Business Security Systems: Why Upgrading Makes Sense

Security systems evolve according to new threats. Businesses are always trying to stay ahead of potential threats that can put staff and customers at risk as well as risk-prolonged disruptions in the carrying out of daily business. Companies with government or military contracts are required to meet certain security minimums before they can even begin to provide products or services. Here are four trending security advancements businesses are using to stay ahead of the game.

Biometrics

Access control used to be nothing more than a locked door. Then, alarm were added to warn of illegal entry into unauthorized areas, but there was little accounting of traffic that was authorized. Sensitive areas that require a complete record of daily access are served well with biometric devices that can positively identify who is entering and leaving a secured area and at what times. Biometrics can be as simple as a thumbprint reader on a computer server to advanced retina reading devices, hand scanners and voice recognition.

Visitor Access

An area still hard for many businesses to control is visitor access. The traditional approach of adding security staff to monitor and control visitors is costly yet still widely in use. Modern digital visitor tracking options can be as simple as visitor ID badges to the high-end facial recognition software in use by casinos and other corporations. Controlled visitor access is an absolute necessity in environments that have public, semi-private and controlled areas such as hospitals. A hospital may have a cafe or dining area fully open to the public, patient rooms where only friends and family are permitted, and pediatric areas where infant access is restricted to parents and specific hospital staff.

Loss Prevention

Shrinkage due to retail theft is the bane of stores everywhere. The shoplifters are getting bolder and more savvy, and the stores need to keep up not only to reduce shrinkage but send a message to the criminals that ply this trade that their retail locations are too high of a risk to shoplift at. Larger retailers may incorporate facial recognition to know when prior shoplifters enter their stores. Retail product security tags have evolved from the stick-on ones that needed to be applied to every product to ones that have been embedded at the point of manufacture such as security tags inside shoes.

IP Surveillance Cameras

Affordable video surveillance was an exponential leap in business security. However, it was limited to on-site viewing. Internet Protocol camera and DVR systems now allow for remote viewing by any authorized person that has a computer, tablet or smartphone and Internet access. The cameras can be fully controllable for pan, tilt and zoom. Modern digital surveillance cameras can also have quality optics so clear that not only can the hands of cashiers be observed, but the individual serial numbers on the money can be seen too. The latest DVR systems can record a year’s worth of footage from multiple cameras, giving an instant and easy-to-access record of every second.

Insurance providers along with government and military customers are not the only ones expecting businesses to up their game when it comes to state-of-the-art security systems. Customers and visitors are demanding safety systems be in place to protect them against property, personal and violent crime while visiting the businesses. It is not necessary for every business to adopt every new security option, but it is necessary for them to have in place the ones in standard use by their industry. The costs of implementation can be offset by the prevention of one major litigation claim.

For a complimentary on site consultation please 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.

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.

Holiday Home Security Tips Thieves Hate

FBI crime stats prove that it is indeed the most wonderful time of the year—for thieves! According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR), the number of burglaries rises significantly around the holidays each year. For thieves, the holiday season represents the best time to cash in and steal anything easily and quickly sold like small electronics, laptops, designer clothes, jewelry, and other valuables. Thieves also know that cash and credit cards are also close at hand during the holiday shopping season and very often in full view.

Nobody likes to think they may be vulnerable to crime, and far fewer realize they may be doing things that could invite it to come their way. And that is exactly what thieves count on. While most people are busy preparing for a memorable time with loved ones, thieves are watching and making a list and checking it twice.

With a few simple home security tips however, you can throw the thieves a serious curve ball and make sure all of your holiday memories are happy ones.

Thieves: Ruin Their Day with Home Security Systems and Practices

Most burglaries can be prevented simply by implementing a few home security basics. Before the thieves spoil your holidays, consider these valuable tips for protecting your home, property and family.

