How Can A Smart Home Help You?

The Jetsons-Mark AndersonWith advancing technology becoming more and more present in our daily lives, it’s no wonder it’s becoming part of our homes too.  From solar panels on our roofs to remotely controlled thermostats, we are creating homes akin to the Jetson’s space age abode.  Unlike the Jestson’s most of us still live in homes on the ground without robot housekeepers and flying cars.

Whether or not technology is pushing us towards zero-gravity transportation, one thing is for sure, our homes are advancing with us.  Look how far we’ve come in such a short period of time.  Starting with the inception of the internet around 1962, we’ve gone from the most simplistic data sharing capabilities to now virtually living online.  We can take the internet with us on our phones, tablets, laptops, and other wireless devices; it’s an integral part of our communication systems.  It only makes sense that our physical living spaces are becoming more connected to our mobile lives.

So what does it mean to have a connected home or home automation?  It’s being able to wirelessly control devices in and around your home from virtually anywhere in the world via a mobile device (i.e. a smartphone, tablet, etc.).  You know that feeling of, “I think I forgot something”?  That gut wrenching sensation can be a thing of the past when you include home automation as part of your security system.  With home automation or interactive services you no longer have to worry whether or not you forgot to lock your doors or arm the alarm system because you can do it from your phone. You can even check in on your kids, pets, and loved ones by logging into your home security cameras through an app.  The capabilities are seemingly endless and the technology behind home automation is only moving forward. Here at Perfect Connections, Inc. we believe in providing superior home security systems that can include sophisticated, yet easy to use, home automation features.  Our team of experts has been providing home security system solutions to central and northern New Jersey for the past 23 years.  We understand the value in having a connected home, do you?

Convenience

Picture this, you’re coming back from a long vacation, somewhere tropical of course.  You’re in the car on the way home from the airport, the cool crisp air of winter in New Jersey lingering on your cheeks.  Then it hits you.  Your home is in New Jersey, its winter, and you turned the heat way down before you left.  Looks like you’re going to be wearing your coat and galoshes around the house until it heats up.  The frustration is setting in when you realize, “I can turn up the heat from my phone!”(cue the idea light-bulb).bulb_idea You log into your mobile app and swiftly adjust your thermostat to a comfortable temperature.  By the time you get home it’s warm and cozy, no need to stay bundled up.

Being able to adjust your home climate from afar is just one of the many conveniences home automation provides.  You can lock and unlock doors, open/close garages, turn lights on and off, log into your security cameras to see what is going on at your house, and arm or disarm your alarm system.  With a firm understanding of how your home automation works, you can program notifications and optimize different features of your home and security system.

Savings

Aside from being a convenient addition to your everyday life, home automation can actually save you money.  Think about your utilities, one of the major money-drainers is electrical use.  With programmable lights and the ability to turn them on and off remotely, wasting electricity becomes a thing of the past.  The largest portion of your utilities likely comes from heating and cooling your home.  Being able to program your thermostats can be a huge saver in energy costs throughout the course of a year.  Never mind the fact that you’d be enhancing your homes overall efficiency.

Environmental impact

When it comes to wasting energy, the U.S. is unfortunately no stranger to inefficiency.  According to Forbes.com America ranks number one among developed nations, even ahead of China, for energy waste.  Energy inefficiencies impact not only our environment, but our economic status as well.  In fact low energy productivity in the United States is estimated to cost businesses and households an estimated $130 billion annually.  While home automation may seem like a small piece of the energy-efficiency pie, imagine if every home could cut their waste even by a small percentage; the impact would be substantial.

Peace of mind

Yes, home automation can save you money.  Yes, it can increase your home’s efficiency.  Yes, it gives you the capability to monitor your alarm system from afar.  Yes, it saves you time and aggravation.  The best side effect is one that can’t be measured by the money in your bank account or the bottom line on your utilities bill.  It’s the peace of mind you gain.  That feeling of knowing your kids are home safe from school because you were able to see them arrive.  Knowing that your home and valuables are safe while you’re on vacation.  Receiving customized notifications that are specific to your needs and schedule.  You can’t achieve the same peace of mind from a security system alone, no matter how sophisticated.

Whether you’re in the market for your first security system or want to add home automation to an existing setup, don’t hesitate to call on our experts at Perfect Connections, Inc..  Our specialists have been providing comprehensive security systems throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We customize security solutions to fit specific needs unique to your home.

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 Credits: Image #1 (Jetsons) by Mark Anderson-Flickr-Creative Commons

Complete Security Systems

CCTV-Wikipedia ImageIn an unpredictable world, one thing is certain, we all want to protect what’s ours.  Whether you’re a business owner or a homeowner, you want to keep safe that which you’ve worked so hard for.  One of the most effective ways to do that is to install a security system.  Well, what exactly is a security system and what makes it a complete security system? Security can be defined as, “the state of being protected or safe from harm,” and system can be defined as, “a group of related parts that move or work together.”  A security system is an assemblage of equipment that helps prevent imminent danger or damage.

