Opposed to Access Control? Some Things to Ponder

If you find yourself on the fence when it comes to installing an access control system at your business, there are a few points you may wish to consider. Take the time to mull over these ideas before making a decision on installing access control:

Access control makes you look good.

Issuing a credential to authorized users and requiring them to swipe it at an entryway station does not “disrespect” your clients or other visitors; in many cases, it actually shows them you care about their safety and that of your employees. This can give you a positive image boost that actually impresses important visitors.

Access control helps manage building traffic.

…And that’s important, because managing building traffic is the key to keeping everyone inside as safe as possible. Whether your business is a small membership organization or a large office building, the simple fact is that you just can’t be there all the time. Installing an access control system can ensure that only authorized occupants enter your building.

Access control can increase productivity.

How many times have you caught employees shooting the breeze with visitors at their workstations, whether it’s family members who drop by unannounced, smoking buddies from the building next door or boyfriends/girlfriends who don’t seem to have day jobs of their own? When you install an access control system, visitors will not be likely to come back very often after being denied entry for the first time. Access control systems can keep your staff as productive as possible while they are on your time.

Installing access control is an important decision for today’s business owners, and we understand that these systems aren’t appropriate for every type of business. However, we believe that many business owners are doing themselves a disservice by failing to consider all the benefits of installing access control. For more information on access control systems, contact Complete Security Systems today.

 

11 Ways Home Security and Smart Home Technologies Provide Home Care Solutions

Most aging Americans expect and hope to stay in their homes their entire lives. The complexities of aging however, can make this prospect either dangerous or impossible without some type of constant monitoring. Until recently, monitored living arrangements included having regular in-home care or some type of assisted living facility. Both of these options can be quite costly, and many people must consider when these are options and how long might they need them in order to wisely budget their finances. In many cases, employing services too soon can leave the senior priced out of other needed services later.

Home security and smart home automation technologies are changing the way Americans deal with the many aspects of aging with exciting and positive solutions. Here are 11 ways these technologies help caregivers and their loved ones.

  • Environmental sensors can detect a fire, gas or water leaks, and alert the resident, caregivers, and emergency personnel.
  • Wearable call button devices put the senior in immediate contact with help.
  • Video surveillance of the outside of the property can show the loved one who is at the door or verify the presence of someone should they hear a noise. This can reduce stress and anxiety.
  • The knowledge that loved ones can see them reduces feelings of fear and isolation.
  • Seniors can control many tasks such as turning off and on the lights and television, controlling the thermostat, and locking doors from their computer, smart phone or tablet. This can reduce the incidence of falling.
  • Access to live video surveillance can provide the caregiver constant information about the health and wellbeing of their loved one.
  • Sensors can provide information about unusual movements, or lack of movement that could signify an emergency.
  • Sensors can indicate too much time in bed or a decrease in activity that could indicate feeling depressed or isolated.
  • Door sensors can tell the caregiver when people come and leave the home.
  • Sensors on the refrigerator can help ensure the senior is eating frequently enough.
  • Remote access to automation can allow the caregiver to turn off forgotten appliances, make sure the indoor climate is comfortable and safe, and enable forgotten locks.

When used together, smart home and security technologies can help loved ones balance the increasing need for supervision with the loved one’s need for autonomy. These affordable technologies are allowing people to stay in the home longer and lead happy and healthy lives. If you have questions about how to use home security and smart home solutions to aid in elder care, feel free to give us a call.

8 Ways Smart Home Technologies Help Simplify Back-to-School Routines in NJ

Every parent wants to pave the way to academic success for their children in every aspect of their lives. The first element of this is taking the chaos out of managing routines. Today, parents are using home automation to help them manage daily routines, and ease their worry about the safety and wellbeing of their children after school.

With life getting increasingly busy and more mobile, using smart home technologies to simplify daily routines just makes sense. Here are some ways you can use your home security and home automation systems to make the daily school routine a breeze.

