Not only is mobile phone technology empowering end users, it is also giving security system installers the edge over their competitors. “The technology has evolved to the point where people can even receive real-time information on their burglar alarm status and stream live video footage from their security cameras straight on to their cellular phones,” says Valerie Bingham, product manager for Elvey Security Technologies.
She maintains that installers who offer their customers technologically-sound products will benefit from increased sales volumes and a loyal client base that will support them through repeat business and word-of-mouth recommendations. Being able to supply customers with such top-end service, however, depends on the quality and reliability of the products installed. To this end, she recommends Visonic’s powerful new GSM enabled alarm panel.
This panel, through the use of the GSM network, allows installers to enrol or configure and review the alarm system’s peripherals remotely. Installers can also perform diagnostics as well as conduct walk tests from the comfort of their own office (provided there is someone on the premises able to activate the intruder detection devices). The money and time-saving benefits are enormous, says Bingham.
The system also offers advantages to homeowners. For one, they have a state-of-the-art alarm system with a backup communication channel in the event of PSTN line failure. For another, they can arm or disarm their systems from afar. And they can receive status messages on their mobile devices, so they are in touch with what is happening at home at any time.
Another product recommended by Bingham is the PG2 Next Cam, a wireless PIR detector with an integrated camera that provides a solution for visual alarm verification, day or night. According to her, it covers entire rooms, hallways, stairways or other areas to ensure visibility where needed.
If the alarm system is armed and the PIR sensor detects movement, it automatically activates the camera and sends an alert to the control panel. The control panel immediately sends images and audio feeds to the central monitoring station as well as to the end user’s mobile phone. By being able to view disturbances in real-time, monitoring station staff can verify the alarm and respond accordingly.
For pre-existing DSC alarm systems that are communicating with a Contact ID base station, Bingham recommends the GS3125 Alarm Communicator. “This communicator allows installers to programme a panel through its upload/download capabilities, making installation a breeze,” she explains. Another advantage for both installer and homeowner is that this module sets priority between GSM/PSTN Line with automatic switch in case of line trouble. This function ensures that the house being monitored is always on the grid, even if the telephone cables are cut or stolen.
“The real power of the GS3125 communicator is that it allows end users to receive eight voice messages of up to 16 seconds long from their alarm panel,” says Bingham. These messages can alert users to burglaries, tripping in specific zones and activation of the smoke detector.
The communicator can also send eight SMS text messages, pertaining to the arming or disarming of the system. Not only does this feature enable homeowners to monitor their homes around the clock, but it also allows them to warn other family members of a possible breach and to therefore wait until the armed response company verifies the alarm.
Viewing CCTV footage
Smart to start with, smartphones coupled with high-end applications such as the Dahua DVR, have no limits, says Bingham. “The Dahua DVR has a built-in Web server which allows it to be accessed over the Internet through a network switch. This handy feature allows business and homeowners to access live footage on their cellular phones through a downloadable application. Most Dahua DVRs come standard with MSS (mobile surveillance software) to make viewing on smartphones possible.”
Once the software has been downloaded, users can view multiple channels on their smartphones or iPads. Users who connect a PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) camera to the DVR will then be able to zoom in, zoom out, change the direction of the camera, close the views and even add cameras to the viewing area.
Easy to navigate, the software contains settings to allow for the management of new devices. The settings also allow users to change the resolution which is related to the DVR sub-streams.
Another impressive feature of the software, she points out, is that users can set up an alarm type, such as video motion, video blind or alarm local. They also have the choice of channel when it comes to activating alarms. Then, should the camera at the office or at home detect video motion or video loss on the perimeters, it will send a notification through to the user’s mobile device.
Smartphones give installers and end users instant access to a very powerful tool, says Bingham. “This technology enables them to empower themselves. No longer are they dependent on their monitoring companies to inform them when their alarm goes off. They can now be notified of an event and remotely view the images of the disturbance or even use view recorded and live footage on their phone, in real-time.”
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