Make Sure To Read This Before You Renovate

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 or adding on to an existing structure, don’t hesitate to call on our professionals before you renovate to discuss how best to protect your home during this process. 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 companues 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 provide them. 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 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 25 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.

New Year’s Resolution – Maintain Your Alarm System

So you bought an alarm system, what kind of maintenance and service should you do?

Really, not much. It should work flawlessly for quite some time. The first thing to go will be batteries. All systems will have to have their system battery replaced after 3 to 5 years. When the battery is low, the keypad will notify you as will the central station. The batteries for most alarm systems in service today are 12 volt and 4 to 7 amp hour. Newer graphic self-contained systems have different smaller batteries, the 2Gig GO! Control has a 7.2 volt back up battery. All batteries should give you 24 hour back up. It is not a bad idea to schedule replacement of your battery every 3 years to preempt any possible issues.

If you have a wireless alarm system, you will also need to replace the batteries in the various devices such as door and window transmitters, wireless motion detectors, wireless glass break detectors, wireless carbon monoxide detectors, wireless smoke detectors, key fobs, panic buttons, and other wireless devices. Most of the new devices use lithium batteries, from CR123 3 Volt lithium batteries to lithium watch sized batteries. The smaller the device, the smaller the battery. Typically the bigger batteries last longer, 3 years plus, while the watch type batteries last 2 years plus. Devices that are used most often, like entry doors, drain quicker. On the newer systems, the keypad tells you which transmitter has a low battery, making replacement easy.

Make sure your alarm company shows you how to change the batteries during the installation. You should also get a list of the batteries required for all the various devices you have so you don’t have to scramble to find out when they are low. If you choose not to replace your own batteries, the alarm company should be happy to replace them for you.

Older systems use typical alkaline batteries, 9 volt, AAA and AA are common. These need to be replaced more often. Many older systems don’t tell you when the batteries are low so regular replacement is necessary.

Other than changing batteries, not much else is necessary. Make sure devices such as motion detectors and smoke detectors are clear of spider webs and that’s about it.

If installed and programmed correctly, your alarm system should monitor all parts and devices on the system, as well as services it is connected to, like power, telephone, and cellular. If any of these systems go down, your alarm system should alert you to that fact. The first reaction is to think that there is something wrong with your alarm system, when in reality it is working correctly. It is supposed to tell you when it is compromised when a service it relies on is not working properly.

Even though the system monitors itself, testing the alarm system is something that you should regularly do. You depend on your alarm system and you should make sure that it is working properly all the time. The best way to test the system is as follows: Call the central station and put the system on test. Arm the system and then trip a zone. Reset the alarm and then call the central station to make sure they received the right signal. Next week put it back on test and trip the next zone. Go clockwise around your house and you will eventually check all your devices and then start again. It is worth the effort to protect your home and family.

If you live in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, or if you would like us to perform a Home Safety and Security Audit, absolutely free, please call 800-369-3962 or simply click the link below.

Why You Need A Licensed Installer

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

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

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

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

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

How Security Systems Can Affect The Value Of Your Home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crystal Clear Camera Footage 24/7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image Credit: Image by IQinVision-Google-Creative Commons

Have A Happy and Safe Halloween

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

Tips For Your Home

Leave Lights On

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

Your Security System

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

Tips For Outside Your Home

Trick-Or-Treating

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

Cell Phones

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

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

 

Identifying Holes In Security

Missing puzzle pieceWhile businesses have a lot to offer, many are lacking the protection they need.  No I don’t mean stowing an arsenal below your cash-wrap, but rather an effective security system and security features.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. we can help you protect what you’ve worked so hard for.  If you run a business in central or northern New Jersey, let us assess your security risks and provide a custom solution to fit your needs.  Many don’t know what they are lacking and how it can be rectified – our licensed professionals can help in that arena.  Don’t fall victim to preventable disasters – find out what a comprehensive security system can do for you and the health of your business.

