While the full home automation trend has not caught on broadly in South Africa, there are still options for automation when it comes to security technologies integrated with other functionality, such as optimising power usage, checking for leaks and other features.
In this article we look at how home security can be integrated into an automated solution and what additional services, features and functionality can be added. To gain a broad perspective, we asked three companies (two local ones) for some insight into what they do in the home automation space. Our questions went to:
• Rudi Potgieter, Guardian Eye by Vox.
• Mark Slingsby, Olarm.
• Julian Seiderer, Johnson Controls.
Hi-Tech Security Solutions: What basic security-only products and/or services do you supply to estates or individual homes? What features do these include?
Seiderer: We provide advanced security technologies to protect what you value most, offering the most reliable security technologies to provide peace of mind for you and your family. Qolsys capitalises on PowerG wireless intrusion technology, to offer a series of robust features geared towards decreasing operational costs while providing ultimate reliability in a security system. Unnecessary site checks and incremental high costs that can be incurred by false alarms are substantially reduced. With the simplicity of PowerG devices, solutions can be easily customised to suit even the most specific needs.
Compatible with leading-edge interactive solutions supported by DSC for a variety of smart control monitoring features, Qolsys products ensure growth in the future through a complete line of expansion modules as well as through additional services such as alarm verification.
Some of the solutions on offer include:
• Qolsys Home Security System with IQ Panel: Access your security system, lights, locks, thermostats, cameras and more with an easy swipe and scroll touch-based interface that feels like your smartphone.
• Monitored life safety devices: Integrate a wide range of reliable, life-safety products such as flood, temperature, CO and smoke detectors.
• Wireless arm/disarm: Convenient arming options through wireless keys, tags and Bluetooth.
• Motion detector with optional false alarm prevention features: Indoor/outdoor detectors, with or without cameras, offering false alarm prevention features and pet immunity.
• Perimeter detection devices: Unobtrusive detection devices equipped with technologies for enhanced perimeter protection.
Slingsby: Olarm PRO integrates with your existing alarm system to make it smart. Olarm Command Centre is the management portal for estates to visually see any alarm activations, panic alerts and to monitor Nemtek electric fencing.
Potgieter: Guardian Eye has a range of IP and wireless cameras that are easy to install by the individual homeowner. The camera manufacturers we partner with all have home automation sensors in their solutions stacks, allowing you to, for instance, pair a camera with a door contact sensor, or drip tray monitor, to ensure you have visuals of a potential problem when it matters the most.
These products are already integrated with most home automation hubs and can be configured using useful tools such as ITTT (If This Then That). While these off-the-shelf technologies go a long way in automating some of the mundane tasks, the Guardian Eye team also looked at scenarios where you can’t always rely on connectivity or power at home.
What if the Wi-Fi router is the source of the fire in the house; what connectivity will the smoke detector use to communicate the issue? For this, we sourced a range of independently powered and connected devices and deliver the information through our Sixth Sense mobile application.
Release two of the app, which will come in Q3 of 2022, will include the ability to pair any camera to a Sixth Sense sensor. For more complex installations or deployments at larger scale, we include our solutions architect team to custom design solutions with security and operational efficiencies being the driving force.
Hi-Tech Security Solutions: Do you include an API or SDK for integrating other products and services?
Seiderer: One of the appeals of the Qolsys IQ Panel is the ability to stitch multiple protocols into a single experience. The end user doesn’t need to know whether a device uses Wi-Fi or Z-Wave or PowerG to communicate, they just want it to work. We deliver a larger ecosystem than any other solution.
PowerG is the most powerful wireless security and life safety technology you can buy. With four times the range of legacy wireless technology, PowerG includes encryption, two-way communication and automatic signal adjustment to avoid interference and to optimise battery life. Z-Wave Plus connects lights, locks, thermostats, garage openers and more in a mesh network that becomes more responsive as it grows. On-screen tools make adding new devices easy and ensure the network is healthy and effective.
Wi-Fi devices, like secondary touchscreens, indoor and outdoor cameras or video doorbells easily connect to the IQ Panel’s built in Panel Access Point or the customer’s home network, providing excellent user experience for popular devices.