Up on Time—Getting kids up and out of bed can be a long process that takes you away from other things you need to get done to prepare for the day. Smart home technologies can help make the process quick and easy by scheduling lights on, blinds up, and music to help facilitate the process.

Lights Off and Doors Locked— In the rush of getting out the door, it is easy to forget important things like locking the door or turning off the coffee pot. Using smart technologies allows you turn off enable appliances or lock doors remotely, so you never have to turn back in traffic or worry all day that the door may not be locked.

Keep Areas Off Limits—You want to keep your teen and their visiting friends safe even if you are not yet home. Access control and alerts can make certain areas off limits, and alert you if someone has tried to gain access.

Did They Make it Home—Unique access codes and real time alerts allow you to know which child got home and when. Not only does it provide peace of mind knowing they are home, it prevents them from taking unscheduled detours.

Know When They Leave—Smart home technologies can help you manage the coming and going of your busy teen. Real time alerts will let you know if they left in enough time to make it to band practice or if they left without permission.

Are There Friends Over—With real time alerts, you can tell if the door is opening an unusual number of times, something that could indicate your home is Grand Central Station.

Cut Off TV or Game Time— Making sure that homework is done and that your student is to bed on time is much easier when you are using smart technologies. With smart enabled devices you simply schedule an off time.

Keep an Eye on Things—Video surveillance systems and remote real-time viewing provide just the tools you need to keep an eye on things, even if you are not home. Is homework done? Did the chores get done? Now you will know.

If you have any questions about security and automation systems in NJ, or how they can help you manage the crush of back-to-school, give us a call today.

Video Surveillance Guidelines

Video surveillance systems are so commonplace that we often forget there are any privacy considerations at all in using them. Fortunately, using video surveillance is fairly straightforward and complying with laws governing privacy much easier than most people think.

The Lowdown on Privacy

Privacy laws are governed by state and federal laws and by common sense. The 4th Amendment grants us the right to privacy where privacy is reasonably expected, such as our home. This is why, for example, it is illegal to place surveillance cameras I n someone else’s home or to deliberately situate cameras on your property to surveil a neighbor. This is also why business owners can use cameras to cover a sales floor or register, because when you enter a public space you do not expect any level of privacy.

Residential Video Surveillance Systems

Many homeowners incorporate video surveillance into their home security systems because they are so useful in deterring crime. The laws concerning their use in homes are simple to understand, and even easier to follow. It is permissible to cover your property inside and out with video surveillance, except in places where you would expect privacy, such as in the bathroom. It is never permissible to situate cameras so that you can record footage to be use maliciously.

Workplace Video Surveillance Systems

Surveillance cameras in the workplace have become an extremely important tool in protecting the safety of employees and customers, reducing theft, and in thwarting violence. Implementing workplace video surveillance systems require a few more considerations, but complying with privacy laws is still quite easy.

In most cases, it is permissible to use cameras where people do not expect a level of privacy. For example, when you go to the store or mall, you expect to be seen and observed by many people so you do not have any expectation of privacy. It is reasonable to use cameras in public spaces including stores, offices, store rooms and covering the register for this reason.

Do not use video surveillance systems in places where people expect privacy, such as bathrooms, dressing rooms, bathroom stalls, exam rooms, or in hotel rooms. It is also important not to situate cameras in a way that provides views of these areas if a door opens.

A Few Special Considerations

Complying with privacy laws is easy, even in circumstances demanding special consideration, such as at medical facilities or in a school environment where children are concerned. In such cases there are additional considerations such as HIPPA regulations that require the cameras be carefully placed. Even in those instances you are still able to use them and leverage the benefits, however.

If you’d like more information about how to integrate video surveillance systems into your home or business security systems, feel free to give us a call. We are happy to answer your questions.

Cool New Enhancements to Honeywell Total Connect

Call us security nerds, but we’re pretty excited around here. That happens whenever we get to offer our customers something that will improve their security and improve the way they live their lives. This time, Honeywell has outdone itself with features that allow Total Connect users to more fully adapt the system to their needs. Today, any tool that lets you five more simply and competitively is a huge advantage.