What’s lacking?

An incomplete security system is a bit like working on a puzzle with missing pieces.  There are essential features that should be included in a comprehensive security system.  Maybe you already have a security system installed at your business, but is it monitored?  What good is a security system if no one, except those in the area, is alerted when the alarm goes off?  Having a 24/7 monitoring service as part of your security system is crucial for the quickest response times.  Surveillance equipment can also help deter employee theft which is, “the fastest growing crime in America,” according to the FBI.  Employee theft costs businesses up to $200 billion each year.  Installing surveillance equipment not only in the main customer space, but in offices, storage, and inventory spaces can help decrease chances of employee theft and misconduct.

Other areas that tend to be overlooked or under-protected are doors and safes.  While a door typically locks, if it’s not sturdy and linked to an alarm, what’s preventing someone from kicking it in?  To protect your entries, exits, and interior spaces be sure that your doors are not only sturdy and alarmed but protected by some sort of access control.  Whether it’s a swipe card, key fob, passcode, or some form of biometrics, access control will help prevent unwanted entrants.  Safes that are out in the open and easy to grab or crack open provide minimal protection for whatever is in it.  If you’re going to store valuables or cash in a safe at your business be sure it’s secure either bolted to the ground or in a fortified room.

Inadequate protection from fire and carbon monoxide can be a killer for any business.  Having detectors and alarms may not be enough if they don’t communicate with emergency services.  It’s the same idea as the unmonitored burglar alarm, if no one is around to hear the detectors go off a fire could easily escalate to the point of no return.  For the quickest response time, fire alarms and detectors should be linked to a monitoring service that communicates with emergency services.  Proper fire alarms, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be an integral part of a comprehensive security system.  Your business is likely your livelihood, protect it.

There are few certainties in life, but taking initiative to protect what you’ve built by installing a comprehensive security system is guaranteed to help.  No two businesses are the same, therefore no two security systems will be the same.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. we believe in customizing security solutions for each individual business based on their specific needs.  As security systems experts we have been providing security solutions to northern and central New Jersey businesses since 1992.

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.

DIY Systems: Buyer Beware

Experts-Mai LeIn a world where you can find virtually anything on the internet, there are endless “Do It Yourself”-commonly referred to as DIY-solutions for pretty much everything.  This holds true for home security systems.  However, that doesn’t mean you should rush to your computer/mobile device and buy a 4 star rated surveillance camera off Amazon, and start poking holes in your walls.  As with anything on the internet, you end up wading through a sea of options, resources, and opinions; you might start to feel like you’re drowning in information.  Don’t worry you’re not alone.  You’ll likely have a ton of questions like how do you know if you’re making the right choice?  Are the reviews accurate, or paid for by a company?  Am I getting the best deal?  How do I know one product will be compatible with another?  Is this an honest company?  The list goes on and on.

At Perfect Connections, Inc. we’d like to help you avoid the drowning in information effect.  Our team has been providing residential security systems solutions to Northern and Central New Jersey since 1992.  While we believe our customers are capable individuals, we also believe in providing a customized, comprehensive, and clear cut solution to your home security needs that you can’t get through purchasing products piecemeal on the internet.  You know that old adage, “you get what you pay for”?  It’s true, and in some cases you end up getting less.  You can’t expect a few $50 cameras you bought online, and a monitoring app on your phone, to fully safeguard your home and family.  Surveillance cameras and mobile monitoring are only a couple components in an effective home security system.  Think about the other issues you need to be cognizant of like access control, fire and carbon monoxide detection, burglar alarms, and alarm monitoring. What good is an alarm if the local authorities aren’t contacted when it goes off?  Our team of professionals are informed and informative on the products we install, and they understand the importance of a solution tailored specifically to your home.

Hiring A Professional

If you’ve never had experience installing or operating security systems equipment, doesn’t it make sense that you’d want an industry expert to do it?  Hiring a professional alleviates the pressure on you, wasting less of your precious time and money.  An expert will be able to assess potential weak spots in and around your home that you might not pick up on.  The sophistication of your home security system is dependent on professional products and how they are installed.