As a licensed security systems provider, our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been helping protect homes and businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We believe that complete security systems should not only be a group of working parts, but that it should be comprehensive.  Comprehensive can be defined as, “complete; including all or nearly all elements or aspects of something.”  After decades of installing security equipment we’ve found that a truly comprehensive security system should include some form of access control, fire and burglar alarms, surveillance, and a monitoring service.

Access control is the means by which you limit admission to a specific point of entry.  It’s essentially your first line of defense against unauthorized entrants.  Probably the most conventional form of access control is a standard lock and key.  Today, the lock and key method is either being eliminated or used as a backup to more technologically advanced controls.  Traditional keys when lost or stolen can be easily replicated whereas using readers, fobs (tokens), and sometimes biometrics in combination with a password are more concrete and less susceptible to duplication.

Card and proximity readers are typically placed next to a point of entry and a fob or card that is programmed with the appropriate credentials is used.  The card or fob is either tapped or swiped on or near the reader to gain access. The benefit to using a swipe card or fob is if they are lost or stolen they can be deactivated in the operating system whereas you can’t deactivate a physical key unless you change out the entire lock.  Biometrics, which uses physical credentials like a fingerprint, is similar in the sense that access information isn’t as easily stolen or duplicated.  This type of access control isn’t as widely used today because they tend to be more complex and costly.  However, as technology progresses we may see a rise in biometric applications.

Fire and burglar alarms are critical alerts in potentially life-threatening situations.  Fire and burglary can strike at any given time without warning, wreaking havoc on your business or home.  With burglary occurring every 14.6 seconds and national fire departments responding to an estimated 1,240,000 fires a year (2013), it’s critical to the safety and security of any home or business to implement preventative measures.  Physical structural damage and property loss incurred by a fire or burglary is only part of the aftermath, the emotional and psychological damage is even harder to repair.

In conjunction with burglar alarms and access control, surveillance is essential.  When installed correctly surveillance equipment is not only a helpful crime deterrent, but a useful tool in solving crime.  In the wake of IP (Internet Protocol) and wireless technology, surveillance equipment is no longer limited to hardwired installations.  This increases scalability, flexibility, and ease of installation.  It also helps reduce the cost of installation by not having to pull as much cabling through walls.  Another benefit to having a surveillance system is the potential capability to access footage remotely.  With a plethora of mobile apps at your disposal, you can access your surveillance system to see what is going on at your facility or home when you can’t be there.  Being able to remotely access your security cameras adds a layer of monitoring and convenience that, up until recently, wasn’t widely used or available.

Lastly to complete the effectiveness of a security system you should have an alarm monitoring service.  Without a monitoring service who is going to respond to an active alarm?  If you’re lucky someone nearby will call the authorities, that’s assuming someone is actually near your facility or residence when the alarm goes off.  An alarm monitor can help save you, your family, or your business from potential disaster by decreasing the response time from local authorities and emergency responders.  When an alarm is triggered the monitoring station is instantly notified; they typically try to contact you first, and if they don’t get a response within a given amount of time authorities and emergency crews are dispatched.  This is a particularly beneficial service in the event that you’re out of town or unable to respond in an emergency.  Having an alarm monitoring service can mean the difference between catastrophe and a manageable situation.

A security system is so much more than the equipment that comprises it.  It helps provide protection and life safety in a volatile world. Remember, a system is only as effective as the parts that comprise it.  For a security system to be comprehensive it should include fire and burglar alarms, access control, surveillance, and a monitoring service, at least.  As a security systems expert, Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing comprehensive security solutions to homes and businesses in northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  We understand the importance of mitigating the unpredictable and what it takes to do so.

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 KRoock74-Google-Creative Commons

Surveillance Footage Monitoring

laptop monitor-Intel Free PressWhen you picture a surveillance monitoring station what do you see?  Is it a half awake guard staring blankly at multiple monitors?  If that’s the case you can scratch that image from your mind.  The future of monitoring services is quickly shifting and adapting to our society’s need for streamlined and efficient processes.  As surveillance systems migrate from analog to IP with megapixel network cameras, and our world becomes more and more connected through the IoT (Internet of Things), the desire to access and monitor footage from anywhere increases.  This is where the idea of remote monitoring comes into play.

Being able to remotely monitor surveillance footage from virtually anywhere is a convenience that, up until recently, hasn’t been a pervasive security feature.  It differs from alarm monitoring in the sense that a service representative isn’t necessarily waiting around for an alarm to go off, instead they are actively watching live recordings to catch potential disasters before they happen.  In the past a company would typically hire people to monitor cameras on site, which isn’t always the most economical or effective method.  Today, companies are using off-site monitoring services that have the ability to keep watch over multiple facilities 24/7.  In conjunction with that, business owners have the ability to download apps that allow them to access their surveillance footage at their convenience via a mobile device.

