As home security systems continue to adapt with the current technology market, local experts say the trend is leading to integrated smart home setups with control at the fingertips becoming standard.
“The ability to control your system from your smartphone device — that is becoming a trend that is pretty much now is going to be standard,” John Palmer, a sales manager for the Denison-based Four Feathers Alarm, said.
Palmer said the trend is moving toward cellular monitoring — that is the full control of a home security system available through a smartphone, and the home security systems are becoming increasingly integrated with home automation systems.
“The security systems are now merging with home automation systems, so you can control everything from lighting to your air conditioning to appliances to garage doors and door locks,” Palmer said.
Larry Stevenson, owner of the Sherman-based Castle Security LLC, said these systems are integrating more and more items such as thermostats, lights and switches. He said for some integrated systems, users can program lighting modes for watching movies, early morning scenes and even power on a coffee maker at a certain time. Stevenson noted that users can program some security systems to send out text notifications if the alarm system is not disabled between a certain time frame as to alert parents if their children do not arrive home after school.
For those looking for a security system, Stevenson said every house is different and homeowners want different things out of a system. When his company is installing a system, he said they always ask what the homeowner wants to accomplish and what their concerns are. He said homeowners new to security systems should do their homework, and they should deal with a reputable company and preferably a local company, he noted.
“They should look for a licensed company to do the install and a licensed company to do the monitoring,” Stevenson said. “Generally, the installer can do that for you.”
Palmer said the ultimate goal of any security system is to give homeowners the comfort that someone is watching over a property while they are away.
“I think it should give you peace of mind — being able to leave your home and set your system and know that you have complete control of what’s going on at home without even being there,” Palmer said. “Knowing that if something does happen — if somebody was to come into your house while you’re not there without your permission, or if there’s a fire, then you’ve got a company that’s working for you monitoring that.”
Security starts with an alarm system. For a homeowner new to a system, Palmer said he recommends starting with monitoring all doors and placing motion detectors in frequently traveled areas, such as living rooms and master bedrooms. He also recommended outfitting a home with smoke detectors that are connected to the security system.
An increasingly popular feature of home security — camera systems are available at most electronic retailers, but Stevenson said homeowners should talk it over with a licensed installer before purchasing.
“As far as camera systems, the technology is moving so fast on the camera equipment that really you need to discuss it with a licensed installer so that you don’t go out and buy something that’s old technology — that’s not the latest and most cost effective,” Stevenson said.
The quality and cost of camera systems can run the gamut, and many come equipped to view live from smartphones. Stevenson said often homeowners might think they require more cameras than they actually need. He said a local security company can steer a homeowner to equipment that will accomplish the task at a lesser expense.
“They really need to visit with somebody to see exactly what’s appropriate for their situation,” Stevenson said. “Because everybody’s is different and very seldom do we install the same set equipment in two different houses.”
An alarm system can range in prices based on the needs of a house. Stevenson said a basic system through Castle Security will cost $650, and it includes three doors, a motion detector and the installation fee. He noted his company does not require long-term contracts and the equipment is owned by the homeowner.
Palmer said the technology for security systems continues to change and people continue to want more from a system.
“The trends are starting to become commonplace where people about five to six years ago would have been happy with just a standard security alarm system,” Palmer said. “Now they’re wanting to interact with everything on their phone to connect to more points in their house.”