In case you have not heard, Honeywell recently released a number of enhancements to the award winning Total Connect 2.0 platform. Some of the updates improve the user experience, while others provide a transformative way to use the service. All of them extend the value and reach of the service, and allow the user to adapt the system and its use to fit all the intricacies of a busy and increasingly mobile lifestyle.

Total Connect 2.0

If you are not yet familiar, Honeywell Total Connect 2.0 allows users to use mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets to remotely view and manage their systems and automation functions. Users can view live video, receive real time alerts, turn off and on enabled electronics and appliances, lock and unlock doors, track vehicles and assets via GPS technologies, and more from their supported device.

New Features to Love

Total Connect revolutionized the industry, and now the new features give users even more functionality and convenience.

Here are the new enhancements we love:

  • Smart Scene Wizards that guide users through configuring various scenes for maximum energy efficiency, for ambiance, convenience, or comfort. This new feature is supported on iPhone, iPad, Android, and via the web through Internet Explorer 10+ or higher.
  • New interface that is sleeker, easier to use, intuitive and familiar across all platforms.
  • Smart Auto-Syncing with the LYNX Touch 7000, 5200, and 5100 control systems. Updates occur automatically within seconds.
  • Touch ID from Apple allows Touch enabled Apple iOS device users to log in to their system using their fingerprint as their ID. This is a highly secure way to avoid using passcodes.
  • The remote service is offered in four languages including English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Together these enhancements add up to big news. People are busier and more mobile than ever and these new tools allow the user to customize the experience and the results in a way that totally revolves around the way they live.

Business Security Systems are Essential

Businesses want to ensure the safety of their employees and customers as well as protect their inventory. After all, inventory is the lifeblood of most businesses. These are the main reasons why most businesses invest in a business security system. Yet, business security systems can do far more and provide the business owner advantages beyond just securing property.

Many business owners are surprised to find that security systems can be a tool that helps increase their profitability. Naturally, security systems reduce theft, but nothing else can provide the valuable insights you need in improving customer engagement, employee productivity, and reducing energy consumption.

Business security systems can:

  • Reduce theft
  • Increase safety
  • Reduce the incidence of lawsuits
  • Deter vandalism
  • Deter loitering
  • Deter outside theft
  • Reduce the incident of employee theft
  • Control/ restrict/ manage/ monitor access
  • Detect motion
  • Provide alerts
  • Provide automation
  • Provide business insights

Integrate Top Technologies in Your Business security Systems

One of the biggest obstacles in commercial security is knowing exactly what your business needs. With so many options, knowing what technologies to implement in your commercial security system can be very challenging. One way to overcome this problem is by discussing your objectives with a professional; have them evaluate your facility and then provide recommendations.

Businesses should consider these top security product options:

  • Fire/smoke/carbon monoxide detectors and alarms
  • Automation integration
  • Video surveillance systems
  • Tools that restrict access to offices, supplies, or inventory
  • Intrusion alarms
  • Electronic locks and key pads
  • Door sensors
  • Restrict visitor access
  • Siren alarms
  • Motion detection devices
  • Glass break detection
  • Closed circuit television (CCTV)
  • Remote access and control of security system
  • Ability to view video surveillance remotely and over internet connected devices such as smartphones
  • Outdoor cameras
  • Real time alerts
  • 24/7 Monitoring

Today’s security technologies are for much more than protecting against theft or fire. An integrated security system can be the tools that give the business owner the control and insight they need for success.

If you have questions about how to fully leverage security product technologies, please feel free to give us a call today.

Home Security Tips For New Homeowners

Few things in life are as exciting as owning your first home, and the experience should remain one you remember with fondness for the rest of your life. Crime, however, can tarnish that experience. While new homeowners are wrapped up in the fun of settling in to their new home and getting familiar with the new neighborhood, criminals are very likely getting familiar with them, too! The fact is, crime does not take a break and the very nature of a bust move may make your home a target for crime.