At Perfect Connections, Inc. our experts typically recommend a monitoring service as part of a comprehensive security system to help ensure its effectiveness.  Our team of licensed technicians have been providing security solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 25 years.  The technological climate is ever changing and we always do our best to stay on top of relevant trends that will benefit our customers.

Remote monitoring allows an individual or group of users to access surveillance footage through a secured network from virtually anywhere via a smartphone, tablet, computer, or mobile device.  Why is this beneficial?  It can help cut down, or eliminate entirely, the need to have an on-site staff staring at monitors, how effective can that be anyway?  According to Doug Marman, CTO of VideoIQ Inc. and founder of Remote Guarding Alliance, “…humans monitoring video screens grow fatigued to the point of ineffectiveness after only 20 minutes…”  Marman argues that the traditional method of monitoring surveillance is at best a practice in “hindsight” strategy.  Meaning by the time a reaction is made the damage is done or the perpetrator has already escaped.

Marman’s system of remote monitoring using a combination of video analytics and audio over IP, or voice over IP (VOIP), decreases response time and increases the ability to monitor a large quantity of cameras at once.  And in contrast to human attention span, video analytics are “100 percent vigilant.”  Marman illustrates the ability to interact with intruders instantly via audio over IP, citing how quick they are to abandon their criminal attempt when someone is calling them out over a speaker on site.  While audio interaction is an intriguing feature that allows for a virtual presence at all times, it may not be necessary depending on your type of business and your security needs.  What matters most is the ability to react instantly, reduce any lag time in response, and prevent false alarms as they typically result in fines and wasted essential resources.

With response time being one of the top benefits of remote monitoring it can also reduce overall monitoring costs, increase scalability options, and send notifications via e-mail or other media.  While the benefits of a remote monitoring system may eliminate the need to hire on-site staff, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should rely solely on self-monitoring.  If you were to take on the task of monitoring everything yourself, your business could be at risk.  Imagine you’re monitoring from a smartphone, it runs out of battery and you don’t have your charger handy.  What if you misplace your smartphone and miss an important notification?  Think about logistics too, as a business owner even you need to get sleep, you can’t be vigilant 24/7.

Having the ability to self-monitor should be looked at as an added layer of security, not your only means of protection.  According to Jerry Cordasco, vice president of operations for G4S Video Monitoring Support and Data Center, “A better choice for remote video surveillance is the use of a professional monitoring facility.”  Having a remote monitoring service provides a virtual presence 24/7 that can access real time footage and initiate the appropriate response immediately.

Security systems can be an effective crime fighters, but what good are they if an alarms goes off and no one is notified or made aware?  What good is a surveillance system that no one is monitoring?  You might get lucky and capture a license plate number that could eventually lead you to the perpetrator after the fact, but by that point the damage has been done.  The goal of a remote monitoring service is to provide timely and accurate responses to disturbances on site.

As a security systems provider, our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. understands the importance of immediate action.  Mere seconds can be the difference between prevention and disaster.  We have been providing comprehensive security system solutions, which include monitoring services, to facilities throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  Every business has different security risks that is why we tailor our solutions to fit your specific 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 Intel Free Press-Flickr-Creative Commons

Upgrading An Old Security System

Old Tech-Steve JurvetsonMaybe you’ve had a home security system installed years ago or perhaps you recently moved into a new home with an existing alarm system.  Whatever the case, how can you tell if your home security system is still valid?  There are some tell-tale signs that you may be dealing with an antiquated system.  However, if you have a security system and are concerned it’s not as relevant as it once was the first thing you should do is contact your security system provider for an assessment.  As a security systems expert, our professionals at Perfect Connections, Inc. understand the importance of maintaining a functional security system and keeping up with advancing technologies.  Our team of professionals have been providing comprehensive and customized home security systems throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  We can help assess the validity of your alarm system and offer solutions specific to your security needs.

Maintaining an effective alarm system isn’t just about running annual tests, it’s making sure it progresses as you, your home, and technology press forward.  It’s not like buying the newest IPhone just to keep up with trends, it’s making sure the technology you’ve invested in is providing the best protection.  If you’ve had a security system for a while and can’t remember the last time the software was updated, or if updating isn’t even an option it might be time for an upgrade.  Outdated software may leave you susceptible to hacking and viruses, plus you may not be getting the most out of your system.  You don’t want to pay for a system that’s subpar right?

