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

What should you look for in a video surveillance system?

Video surveillance systems can be beneficial for a number of reasons. They are often installed to prevent burglaries and vandalism, but can also be used to promote neighborhood or office safety, in addition to increasing peace of mind if used in a home environment. When installing a video surveillance system, whether it is for your home, your office, or for any other setting, there are a number of things to consider. First, you need to think about the area that you want to keep any eye on, as well as the type of surveillance system and cameras you want. All of these factors will help you to decide what kind of system is best for your situation.

The first question you want to consider is how many cameras do you think that you will need? Think about the size of the property you are looking to protect, and the perspective that a camera will you give you in various locations. Additionally, you need to consider what the areas are that you want to cover. If there are outdoor areas, you need cameras that can stand up to weather, whereas for an indoor setting you would not need to look for weatherproof options, which can often be more expensive. You also need to consider the time of day that you will be using your system: daytime, nighttime, or both. All of these factors play will play into your decision about what kind of camera you will need.

Security Camera

After deciding what types of cameras you need for your space, you will want to think about the specific places that you want to have your cameras to be that will give you the best and widest ranges of visibility. These places will likely be at entrances and exits to the building, near garage doors, and by exterior or unattached buildings. If the video surveillance system is for a place of business, you will likely want to consider what areas typically have high traffic, and target these areas for camera installation.

Something else to consider when thinking about a video surveillance system is how you want to set up your data storage system. There are many options where you can save video footage onto a hard drive, and other options that save to this data into a cloud for storage. Along with this you will want to consider how much storage you think you will need. This will depend on two factors that affect the amount of data your system will use: both the quality of videos, and how long you plan to save video footage for. One final thing to consider is whether you will want to have access to a camera’s live feed, or if you will only want to be able to go back and look at footage when necessary. This will also contribute to the amount of storage space you’ll need, as well as help you to determine if your system will need the capability to connect to the Internet. This will also help you to determine if you want to have an analog camera, or an IP camera.

Once you have thought through this criteria and made decisions about what you think will work best for you and your space, you will be ready to look for a video surveillance system!

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: Ricco Security

Why Does an Assisted Living Facility Need a Security System?

Assisted Living FacilityAssisted living facilities are dynamic environments.  You have occupants with varying levels of medical needs alongside administrative, medical, and visiting personnel.  It’s a somewhat complex security issue because residents and staff need to be able to move throughout the facility freely, but unauthorized entrants must somehow be kept out.  The mental health and acuity of residents can also be a cause for concern.  In an aging population medical conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s can cause residents to wander off or get lost which is a major concern for staff and resident relatives.  Thankfully by implementing security system solutions many of these concerns can be addressed.

At Perfect Connections, Inc. our licensed security system integrators have been providing comprehensive security solutions to healthcare facilities throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  Our team understands the importance of securing assisted living facilities isn’t solely about protecting physical assets, it’s about ensuring the safety and security of the people that live and work there.  It’s about providing a peace of mind to not only the staff and residents, but resident’s families as well.

Comprehensive security systems should include fire alarms, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, burglar alarms, a surveillance system, access control, and a monitoring service.  One of the most important components that should concern assisted living facilities is access control.  Access control can be implemented in a number of ways and an assisted living facility may require more than one mode.

The on-site staff will likely need access to areas where medication is stored and administrative offices, supply rooms, and medical records etc.  Access not only has to be convenient, but limited to authorized staff.  The reason this can sometimes be challenging is because residents want to be able to roam throughout the facility freely as do visitors.  Fortunately with access control solutions the chances of a resident or visitor wandering into a restricted area are lowered significantly.

By installing readers at entries and distributing credentials (fobs, swipe cards, and proximity cards) to authorized users, access will be limited.  The benefit of using readers in conjunction with credentials vs traditional locks and keys is you don’t have to worry about lost or stolen keys.  Cards and fobs can be remotely disabled whereas a lost key may never be recovered which ultimately leads to changing out the locks and over time that can be costly.

