The alarm industry is slow to change – so slow, in fact, that we measure progress in decades, not in years! As we entered 2010, I created a “Top Ten” countdown of the decade's most significant innovations in home security, and we filmed two podcasts: one for innovations 1 – 5, and the other for innovations 6 – 10. Looking back at them today, I'm inclined to condense the ten into five, and revisit them here. It would be nice if the majority of US alarm companies had adopted these improvements, for improvements they are – but the sad truth is that even the largest of companies can be the slowest to evolve. Maybe that's why I use the terms “dinosaur” and “prehistoric” from time to time! So here goes: the major headlines in residential security of the past decade.
“Cellular Monitoring Makes Waves”
“Interactive Features Create the Connection”
“Wireless Sensors Dominate”
“Home Video Finds its Focus”
“Easy-Installation Comes Home”
Cellular Monitoring – In 2008, the FCC allowed cell carriers to phase out analog cellular service, replacing it with more efficient digital cell. Internet phone service was replacing copper lines in the millions. And the alarm industry finally reacted, with more companies offering safer cellular monitoring: no phone line required, and none to cut. Cellular was no longer relegated to “backup” status. Most alarm companies charge more (for the cell device, and the monthly), but cell is no longer an unusual request – and more of you demand it.
Interactive Features – The ability to control your system from anywhere has arrived, in good company. Along with remote arm/disarm comes notification by email and text to anyone you select, and it's all managed on your computer or hand-held device – using free apps for iPhone, B'Berry, and Droid. Busy families, frequent travelers, second home owners, and others combined peace of mind with next-gen features: even more reasons to get an alarm system.
Wireless Sensors – It's a fact: wireless sensors have just surpassed hard-wired sensors for new home alarm systems. I've been using wireless sensors since the late 1980's, but now even the die-hard companies have signed on. These devices are smaller, have longer battery life, and are more reliable than ever. They are also easier to install, to move, and to troubleshoot. And, they let you move a system with you – more on that later!
Home Video – We are behind several European countries when it comes to cameras in the home, but we are catching up fast. Now that you can live view video from your home on any web-enabled device, it's the next best thing to being there. And, the smart cameras have built-in motion analytics that create a short video clip – and can send it to you real time. All you need is broadband connection in the home, and a window to point your camera out.