(ARA) - Homeowners who installed early home security systems often wound up thinking they would have been better off simply installing sturdy locks on their doors and calling it a day. The technology was labor-intensive to install, offered keypads that looked as complicated as an airplane cockpit, and did nothing for you if the homeowner forgot to set the alarm before leaving the house.
Fast forward to 2011, and today’s technology has helped make home security systems easier to use, more effective and flexible to fit our modern, mobile lifestyles. And statistics indicate homeowners have ample reason to consider installing a security system.
Nearly 1.4 million homes were burglarized in 2009, accounting for 72 percent of total burglaries, according to FBI statistics. The average loss per burglary was more than $2,000, and that figure doesn’t take into account the emotional trauma of having your home invaded and possessions taken.
“Considering the average loss from burglary and house fires, monitored security systems have always been a worthwhile investment,” says Jonathan Klinger, vice president of marketing for Honeywell Security. “Now the option to add remote system control and video look-in from Web browsers and Smartphones, enable everyone to play a more active role in the protection of their home and family.”
If you’re considering purchasing a home security system, it’s helpful to know trends in terms of available technology and how others are using it to protect their homes and families:
Once, homeowners used separate systems to manage security and fire detection. Modern systems, however, integrate these functions. What’s more, many security systems now integrate easily into home automation systems, which means that homeowners can control multiple elements in their homes in addition to ensuring the home is safe. They can arm their security systems and turn on the lights, control the thermostat and open garage doors - all remotely - through one integrated system.
More than keeping the bad guys out
In the early days of home security, the focus was on keeping the bad guys out of your home. While that’s still an important function of home security systems, today’s technology makes it possible to use the system to keep track of and care for the loved ones still inside your home. For example, some security systems allow you to view the inside of your home from virtually any Internet-enabled device, using wireless cameras that can tilt, pan and provide nearly a 360-degree view.
Have a latchkey kid? Some of today’s most popular systems not only monitor when the front door opens, it can show you video of who’s coming in. You can set the system to e-mail you a video clip of your child coming in the front door - so you have visual confirmation that she’s home safe. Caring for aging parents from afar? Equip their home with a security system and you can look in on them from time to time and see how they are. Or, place a sensor on the medicine cabinet and you can set the system to send you an alert in case your parents forget to take their medication - and don’t open the medicine cabinet.
Use of handheld mobile devices has boomed in America over the past few years. People use smart phones, laptops and a variety of wireless devices to keep in touch with friends and family, communicate regarding business matters, monitor world events, track weather and even plan a route home from work when there’s an accident along the usual course.
Home security is on track with this highly mobile lifestyle. These products allow us to keep in touch with what’s going on in our home no matter how far away from it we are. Apps for the iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry and Android smartphones make it possible to access real-time video of your home’s interior, monitor system components and completely control the system from anywhere.