Another sign it might be time for an assessment or system upgrade is the dependence on a singular keypad for control.  In today’s fast-paced world we often have the need for convenience.  Is it convenient to have to drive home from work because you forgot to arm your security system?  Is it convenient to have to make it to the security keypad to punch in your pin while your arms are chalk-full of groceries?  No, so why not look into interactive services or home automation?  With home automation you no longer have to worry about forgetting to arm or disarm your system because you can do it from your mobile device from virtually anywhere.  You could access your surveillance system through an app on your mobile device, allowing you to view what is going on real-time at home.  Other advantages to an interactive system is the ability to adjust your thermostat and lighting from afar.  As Alarm.com puts it, “Using a smartphone to manage an interactive home security system is like having a remote control for the system right in your pocket.”  This added technology will save you time, money, and lots of headaches.

How was your security system originally installed?  Was it hardwired?  While there is nothing necessarily wrong with a hardwired system it’s important to consider current technology benefits and how your system compares.  Just as our phones have become wireless many industry professionals are installing wireless security systems with cellular capabilities.  Why?  For one there’s no need to tear open walls, which is costly and laborious.  Technology has advanced to the point where wireless capabilities have become more effective and ubiquitous making them more viable, dependable, and available.  When comparing wireless to hardwired systems a noticeable difference, aside from the wires, is the continuity of service.  With a wireless system you don’t have to worry about burglars cutting wires to disable your system because there are none.

Lastly, a common sign of an antiquated security system can be low-res (low-resolution) cameras.  While cameras alone can sometimes deter an intruder from attempting a break-in, what good is a surveillance system that offers fuzzy picture quality if a break-in does occur?  The purpose of a camera is being able to record quality footage to positively identify intruders and sometimes their vehicles if need be.  Clear footage can be a helpful tool for law enforcement and in court.  Effective cameras can also be used to monitor the arrival of packages, expected and unexpected visitors, interiors and exteriors, remote properties (i.e. barns, sheds etc.), and distant areas of your property.  Fortunately there is a vast array of high-resolution cameras available today.  Your security system company will be able to provide the best solutions for your specific needs.

Whether you’re unsure your current security system is functioning optimally or if you’re looking into home security for the first time, contact a specialist.  They will be able to assess your current security situation and provide customized solutions.  Our team of experts at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing custom home security systems throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We can help you update an outdated system and offer comprehensive systems for new installations.

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 Steve Jurvetson-Flickr-Creative Commons

Why Should I Have a Home Security System?

Burglar-JohnImplementing a home security system can seem like a daunting task, but it’s an investment you won’t regret.  People typically visualize the home break-in scenario where the masked intruder breaks a window setting off an alarm, ultimately sending the perpetrator on the run.  A home security system is so much more than a triggered alarm, it’s a potential life saver in a variety of situations.  We all like to imagine our homes are impervious fortresses of safety, but the reality is there are too many uncontrollable factors that could affect our daily lives.  Home security allows you to be more prepared for those unpredictable situations.

Our licensed integrators at Perfect Connections, Inc. design and install comprehensive home security systems.  We have been providing custom security solutions to residents in northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  Our systems protect people and property, offering a peace of mind that can’t be obtained from anything else.  It is our belief that a comprehensive home security system should include a burglar alarm, video surveillance, home automation, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and a monitoring service.

Burglar alarms are likely the first thing that come to mind when thinking about home security.  This is because they are a vital system component that helps keep you and your family safe from intruders.  Not only do burglar alarms alert you and your monitoring station of a potential disturbance, they can deter would be thieves from even attempting a break-in or burglary.  In a study by the Alarm Industry Research and Education Foundation (AIREF) 422 convicted burglars were asked about their decisions to burglarize.  They found that approximately 60% would not make an attempt on a home or commercial property that they knew had and alarm system.

Having a surveillance system is an essential component of a comprehensive home security system.  Cameras keep eyes on your property even while you can’t.  The recordings can also help during an investigation after the fact if necessary.  In the burglar study conducted by AIREF approximately 60% said cameras would be factor in their target selection with more than 40% reporting they would choose an alternative if cameras were present.  Aside from being a deterrent and a forensics tool, home surveillance systems can often be remotely accessed via an app on your mobile device.  This would allow you to check-in on specific parts of your home, see that your pets are okay during the day, or check-in on a loved one.

Remote access to your home security system is part of the abilities you are afforded when you have home automation.  With home automation you can setup customized alerts so you receive notifications to your mobile device when your children arrive home from school, when an alarm is triggered, you receive a package, or there is a drastic temperature change in your home.  Having remote access to your system helps you control certain parts of you home as well.  Maybe you go on vacation and you forget to close your garage doors, if you have home automation it’s not a problem, you simply login to the app on your mobile device and close the doors.  Depending on your system configuration you can arm or disarm your system, lock or unlock doors, control the temperature, turn lights on and off, and sometimes control appliances.  Home automation offers convenience and connectivity you can’t get from anything else.