If you are buying a new home, here are some important home security tips you should consider right now:

  1. Take steps to remove anything that obstructs your view of the property. Overgrown shrubs and trees provide the perfect cover a burglar wanting to gain access to you home.
  2. Make gaining access to your property difficult. If the property does not already have one, install a fence or wall, and a locked gate.
  3. Install outdoor lighting. Use motion sensor lighting around the property so that there are no dark or secluded areas where a burglar can hide.
  4. Change the locks immediately. It is impossible to know if a previous homeowner had and shared extra keys to your new home. Play it safe and have the locks changed even before your first night.
  5. Have a home alarm systems installed. Burglars count on it taking time for a new homeowner to settle in to a new property. They also know that they likely have made a few purchases to go with that new home, like new furniture or electronics.  Be proactive and have a home security system installed as soon as possible.
  6. Install a video surveillance system. CCTV can provide just the right amount of visibility, and the right amount of visible deterrence.
  7. Install a peephole in your front door. If your home is a new structure the front door is likely stock, which means it may not yet have a peephole installed. If it does not yet have one, have one, get one installed at a height that is most comfortable to all of the people in your household.
  8. Find out about area crime trends. While any crime can happen in any area, it helps to know what crimes are common so you can make a purposeful effort to thwart that particular crime.
  9. Get familiar with neighborhood service providers and schedules.  It is difficult to pick out suspicious activity if you do not know legitimate activity. Be able to identity local utility and delivery services so suspicious activity stands out.
  10. Join a neighborhood watch program. Get to know your neighbors and join forces to keep your neighborhood safe. If you do not have a neighborhood watch program, call the local police department and ask for information about starting one.

Owning a home is the American dream. Make sure you take all the necessary precautions against crime that can make the experience a nightmare. If you have questions about how to make your new home a safe haven, the best home security and home alarm products, or video surveillance systems, give us a call today.

A Fast Guide to Reducing Retail Loss and Developing a Loss Prevention Strategy

A loss prevention plan is the establishment of specific policies and procedures and the implementation of tools that will reduce the incident of internal theft, external theft, and errors that lead to losses. Retail loss accounts for represents 1.47% of retail revenue.

Of that amount,

  • 48% is due to employee theft
  • 32% to shoplifting
  • 15% administrative errors
  • 5% vendor fraud

Internal (Employee) Theft

Internal theft is the biggest contributor to loss of most retail establishments. It occurs through many methods including merchandise theft, helping/allowing others to steal, and “conversion fraud” which include void, discount, and refund theft.

External Theft

External Theft is caused by robberies, shoplifting or other outside sources. Though External theft does not account for as much as internal theft, it is still a significant source of loss.

Errors

Errors, such as mistakes in paperwork, inaccurate counting of products or mistakes in money exchange can account for between 5-20% of a retailer’s annual loss. That’s pretty significant.

Vendor Fraud

Vendor fraud is fraud committed by vendors either acting alone or with the help of employees receiving kickbacks. This might include things like price rigging, overbilling, padding the bill, shorting the delivery, and similar schemes.

Smart Strategies for Reducing Retail Loss

Even small losses add up over time and effect bottom line profitability that hurts the entire business, causing lost profits. Those profits could be used for more inventory, expansion, hiring additional employees, or increased employee wages or benefits. Ultimately, everyone loses. Loss prevention strategies take, time, commitment, and a modest investment but pay off in the end.

Here are some important tips in preventing retail loss:

  • Do pre-employment background checks
  • Implement employee recognition/morale programs
  • Develop a loss prevention protocol
  • Train employees in theft reduction strategies
  • Have a dedicated theft reduction team
  • Stop by the business without warning
  • Spot check inventory and cash drawers frequently
  • Check physical inventory against inventory spreadsheets
  • Hire security guards
  • Stress Integrity as part of the company culture
  • Install access control systems
  • Install video surveillance systems and CCTV
  • Manage traffic patterns and choke points
  • Be aware of dwell times
  • Train employees to engage customers
  • Train employees to spot suspicious activities
  • Train employees on receiving inventory
  • Cover receiving areas with cameras
  • Use inventory tracking systems, POS systems and other tools to manage and track inventory

Retail loss is a big problem, and for businesses working within tight margins, it can be devastating. Business security and access control systems can be controlled and monitored remotely, making them a vital part of your loss prevention strategy.

