Wireless security is the new it thing. It’s everywhere. It seems that everyone is making it, marketing it, selling it and developing apps for it. It is driving consumers crazy. So many choices, so many nice packages. Where to start?
Well, it is confusing. And for those with no deep industry knowledge or expertise, they all look the same. It seems that they all will do the same thing for you.
But, like with everything else confusing in life, hold your horses and take a deep breath. There are a few things that could make or break your wireless security system.
There is no doubt that there are many really good-looking gadgets and good-looking smart phone apps out there. So, let’s take a look of what you should be looking for.
Most wireless security systems are comprised of battery powered wireless sensors that communicate with a control panel, which in turn communicate to central servers via cell signals, phone lines or internet, who will then communicate back to you through an app. With the app you can then receive alerts and notifications about your system and send back commands and instructions.
So far, so good. Almost every wireless system will do that. You have your basic level of protection set up. And this is where most wireless systems will stop at. Basic sensors, basic control panel, and a basic app. The basic wireless systems work with proprietary hardware and a proprietary app. That’s it. You can’t go anywhere else.
Why should you stop there? You already have the technology set up in your home, so let’s take more advantage of it.
So, first rule of thumb: avoid at all costs any system that offers proprietary hardware. Look for a system that works with hardware from different manufacturers. Look for well known open communication standards, like Z-Wave, Zigbee, or even Bluetooth.
The reason is that you will want to expand your system. At first, you will want to grow your security system by connecting smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and flood detectors. It can all integrate with your motion and door/window sensors, thus creating a more protected home, not just a burglar prevention limited system.
But, as you increase your security system, it will be a natural path to take advantage of your panel and smart phone app and start to automate your home. In order to avoid having to throw your entire system in the garbage, think of that before you buy your first system.
First, your app: it needs to have the capability to control your sensors as well as all other automation gadgets, like door locks, a/c thermostat, light switches and so on. It also needs a powerful desktop interface, where you can setup up users, program you panel, and so on. Basic apps won’t do that. The same thing goes for your control panel: you need a control panel that can control everything and that can connect with hardware from different manufacturers, since there will not be only one single manufacturer that will make all gadgets that you will need.
A good recommendation is to find a vendor who works with an app like alarm.com. They provide the most sophisticated and well-designed security and automation app in the market. That is why alarm.com already has about 2 million subscribers in the US.
Then find a control panel that can work seamless with a great number of functions and devices. A good option is the 2GIG Control Panel that works with Z-Wave communication standard. Today you can buy Z-Wave gadgets from more than 250 different brands. Most of them can be controlled with the 2GIG panel and supervised by the alarm.com interface.
With that in place you can start to build a really cool home automation system. You will control and program your a/c, program and control lights and appliances, lock and unlock doors, turn your spa on and off, and so on. The cool thing is that you will be able to add gadgets little by little, at your own pace, with no need to reprogram everything. Before you realize it, your entire home will be right on your smart phone, but only if you start building it the right way.