According to Mark Jarman, President of Inovonics, “…the assisted living market has changed from one of simply providing clinical care, much like hospitals, to sprawling campuses which are often a blend of independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing services.”  This creates a more complex environment that requires increased safety and vigilance.  Assisted living facilities are full of activity, the constant coming and going of staff, residents, and visitors, it can be challenging to keep an eye on everything, that’s why having a surveillance system is vital.  It’s a helpful tool that allows staff to keep track of patients that might have the tendency to wander and it gives residents a peace of mind.  In the event an intruder is able to gain access to the facility, surveillance will help authorities catch the perpetrator and depending on the type of system, it can even be setup to send real-time alerts to staff members on their mobile devices.

Aside from surveillance and access control solutions it’s imperative and likely required by local and national laws to have a fire alarm system and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.  Fire alarm systems and detectors are lifesaving components that when tied to a monitored security system become even more effective.  With a monitored system, when an alarm sounds, a signal is sent to the monitoring station which then immediately alerts emergency responders, and in unpredictable situations it is imperative to have the quickest response possible.  This is critical in an assisted living facility as residents are likely slower moving and may have impaired hearing or eyesight.  Some fire alarm systems can even indicate which detectors or alarms within the facility initiated the alert which is helpful to responders as they’ll have a better idea where to start when they arrive on site.

The reasons why an assisted living facility would need a security system are evident.  There is a need to protect residents, staff, visitors, medical records, physical assets, and facility property.  A comprehensive security system that includes access control, surveillance, fire alarms, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and a monitoring service is essential.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. our licensed integrators can help design a custom and comprehensive system that is tailored to the specific needs of your facility.  Every organization is unique and should be treated as such, especially when it comes to matters of security.

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 U.S. Department of Agriculture-Flickr-Creative Commons

What is Motion Detection and How Does it Work?

Motion_detectorWhen you think motion detectors (or sensors) you might picture a heist scene from the movies where a thief has to perform acrobatics in order to avoid a web of alarm triggering laser-beams surrounding a priceless gem.  While that narrative is not necessarily complete fiction, it’s not exactly how motion detection is implemented in the real world.  In modern day applications security system integrators use motion detectors to sense unwarranted movement within or outside of a home or facility.  Motion detectors are typically implemented as an essential part of a comprehensive security system meant to help detect an intruder.  There are different types of detectors and their applications are not necessarily synonymous.

Our licensed team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been protecting homes and businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey with comprehensive security systems for the past 23 years.  We know one of the best ways to halt an intruder is immediate detection that triggers the alarm system.  Motion detectors do just that.  When they detect motion they communicate with the central alarm panel triggering an alarm, ultimately notifying your monitoring service of a disturbance; and before you know it help is on the way.

What are the different types of detectors?  In general there are two types of motion detectors, passive and active.  Within those two categories there are different detector technologies.  Passive detectors sense energy changes within a specific boundary whereas active detectors emit energy to detect motion.

Passive infrared (PIR) is a common technology that detects heat.  If there is disparity between the temperature of the protected area and an obstructive object (intruder) the sensors will be tripped and an alarm will be triggered.  This technology is not immune to triggering false alarms especially if automatic temperature compensation is not employed.  A PIR detector should have automatic temperature compensation to help stabilize the detector in variant temperature conditions.

Microwave (MW) is an active detector that emits microwave pulses and reads the reflection of a moving object.  This type of detector can cover a larger area than a PIR but it can be susceptible to electrical interference.  MW detectors do not recognize the boundaries of walls so they can trigger false alarms set off by random exterior motion.

Then there is Dual Technology detectors which employ a combination of active and passive sensors.  This could mean the combination of PIR and MW technology.  These types of detectors are less likely to set off false alarms as both types of sensors would have to be tripped in order for an alarm to be triggered.  However, that doesn’t mean these detectors are infallible.

Prior to the creation of PIR and MW detectors, motion detectors were not held in the highest regards by system integrators and end-users alike due to their high false alarm rates.  Before PIR and MW there was ultrasonics and photoelectric beams.  Ultrasonic detectors would send out high frequency tones and then interpret the reflections for any disruptions.  Photoelectric beams would send a light beam to a receiver that if interrupted would initiate the alarm sequence (picturing that heist scenario?).  These types of detectors were particularly susceptible to unpredictable movements as they didn’t have the technology to discriminate accurately.  While these motion detectors are not as widely used today they are by no means obsolete.

