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Things to Consider when Buying a Home Security System

 

If you look around your neighborhood, chances are you will see a handful of home security yard signs. Home security systems are a popular addition to homes for good reason. It is a fact that homes with monitored security systems are less likely to be targeted for a break-in. However, today’s home security systems deliver more than security. They let you talk to visitors and remotely turn on lights. With home security cameras, you can see who is in your backyard or check in on an elderly parent. Home security systems that include home automation devices can help reduce energy use, turn on sprinkler systems, and so much more.

When looking for the best, a local home security company or considering your security needs, consider these questions:

What does a basic home security system include?

While it varies, most basic home security systems include door and window contacts, a keypad, a mobile app; an audible alarm, a yard sign, and 24/7 alarm monitoring. These home security components help detect or prevent break-ins and are a base for a more comprehensive system.

What types of home security cameras or upgrades are available?

While a basic home security system can go a long way in helping protect areas of your home, there are many options available to increase the security of your home and family. Popular upgrades or additions to a basic security system include the following and help create a complete, secure smart home:

  • Home security cameras
  • A doorbell camera Smoke detection
  •  Carbon monoxide detection
  • Water leak detection
  • Glass break sensor
  • Window and door sensors
  • A smart thermostat
  • Smart lighting
  • Remote garage door control
  • Smart or keyless locks
  • Automated sprinkler systems
  • Temperature sensors
  • Panic button – medical alert pennant
  • Integration with a sound system

Most homeowners choose to install these upgrades because they add convenience and peace of mind. Busy families enjoy the ability to control home automation devices via an app or check in to see that all is well. In our daily rushing around, the ability to remotely close a garage door, lock or unlock a door, turn lights on or see if a package was delivered is invaluable.

Should I install home security cameras? Where are popular places to install the cameras?

Home security cameras are one of the most popular additions to a home security system. Homeowners enjoy checking in and seeing that all is well at home or reviewing video if something is amiss. Ideal placement for home security cameras includes the front porch, garage area, front gates, and around a swimming pool. Homeowners also like to install home security cameras near sensitive areas such as safes and back entries, or at vacation homes.

At Boyd & Associates, we offer a free mobile app, making it easy to view video or receive alerts and video clips based on personal preference. Our trained security consultants will also conduct a security evaluation to help determine the best security camera placement for your family’s needs.

Is the home security system monitored by a professional alarm monitoring center? Is the security alarm monitoring center in the United States?

When researching local home security providers, check if they provide their own alarm monitoring or if they pay a third-party monitoring provider and where the center is located. DIY security systems might be a quick fix but do not offer the assurance that someone is there to help even if you cannot get to the phone or cannot keep a constant eye on your security alerts. At Boyd & Associates, we are proud to provide a U.S.-based, UL listed alarm monitoring center that is Five Diamond designated and offers an average alarm response time of under 20 seconds.

Can I receive a discount on my homeowner’s insurance premium if I have a home security system?

Typically, yes! As we shared above, most home insurance providers offer a discount on your home insurance premiums if you have a monitored home security system. This discount helps the security system pay for itself!

What are some common and popular home security devices?

In the past, common home security devices included door and window contacts for intrusion detection. However, now, some of the most popular home security services are home security cameras, doorbell cameras, smart locks, and mobile app control of security devices.

Are other protective devices available, such as carbon monoxide, water leak and smoke detection?

You will want to ensure that the home security company you choose can offer security and home automation devices that meet your family’s changing needs through the years. You will also want to know you are working with a company that can provide multi-levels of home security protection including alerting you to carbon monoxide, water leaks and smoke or fire. A company that also offers 24/7 alarm monitoring can alert you to these dangers even if you are not home or cannot get to a phone. Early detection of these dangers can save lives and thousands of dollars in damage or complete loss of your home.

Does the company also offer home automation devices and services?

Top-rated, leading home security companies often include home automation devices that integrate with home security to make your home smarter and safer. Home automation solutions help busy families more easily manage things at home, increase security, and save money. Popular home automation solutions allow homeowners to remotely adjust the temperature, turn lights on or off, lock doors, turn on sprinkler or sound systems and so much more. When combined with home security devices, home automation products alleviate worry. You will know whether you left a garage door open or a door unlocked and be able to take quick action to secure your home if needed.

What does a monitored security system provide that DIY security cameras do not?

