Security Tips For Summer

Summer brings many wonderful experiences – long overdue vacations, day trips to the beach, holidays spent with family and friends, and lots more. But did you also know summer brings the highest risk of break-ins?

Here are some helpful security tips for summer to make sure your home is protected during the summer months.

  • Don’t Advertise That You’re On Vacation – As tempting as it may be to brag on social media about your upcoming vacation, thieves are becoming more clever and may be watching your posts. Be careful what you post online – anything that lets people know you’ll be aware from your home for an extended period of time is an invitation for someone to break in.
  • Timers – Technology today can help with many tricks to help make it appear as if you’re home. Timers can be set on lighting systems to turn lights on and off, both inside and outside your house, making it appear as if the house is occupied while you’re away. You can even have your radio or television turned on and off remotely.Vacation-Google
  • Pause Your Mail/Newspapers – The post office will hold mail deliveries for up to 30 days. A quick trip to the post office will ensure that stacks of mail don’t pile up at your house while you’re away, which is a big sign that no one is watching the house.
  • Helpful Neighbors – Ask neighbors that you trust to pick up your newspaper / mail (if you choose not to have it paused). Give them contact information if they don’t have it to use in case of emergency, and ask them to watch out for any unexpected packages that may arrive while you’re away.
  • Sliding Glass Doors – A metal rod installed in the track of a sliding glass door makes it more difficult for any potential thieves to dislodge the door and get inside.
  • Garage Door – If you’re going to be away for an extended period of time, disable the power to your garage door and manually lock it.  This closes down one more potential means of entry for any would-be burglars.
  • Landscaping Tips – If you’re going to be away for a longer period of time, arrange to have your lawn cut. Make sure your bushes and hedges are trimmed as well – the smaller the number of potential hiding spots, the lower the chance of someone breaking in.

In addition to all these tips, one of the bonuses of a home or business security system is the added functionality of environmental controls. With an integrated system, you can remotely control your thermostat to make sure you’re saving as much as possible on your cooling bill.

The Internet Of Things

Jonathan Briggs-Network CableOur world is constantly changing and evolving. Progression is an inevitable force that influences the way we live our daily lives. This is especially true of advancements made in the techy devices we interact with on a daily basis. Everything from our smartphones to our security systems. It’s the manner in how we interact with all of these devices that is driving innovation and product design. The internet and networking of devices is creating a connected environment that offers ultimate convenience and changes how we perceive the potential of security systems.

At Perfect Connections, Inc. our licensed integrators provide comprehensive security systems to businesses and homes throughout northern and central New Jersey. We believe in installing quality systems that are in line with the best technological advancements the market has to offer. This doesn’t mean we use the trendiest devices for the sake of being “trendy,” it means evaluating current products that will add value and provide a platform for future adaptation. With the Internet of Things (IoT) it’s imperative to implement devices that are not only relevant but can stand the test of time, within reason.

The definition of the IoT can be summed up as, “the interconnection of uniquely identifiable embedded computing devices within the existing internet infrastructure without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.” This means devices that are able to “talk” to one another via an internet connection without third part interference. An example would be a motion detector that automatically uploads a video clip to an authorized smartphone when it senses movement. The IoT is influencing changes in security system components like video cameras, access controls, recording equipment, fire and burglar alarms, locks, and monitoring services. The devices themselves are evolving but so is the manner in which end users and system operators interact with them.

A higher level of remote connectivity to security systems and their components is a result of the IoT. End-users can now login to security systems and their devices via an app on their mobile device. This would allow the business owner who is away on vacation to periodically check-in on the day-to-day by logging into their surveillance system on their smartphone. The homeowner who forgot to lock their doors and arm their system can now do so remotely via a mobile device or computer. Automated notifications can be setup to send an alert when an alarm is triggered, someone tries to gain entry without proper access credentials, when a camera or motion detector capture movement within their range; the possibilities are extensive and continue to be developed.