The IQ Panel was designed to bridge the gap between yesterday’s technology and tomorrow’s secure, smart home, offering LTE and Wi-Fi Dual Path Connectivity, PowerG and powerful features such as Bluetooth Touchless Disarming and Live Answer while still using the sensors already installed in the home.
Slingsby: Olarm offers an end-to-end estate security monitoring and response platform with Command Centre and its Smart Communicator, with new products scheduled for release later this year.
Potgieter: Our integrated IoT platform is all about the ecosystem. As already mentioned, all the off-the-shelf vendors we partner with have standard integrations with almost any product that speaks the normal Zigbee/Z-Wave/Wi-Fi protocols, allowing for a connected smart home. In larger deployments such as estates or office parks, we will custom-design workflows and automation on our IoT platform. The approach of ‘any network any device’ allows us to be not only flexible and accommodating, but unique in our approach
Hi-Tech Security Solutions: Is there a central hub or control panel that can be used to manage everything? What about managing it from a mobile device?
Seiderer: The IQ Panel is a 7-inch HD touchscreen with built in 5-Megapixel camera and seven wireless radios to allow command and control of multiple ecosystems in a single platform. The basic hardware set also includes dual microphones, dual speakers, lithium polymer battery and piezo siren.
Inside the IQ Panel is a Qualcomm Snapdragon with quad core processor, LTE, Wi-Fi AC, BLE and the operating system. On top of this tablet-class chip you’ll find proprietary radios used in the security industry, including Z-Wave Plus and PowerG, a security and life safety protocol with ultra-long range and encryption, two-way communication for remote access and automatic signal adjustment to optimise battery life and avoid signal interference. A legacy wireless security radio allows the IQ Panel to connect with existing wireless sensors already installed in the home to reduce entry costs for consumers who have already made an investment in security devices for their home or business.
Homeowners have full control of their security system through the Alarm.com mobile app. Stay informed and in control of your property from anywhere. Fully integrated with our home automation and security solutions, homeowners can personalise triggers to capture important events and watch them instantly, or stream live video to check in on their property at any time.
Slingsby: Olarm PRO is the smart alarm enabler that connects your existing systems with full management via the Olarm app.
Potgieter: As mentioned, our sensors communicate using all the industry-standard protocols. Our mobile portal, Sixth Sense, allows you to keep on top of critical issues, no matter where you are. Our focus, however, is more on managing critical aspects of the home such as power utilisation, fridge temperature etc., and less on the comfort side of home automation.
Hi-Tech Security Solutions: Can it be integrated with external platforms (estate management or other security management platforms)?
Seiderer: Alarm.com offers advanced energy management technology that learns activity patterns and can use the homeowner’s geolocation to automatically adjust around the home. Homeowners can be alerted if they forget to arm their system and act right from their smartphone.
Slingsby: Yes, via webhook/API integration or ContactID over IP.
Potgieter: Our enterprise IoT offering allows for integration into third-party platforms. This is a consultative process through our solution architect teams to ensure we drive optimal outcomes.
Hi-Tech Security Solutions: Can you describe the ‘full solution’ you provide that would be appropriate for homes in estates?
Seiderer: Qolsys has a range of smart home security solutions that put the power of simpler, quicker and more convenient management in the palm of your hand. This is next-generation security management with the most important person – you – placed at the centre. The Qolsys IQ Panel is available on iOS, Android, Windows and even Blackberry, so you can stay connected whether from your tablet, watch, smartphone or computer.
Slingsby: Olarm Command Centre is ideal for estate security control rooms, giving the operator a map view of the estate showing exactly where they need to deploy resources to investigate. Olarm PRO connects the home and electric fencing and the Olarm Mobile app connects the homeowners. The combination of home, fence and control room provide an easy, integrated, auditable, end-to-end effective monitoring and response solution for the estate.
Potgieter: From a single platform taking a modular approach, any individual is able to control the following aspects within a home:
• Energy and temperature monitoring.
• Geyser control.
• Door and motion sensors and garages or gate controllers.
• Indoor and outdoor cameras as well as video intercoms.
• GPS trackers for small and medium movable assets.
For more information contact:
• Julian Seiderer, Johnson Controls, [email protected]
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