As technology progresses and the notion of wired installations becomes less and less appealing, wireless systems are taking off.  It’s no different with motion detectors.  Most can be installed wirelessly making their applications less laborious and diverse.  Many security system components have been developed to include interior motion sensors as well, like surveillance equipment and access controls.  For pet owners, there are motions detectors that can be setup to ignore regular motion from pets of a certain size.  Proper installation is crucial to the effectiveness of a motion detector therefore it should be done by a licensed professional.

Comprehensive security systems are what protect your home and business from external and internal threats.  It’s important to consider motion detectors as part of a comprehensive system.  They provide a layer of security that can’t be duplicated, sensing an intruder at the first sign of a break-in.  As licensed security system integrators, our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing comprehensive security solutions to businesses and homes throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We help protect what is most important and give you a peace of mind you can’t get from anything else.

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 CHG (Own work)-Google-Creative Commons

Common Break-in Methods

home-alone-marv & harryWhen you’re a homeowner one of your top priorities is ensuring the safety of your home.  Your home is what protects you and your family.  Nobody wants to deal with a home break-in but they are a sad reality in our everyday lives.  Fortunately there are many ways you can safeguard your home from such devastation.  The best way to deter crime is to be prepared for it.  If you want to prevent a home invasion you must first understand how and when burglars are likely to attempt them.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. our team of highly skilled professionals can assess the security risks specific to your home to help you avoid break-ins and other disasters. We have been providing security system services to homes throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  Our experts assess the security risks of an individual home and come up with a customized security system solution to fit its specific needs.

What are some of the most common break-in methods used by criminals?  Have you ever heard of the path of least resistance?  That’s usually the route they will take when it comes to breaking into homes.  There are many factors that can make their job easier, and you might be unknowingly aiding their attempts.  Leaving windows and doors unlocked or open are a surprisingly common way burglars get into homes.  In fact 30 percent of burglars enter homes without having to use force.  Spare keys left in indiscrete locations are another favorite of the home invader.  It’s tempting to have a spare key for family members or friends, but if you’re going to do so don’t leave it under the door mat or in other obvious and easily accessed spots.

Some crooks will walk right up to your front door, ring the bell, and if you answer they will pretend to be selling something.  They’ll probably make up a bogus story about who they work for.  Whatever you do, do not let them in and ask for identification or find the company number to call and verify their identity.  Do not use a number they provide as it could be a ruse.  When they’re putting on this act they’re trying to get a better view into your home to see if you might have a security system and what goodies they might come back for.

Sometimes criminals will ring the doorbell and if no one answers they might go to the back of the house to try to enter through a back door or window.  Even if the doors and windows are locked burglars often carry tools like crowbars to aid their break-ins.  However, if it takes them longer than a minute to get in they’ll likely move on to the next target.  The harder you can make it for someone to break-in the better.

How can you make it harder or less appealing for criminals to break-in to your home?  One of the best lines of defense is installing a comprehensive home security system.  Burglars are less likely to attempt a break-in if the targeted house has a security system, it gives them less time to escape and a higher chance of being caught.  In fact 90 percent of convicted burglars said they would avoid homes with alarm systems.  Keeping vegetation trimmed is important in preventing a break-in.  Burglars often use unkempt bushes, trees, or flora close to the home as hiding spots where they can sit and wait for an opportune moment.

Lighting is a great deterrent as well.  Motion activated exterior lights are helpful because they somewhat eliminate the sneaky element by exposing whatever moves in their path.  Using light timers or home automation to control your interior lights will help prevent an intruder from attempting a break-in.  It’ll help create the illusion that someone is home even if they aren’t and burglars tend to avoid break-in attempts if someone is there.  Installing deadbolts is another way to at least slow down an attempted break-in.  Having a single door knob lock leaves you vulnerable to thieves who use things like bump keys.  Bump keys are essentially master keys used by locks smiths, they can supposedly open up to 90 percent of traditional locks.