According to Steve Hausman, president of Hausman Technology Keynotes, we are still at the beginning of the “IoT revolution.” Some research suggest by the year 2020 there will be over 30 billion wirelessly connected devices in operation. With everything becoming more and more connected one has to wonder, what are the risks? In this highly connected world, there is a plethora of data being recorded, stored, and shared but who has access and rights to this data? Therein lies the problem.

As with anything connected to the internet, the risk of being hacked or stolen is inherent. In the security world this would be a problem for IP cameras, cloud storage and recording solutions, networked access controls, and basically anything running on or connected to an internet network. With that in mind, industry professionals and developers are continuously working on solutions to prevent and minimize vulnerability.

Hausman says, “Security standards need to be established and enforced at the design and manufacturing levels. As the IoT evolves, we can also expect that society will not only adapt to its usefulness but come to expect that appropriate safeguards be implemented to ensure both privacy and security.” Today, those “safeguards” are being provided by licensed security integrators who understand the risks associated with system automation and the IoT. Often times this means strong encryptions for not only the network, but the connected devices as well.

The IoT isn’t something that’s going to disappear. Its presence in the security industry will continue to shape the way manufacturers develop products and how they are implemented by security integrators. As licensed professionals our integrators at Perfect Connections, Inc. provide comprehensive security system solutions to businesses and homes throughout northern and central New Jersey, and have been doing so for over 25 years. Our team has witnessed decades of advancements in the industry. We realize it is our duty to continue our own education as well as offer knowledge to our customers when implementing new technologies and component counterparts.

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 Briggs-Flickr-Creative Commons

Be Prepared: Home Fire Safety Tips

Fire-Ada BeHouse fires.  Nobody wants to think about them, but they are an unfortunate reality in our imperfect world.  While a house fire can be unpredictable there are precautionary measures you can take to avoid them.  Being prepared is half the battle, but knowing what to do in the event of a fire is equally important.

Part of home fire safety is having the proper equipment and warning devices.  This means having operating smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, a fire alarm, and sometimes a sprinkler system.  Most single family homes are not required by law to have a sprinkler or fire suppression system, but that may not last as the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) is currently pushing for sprinkler legislation across the United States.  As a leading expert in the security system industry our experts at Perfect Connections, Inc. realize having a truly comprehensive home security system means including fire detection equipment that is linked to an alarm system.  We have been providing home security systems throughout northern and central New Jersey for over 25 years.  Our team understands that security is not solely about preventing break-ins, it’s about protecting lives.

Being Prepared

According to the NFPA, in 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 365,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 2,560 deaths, 11,075 civilian injuries, and $7 billion in direct damage.  The main culprits of these fires were cooking followed by heating equipment and smoking.  Of reported home fire related deaths, 60% of the homes either didn’t have smoke detectors or had non-working detectors.  This is a problem – what good is a detector if it’s not working or been removed?

The best way to manage a household fire is be prepared for one.  Being prepared includes having the proper warning system, up to date fire extinguishers, and most importantly an escape plan.  Having an escape plan that everyone knows and has practiced will help ensure a safer and quicker exit in the event of a fire.  Every house should have working smoke detectors throughout each floor of the home and they should be tested regularly.  Smoke detectors can be even more effective if they are tied into your homes security system.  If you have a home security system you likely have a monitoring service that responds in the event of an emergency.  In the event of a fire, detectors that are tied into an alarm system will trigger the alarm and if the alarm is not deactivated by the owner, the monitoring service will be notified automatically.  The monitoring service will try to contact the house and if no one answers after a given amount of time they will dispatch local emergency crews.  This type of system ensures a quicker response from local authorities and saves you and your family precious time needed to escape.

Fire Types

Understanding the different types of house fires can help you prevent or know how to extinguish them.  One of the most common causes of house fires is from cooking related incidents.  According to the NFPA two out of every five home fires started in the kitchen.  In a way this makes a lot of sense.  Think about it, kitchens are where you cook with high heat, ovens, gas or electric ranges, grease, and flammable materials.  It is of the utmost importance to be vigilant of what is going on in your kitchen.  If you have pots on the stove, do not leave them unattended the same for items in the oven.  Never leave flammable or combustible materials where they can be exposed to flames or high heat.