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are two of the most important life safety devices every home should have.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that every year more than 400 Americans die from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning unrelated to fires.  Carbon monoxide is a “silent killer” that is colorless and odorless, that is why it is so important to have working detectors in the home.  Based on past data, in 2014, The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) found that three out of five home fire deaths were caused by fires in homes that didn’t have working smoke alarms.

Statistics alone should be enough to convince any home owner to invest in these life saving devices.  What makes them even more effective is if they are tied into your security system.  That way when they go off or CO levels rise the central monitoring station will be alerted and if necessary they can send help right away.  In situations where you might not be home or a loved one is home alone, it’s nice to know someone is still vigilant.

Monitoring services are the catalyst in security systems that initiate emergency responses.  They are a key component that shouldn’t be passed up because of cost.  You can’t put a cost on the lives of the ones you love or yourself for that matter.  What good is an alarm if no one is alerted when it goes off?  It might scare off an intruder, but do you really want to take that chance?  During a fire or unpredictable disaster you want the fastest response you can get, right?  That is where having a monitoring service proves its worth.  It provides quick response times even when you are not home or incapable of responding.

Whether you’re new to the world of home security systems or have been considering one for a long time, it’s always a worthy investment.  A comprehensive system will help protect not only your property but your life and the lives of your loved ones.  Our team of licensed integrators at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing comprehensive security solutions to homes throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We realize no two homes are identical and each one has individual security risks and concerns, which is why we custom design our systems to fit your 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 John-Flickr-Creative Commons

What is Z-Wave Technology?

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 the past 23 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, one of the main reasons being it boasts communication capabilities for more than 1,100 products from over 300 different manufacturers.  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.

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

What Makes A Security System A System?

CCTV-Wikipedia ImageIn an unpredictable world, one thing is certain, we all want to protect what’s ours.  Whether you’re a business owner or a homeowner, you want to keep safe that which you’ve worked so hard for.  One of the most effective ways to do that is to install a security system.  Well, what exactly is a security system and what makes it a system? Security can be defined as, “the state of being protected or safe from harm,” and system can be defined as, “a group of related parts that move or work together.”  A security system is an assemblage of equipment that helps prevent imminent danger or damage.

As a licensed security systems provider, our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been helping protect homes and businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We believe that a security system should not only be a group of working parts, but that it should be comprehensive.  Comprehensive can be defined as, “complete; including all or nearly all elements or aspects of something.”  After decades of installing security equipment we’ve found that a truly comprehensive security system should include some form of access control, fire and burglar alarms, surveillance, and a monitoring service.

Access control is the means by which you limit admission to a specific point of entry.  It’s essentially your first line of defense against unauthorized entrants.  Probably the most conventional form of access control is a standard lock and key.  Today, the lock and key method is either being eliminated or used as a backup to more technologically advanced controls.  Traditional keys when lost or stolen can be easily replicated whereas using readers, fobs (tokens), and sometimes biometrics in combination with a password are more concrete and less susceptible to duplication.

Card and proximity readers are typically placed next to a point of entry and a fob or card that is programmed with the appropriate credentials is used.  The card or fob is either tapped or swiped on or near the reader to gain access. The benefit to using a swipe card or fob is if they are lost or stolen they can be deactivated in the operating system whereas you can’t deactivate a physical key unless you change out the entire lock.  Biometrics, which uses physical credentials like a fingerprint, is similar in the sense that access information isn’t as easily stolen or duplicated.  This type of access control isn’t as widely used today because they tend to be more complex and costly.  However, as technology progresses we may see a rise in biometric applications.

Fire and burglar alarms are critical alerts in potentially life-threatening situations.  Fire and burglary can strike at any given time without warning, wreaking havoc on your business or home.  With burglary occurring every 14.6 seconds and national fire departments responding to an estimated 1,240,000 fires a year (2013), it’s critical to the safety and security of any home or business to implement preventative measures.  Physical structural damage and property loss incurred by a fire or burglary is only part of the aftermath, the emotional and psychological damage is even harder to repair.

In conjunction with burglar alarms and access control, surveillance is essential.  When installed correctly surveillance equipment is not only a helpful crime deterrent, but a useful tool in solving crime.  In the wake of IP (Internet Protocol) and wireless technology, surveillance equipment is no longer limited to hardwired installations.  This increases scalability, flexibility, and ease of installation.  It also helps reduce the cost of installation by not having to pull as much cabling through walls.  Another benefit to having a surveillance system is the potential capability to access footage remotely.  With a plethora of mobile apps at your disposal, you can access your surveillance system to see what is going on at your facility or home when you can’t be there.  Being able to remotely access your security cameras adds a layer of monitoring and convenience that, up until recently, wasn’t widely used or available.