There are so many pros of having a security company customize and install an alarm system for your home.  For one, they know how and which products will work together, everything from the cameras to the central control panel.  They can hook you up with an alarm monitoring service.  Having a 24/7 monitoring service as part of your system automatically contacts the authorities in case of emergency.  According to Erin Raub for SafeSoundFamily, “This does not happen with a DIY system, which notifies you (and others you put on the notification list), making it your responsibility to decide on the next course of action.”  It’s chaotic enough in the event of an emergency, you don’t want to have to figure out who to contact, or struggle to find your phone.  The convenience of having a fire, burglar, and carbon monoxide alarm/detector that communicates directly with a monitoring service is priceless; it provides a quicker response time which could ultimately save lives and property.

Home automation is a security feature that connects various aspects of your home to the central control panel in your home.  Lighting, temperature control, locks, garage doors, and sometimes appliances can all be controlled either from your control panel or even a mobile device through and app provided by Alarm.com.  You can’t get this type of connection to your home through a DIY system.  Even if you could, you shouldn’t be installing it yourself.  According to Anne Reagan for Advice Porch “To ensure that all sequences are correct, a professional should always complete home automation.”

Think about the future of your home when it comes to security systems.  If you plan on ever putting your house back on the market, having a customized professionally installed security system can actually increase the value of your home.  Like Anne Reagan points out, “…every prospective homeowner wants to live in a safe and secure home.”  That being said, potential buyers aren’t going to want a house with system they have to remove or update themselves, especially if it’s installed improperly or in adequately.

People might think a DIY security system is cheaper because you’re not paying for labor, but in reality you could end up paying more.  If your system fails or becomes completely defunct, it is up to you to replace it out of pocket.  With a professional service you would likely be covered for certain damages and/or malfunctioning equipment under your service contract.  Adding parts or features to your DIY system after the fact will add up, whereas an initial assessment from a professional will provide a more complete result from the get-go.  Any required maintenance, repairs, and updates are your responsibility which will further drain your wallet.

Before jumping online and buying a bunch of equipment, or punching holes in your walls, check out a professional service for your home security needs.  They can guide you through the process from initial assessment to final installation.  If you reside in Northern or Central New Jersey find out what Perfect Connections, Inc. can do for you.  Our team understands the value in a comprehensive home security system catered to your specific needs.

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 Credit: Image by Mai Le-Flickr-Creative Commons

Security Tips For Back To School Season

With summer just about over, its time for back the back to school season. With both children and parents maintaining busy schedules of school, practices, and other events, now is a great time to make sure that your home is protected around the clock. Here are a few tips to start off back to school season the safe way:

Install An Alarm System With Remote Alerts – By installing one of these systems, parents are able to see when children arrive home. Including a surveillance camera can also let them see who is with them, and what they’re up to while they’re home alone.

Teach Kids To Use Alarm – Its very important to make sure everyone in your family knows how to work your alarm system. Assigning each person an individual PIN number allows you to keep track of each person’s comings and goings, and a quick run through of the alarm system functions can help avoid false alarms.

Help Kids Memorize Emergency Numbers – Even with the ubiquity of cell phones nowadays, its important to make sure everyone in the family knows their emergency contact’s phone numbers by heart. Phones break and batteries die – this can definitely help avoid stressful situations.

Make An Emergency Plan – We all hope the worst never happens, but one of the best ways to prepare is to get an emergency plan together. Sit down with your family and decide on a safe place to meet outside of your house in case of fire, away from the house. Make sure everyone knows the quickest way to the outside from each room.

Lost Keys – Who hasn’t at some point in their lives misplaced their keys? With a keyless/smart entry system, you don’t need to worry about this. But many people still keep a spare physical key outside, under the doormat. That is one of the first places burglars look. There are many other options that can help protect you more – keeping a key with a trusted neighbor, or in a fake rock are a few example.