Electrical fires are another leading cause of house fires.  Homes with electrical heating need to be conscious of what materials are up against or close to heaters, all it takes is one dangling curtain to catch fire.  This is especially true for people who use space heaters.  It’s tempting to bring that space heater right up to your bed on those cold winter nights, but they need to be kept a safe distance, which is about 3 feet, from anything combustible and that includes bed sheets.  Space heaters should always be unplugged when not in use to avoid any electrical malfunctions and they should never be left on overnight.  Other culprits of electrical fires include dryers, washing machines, water heaters, air conditioning machines, and ranges.

Fires related to smoking incidents are another major cause of injury and fire related deaths in the United States.  Although the amount of people who smoke in the United States has decreased in the past decade the fact remains between 2007 and 2011 smoking materials were responsible for approximately 17,900 house fires.  During this time period 580 deaths, 1,280 injuries, and $509 million in property damage per year was attributed to smoking related fires.  Many of these fires included falling asleep as a factor.  It’s devastating that such disaster has taken place when this type of fire is completely preventable by not smoking.

While you can’t always predict or prevent house fires from occurring you can be prepared for them.  And even though the first thing you should always do in the event of a fire is call 911 here’s a helpful link that describes how to extinguish different types of house fires Different Ways To Extinguish Different Fires.  Having a comprehensive security system that includes a monitored fire alarm and connected smoke detectors can significantly decrease the damaging effects of a house fire.  It can save you time, money, and most importantly lives.  Our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing comprehensive security systems to homes throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We want to help you connect and protect what matters most.

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 Ada Be-Flickr-Creative Commons

It’s Time To Upgrade Your Old 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, it’s time to upgrade your system. 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

Protecting Your Home 101 – 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

No Power? No Problem! – Protecting Your Home During Power Outages

Lightning-Anthony QuintanoWe all know the weather is unpredictable no matter how many radars or meteorologists tell us otherwise.  Mother Nature is impulsive and she strikes at will.  A common and sometimes unpleasant result of severe weather is power outages.  During a thunderstorm outages may last a couple of hours but extreme weather conditions have been known to leave civilians without power for weeks at a time.  The 2008 ice storm that swept the Northeast region of the United States is a perfect example of how detrimental volatile weather can be.  It left over a million without power, some for weeks.  How fast power can be restored really depends on the weather conditions and the resources available in each location.

While extreme weather is not necessarily an everyday issue-and it varies by location-there is still an impact incurred by smaller and more frequent storms that cause power outages.  Power outages affect not only lighting but heating, electric water pumps, and your home security system.  Does that mean you will be unprotected during an outage?  That depends on what type of system you have.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. we provide customized security systems that help protect you and your family even in the direst of situations.  Our experts have been securing homes in northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  As we are based in New Jersey, we are no strangers to the inclement weather and its effect on local residences.

What happens during a power outage?  Everyone goes scrambling for lanterns, candles, and maybe a puzzle to pass the time, right?  Okay, so you have the entertainment portion down, but what about the safety of your home.  Will your security system still work during a power outage?  As previously mentioned that really depends on what type of system you have.

Some of the most common operating modes for security systems are through phone lines, cellular radio, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), and the internet.  With an alarm system that operates through traditional phone lines, it will continue to communicate with monitoring services even during a power outage as phone lines typically stay up and running.  Like many systems, the central control panel will continue operating off its backup batteries.  How long the backup batteries last varies; some may last hours, others may last days.  Your security system provider should have information on how long your backup batteries will last.  A system that runs off cellular radio capabilities will also rely on backup batteries during a power outage.  This is a wireless system so communication would be unaffected.  VoIP wireless systems rely on internet and phone lines for power and communication so if power is out and internet is out, you can lose communication with monitoring services.  Internet based systems have been touted as the least reliable during an outage.  The reason being they lose communication capabilities if the internet is out, which if the power is out the internet typically follows.