If you have questions about how to leverage business security systems in the reduction of retail loss, give us a call today. We are pleased to assist you.

Who can Help You Evaluate your Home Security Needs?

Protecting your home and property depends a lot on how much you know about crime, how a criminal works, and where your home lacks in security features. While conducting your own home security check can provide useful information, it may not be enough. Without industry knowledge, most residents only know to cover the basics with security features, leaving gaps in their protection.

Having a professional security evaluation can help assure you do not miss any areas of concern, and help you in deciding on what home security features are the best fit for your needs.

Since Home security is such an important matter, it makes sense to get a professional security evaluation. Here’s why:

  1. A professional knows about the available options and technologies. Home security is a vast, highly technical industry. Industry professionals have dedicated themselves to knowing these options and can provide the best information on each.
  2. In evaluating a home, an industry expert can match the right feature to the need, and make recommendation based on your concerns.
  3. While a homeowner might be aware of many of the basic home security needs, they may not be aware of such things as how criminals work. This knowledge helps industry professionals make the best recommendations in security features and functions.
  4. A security professional is trained to see how all of the aspects of the property either add or detract from personal security, rather than looking at each element as a stand-alone component.
  5. A professional is likely to see security concerns the resident overlooks.

Where to get Qualified Information
In addition to companies who specialize in evaluating security, there are others that can help evaluate your home and make valuable recommendations. First, local police departments can often provide important tips on how you can improve your security and might even provide a cursory walk-though of your property. While the police department can provide important information on where your security lacks, or on how criminals work, they likely do not know about all of the home security options to address these issues. Secondly, home security technology providers, like Complete Security Systems, can help you identify your needs and recommend the best home security systems.

If you are making decisions about how to protect your home, family and property, call Complete Security Systems today.

4 Home Security Tools that Help in Dementia Care

The symptoms of dementia are not only frustrating and disheartening to the sufferer; they can also pose a risk to their safety. As the condition progresses, individuals with dementia experience diminished abilities that causes memory loss, dulled or changed senses, poor judgment, and a loss of the awareness of time and place. These symptoms can cause the individual to put themselves in danger as they attempt to accomplish familiar tasks.

Assuring the safety of someone with dementia is one of the most critical concerns for caregivers, and often one of the most difficult. As the needs increase, caregivers must adapt the home to meet those needs. This can be especially challenging for caregivers who want their loved ones to be happy and to remain active and safe, yet do not want the home to feel restrictive. Here are some valuable home security solutions that provide safety, yet help retain all the warmth of the home environment.

Use Alarms to Secure Dangerous Items

Cabinet alarms can keep items such as medications, alcohol, and firearms safely unreachable.

Door and Window Alarms

Many instances of wandering happen while the other members of the household are sound asleep. This is because dementia can affect a person’s sense of time and cause them to have unusual sleep patterns. They may wake in the middle of the night and become confused when the house is quiet, causing them to attempt to leave. Door and window alarms can alert you should they be opened.

Keypad Locks

Commonly, individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia forget familiar faces, momentarily and unexpectedly. This often makes them feel afraid and suspicious and act out in attempt to protect themselves from these new strangers by locking out loved ones when they get the mail or perform other outdoor tasks. Since hiding a key outside the home increases the risk of burglary, a keypad entry is a perfect home security solution.

Security System with CCTV

Depending on the stage of dementia, individuals may be able to stay home alone for short periods of time. Using security camera systems, or CCTV, can help you view what is going on remotely, enabling you to spot and prevent danger, yet lets the loved one retain as much autonomy as possible for as long as possible.

Dealing with the effects of dementia is not easy, but you do not have to do it alone. If you want more information on how you can leverage home security products to help in Alzheimer’s and dementia care, call us today at (732)780-6787.