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Residential Estate Security Handbook 2018

Don’t ignore home security
August 2018, Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection, Healthcare (Industry)

Living in a secure estate is a luxury, and many who are able to do so believe that the estate’s security team is responsible for their security and do little to make sure their personal space is secure. Stories of people going away on holiday and leaving the front door open and similar tales abound. Thankfully, most estates manage to keep the criminals at bay, but there is always the risk that something may happen, and with the increasing violence accompanying crime in South Africa, does one really want to wait until after an incident before you think about your family’s safety?

In addition, there is a growing strategy among criminals to lodge themselves in estates and operate their criminal enterprises from within. In this way they are able to watch and wait for the most opportune moment to strike.

Fortunately, technology has advanced to the level that estate dwellers don’t need to imprison themselves behind bars. Intrusion detection, for example, has come a long way from when we had wires covering our windows that set off the alarm if they moved too much. Today’s homes have an array of solutions to choose from, many integrated with other security products (such as CCTV cameras), and even home automation solutions – and almost all can be managed from a smartphone.

Janike Kotze from Security & Communication Warehouse (SCW) says there are a host of intrusion detection solutions available for homes. She recommends a combination of perimeter beams and internal IR sensors as the best solution, balancing affordability with effectivity.

Perimeter beams provide for early detection, allowing the inhabitants or the security company to respond before their inner perimeter is breached and people are threatened. The internal IR sensors back these up, in case the perimeter is bypassed.

“Fully integrated security systems utilising multiple disciplines are still in their infancy,” adds Kotze, “but this is definitely the trend the market is moving towards. Currently the best solution is to use a CCTV system with remote login to back up the alarm system. This allows the owner to identify the threat picked up by the intrusion alarm and thus respond in the correct manner.”

Elvey’s intrusion specialist, Ruaan Fourie, adds that there are many products available, and they don’t all have to have functions aimed at the security field. His recommendation would include outdoor and indoor PIR detectors, flood and smoke detectors, home automation as well as CCTV.

“Whilst home automation is regarded a niche, it does cater for those extra security requirements, such as lights, which play an integral part as an added security measure. A complete system with all of the above mentioned products, which is fully accessible by means of a smartphone, allows the users to make use of video on-demand and/or video verification on triggered alarms and/or activations, as well as control the system remotely in terms of opening and closing of gates, seeing who is at their premises and turn lights on or off (as well as their security system). Often these solutions come with the added ­benefit of two-way audio communications with someone on the other end via means of the system’s cameras, video doorbell or intercom.”

Remote control via smartphone

While the ability to control your home security via your smartphone is not necessarily a ‘must-have’, the fact that almost everyone has a smartphone makes it common sense. It allows multiple authorised people to have access to the security system and, depending on the

app, to each other in case of an emergency.

Kotze explains that the prevalence of smart phones and the ease of app development means that no manufacturer in the security industry has any excuse not to have a remote app available anymore. “While remote control is not an absolute necessity, the ease-of-use is hard to ignore. The benefits of being able to arm and disarm the system remotely are obvious, but apart from this, the peace of mind the homeowner gets from being able to monitor the system’s status is often overlooked.”

Fourie adds, “With the rise of risk associated to crimes it has become imperative that the more control you have, the better equipped you become in combating it. It is these types of systems with added benefits of home automations that allow for geo-fencing, which means when triggered, the home security becomes fully automated. Lights turn on and gates open before entering the premises without any distractions of either using smartphone and/or remotes.”

Securing your security

We have all heard or read about cybersecurity and the risks to the individual and organisations, and home security systems are no exception. As in most security scenarios, your smartphone-controlled home security system should also be secured from cyber threats. Fortunately it is quite simple to implement basic security without spending money of special applications and tools.

A system that is not secure is as good as an open door, says Kotze, “and the worst part is that most systems can be secured simply by changing the default passwords. Many installers do not advise their clients to change these default passwords, and many owners are not aware of how dangerous this can be. When a system is connected to the Internet, changing the default passwords should be the first step. This locks out all but the most dedicated attempts to access the system without authorisation.”

Fourie agrees, noting that the homeowner needs to be furnished with information and/or be educated related to cybersecurity as there are so many ‘aftermarket’ products available that do not provide for any form of cybersecurity. “Since these systems are reliant on cloud-connected services, it is therefore imperative that the security associated to cyberattacks be minimised in partnering with the correct service providers.”

Not only does taking charge of your own home’s security offer the benefits of your and your family’s safety, it also takes the home into the automation era where electronic products and systems in the home are controlled remotely, and even by voice in the near future (although you can already do this with some international products).

For more information contact:

• Elvey, +27 11 401 6700,,

• Security & Communication Warehouse, +27 12 653 1005,,

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