To ensure that you will be covered during a power outage it’s best to be prepared.  To be prepared you should know what type of system you have and talk with your provider to find out what would happen if an outage occurred.  You don’t want to assume you’ll have 2 days of backup battery when you really only have a few hours.  Stocking extra batteries isn’t a bad idea, especially if you live in an area that is prone to inclement weather.  Knowing your systems capabilities and limitations will leave you better prepared in the event of an outage or any emergency for that matter.  Aside from knowing the ins and outs of your security system you could invest in preparatory measures like alternative exterior lighting.  One of the best crime deterrents, besides a comprehensive security system, is lighting.  Burglars don’t want to break-in to homes that are well lit, it leaves them too exposed.

You can’t predict the weather, but you can be prepared for it.  Knowing the limitations of your home security system will help prevent panic during power outages and other weather related incidents.  No security system is infallible, but having one significantly decreases the chances of catastrophe.  Whether you are considering a security system for the first time or looking for expertise do not hesitate to call on our team of professionals at Perfect Connections, Inc..  We have been providing comprehensive security solutions to homes throughout northern and central New Jersey for over 20 years.  Our specialists can guide you through the process from an initial assessment to final installation.  It’s important to note that every home is different therefore each security system should be individually tailored.  Don’t fall for a “one size fits all” solution.

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 Anthony Quintano-Flickr-Creative Commons

How Smart Is Your Home?

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.

Home Automation and Security Systems

As 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.

Smart home AccessOur 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 25 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 are 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

Protecting Your Home During Renovations

construction-19696_1280Home renovation is an exciting and fulfilling prospect for many homeowners. Whether you’re adding on or adjusting an existing space it’s imperative to make sure your home is protected during the process. While renovating your home is rewarding for you and your family, you don’t want it to be a “rewarding” process for would-be thieves and criminals. Our experts here at Perfect Connections, Inc. understand protecting your home is a top priority, especially during a renovation when it is more vulnerable. We’ve been providing security system solutions to northern and central New Jersey homes since 1992. If you are renovating and considering a home security system or adding on to an existing one don’t hesitate to call on our professionals. Having a security systems expert involved from the get-go is essential for seamless integration and full protection. We understand the renovation process can be dubious at times, the following tips can help remove some of the hassle and uncertainty.

Hiring the right contractor

When it comes to your home and family you can never be too careful. You wouldn’t hire a babysitter without doing your research first, the same holds true for finding the right contractor. A background check is a great way to tell whether or not the company you want to hire is reputable or not. Here’s the caveat, companies with bad reputations or failed business sometimes shut down and reopen under a new name (ACE Private Risk Services). So how can you really be sure of who you’re hiring? In many cases architects are involved in the renovation process, they should have good insight into which companies are trustworthy. Ask your friends and family for referrals. Use websites like Angie’s List to find out what other customers think about the contractor you’re interested in hiring. Gain as much knowledge about the company/ies of interest before making a final decision.

When signing a contract be sure it delineates who is responsible for what and that the associated cost makes sense. Sometimes contractors will low-ball the contract price and try to add cost later, blaming it on “unexpected” issues. Ask the contractor directly for a review of their past or most current jobs, those with nothing to hide should be more than happy to abide. After all it’s your home, you want it done right. It is also important from a liability standpoint to be sure the contractor has insurance for his/her self and their workers, you don’t want to incur the cost of someone being injured on the job.

Utilize existing security features

If you have an existing security system in your home, use it to keep an eye on the renovation process. Having remote monitoring access through your video surveillance system will allow you to check-in on your home while you’re away at work or can’t be there. While you’re not out to purposefully incarcerate or accuse the people working on your home of being lazy, trying to rip you off, or stealing it is in your best interest to protect your property. Many, if not most, contractors are reputable and diligent in their work, but nobody is perfect and unfortunately there are companies that do try to take advantage.