With a burglary occurring every 15 seconds in the United States, you can never be too cautious when it comes to protecting your home.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. our experts provide customized comprehensive security systems that fit your specific needs.  It’s not just about protecting the physical property, it’s about protecting that peace of mind that is so hard to get back after a break-in.  Don’t fall victim to the mentality that it could never happen in your neighborhood, no community is immune.  Instead be prepared and don’t be a victim.

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 Dexter Company-Google-Creative Commons

How Can You Tell Which Facility Is Best?

Elderly-Sima DimitricAssisted living facilities are a way our aging community can be cared for and maintain a sense of independence.  As a caregiver you can never be too careful or particular when searching for geriatric care for a loved one.  They’re your family and you want them to be cared for as well as they cared for you.  That begs the question how do you know that the facility you’re looking at is the right one for your loved one?

There are many factors to consider when searching for a facility including the health and mental state of your loved one.  Knowing what type of care they will need is important and will help narrow the scope.  A critical feature that you should always be looking for is the security.  How does the facility protect its residents?  What security features are in place to ensure their safety?  As a leading security system provider our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing comprehensive security systems to healthcare facilities throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  We understand how important safety and security is to not only the facility but families as well.

What to look for

The physical structure, layout, and interior design of a facility can say a lot.  Any new facility will likely be built with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) design standards in mind.  For example, this means bathrooms will accommodate wheelchairs and walkers.  It’s the older facilities that you’ll want to tour thoroughly to be sure they’ve either made renovations or accommodations for wheelchair bound and handicapped individuals.  This is extremely important for people with limited mobility, you want to be sure they’ll be able to get around with minimal struggle.  Keep an eye out for aesthetic details that could pose a risk like area rugs, high-pile carpeting, outdated and potentially dangerous flooring as these features can increase the chances of slipping or falling.

Is there a check-in desk? This is an important security feature that will help protect residents because it will prevent random visitors from entering unnoticed.  Visitors and guests should be required to sign-in with photo identification to help prevent unauthorized entrance.  Without a check-in/sign-in desk or area anyone could just wander in or out leaving the facility, staff, and residents at risk.  Having a designated area will act as an added form of access control for the facility.

Does the facility have a surveillance system?  Surveillance is a key component to any security system.  It would help monitor residents, staff, and visitors.  Surveillance equipment can be particularly helpful in the case of elderly abuse or missing/wandering residents.  It can help provide timelines and proof in the case of abuse, missing/wandering residents, or unauthorized visitors.  Obviously the goal is to avoid all of these things, but surveillance is an added layer of security that helps provide a peace of mind and encourages people to be on their best behavior.

Is there a monitored fire and carbon monoxide alarm system and what is the facility’s emergency plan?  Having an emergency plan that staff is fully trained and experienced in is vital to the safety and survival of a facility’s residents.  As an emergency consulting firm points out, “Assisted living facilities face greater difficulties than any other business when it comes time to respond to a disaster. Residents are often disabled, suffer from reduced mobility, and may not respond to instruction as expected.”  Part of an emergency plan includes being prepared for unpredictable events such as a fire, earthquake, or hurricane etc.  Being prepared means having a plan of action that all staff and personnel have tested and understand.  Assisted living facilities should have monitored fire and carbon monoxide alarms systems, this will ensure the quickest response time from local emergency and authority crews and help prevent potentially life threatening situations.  Each facility has to adhere to local fire codes and requirements as well.

While looking for an assisted living facility for your loved one may seem like a daunting task, knowing what to look for will help alleviate some of struggle.  As a facility owner having everything in order can be taxing, but it’s essential to the safety and security of your staff, facility, and most importantly the people in your care.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. our team of experts has been providing comprehensive security solutions to healthcare facilities throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  While no system is perfect, having a comprehensive one will greatly decrease the risk of catastrophe and help prepare you, your staff, and residents in the event of an emergency.  It’ll provide you and your clients with a peace of mind that is hard to obtain from anything else.

If you live or run a facility 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.

For further information and questions you should ask when looking for an assisted living facility the links below can help:

Top 10 Safety Hazards in Assisted Living Facilities

Assisted Living Facilities.org

Assisted Living Community Evaluation Checklist

Image Credit: Image by Sima Dimitric-Flickr-Creative Commons

Top Reasons To Get Connected

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

NFPA: Are In-home Sprinklers The New Standard?

