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Opinion – home technology for better security

CEDIA members are particularly well placed to respond to the security requirements of homeowners and work with architects to address their specifications, argues Wendy Griffiths.

CEDIA members are particularly well placed to respond to the security requirements of homeowners and work with architects to address their specifications, argues Wendy Griffiths. As specialists in the integration of electronic systems into home environments, CEDIA (Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association) members are particularly well placed to respond to the security requirements of homeowners and work with architects to address their specifications. Using the latest technology, CEDIA members can take on these requirements effectively, implementing a comprehensive security strategy and solution which can deter would-be intruders whilst enabling the homeowner to have a simple but effective system that can be easily controlled. This can be integrated with the very latest hi-tech lighting and automation facilities in order to provide high level security. Windows can be fitted with vibration sensors, so that if one is accidentally left open, a message will appear on a touch screen panel in the hallway, or phone, telling the homeowner exactly which window it is. Motion detectors in the garden can also be programmed to sound the alarm and raise the garden lights if they are triggered by an intruder while automatic gates can be opened and closed at the touch of a button from anywhere in the house. Perimeter detection is crucial and our focus when working with architects and security companies is, first and foremost, intruder deterrence. However, if there is a break-in, then it is possible to integrate the alarm system with an intelligent lighting and audio system so that all the lights in the property will automatically switch on or flash incessantly and sound loud music and alarms when an intruder is detected. Inside the home, motion detectors, smoke detection, fire alarm and carbon monoxide detection equipment can all be considered as well, and fully integrated with the relevant control system. @page_break@Additionally, CEDIA members can help advise on sophisticated voice-operated, video-based or biometric fingerprint entry systems to enhance security in a property. Many intelligent lighting systems also come with a vacation mode, which automatically replicates the family’s lighting habits if the client goes away on holiday. Although it is possible to use an audio entry system or even a standard telephone handset to control an integrated security system, many homeowners are now expecting video entry systems and CCTVs (Closed Circuit TVs) as standard features. For example, homeowners can see who is at the front door just by looking at their TV screen. Video images from external security cameras are simply distributed over an RF system along with DSTV, terrestrial TV and radio. TVs can be tuned directly into the CCTV channel without the use of any additional hardware and appear as a pop-up screen when activated. But while viewing security cameras on a TV screen is handy, even more useful is being able to control and view those cameras remotely over a home’s PC network or the web. Network cameras can be moved around at the touch of a button to zoom in on different parts of the building while audio and video footage is automatically recorded onto a large capacity hard disk drive as soon as its infra-red sensor detects movement. Of course, using a PC isn’t the only way of controlling a hi-tech security system. The latest fully integrated security solutions on the market also enable control of the property via an iPad, iPhone or other mobile device, either by dialling into a network or sending a text message. What’s certain is that every home and every client will have different tastes and particular requirements for the security system that works in a particular home. The best advice is to speak to your local CEDIA member company for advice on an automation solution that’s tailored for the project, its budget and the lifestyle of the client. CEDIA members will collaborate with architects and security experts to maximise the security benefits of the integrated home. They are experts in the planning, design, supply, installation, integration, concealment and control of automated electronic systems for the modern, intelligent home which, alongside security, covers everything from multi-room audio systems and home cinemas to complete home networks and sub-systems which intelligently control lighting, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), and even garden facilities, from lighting to watering. Wendy Griffiths is executive director at CEDIA