Lastly to complete the effectiveness of a security system you should have an alarm monitoring service.  Without a monitoring service who is going to respond to an active alarm?  If you’re lucky someone nearby will call the authorities, that’s assuming someone is actually near your facility or residence when the alarm goes off.  An alarm monitor can help save you, your family, or your business from potential disaster by decreasing the response time from local authorities and emergency responders.  When an alarm is triggered the monitoring station is instantly notified; they typically try to contact you first, and if they don’t get a response within a given amount of time authorities and emergency crews are dispatched.  This is a particularly beneficial service in the event that you’re out of town or unable to respond in an emergency.  Having an alarm monitoring service can mean the difference between catastrophe and a manageable situation.

A security system is so much more than the equipment that comprises it.  It helps provide protection and life safety in a volatile world. Remember, a system is only as effective as the parts that comprise it.  For a security system to be comprehensive it should include fire and burglar alarms, access control, surveillance, and a monitoring service, at least.  As a security systems expert, Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing comprehensive security solutions to homes and businesses in northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  We understand the importance of mitigating the unpredictable and what it takes to do so.

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 KRoock74-Google-Creative Commons

How Does Home Automation Affect Home Security?

Smartphone-Phil CampbellAs the technology driven world continues to evolve, our lives are becoming more and more connected.  Virtual distances are shrinking.  This has been happening since the inception of the internet.  You no longer have to fly across the world to have a meeting, you simply login to a virtual meeting where you can talk “in-person” via video chat.  Although it may be imperfect, technology has certainly had an impact on all of our lives in one way or another.

Our lives are saturated in advanced technological gadgets, everything from our cars to our smartphones, why should our homes be any different?  It used to be enough having a home security system that would alert the authorities in an emergency, but why stop there?  Home automation, or the “connected home,” is quickly becoming an integral part of a comprehensive home security system.  It’s a driving force that is changing the way homeowners and system integrators perceive “home security.”

As a licensed security system provider, our professionals at Perfect Connections, Inc. are always looking for the best ways to protect your home.  We have been providing comprehensive security system solutions to residences throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  Technological advancement means we are constantly learning and adapting our solutions to best suit client needs.  That’s not to say just because something is new that it should be implemented, we do our due diligence before installation of any product including home automation devices.

Home automation products aren’t exclusively linked to home security.  In fact there is a plethora of automation devices that can be installed separate from a security system, often requiring a DIY (do it yourself) approach.  For example there are devices that can be attached to kitchen appliances that can be controlled by logging into apps on your smartphone.  However, rather than complicating our daily lives by having to download separate apps for everything in our homes, we have steadily been adopting technology in an effort to streamline and simplify.  When it comes to home security, with DIY solutions you’re likely not getting full coverage while simultaneously complicating processes.  Plus they often lack continuity and one of the most important aspects of a security system, monitoring.  Rather than separating the functions of a home security system and home automation, integrators and homeowners are combining the two creating more efficient and effective life safety and lifestyle systems.

One of the top benefits of home automation is convenience.  Capabilities include remote interaction with home devices and your security system.  Imagine being able to know the exact moment your kids walk through the front door while you’re at work or on your way home.  With home automation you’re able to set up custom notifications that will be sent to your smartphone, mobile device, or computer.  This means you can go on vacation and be notified of temperature drops in your home, package deliveries, or close the open garage doors you forgot about before you left.

Depending on your home automation application, often times you can log-in to your surveillance cameras, turn lights on and off, lock and unlock doors, control media (audio and video), arm and disarm your alarm system, all from the convenience of your mobile device.  When integrated with your home’s security system a singular control panel can be centralized to help avoid confusion that can result from having too many different operating mechanisms.

As a homeowner you might be asking yourself “how will home automation affect my security system?”  For the most part home automation is considered a promising and revolutionary approach to added home safety and efficiency, but as with anything, it isn’t perfect.  Any technology that operates over the internet inherently comes with the looming threat of hackers.  Why would someone want to hack a home automation or security system?  To state the most obvious, they’re likely interested in disabling your alarm system so they can break-in.  Other reasons could include wanting to cause general havoc by tampering with your lights or HVAC system, wasting energy for no other reason than driving up your utilities bill; for “fun.”

Fortunately there are ways to decrease the chances of being hacked, both on the user and integrator end.  In many cases home automation operates wirelessly over a home Wi-Fi network.  No matter how protected you think your network may be it should always be protected with encryptions and user authentication.  The same holds true for connected security devices and any device that transmits a signal.  There must be authentication between home automation devices, the security system, and whatever mobile device you are using to access them.  Otherwise your system is susceptible to third party hackers.