There are many up-and-coming tech companies that advertise the latest security services or easy-to-install security cameras. Often, these companies are not backed by experienced support or reputable technology vendors. Or, maybe they are startup companies and have difficulties maintaining financial backing to provide ongoing support or service. These smaller, online companies also most likely will not provide support with installation or if you want to integrate your cameras with other security devices.

Look closely at the costs and benefits of a DIY camera or security system vs. working with an experienced, local provider. Consider if support, professional monitoring, and a discount on your insurance premium are important to you. Another benefit of working with a professional installer is the ease in integrating security or home automation components. A full-service security company also provides the ability to control all your devices easily with one app.

When searching for a company to trust with your security, you will want to choose a top-rated, local company and ask the following questions:

  • Does the home security company have a local branch?
  • How long has the company been in business?
  • Does the company perform background checks on employees?
  • Does the company offer an insurance deductible reimbursement program?
  • Does the company offer a move program?
  • What is the security company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau?

Choosing the best, local home security company does not have to be hard. Learning what security devices will best meet your family’s needs is easy with professional help and experience on your side. Boyd & Associates offers over 50 years of experience providing professional installation of home and business security systems, along with award-winning, 24/7 alarm monitoring. To learn more about your home security options and answers to the above questions, visit our website of give us a call today!

5 Reasons To Upgrade To Home Automation Today

If you are like most people, when you think of home automation you think of all the cool conveniences it provides, such as being able to have your home climate controlled or having the ability to lock doors remotely. But this has led to an important question: Is home automation a convenience, luxury, or necessity? We believe that it has increasingly become a necessity. Here are 5 important reasons why.

Times Are Changing

Times change and things that were once considered luxuries are now absolute necessities. For example, in 1995, only 10% of homes had the internet. Now, a short time later, nearly not only does nearly every home have it, our society depends on it for just about every function. While home automation was convenient, the services it provides makes it increasingly indispensable to running a household.

Resources Management is Increasingly Important

Not only is it true that as a society we have become more conscious about conserving our resources, we also understand that it is increasingly important to do so because of the political and economic climate we live in. Home automation provides one of the best tools available for conserving our resources.

Time Management is Important

As we move to a more information drive society, how we spend our time is more important. Home automation provides the tools we need to increase productivity and to do more, more effectively. It also allows us to multi-task mush more effectively than ever before.

It Allows Us to Improve Our Caregiving

Today, it is not uncommon to have both small children and aged adults in the home requiring some special oversight. Home automation allows you to provide that without compromising a loved one’s dignity but allowing you to check in remotely and receive custom alerts for activity that might indicate trouble. Home automation also allows you to provide care to those living outside the home, too. With the ability to check in via security camera or keep track of activity through sensors, you can call for help the minute you suspect a problem.

Home Automation Creates A More Hospitable Environment

As we learn more about ourselves and how the mind works we learn how our environment effects things like mood and productivity. Creating a hospitable environment is also important for homes with occupants with sensory issues. Home automation can control those elements that create a disturbance, such as glaring lights or noise.

As time changes, tools such as home automation move quickly from being a convenience to an indispensable tool. If you have any questions about home automation, please give Boyd Security a call.

The Internet Of Things: How Home Automation Works

Since the 1930’s World Fair, people have envisioned a home where small functions are performed automatically. While the idea is not new, the technologies to make it happen are. Home automation is hotter than ever because of smart home technologies.

So what exactly is a smart home? You may have heard the terms “home automation,” and “smart home” used interchangeable, and while very closely related, one is actually a component of another.

Here are some basic terms you will need to know:

Home Automation

When selected appliances and devices are connected to a central system and respond based on user input.

Connected Devices

These devices, appliances, and systems have integrated sensors that can connect them to the internet. The user programs the devices that can also learn and anticipate user patterns and respond accordingly.

The Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things is what brings home automation and connected devices together to create a smart home. Using sensors, programs, systems and controls, the IoT allows the systems to communicate, telling everything how, when, and why to perform a certain task as well as relay information to the user.

Why Smart Home Technologies are More than Just Cool Technologies

Yes, there really is something incredibly cool about having your home respond to your needs, but smart home technologies are more than just cool, they are also an advantage in many ways.

Smart home systems offer a tremendous amount of convenience, allowing users to have the heating cooling, and lighting systems all working without thought.

Safety is another big advantage, as users can tap in to home security or surveillance systems, be alerted to security breaches or things like extreme temperature changes. Smart home technologies also offer the user savings with the more effective use of energy.

Home automation and smart home technologies are an important way residents and business owners are streamlining their lives for a more efficient use of their time. If you have a question about home automation, home security, and smart home technologies, feel free to contact us.

