Does your current intruder alarm system feel outdated? With UK crime rates rising year-on-year, there’s no room for taking chances.
In fact, a staggering 265,508 UK burglary offences were reported in 2021 alone. At least 74% of police forces across the country have reported a rise in the last three months.
- What are Smart Alarms
- Traditional Intruder Alarms vs Smart Alarms
- Are Smart Alarms Safe?
- Which is the Best Home Alarm?
- Police Response vs Keyholder Response
- Final Thoughts
While many home and business owners rely on their traditional intruder alarm systems to keep them safe, homes with these security systems still get broken into. The blaring sirens of a “bells-only” alarm isn’t always enough to convince thieves to look elsewhere. Many serial burglars will already know what they’re getting themselves into.
If you’re concerned about the security of your burglar alarm, it may be time to consider a smart upgrade to protect your home.
But what is a smart alarm? What can it do for you? How does it differ from a normal “bells-only” alarm?
Fear not! We’ve got you covered. In this blog, we’ll explore the benefits of installing a smart alarm, and how it can take your building’s security to the next level.
What are Smart Alarms?
Smart alarms are Wi-Fi powered intruder detection systems that make monitoring and securing your property much easier. These systems typically feature a range of benefits:
- Monitor your Home Remotely
- Instant Alerts & Notifications
- Motion, Glassbreak & Door Sensors
- Remote Troubleshooting
- Integration with other Security Devices
Linked to a dedicated app on a smart device, these systems connect the user straight to their security alarm. They instantly alert users of unauthorized activity, allowing them to monitor, arm, and disarm from anywhere with an internet connection.
When your alarm is activated from a door sensor or motion detector, you’ll get a push alert to your mobile phone, showing exactly when and where it was triggered. You can even sync a camera to the app to show the direct video footage of the activation.
So, what makes these systems ‘smart’? Good question! Unlike traditional systems, smart home alarms aren’t designed to be used on their own. Through integration with other smart home devices, you’ll be able to design a powerful setup that actively protects your property around the clock. Whether you’re at home, or on the other side of the world.
Take integration between CCTV, intruder alarms, and access control systems for example. You’ll be alerted to the presence of an intruder as soon as they step onto your property, with the action to check the CCTV footage in real time, lock all the doors remotely and contact the police, all from the touch of a button.
But what makes smart alarms more secure? And how do they differ to the traditional burglar alarms we’re used to?
Traditional Alarms vs Smart Alarms
Unlike traditional burglar alarms, smart alarms offer a more proactive approach to security.
A traditional ‘bells-only’ alarm system only sounds once the property has already been broken into. This is one of the technology's greatest flaws.
So why is this a problem? Well, on average, it takes less than a minute for an intruder to break into your home, and 8 to 12 minutes to get out. Essentially, there’s a very short window for police or security officials to respond. And by this time, it’s often already too late.
Average police response time in 2021 was 11 mins 51s in rural and 7 mins 56s in urban. Smart alarm technology gives users the tools to flip this process on its head. Using window/door vibration sensors, the user is alerted to suspicious activity before a break-in happens. Verifying the threat, contacting the police, and potentially preventing a crime from taking place entirely.
How? One word: integration. By syncing a smart alarm with outdoor cameras, users can set-up virtual zones and video tripwires that will trigger when a boundary is crossed.
Or, if you want to go the extra mile, smart alarms can also pair with Smoke Cloak to fill the room with fog when activated. This method is designed to prevent intruders from stealing valuables and make it harder for them to escape. Its DNA-laced smoke will attach to intruders, allowing the police to identify them later on.
But there are also a number of useful benefits that go beyond just preventing crime. Traditional intruder alarms can't identify what is a threat, and what isn't. This is a major downfall. Not only are false alarms incredibly stressful, there’s also a risk of wasting police time. Not to mention, needlessly disturbing your neighbours.
Smart alarms make this problem a thing of the past. Of course, there’s no way to prevent false alarms entirely, but most intelligent alarm systems feature visual verify technology under the hood. This means, if a suspicious breach is detected, the alarm will alert the user to verify the threat. This reduces the chance of the wind or wildlife causing a false-positive.
And, unlike their non-smart counterparts, these alarm systems are also primarily cloud-based. This means your security provider will be able to troubleshoot or deactivate false alarms without needing to send out a technician, saving you both time and money.
Are Smart Alarms Safe?