Fire SprinklerYou’ve probably seen sprinkler heads poking out of the ceilings at your office, a hospital, or other public venue where they are generally a code requirement.  But have you ever seen one in someone’s home?  Odds are probably not.  They are currently not required in private residences, but a new proposed legislation by the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) aims to change that.

The Fire Sprinkler Initiative wants to make fire sprinklers a requirement in all new construction single and two family homes.  All homes should already have fire extinguishers and up to date smoke and carbon monoxide detectors so why would sprinklers be necessary?  Let’s find out.  As a security systems provider in central and northern New Jersey for the past 22 years our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. understands the importance of proper fire safety equipment.  We provide comprehensive home security systems that include the appropriate fire alarms and smoke detectors.

As a society we’ve gone countless years without in-home fire sprinklers, so why the push for it now?  Throughout those countless years, there have been countless incidents of house fires that have resulted in severe injuries, even deaths.  In fact over 85% of all fire deaths in the US have taken place in the home.  Approximately 3000 Americans die every year from house fires.  According to the NFPA, having an in-home sprinkler system along with working smoke detectors cuts the death risk by 80%.  The 2015 edition of the IRC (International Residential Code) requires fire sprinklers to be included in all new home construction.  The ICC (International Code Council) has specified that this requirement will be incorporated gradually over a period of 20 years.

States that have adopted the IRC requirements for one and two family homes are California, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.  Many other states have adopted the requirements for townhouses up to three stories.  Sprinkler installation in new construction homes seems like a no-brainer but not all are so eager to jump on the bandwagon.  In fact the NAHB (The National Association of Home Builders) has vehemently been opposing the proposed legislation and IRC requirements since the beginning.  NAHB’s communications director, Calli Schmidt in opposition to mandatory legislation has said, “The only way for sprinkler manufacturers to make money is to focus on mandates. Otherwise, they’re not financially feasible.”  This has been refuted by organizations for the cause pointing the finger right back at the NAHB saying they’re disregarding the safety of civilians and only concerned with selling homes.

This ongoing battle between the NAHB and supporters of the proposed legislation makes it unclear who has the best intentions for the homeowners.  Both sides claim profit as the top reason for opposition or acceptance.  The NAHB of Virginia purported the sprinkler manufacturers “hijacked” the code writing process in 2008 when they paid for travel expenses of numerous firefighters to attend the ICC meeting.  The ICC Appeals Board disputed this stating, “By unanimous vote that there was no material and significant irregularity of process or procedure.”  Sprinkler advocates believe in-home sprinklers would save not only lives but substantial property damage and loss.  According to the Department of Homeland Security deaths by fire in the United States fell over 40 percent once smoke detectors became mandatory back in the 1970s.  The NAHB believes the percent of saving more lives with sprinklers is minimal in comparison to their cost.  NAHB members are not against sprinklers as a voluntary measure, but to require them in all new homes would increase the cost of the homes themselves potentially threatening the health of the real estate market especially in times of economic hardship.

Whether or not the NAHB’s reasons for opposing the sprinkler initiative hold water, one must look at the facts and evaluate the risks.  According to the NFPA fatality rates in homes with sprinklers vs those without is 80 percent less.  Do financial costs outweigh the cost of losing a life/lives?  No tends to be the immediate response, but no matter how many safety features or preventative measures you take, there is no infallible system or guarantee.  That being said, the benefits seem to outweigh the costs.  The same holds true for home security systems.  Here at Perfect Connections, Inc. we know there is no perfect system, but we provide security systems that have been proven helpful in preventing catastrophe.  If you reside in northern or central New Jersey and are still relying on antiquated security techniques, don’t hesitate to call on our professionals.  Our experts can provide an in person assessment of your security risks and customize a system that is specific to your individual needs.

Engage in the conversation!  The links below provide further information on the NFPA’s sprinkler initiative.  What do you think about it?  Leave us comments/questions below.

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 or simply CLICK HERE.