Take the case of Insteon home automation systems back in 2013.  Kashmir Hill, a Forbes Staff Writer, highlights the findings of David Bryan and Daniel Crowley, security researchers at Trustwave, and what they discovered is alarming (for lack of a better word).  They found that not only was there a lack of password protection on the consumer end, but that the Insteon products (now discontinued, for obvious reasons) themselves did not require usernames and passwords and were “crawl-able” (searchable) on the web.  This meant that anyone with a little know-how could access and mess with the connected Insteon products; unnerving to say the least.  Be sure to hire licensed professionals that fully understand the products they are installing and how they will interact with your home network.

While technology is imperfect and constantly transforming you can be sure if you hire a licensed security integrator with product knowledge and experience you’ll be setting yourself up for success.  A professional with industry knowledge will be able to ensure your system is as secure as it can be by using products that require authentication and that your network is encrypted.  As a licensed security system provider, our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. understands that securing a home and improving the lives of others doesn’t mean haphazardly throwing random products together just to get a job done.  We have been providing security solutions to homes throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  Technological evolution is never-ending as is our commitment to providing the safest products and security systems available.

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 Phil Campbell-Flickr-Creative Commons

What Is Remote Monitoring?

laptop monitor-Intel Free PressWhen you picture a surveillance monitoring station what do you see?  Is it a half awake guard staring blankly at multiple monitors?  If that’s the case you can scratch that image from your mind.  The future of monitoring services is quickly shifting and adapting to our society’s need for streamlined and efficient processes.  As surveillance systems migrate from analog to IP with megapixel network cameras, and our world becomes more and more connected through the IoT (Internet of Things), the desire to access and monitor footage from anywhere increases.  This is where the idea of remote monitoring comes into play.

Being able to remotely monitor surveillance footage from virtually anywhere is a convenience that, up until recently, hasn’t been a pervasive security feature.  It differs from alarm monitoring in the sense that a service representative isn’t necessarily waiting around for an alarm to go off, instead they are actively watching live recordings to catch potential disasters before they happen.  In the past a company would typically hire people to monitor cameras on site, which isn’t always the most economical or effective method.  Today, companies are using off-site monitoring services that have the ability to keep watch over multiple facilities 24/7.  In conjunction with that, business owners have the ability to download apps that allow them to access their surveillance footage at their convenience via a mobile device.

At Perfect Connections, Inc. our experts typically recommend a monitoring service as part of a comprehensive security system to help ensure its effectiveness.  Our team of licensed technicians have been providing security solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey for that past 23 years.  The technological climate is ever changing and we always do our best to stay on top of relevant trends that will benefit our customers.

Remote monitoring allows an individual or group of users to access surveillance footage through a secured network from virtually anywhere via a smartphone, tablet, computer, or mobile device.  Why is this beneficial?  It can help cut down, or eliminate entirely, the need to have an on-site staff staring at monitors, how effective can that be anyway?  According to Doug Marman, CTO of VideoIQ Inc. and founder of Remote Guarding Alliance, “…humans monitoring video screens grow fatigued to the point of ineffectiveness after only 20 minutes…”  Marman argues that the traditional method of monitoring surveillance is at best a practice in “hindsight” strategy.  Meaning by the time a reaction is made the damage is done or the perpetrator has already escaped.

Marman’s system of remote monitoring using a combination of video analytics and audio over IP, or voice over IP (VOIP), decreases response time and increases the ability to monitor a large quantity of cameras at once.  And in contrast to human attention span, video analytics are “100 percent vigilant.”  Marman illustrates the ability to interact with intruders instantly via audio over IP, citing how quick they are to abandon their criminal attempt when someone is calling them out over a speaker on site.  While audio interaction is an intriguing feature that allows for a virtual presence at all times, it may not be necessary depending on your type of business and your security needs.  What matters most is the ability to react instantly, reduce any lag time in response, and prevent false alarms as they typically result in fines and wasted essential resources.

With response time being one of the top benefits of remote monitoring it can also reduce overall monitoring costs, increase scalability options, and send notifications via e-mail or other media.  While the benefits of a remote monitoring system may eliminate the need to hire on-site staff, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should rely solely on self-monitoring.  If you were to take on the task of monitoring everything yourself, your business could be at risk.  Imagine you’re monitoring from a smartphone, it runs out of battery and you don’t have your charger handy.  What if you misplace your smartphone and miss an important notification?  Think about logistics too, as a business owner even you need to get sleep, you can’t be vigilant 24/7.

Having the ability to self-monitor should be looked at as an added layer of security, not your only means of protection.  According to Jerry Cordasco, vice president of operations for G4S Video Monitoring Support and Data Center, “A better choice for remote video surveillance is the use of a professional monitoring facility.”  Having a remote monitoring service provides a virtual presence 24/7 that can access real time footage and initiate the appropriate response immediately.