About Boyd Security

Since 1967, Boyd & Associates has been providing total security for homes, businesses, and communities of every size and type. We combine advanced systems, responsive service and rigorously trained security teams to create a strong, nimble and formidable force that deters, detects and responds – for total security.

Virtual Keypad™ Now Available on the Amazon Echo™

“Hey, Alexa, tell Virtual Keypad to arm my system away.”

New Amazon Echo Release:

The Virtual Keypad App is now available as an Amazon Echo skill. The Virtual Keypad skill for the Amazon Echo offers a new way for you to arm your system and conveniently control Z-Wave™ devices. Below is a list of all current functions and commands:

Arming: All arming commands must start with “Alexa, tell Virtual Keypad to…” Then, say one of these phrases to select an arming type:

  • “arm my system home.”
  • “arm my system sleep.”
  • “arm my system away.”
  • “arm my system all.”
  • “arm my system perimeter.”

Favorites: To activate a favorite, say “Alexa, activate (favorite name).”

Lights: To turn Z-Wave lights on or off, say “Alexa, turn on (light name).” or “Alexa, turn off (light name).” You can also dim Z-Wave lights to any percentage by saying “Alexa, turn on (light name) to (percentage).” For example, “Alexa, turn on kitchen light to 50%.”

Locks: Z-Wave locks can be locked by saying “Alexa, lock my (lock name).”

Thermostats: To set the temperature using your Amazon Echo and a Z-Wave thermostat, say “Alexa, set my (upstairs) thermostat temperature to (degree).”

To get the new Virtual Keypad skill, download the Amazon Alexa App and login with your Amazon account information. Search for the Virtual Keypad skills and enable them – there are two available, and you will need both. Use your Virtual Keypad email address and password to login and select the system you would like to control.

The app is free to download and is included for current app users. The Amazon Echo skill is a convenient way for current Virtual Keypad App users to control several system features by simply using their voice.

The Virtual Keypad app is also available on the Apple TV® and coming soon to the Google Home™.

About Boyd & Associates

Boyd & Associates is a premier full-service security firm headquartered in Ventura, CA with more than 600 associates serving homeowners, businesses, and gated communities throughout Southern California.

 

How Home Automation Can Help With Back To School

If you have kids you know the chaos of getting everyone out the door on time or managing daily routines so chores and schoolwork get done. As the kids get older, the schedule gets even more demanding as they add things like extracurricular activities and time with their friends to the already taxed weekly schedule. Making sure everything runs smoothly and optimally is a near impossible task and would take a team of people to get done. Fortunately, smart home technologies provide some great ways to tame a monster school schedule.

No More Snooze Alarm

If you have a reluctant student, getting them out of bed can be a long and unhappy process and one that can make them and everyone else in the house late. Get them out of bed and moving easily by using automation to turn on lights, open shades and turn on music for a wake-up they can’t ignore.

Did You Forget?

One of the most common and stress-inducing parts of the morning rush is realizing that you forget to turn off the iron or coffeepot, or forgetting to lock the doors. Leaving it on or unlocked is not an option, but going back will definitely make you late—again. With smart home enabled devices, you can remotely turn off offending appliances or lock the doors from your smartphone or another internet connected device.

Make Areas Off Limits

If your kids get home before you do, they have time to get into things they shouldn’t. With access control, you can make certain places off limits and get a notification if anyone tries to gain access. This helps keep your kids, or their visiting friends out of harm’s way.

Unique Access Codes Let You know they are Home Safely

With unique access codes, you can know when each of your children gets home, and when. This prevents them from taking detours before getting homework done.

Know When or if They Leave

Are they leaving in enough time to make it to sports practice? Did they leave before their homework was done? Smart home technologies can help you manage the comings and goings by providing real-time alerts if any enabled door or window is opened.

Do They have Friends Over?

If you are away at work or running errands, it is easy for your house to become the place everyone gathers to play Xbox instead of getting their homework done. You’ll know if your home is a gathering place with alerts that tell you that your doors are being opened an unusual number of times.

No Gaming Until Work is Done

Use smart technologies to help you remove the distraction of television or gaming systems by disabling them until work is done.

Video Systems Let You Keep an Eye on Things

With real-time video, you can check in anytime and see that everything is on track. Are chores getting done, is homework finished? Access to real-time video helps ensure that your student is keeping academics a priority.

If you are interested in learning more about how home automation and access control technologies can help you manage the complexities of back-to-school, give Boyd & Associates a call today.