Most modern smart alarms from brands like Texecom offer one of the most secure alarm solutions available. Not only because they’re designed by some of the most innovative minds in the industry, but because they protect users against both physical and digital threats.
One of the biggest concerns with any internet-connected security device is that they’re hackable. But that doesn’t naturally make these systems any less safe than older alternatives. In fact, you’ll find that most leading alarm companies are actively upgrading their technologies to put their customers on the front foot against hackers.
Smart alarms that use cloud-based operating systems feature automatic software and firmware updates to protect users against newer cybersecurity threats. These regular updates mean their systems are constantly updating to handle nasty network breaches. This makes the chances of these alarms being hacked actually very low.
So, what happens if your internet goes down? The good news is that most modern smart alarms are built to continue protecting the building, even without an internet connection. Of course, you’ll lose out on phone notices and trespasser alerts during this down-period, but the sensors, detectors, and sounders will remain active; making the system no less secure than a conventional ‘bells-only’ alarm. Though, we always recommend bringing your WiFi up to speed prior to installation.
And don’t forget: through an app-based control panel, you’ll no longer need to run the risk of having your control fobs and keycards stolen by unauthorised users. High quality alarms come with highly-secure, password-gated user interfaces that can only be controlled by authorised individuals, making it near impossible for misplacement, theft or even cloning.
Which is the Best Home Alarm?
If you’re looking for a quick ‘smart’ security solution for your home or business place, you’ll find a wide range of DIY alarm systems that can be bought directly “off-the-shelf” - but these aren’t always as reliable as the manufacturers would have you believe.
Most burglars won’t be deterred by the presence of an alarm system, but many will know what to look out for. Cheap, plastic Amazon security technology is always a dead giveaway for an easy picking, and their popularity and accessible price point means that many serial criminals will already have the experience in deactivating them.
Remember: there’s no point cutting corners when it comes to the safety of your building and occupants. Perfecting your alarm set-up takes time and consideration to get right, think: camera placement, alarm activation, sensor positioning. These are all considerations that will make or break the assurance, reliability, and strength of your smart alarm system.
To make the most of your system and to ensure that it’s meeting its full potential, it’s always worth having a professional installation. An expert installer will be able to specify, design and install a smart alarm system that works in partnership with the other security technologies in your building, designing a network of integrated security solutions to keep your family, staff, and visitors safe.
As an added benefit, a reliable security installer will offer a continued care package programme to resolve your queries, while also ensuring that your system is always well-maintained, up to date and fully functional.
Police Response vs Keyholder Response
You’ll also want to consider the type of response your alarm system needs. Through connection to a third party alarm receiving centre (ARC), you’ll have two direct choices for dealing with an alarm sounding on your premises. These are: keyholder response or police response.
With keyholder response alarm systems, the alarm is monitored 24/7 by the receiving centre. When the alarm triggers, the ARC respond by notifying your pre-defined keyholders. They're then given the permission/access to respond to the signal.
On the other hand, you may consider a police response alarm. This is a monitored alarm response which directly notifies the police in the event of an alarm activation.
Police response alarms are often used in businesses requiring contents insurance to protect high value items. In fact, you’ll find them in most banks, jewellers, museums, and car dealerships.
There are three levels of alarm police response in the UK. The categories are dependent on the amount of false alarm call-outs that occur on your premises:
Level 1: Immediate Response
Once installed, an alarm triggering will result in immediate police response.
Level 2: Resource Permitting
False-alarm dependent. If you have 2 or more false alarms within the year, police will attend - but not on an immediate basis. (Scotland only, in England and Northern Ireland 3 false alarms in each year means a downgrade to level 3).
Level 3: Visual Confirmation
Level 3 alarm systems have no police response, unless a crime or break-in is witnessed. Level 3 alarms can regain level 1 response, but only after 3 months without any false alarm call-outs.
If you’re looking to take your security up a level, a smart alarm system is a great place to start.
At Chris Lewis Fire & Security, we’ve seen the emotional effects of burglary first-hand. We understand the importance of having a reliable intruder alarm in your setup.
Our installation experts are highly experienced in the design and installation of cloud-based alarm systems. We work with the industry’s leading security brands to keep your building protected around the clock. No matter whether you’re inside or on-the-go. Our smart home security systems offer the proactive protection you want, and the reactive responses you need.
Ready to make the switch to smart? Get in touch with our team today:
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Any business owner will understand the importance of keeping their building, occupants and assets protected around the clock - and a confident security provider makes this a great deal easier.