Security systems can be an effective crime fighters, but what good are they if an alarms goes off and no one is notified or made aware?  What good is a surveillance system that no one is monitoring?  You might get lucky and capture a license plate number that could eventually lead you to the perpetrator after the fact, but by that point the damage has been done.  The goal of a remote monitoring service is to provide timely and accurate responses to disturbances on site.

As a security systems provider, our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. understands the importance of immediate action.  Mere seconds can be the difference between prevention and disaster.  We have been providing comprehensive security system solutions, which include monitoring services, to facilities throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  Every business has different security risks that is why we tailor our solutions to fit your specific 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 Intel Free Press-Flickr-Creative Commons

Do Surveillance Systems Really Work?

Surveillance-Jonathan McIntoshAs a business owner you want to do everything in your power to protect what you’ve worked so hard for, right?  So how do you do that?  Some might hire security personnel to stand guard and keep an eye on their facility, which can get expensive.  Others may opt for reinforced locks on their entrances.  But the best solution to truly protecting your business is a comprehensive security system that includes a surveillance system.  Surveillance is a key component in defending your facility.  If you have a security system that has a burglar alarm but no camera system, what happens when someone breaks-in, gets away, and there’s no footage of the incident to help catch the perpetrator?  A surveillance system can help prevent not only burglary, but employee theft, workplace violence, and vandalism.

You might think that camera footage is useless, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Camera footage isn’t as grainy and unreadable as it may have been in the past.  According to Hank Monaco who is the vice president of marketing for a video surveillance system provider, “today’s cameras are infinitely better than what was being offered 10 to 20 years ago.”  Thanks to advancing technological improvements there are a wide variety of cameras including high-definition which offers clear readable images.

As experts in the security system industry, our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. understands the importance of protecting a business from criminal activity, and how surveillance equipment can play an integral part in that protection.  Our team has been providing comprehensive security systems to business facilities throughout central and northern New Jersey for the past 23 years.  Our belief is that a comprehensive security system should be customized to each individual business and should include surveillance, access control, fire and burglar alarms, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and alarm monitoring.

So how effective can a surveillance system really be?  If over half of United States employers utilize some form of surveillance in the workplace, it must be working.  Having a surveillance system isn’t always about crime prevention either, it can provide business insight that you can’t get anywhere else.  From keeping an eye on inventory to observing your employees behavior, you can get a grasp on the inner workings of your business without feeling like you have to hover.  Employees that are aware they are being recorded can actually make them more productive and enhance their performance.  Video surveillance can help prevent employee theft and outside burglary; the chances of being caught increase and generally people don’t want to take that risk if they don’t have to.  Aside from keeping an eye on your employees, video surveillance can actually help protect them and your customers by tracking suspicious visitors and behaviors.  Depending on your system, you could also have remote monitoring capabilities added.  This would allow you to access your cameras through an app on your mobile device from virtually anywhere.  Knowing you can check in on your business when you can’t be there adds a peace of mind you can’t attain from anything else.

How do you know what types of cameras and how many your business needs?  This is a question for your security system specialist.  Never fall for a provider that offers you pricing and equipment without ever having stepped foot on your facility.  To be adequately covered an initial security assessment should be performed in person by a professional.  Some basics to be conscious of are the different types of cameras and how footage is stored.  Two widely used camera types are Analog and IP (Internet Protocol).  Analog cameras require a monitor or TV to view footage which is stored in a DVR (Digital Video Recorder).  IP cameras work much like our computers do sending data over a LAN (Local Area Network).  There is a wider range of resolution options for IP cameras than there are for Analog.  Footage from IP cameras is often recorded and stored in a cloud system.  An added benefit of an IP camera is the ability to remotely access each individual camera which you can’t do with an Analog system.  With Analog you would have to log into the DVR system to access recorded footage.

While there is no fool proof system, having video surveillance as part of your comprehensive security system can help prevent catastrophic loss and assist in the aftermath of an unfortunate event.  For example, look at the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.  The suspects were caught on surveillance cameras and the surviving suspect is now facing trial.  Without video footage police would have had to rely on eye witness accounts which aren’t always as clear.  Criminal behavior is an unfortunate reality but we can be better prepared by implementing security technologies in our daily lives.  As camera technology advances the demand for more surveillance will rise.  Especially with progressive technology like “smart” surveillance that would provide more analytical insight into human behaviors, crowd counting, and even body heat recognition.  According to a ReportsNReports analysis the size of the global market for “smart” surveillance was around $13.5 billion in 2012 and is estimated to reach $39 billion in 2020.

Most business facilities will likely not require “smart” surveillance equipment yet, but who knows what the future will bring.  With the vast array of cameras available in today’s market your security systems expert will be able to find the type that suits your business best.  At Perfect Connections Inc. our experts have been providing comprehensive business security solutions throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We are committed to customizing a system specific to your company’s 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 Jonathan McIntosh-Flickr-Creative Commons