Home Sprinklers Tip Sheet

Home Sprinklers Fast Fact Sheet

Sprinkler Impact Fact Sheet

About Anti-Sprinkler Legislation

Hardwired Vs Wireless

Wires-Windell OskayThe process of researching home security systems can seem daunting.  There are many factors you must take into consideration.  You have to choose which company you trust to perform the work, how much you’re willing to spend, and what type of system to have installed, to name a few.  The type of system you opt for can seem like a tricky decision, that’s why it is imperative to hire a licensed security professional to advise you on the best solution for your home.  There are two types of systems in terms of how they are installed, hardwired and wireless.  Sometimes a combination of both are implemented, it really depends on your specific needs.  Here at Perfect Connections, Inc. we provide security system solutions to Northern and Central New Jersey, and can assess an individual homeowners needs for either a hardwired or wireless installation.

According to safewise.com, “The network of sensors, plus the control panel, make up a self-contained system that may be wired or wireless.”  So what’s the difference between hardwired and wireless?  A hardwired system involves installing physical wires from the various alarm components (i.e. motion detectors, sensors, etc) to the central control panel.  The wires are typically hidden behind walls, which is why it’s beneficial to install this type of system in the construction phase of a home, if possible.  According to asecurelife.com, “most older home alarm systems rely on hard wiring where most new systems are gravitating towards wireless or hybrid alarm systems.”

A wireless system relies on radio frequencies to transmit and receive signals between the alarm devices and the control panel; kind of like how a cell phone works.  In fact, one of the major benefits of a wireless system is you have the ability to remotely control different aspects of your home via your mobile phone/device.  A hardwired system may require a landline to communicate with the monitoring service, whereas a wireless system doesn’t.  In this day and age, many homeowners are moving away from landlines all together, making a wireless system almost an indisputable choice.  An interesting article about the seaside New Jersey town of Mantokoling describes how the phone lines destroyed by Hurricane Sandy were not rebuilt at all.  Instead a wireless option was offered by Verizon.  Whether by choice or natural causes, wireless technology seems to be the trend of the future.

While the decision between wireless or hardwired might seem difficult, a specialist will be able to help you figure it out, and in some cases you may not have to choose; it might be dictated by the structure of your home or the area you live in.  Hiring an expert will not only save you time and aggravation, but provide you with a peace of mind knowing your system is appropriate for your home and that it was installed correctly.  If you live in Central or Northern New Jersey, don’t hesitate to contact our team of licensed professionals at Perfect Connections, Inc..  We’ve been providing residential security systems services for the past 22 years.  Our team is knowledgeable about the systems we install and the ever changing technology in the security systems industry.

Check out this brief list of the pros and cons of hardwired and wireless systems:

Hardwired Security System

Pros:

  • It’s a reliable system
  • Can be integrated seamlessly with new construction projects
  • They typically have backup batteries in case of power outages
  • Hardwired systems are less susceptible to electrical interferences from other devices
  • Alarm will sound if any wiring is cut
  • Will likely be installed by a licensed professional ensuring smoother integration

Cons:

  • Can sometimes be more expensive
  • May require tougher installation (drilling holes in walls etc.)
  • Makes relocation of system devices more difficult
  • Typically have longer more intensive installation
  • Can’t bring the system with you when/if you move

Wireless Security System

Pros:

  • Installation is fairly easy and quick
  • Devices can easily be moved, replaced, or updated
  • Can control parts of your home remotely from your mobile device (thermostats, lighting, etc.)
  • System maintenance is typically easy, in most cases systems will require battery replacement
  • Device software can be updated as it evolves
  • May be a more economical system
  • Devices are portable, making moving less of an issue

Cons:

  • Can sometimes be interfered with by exterior electronic devices (baby monitors, microwaves etc.)
  • Can sometimes be more susceptible to interference than a hardwired system
  • Technology evolves quickly making installed devices obsolete quicker
  • Devices can sometimes have sensory issues
  • Structural interferences can be an issue (brick walls, old construction etc.)

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 or simply CLICK HERE.

