection: Many devices come with generic user names and passwords. These are easy targets for hackers. Make sure you change any default passwords, and try not to use the same password on multiple devices. It is most important that this is done on the router.

New hardware:
According to Kenneth White, a security researcher and director of the Open Crypto Audit Project, “If the company that made your [device] isn’t selling that model anymore or offering security updates, that’s a good sign for you to throw it in the trash.”

Not Just Peace Of Mind: Security Systems and Home Value

American Advisors Group-House SoldHow do you judge the value of your home? Is it the market price? Is it the neighborhood where it’s located? Or maybe it’s the aesthetics. Actually it’s all of the above and then some. If you’re a homeowner one sure fire way to add value to your home is by installing a comprehensive home security system. A home security system offers a peace of mind to homeowners they can’t get anywhere else, but that’s not all.

With a comprehensive home security system you’re better protected from burglary and break-ins, house fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, and vandalism. While the initial cost of a home security system may seem like a substantial investment, the return is even greater. Having installed comprehensive home security systems throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992, our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. can attest to the added value.

There might not be a direct correlation between the market value of a home and whether or not a security system is present, but the indirect impact is evident in buyer interest. If you anticipate selling your home in the future having added safety features adds a perceived value to your home. Like with anything we purchase throughout our lives, prospective home buyers are likely to feel better about a price tag if safety is a factor. In the mind of a potential buyer the more security features a home comes with, the less they have to spend after the fact which makes spending more upfront less of an issue. That is why installing a comprehensive security system that includes surveillance, monitoring, fire and burglar alarms, carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, motion detectors, window and door sensors, and home automation is worth the investment. The more homes in your neighborhood with these features the better. In fact, according to HomeGain.com, “A neighborhood that has more home security systems will, over time, have a lower crime rate. That lower crime rate, in turn, leads to higher property values for the neighborhood.”

Other security features prospective buyers might be looking for are strong sash locks for all windows, including those above ground level. Reinforced or hardwood exterior doors, commercial grade door locks, and automatic or motion detected exterior lighting are all pluses in the eyes of a potential buyer. While all of these features are appealing to a buyer, resale isn’t the only reason to invest in your homes security. It’s that peace of mind every homeowner desires, you can’t put a price on that.

Perceived value is great, but so it monetary value. A home security system can actually affect you monetarily. How? Insurance! As a homeowner you know that everything has a cost, insurance is no exception. Wouldn’t it be great if you could save money on your homeowners insurance? Good news, you can. Many insurance companies offer discounts to homeowners for having a security system and various security features. Every company has different policies, but some offer up to 20% discounts. Be sure to contact your provider for details and exceptions. If you have home automation as part of your security system, you’re setting yourself up for savings again. With home automation you can remotely adjust lighting, temperature, and sometimes select appliances. This can save you money on your utilities bill every month by using energy when you specify. It also helps prevent energy waste which benefits the environment as well.

Whether you’re looking to improve the value of your home for resale or simply want to do what is best for your family, adding a comprehensive home security system will always be beneficial. It’ll save you money and provide you and your family with peace of mind. To assure you are getting the best deal and system for your home, it’s imperative you hire a professional. A haphazard mix of security parts assembled incorrectly doesn’t add value to anything.

Professional security system experts, like our team at Perfect Connections, Inc., will provide an initial in person assessment of the security risks specific to your home and create a custom system from there. Every home is unique and should be treated as such don’t fall for a one-stop solution. As industry professionals our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing custom comprehensive security systems to northern and central New Jersey residents for the past 23 years. We know there is no substitute for personalized service that suits your individual needs.

If you live or run a business in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Image Credit: Image By American Advisors Group-Flickr-Creative Commons

How Many Tiers Of Security Do You have?

One of the most important techniques to protecting your home is creating tiered security. It’s not very difficult for a burglar to get past one line of defense. The more difficult it is and the longer it takes a burglar to break into your home, the more likely they’ll run away. Neighbors are also more likely to spot someone breaking in if you are able to slow any potential thieves down. Adding additional tiers of security can easily mean the difference between staying protected and a potential robbery.