Take for example this story of a homeowner who was having the exterior caulking on his windows reinforced. The hired contractor had quoted him for 8 hours of work. The homeowner set up a wireless camera to monitor activity outside his home for when the contractor was scheduled to be working. He was able to see when the contractor arrived, and the hours he spent sitting in his truck NOT performing the agreed upon work. Ultimately, the contractor performed only 5 of the quoted 8 hours of work. When the contractor was paid for the 5 hours he couldn’t dispute it as the homeowner had irrefutable evidence (story courtesy of iWatchLife.com). Negative experiences aside, monitoring your home during construction can also validate the expertise a contractor has, giving you incentive to recommend them in the future.

In all likelihood if you have an existing security system, you’ll be adding on to it in the new space or at least altering it during the renovation process. Including your security system provider from the beginning is a beneficial tactic. If you have a hardwired security system, what better time to include the security provider than when the walls are already open? It will save you from the cost of having to tear them open after the fact. Plus, your security expert/s can address your concerns before construction starts and openly communicate with the other professionals involved. Having that dialogue between the different professional services from the start will create a smoother and more productive process.

Securing the job site

Aside from hiring the right people to complete the job, you want to make sure the job site is adequately secured. One of the most basic, yet often forgotten or disregarded ways to help prevent damage or loss is to lock your doors and windows. While it may not stop someone from breaking in, it will certainly slow them down. This will help control who has access to various parts of your home during the construction process as well.

Alert your security system provider of your upcoming changes, they’ll likely have suggestions on how to protect the exposed portions of your home. Like preventing fire damage by installing temporary smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. Confirm with your security system provider that your current fire alarm system will still function throughout the duration of the project. Even having your security systems expert install additional, maybe temporary, surveillance equipment will help you keep an eye on what’s going on.

Keeping the job site clean and free of unnecessary debris should be part of the construction crew’s responsibility; it makes for a safer work environment and lessens the potential of property damage and injury. It also helps prevent damage to products being used in the renovated space. You don’t want to get charged for parts your own construction crew broke, right?

It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of a home renovation project, but don’t let that be a reason to let your guard down. Keep your home and family safe by doing your research and maintaining security. Our team of experts at Perfect Connections, Inc. understand the value in protecting your home no matter what. We have been providing comprehensive security solutions to residences in central and northern New Jersey for over 20 years. Whatever you have going on, whether it’s a small renovation or substantial addition, don’t hesitate to call on our specialists for a security assessment. You’ll be setting yourself up for success!

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.

Home Security Myths Debunked

A home is so much more than a physical structure that you reside in. It’s where you have lazy Sunday breakfast with your spouse and kids. It’s where you enjoy a cup of hot coffee on your back porch. It’s where you read bedtime stories to your children and tuck them in at night. It’s where you might keep precious assets. It’s where you and your family live life to its fullest. How and what are you doing to protect all of that? Odds are, if you haven’t already installed a home security system, you’ve at least thought about it at one time or another. So what has been preventing you from taking the plunge? Well, like many homeowners you’ve probably convinced yourself or been falsely informed that you don’t need a comprehensive security system. There are a vast array of myths and misconceptions about home security systems, and you will learn why and how they are simply untrue.

My home is in a safe neighborhood, nothing bad could happen here.

Yes, we would all love to believe that we live in a Utopian society where everyone Fingerprint & broken glass-West Midlands Policecontributes, gets along, and the sun is always shining, right? Unfortunately, just as the weather is unpredictable, so is human nature. Criminals don’t care if your neighborhood is considered safe, if they see vulnerability, they see opportunity. Don’t fool yourself into thinking your home is safe because of your surroundings. Statistically, 88% of all burglaries happen residentially, 86% happen when someone is home. Don’t wait for something tragic to happen. Take initiative and contact a trusted home security systems specialist at Perfect Connections, Inc. before it’s too late.

I don’t own anything a burglar/intruder would want.