Image Credits: Image by Winell Oskay-Flickr-Creative Commons

Interactive Services

Home Automation Image-PC websiteWhen it comes to home security systems, you may have heard the phrase “interactive services.”  You may have even heard the terms “home automation,” “connected home,” and “smart house.”  What do they all mean, and how are they related to home security?  They’re meanings are essentially the same, and in relation to security, they describe the ability to remotely interact with, and access, devices in your home by means of a mobile device or computer.  If you have a comprehensive home security system, you likely have cameras, motion detectors, door and window sensors, fire and carbon monoxide detectors that communicate with a central control panel located in your home.  Being able to connect and interact with these security features from a remote location is beneficial for a multitude of reasons.  Cameras and motion detectors aren’t the only devices you can access from afar.  Imagine being able to adjust the temperature in your home before you get there, or turning lights on and off, even opening or closing your garage door.  In partnering with Alarm.com, Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing these interactive service options to homes in Central and Northern New Jersey for years.  Our team of licensed professionals can help you customize a security system that will connect you to the inner, and sometimes outer, workings of your home.

How Does It Work?

First, you have a home security system installed with all of the sensors, cameras, and detectors that you and your security systems specialist customized.  In order to access the full functions of your remote services you must have an interactive service plan with a company like Alarm.com.  After that, you simply download their app on your tablet, smartphone, computer, or other mobile device, and you’ll have total home control at the tips of your fingers.

There are basically two ways a home can become “connected.”  Wireless or hardwired.  The trends of our progressive society tend to make everything more technological, therefore, many security systems are being installed wirelessly with cellular backup.  This eliminates the need to cut holes in walls and have dangling or exposed wires.  Wireless technology is particularly favorable if you own an older home where breaking open walls isn’t an option.  The same technology that works for our cellphones and Bluetooth devices can now be implemented in the home.  More and more homeowners are leaving landlines in the past and switching to cellular devices anyway, making the connected home a smoother integration.  A hardwired system does required cabling, however, it has been in use for a longer period of time, and proven to work.  Some home automation systems use a combination of both wireless and hardwired technologies. To determine what type of system is right for your home, hiring a professional to perform a full assessment is your best bet.

What Are The Capabilities?

Home Automation-from our websiteDepending on how many, and what kind of devices are connected to your system, your operating choices are seemingly endless.  By using the mobile app, you can gain access to the security cameras inside and outside your home to see what is happening throughout the day.  Certain motion detectors can be set up to send you snap shots of specific areas and activity in your home.  Your system can be set up to notify you when you kids arrive home from school, if you’re not able to be there.  The ability to adjust your thermostat and turn lights on and off is a common feature.  Check-in on loved ones and/or pets throughout the day.  Having interactive services as part of your comprehensive security system will alert local authorities to any disturbances at your home while simultaneously alerting you on your mobile device.

Why Is It Beneficial?

Controlling and accessing various devices in your or a loved one’s home is advantageous for a multitude of reasons.  One of the most obvious benefits is that it provides peace of mind on a constant basis, knowing you’ll instantly be notified of what matters most to you.  Being able to remotely adjust your thermostat and turn lights on and off will lower your utilities bill and inadvertently help you waste less energy.  Remote access is extremely convenient, you have control in the palm of your hand at all times, as long as your device is charged.  Having remote capabilities will save you time by not having to rush home last minute to adjust appliances or unlock doors for pet sitters, family members, or scheduled visitors.  With services provided by Alarm.com alerts and access don’t have to stop even when your system is unarmed.  The functions of your home become more efficient.

Utilizing a connected home system is a great way to help your loved ones maintain their independence, but also ensure their safety.  Specific features allow you to make sure a family member is moving throughout the day, not leaving potentially dangerous appliances on, and you can activate or deactivate their alarm system for them if they forget.  Maybe a family member uses an emergency response pendant (like Life Alert) which requires them to take action.  But what if they can’t?  Services provided by Alarm.com simplify their life and yours by not requiring personal action in case of an emergency.  It’s a non-invasive approach to protect your family.

Whether you’re considering the Connected Home for the first time or it has been on your to do list for a while, don’t hesitate, contact the security professionals at Perfect Connections, Inc. for an in home assessment.  Our team knows the safety of your home is paramount in the protection of your family.  We have been providing service to Northern and Central New Jersey for decades, so you can be confident in our security knowledge and expertise.

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 or simply CLICK HERE.