House with lock-Ts_pasha

The first tier is your exterior. Make sure your exterior is well maintained and looks occupied, even if you’re away. Unmowed lawns, newspapers on the porch, and mail piling up are all signs that no one is watching the house. Motion detector lights and well trimmed bushes/hedges protect you from people sneaking onto your property. If you need to leave a spare key outside, make sure it is well hidden and not in commonly checked places (under the mat, in the mailbox, under an out of place fake rock). For the most effective security, external weatherproofed security cameras with a 24 hour monitoring company can provide a high level of protection.

Your house itself is your next tier. About 85% of burglaries take place with the thief entering through the front or back door. About 60% of break ins are accomplished using force. Replace hollow doors with solid-core doors, add a dead-bolt, and reinforce the door jamb with metal. Adding a security film to windows will make them much more difficult to break. Most importantly, make sure all windows and doors are locked when you leave the house, even for a quick trip to the store. 30% of burglaries occur through an unlocked window or door.

Inside your house is the most critical tier. Use thick drapes and keep valuables out of view so burglars can’t see inside what you have inside your house. Electronics and jewelry are often the most sought-after items for criminals. Identify theft is also one of the fastest growing crimes. Make sure these valuable assets are protected – a large heavy Internal motion detectors, glassbreak detectors, and video cameras on an alarm system provide a comprehensive defense against potential burglaries.

While the physical barriers to a burglar getting in is extremely important, another aspect to remember is the psychological defenses. Signs and stickers that an alarm system is installed in the house are great deterrents. A dog is also a very large reason many potential burglars would avoid a house – even if you don’t have one, making it look like you do by posting a sign or leaving a leash outside can help. Audible alarm systems are not just to alert you or neighbors to a potential intruder, but also to scare away anyone that has made it into your house.

 

If You Recently Purchased Your Home, Read This!

Helpful Security Tips For New Homeowners

There is no doubt that moving into a new home can be exciting; however, between getting all your belongings moved in, unpacking and getting organized, it can be quite easy to overlook security in the new home.

Thieves work where there is an opportunity. They will prey on people or locations they believe are “easy targets.” With movers coming and going from the space and the homeowners being distracted, a burglar can easily take advantage of the situation.

Prior to settling into your new home, take some time to address a few security concerns. Some tips that can help to keep new homeowners and their belongings safe include:

 

American Advisors Group-House Sold

Change the locks – this should include window locks. You never know how many other copies are “out there.”
Perform a security audit – walk around and try to think like a criminal. Address any issues such as broken fences, bushes near the house or windows or doors that do not shut securely.
Install a security system – monitored security services are perhaps the best way to help keep your home secure.
Install plenty of outdoor lighting – motion or sensor lights are great at deterring would-be intruders.
Get to know the neighbors.

 

Moving into a new house is a huge occasion, but you cannot ignore the security issues that may be present. Be sure that you take note of the tips here to keep your new home and yourself safe and secure.

 

Helpful Additions You Can Make To Your Home Security Alarms

Your home is your castle. For most people, protecting it is a top priority. One of the best investments you can make to provide superior protection for your home, belongings and family is a home security alarm. Modern options are far more advanced than the security systems that were available as little as a decade ago. Getting to know some of the new features and advancements offered by these security systems will help you see why they are such an invaluable asset.

Remote Access Viewing – One of the most helpful additions that you can add to your home security alarm is a set of cameras. With the advances in modern security technology, it is now possible to access the video cameras in your house from anywhere in the world. This will allow you to view your home – no matter where you are – to make sure that everything is safe and that no one has broken in.

Increased Electrical Safety – Another helpful feature offered with modern home security alarms allows you to determine whether or not any electrical components, such as a stove or outlet, have been left on in your home. This will help to improve the overall level of safety in your home.