While it may be true that you don’t own expensive valuable items, or have wads of cash lying around, burglars/intruders aren’t always after your jewelry or money. Whatever the intentions of a criminal, you have to assume if they are breaking into your home, they’re after something. Even if they don’t steal something of monetary value, they might accidentally grab something that is irreplaceable and of emotional significance, or worse, cause harm to you or a family member. According to safewise.com, “1 in 3 homes without a security system will fall victim to a burglary as compared to 1 in 250 homes that do have a security system.” Don’t presume to know what criminals are after, protect what matters most with a comprehensive security system solution.

Security systems don’t work and are too expensive.

Thinking your security system is going to act like an impenetrable force field that will deflect potential intruders or criminal behavior is just not realistic. Neither is believing a comprehensive security system won’t do anything for your home and your family, or that it’s too costly. The cost in damages from a burglary can be far more financially draining than the cost of a comprehensive security system with alarm monitoring. Never mind the emotional toll it can take on you and your family.

Luckily, the evolution of security systems has allowed professionals to offer a wider range of economic solutions to fit your budget. You can actually save money by installing a home security system; many home insurance providers offer discounts for doing so. Beware of security systems companies that lowball their price quotes, odds are you’ll end up being just a number in a sea of inadequately protected customers. Watch out for companies that offer you an “accurate” quote over the phone, how can they asses your home’s needs if they’ve never been there? A full home security assessment should be done in person by a licensed specialist, and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

Security systems have been proven to deter intruders, in fact the Electronic Security Association’s “Home Safety Fast Facts” report indicates 9 out of 10 burglars purposefully avoid homes with security systems. Thinking that security systems don’t work fast enough is inaccurate. Some systems alert the authorities within 45 seconds, and if a patrol car is in the area, the likelihood of the perpetrator being caught is higher. Even if a burglar were to get into your home, the second your alarm goes off, the sound and attention will typically drive your intruder away.

My home is not built to accept a security system.

Old home-Brad ClinesmithMaybe you live in an old Colonial or Victorian house where the walls are solid and accessibility throughout the home is challenging. You might assume the construction of your home wouldn’t allow the installation of a home security system because it would require extensive drilling and/or remodeling. In the past there might have been a tinge of truth to that assumption, however, today many if not most systems are or have wireless capabilities. Not only is a wireless system convenient in older homes, or any home for that matter, but it’s aesthetically more pleasing as it eliminates any loose or dangling wires. What if a burglar were to cut phone and power lines? According to nightwatchprotection.com, “With wireless phone and internet technology combined with battery and backup generator support, you can expect your security system to be up and running under the worst conditions.”

My pets will set off false alarms, besides they’re like built-in security units.

While a barking dog can make a potential intruder run in the opposite direction, they can’t always differentiate between a threat and a familiarity, never mind the fact they can’t contact emergency services. Pets may not alert you if they recognize the intruder, for example, someone who had previously done work in your home. A comprehensive security system does not discriminate, if a window is broken, the alarm goes off. If the door is kicked in, the alarm will sound and the authorities will be notified, giving you and your family time to get to a safe place.

Worrying your pets will sound a false alarm is less of concern with todays’ advanced motion detectors. The detectors that are pet friendly are set to pick up motion from objects over a certain weight. This decreases the chances of a false alarm, and you don’t have to fret about your pets wandering around your home.

All security systems are the same and they’re too complicated.

Couldn’t be farther from the truth. Each security systems company will have different products, procedures, and policies. Your security systems professional should be able to customize a comprehensive system that suits the individual needs of your home. Don’t fall for a “one size fits all” solution. As far as systems being too complicated, technological advancements have simplified user interfaces making them easier to operate. Many systems utilize graphic touch screen controls that provide step by step instructions.

It’s important to do your homework and shop around to figure out which company best suits your needs. Put your trust in companies with a proven customer retention record and a history of experience like Perfect Connections, Inc. We have 98% Customer Loyalty Rating, and have been providing security system services to Northern and Central New Jersey since 1992.

 

Image Credits: Image #1 by West Midlands Police-Flickr-Creative Commons, Image #2 by Brad Clinesmith-Flickr-Creative Commons,