Key Qualities of Security & Home Automation Systems
Stanley El Komala, BGW Technologies.
There are now so many security and home automation solutions available it’s difficult for security installers to get their heads around the possibilities. One thing is certain, while functionality has changed, the need for bullet-proof catch performance, fast and accurate reporting of incidents, and overall reliability has not.
WHEN it comes to security and home automation, you want the fundamentals to be solid. Any system must have battery backup and meet the Australian Standard, while offering more than one reporting path. That could be dual-SIM, or SIM and blue cable. When it comes to sensors, including cameras, you want good sensor designs and reasonable quality. In the case of PIRs, a dual pyroelectric sensor with a well-designed lens is to be preferred. Quality mirror optics offer better performance and dual technology sensors offer lower false alarm rates in challenging environments, though they are not commonly found in typical security and home automation solutions.
When it comes to CCTV, you will be getting low cost cameras with modest resolution and very wide angles of view from short focal lengths with large apertures of around F1.2. This combination of wide angle, wide aperture and low resolution might as well be a recipe for low quality image streams. Throw in low quality lenses with poor design characteristics the system will deliver awful image quality.
Make sure the mobile interface is well-designed and that no matter where you are in the app it’s possible to go anywhere else without having to back up 3 steps. Things like geo-fencing and auto-deactivation when the system senses your approach could be nice features. Mapping and imagery are solid features and you want these to be icon-based and easy to drive. In the backend you want a reliable cloud provider with you want low latency, a higher performance internet service is a vital and often unconsidered component of a home automation system. And buy a system that can be monitored by a professional monitoring station.
According to Stanley El Komala of BGWT, the key qualities of a perfect security and home automation solution include that it is easy to install and programme (speed of installation), easy to demonstrate to end users, is long on scalability, is hybrid system (hardwired or wireless), and offers a large selection of optional extras (keypads, wireless devices, communicators, home automation devices and video verification, etc.
A big issue for installers will be deciding what offers best performance and reliability – proprietary or open sensor technologies or a mix.
“Proprietary technologies are usually thought to be a better choice for security systems it fully addresses the key requirements: reliability, performance, privacy, vulnerability, usability, and maintenance,” argues El Komala.
“While open technologies are typically considered more suitable for home automation or an area where price is a key concern.
A good system should be able to accept both technologies. When it comes to CCTV and video verification it’s important to be able to verify an alarm event by looking at CCTV – though it’s not critical. Regardless, a good system should be scalable to accommodate for future requirements of CCTV and video verification.
According to El Komala, remote management apps are the heart of the modern security and automation system.
“Remote management apps are a must for modern electronic security systems – especially in modern security and automation systems,” El Komala says. “Everyone these days is carrying a smart phone and they interact with their smart phone every day. They need to be able to operate, control and interact remotely to access their security and alarm system using the same device.”
When it comes to the question of whether hubs or controllers will dominate in the future, El Komala has no doubt.
“Hubs are the future,” he says. “Aesthetically, the hub-based alarm and automation solution is attractive, compact and blends into the surroundings because it doesn’t look like a traditional alarm system. At the moment to meet customer’s needs we have hub or controller-based solutions, but the future will be hubs, in my opinion.”
El Komala says the most common sensors and functionalities BGWT sees applied in the real world include a mix of security and automation devices but he says even traditional sensors are being used in non-traditional ways.
“PIR detectors are being used to detect when a room is occupied or vacant, as well as to manage lights to save energy,” he explains. “Another detection device that’s popular is the flood detector, which detects water leakage in laundry rooms. In some instances, this sensor is being used to turn off water valves to ensure flooding is controlled.
Something security installers are increasing concerned about is cyber security – how important is it in this part of the market and are installers across it, in El Komala’s opinion?
“Cyber security is very important – the industry is not immune to those with malicious intent,” he says. “Every manufacturer has their own solutions, but our DSC PowerG technology products have met the highest standards. This ensures customers are provided with safer, smarter and more secure products with end-to-end encryption. PowerG’s proven and robust anti-RF jamming design and 128-bit AES encryption offers an exceptionally high level of protection against digital attacks.”
Finally, installers will have to choose what they believe is the right balance of personal and professional monitoring for the security and home automation solutions they are installing.
“The nature of monitoring a security and home automation will depend on the end user and the type of application (ie, residential or commercial),” says El Komala. “A well-designed system should offer both personal and professional monitoring capabilities and these capabilities should be balanced to meet the needs, the threat profile and the insurance requirements of the client.”