Added Fire Safety – Yet another beneficial thing that you can add to your home security system is smoke detectors and sensors. In most cases, these are very easily added to your system and they can provide a lot of added safety. When a fire is detected the alarm will sound and if you are paying for monitoring, the proper authorities will be contacted. This will help to increase the response time and it will help to reduce the damage that you have to your home in the event of a fire.

Installing a modern security system or upgrading your existing one just makes sense. It will provide you with peace of mind that your home and family are safe and secure.

How Lighting Affects Your Video Quality

When it comes to surveillance cameras, visibility is key.  Some of the obstacles surrounding a camera’s capability to retain high video quality such as lighting, camera installation, and type of camera are somewhat within our control, others are not.  Uncontrollable issues of extreme brightness, like light produced from headlights and the sun, or extreme darkness are not necessarily easily overcome.  However, as with anything, technological progression helps change these harrowing limitations.  As industry professionals our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing security system solutions, including surveillance, to organizations throughout northern and central New Jersey for over 25 years.  We’ve seen the impact changing technology has on the equipment we install and how it can be beneficial to our customers.

Surveillance systems are in the midst of a transition from using conventional analog equipment to IP (Internet Protocol).  Why? For one, image quality.  The tricky thing with IP cameras is not all are created equal.  There isn’t necessarily a defined industry standard that is accepted by all integrators and camera manufacturers when it comes to “best” image quality.  For example some might argue that the higher the megapixel count the better, but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee a better image.  At least with HD (high definition) cameras there are standards manufacturers must comply with in order to be considered HD.

Aside from pixel count, an IP camera’s display threshold in extreme conditions is critical, but limited.  This limit, specifically when referring to extreme brightness or darkness, is typically known as “dynamic range.”  Wide dynamic range (WDR), “allows cameras to capture much more detail in scenes where there are varying levels of light, much like the way the human eye ‘processes’ these types of scenes.”  You know the feeling of widening your eyes in the dark to try to see clearer because you’re eyes haven’t quite adjusted yet?  It’s sort of the same idea with WDR cameras and how they adapt in both light and dark conditions.  However, their adjustments aren’t a physical strain and transitions are typically quicker than ours.

WDR footageThe images above show the difference between a parking garage being monitored by a camera with no WDR or WDR turned off on the left, and on the right the same area monitored by a camera with WDR enabled.  The difference is clear as day.  Why do they differ so much?  The camera with the WDR enabled has two internal Charge-Coupled Devices (CCD).  The two devices, or sensors, scan an image at different speeds, one low and one high, the image processor then combines the separate images producing a clearer, more balanced picture with better contrast and lighting.  This process happens quickly enough to produce a stream of clear recorded footage.  There are many different manufacturers that produce these WDR cameras in the market today, and not all of them use the same type of sensor and image processing combinations.  The best way to ensure you are getting the best camera for your specific application is to hire a licensed security systems integrator who is educated in which camera specifications will work best in variant conditions.

WDR technology, like anything else, is not perfect.  Depending on the camera manufacturer, you could end up with a camera that takes up to 15 seconds to adjust with varying light levels.  That doesn’t sound like that long, but it could mean the difference between catching a perpetrator and them getting away.  Another issue you might run into are cameras that don’t have the ability to turn WDR settings on and off automatically.  Without the automation the transition becomes the responsibility of someone on site, which can be time consuming and ineffective in a time sensitive situation.  This is why it is vital to consult a professional security systems integrator who is educated in the differences between product specifications and their appropriate applications.

The clarity of recorded video footage is crucial to the security of any organization.  As a business owner you don’t want to be left wondering why your recordings are grainy, washed out, or so dark they become unusable.  No one can control the external factors that affect an organization, but you can be prepared for them by taking the proper precautions.  Licensed system integrators are there to help.  Our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing comprehensive security system solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We recognize the importance of utilizing quality security products that not only perform well but perform to their intended specifications.

If you live or run a business in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Image Credit: Image by IQinVision-Google-Creative Commons