How Important Is Lighting?

West Midlands Police-Infrared FootageNot all surveillance cameras are created equally.  It may seem as simple as selecting a surveillance camera and popping it into place, but what about the external factors that affect the quality of recorded images?  One of the top concerns for industry professionals and end-users alike is a cameras ability to function in the dark or varied light conditions.  Whether you’re using interior or external cameras, their ability to function under varied light conditions is paramount.  Our experts at Perfect Connections, Inc. understand the importance of a surveillance system that doesn’t quit when the sun goes down.  We are a licensed security systems company that has been providing comprehensive security solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey for over 25 years.

What challenges do different lighting conditions pose to surveillance cameras?  The most obvious is the absence or lack of light.  Unless your cameras are True Day Night it is likely that they will not be able to pick up fine details in the lack of light.  Another common issue is the effect of light glare.  Problematic glare can come from car headlights to poorly placed exterior lighting fixtures.  Glare will disrupt the sensors in the video camera and the recorded footage can be rendered useless.  It is important to take lighting conditions into consideration when choosing and installing cameras as it will impact the overall effectiveness of your system.  What good is a camera that captures grainy unclear images or blanks out for seconds at a time?

Fortunately there have been vast improvements in the surveillance industry that are changing the game when it comes to light adaptation capabilities.  According to Greg Peratt, Senior Director of the Panasonic Video Solutions Integration Team, there are IP (Internet Protocol) cameras that can capture detailed footage in lighting less than .01 lux illumination.  Lux illumination is the metric measurement for how much light falls on an object.  A measurement of 1 lux, “equals the amount of light that falls on a one-square-meter surface that is one meter away from a single candle.”  Therefore a camera that can capture detailed images in less than .01 lux illumination is not only impressive, it’s advantageous.

Another helpful advancement in the case of low or varied light is the Infrared Cut-Filter Mechanism (IRCF).  This filter is automatically lifted or lowered in front of the camera’s sensor depending on the light levels.  The IRCF helps block out disruptive infrared light that can come from sunlight or certain lighting fixtures and it ultimately improves the camera’s low-light performance.  When light levels are low-typically at night-is when the filter is automatically lifted from in front of the sensor.  Cameras that have this feature are considered to have True Day Night capabilities.

The only hitch with this technology is color is often distorted or lost completely.  However, the camera is still able to capture a clear black and white image and according to Steve Carney it captures an image, “…that is not only vastly more usable but also cleaner without chroma noise.”  Carney points out another differentiator between True Day Night cameras and the impersonators is what happens when the IRCF is lifted or removed.  In a True Day Night camera a piece of “dummy” glass will take the place of the IRCF in order to maintain focus and, “minimize the spectral offset between visible and IR light.”  In other cameras the ability to remove such a filter doesn’t exist, therefore the full spectrum of visible and infrared light cannot be taken advantage of.

Other features to look for when considering Day Night cameras are the shutter speeds and any tinting on the camera housing.  Varying shutter speeds affect the amount of the light that is able to be captured.  The slower the shutter, the more light is captured which isn’t always better.  Often times a camera will come with a domed or “bubble” exterior housing.  These “bubbles” can sometimes be tinted.  Depending on your application you may or may not need tinting; sometimes the tint can have an adverse effect by decreasing visibility and obstructing image clarity.

Whether you are replacing older interior/exterior cameras or installing new, your best solution is to call on the experts.  Every business and facility is different which means each will have different requirements when it comes to day/nighttime surveillance.  Having a licensed security professional do an in person assessment of your facility will help determine what type of camera should be implemented and where.  Our team of licensed professionals at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing comprehensive security solutions to businesses and facilities throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We believe in personalized service that tailors solutions to your individualized needs.

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

Image Credit: Image by West Midlands Police-Flickr-Creative Commons