  • Secure your home and protect family with a home security system. There are a wide range of home security systems and products to fit every budget and every need. From door and window home alarm systems, to systems that can control lighting, shades, and air conditioning systems remotely, all provide a strong layer of protection, making your home an unappealing target.
  • Keep gifts and valuables out of view. Avoid putting your gifts beneath the tree too early. The pile of beautifully wrapped gifts can attract thieves when able to be seen through windows or doors.
  • Use outside electrical outlets to plug in Christmas lights. Burglaries are crimes of opportunity, and some unknowingly provide that opportunity without thinking twice. To a thief, Christmas lights may indicate an easy place to breach the home since you cannot close a window properly with an extension cord through it.
  • Always look home, even if you’re not. Simple things like having neighbors pick up newspapers and mail, keeping the grass trimmed, having the lights on timers, and having someone move a car in the driveway can deter crime.
  • Never advertise your plans or post travel updates on social media. Even without intending to, we often reveal enough for thieves to figure out we are going to be gone long enough for them to strike. It may be fun to tell stories of your travels or post about that great out-of-town restaurant, but one post that automatically posts your location can ruin your holiday.
  • Make an effort to conceal the items purchased and received for Christmas. We tell a lot with our trash. Empty boxes can tell thieves exactly what new items are in the home and even branded bags can indicate the price points of the purchases. Break down or cut up boxes and store bags to throw away after the season. Also, avoid posting candid holiday pictures on the internet showing gifts like popular electronics.

Home security is a serious concern, especially during the holiday season. If you are considering protecting your NJ home with a home alarm system, or have any questions about the options in home security Call Complete Security Systems at (732) 780-6787 or toll free at (800)452-3773.

Be on the Lookout for these Distraction Burglars

This may not necessarily apply to New Jersey alarm systems, but it is certainly applicable to your home security and personal safety. As the weather gets colder and we near the holiday season, distraction burglaries are going to start rising again. Criminals know that the holidays are the time to prey on the generous natures of others, and they know that people are incredibly distractible while shopping, getting their homes decorated and conducting other holiday season activities. In fact, it’s safe to say that the distraction burglary season starts as early as Halloween.

Here are some things to look out for from October through January:

  • Older trick-or-treaters who peek in your house, or distract you by talking too long
  • Someone claiming their car is broken down, but parked “around the corner” or somewhere else where you can’t see it
  • People offering to do odd jobs that you have never seen in the neighborhood before
  • In public, someone who asks you lots of questions or tells a long-winded story
  • Someone who asks an unusual favor in public, like accompanying them somewhere

These are people who may be trying to distract you and pull you away from your belongings long enough to steal from you. If you are at home, they want to gain access to your house and everything in it; if you are in public, they want you to break away from your vehicle or shopping bags so they can grab what they want and go. They often work in groups, so it is common for one person to distract while the other one steals. These are things you need to be on the lookout for.

Of course, the goal here is not to become an untrusting person – just an aware one. You may not like the idea of being skeptical, but everyone can get on board with being smart. In this day and age, that’s just a necessary personal security strategy we want all our New Jersey alarm systems customers to embrace.

What Do Burglars Want, Anyway?

New Jersey alarm system customers: Do you know what burglars really want in your home? If not, it’s time to find out. We did some research, and we found that combined data from the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI reveal that the top items burglars want to steal include:

  • Electronics, including tablets, video game consoles, iPods and smartphones
  • Jewelry, which can be pawned for quick cash or melted down if it contains gold
  • Firearms, which may be sold or traded unless the criminal wants to keep them
  • Laptops, which can be sold quickly on Craigslist or at outdoor swap meets
  • Medications, which addicted burglars may use unless they can sell them

And then, there’s cash. If a burglar can get his hands on any cash you have in the home, that eliminates the need to steal items for selling on the black market in the first place. If you have a large cash reserve in your home, you may consider putting it in the bank instead. That really is the safest place for it to be.

All things considered, everyone has things in their home that burglars want to steal. You can store your valuable property in a safe, which is especially effective if it is fireproof and secured to your floor. However, an even more effective way to keep burglars from stealing your property is to keep your security system armed when you leave the house.

You may be surprised how many security system owners still become victims of burglary, simply because they forgot to arm their system before leaving home. If you are our New Jersey alarm system customer, please don’t let this happen to you! Arm your system every time you leave the house, so you can be certain an intruder will not be successful at breaking in.

Tips for National Disaster Preparedness Month

As we approach the annual milestone of September 11, it’s a time to reflect on many things – one of which is how to be prepared for a disaster, whether it is natural or man-caused. September 2014 is the 11th annual National Disaster Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). If you are interested in helping others understand how to get prepared for a potential emergency, there are some great resources at www.ready.gov. In addition, here are some tips for navigating through a disaster if one were to occur.

Be patient. Relief workers will be on the scene in a disaster, but depending on the damage that has been done, it could take time to get the help you need. If you are in serious danger or gravely injured, do anything you can to attract attention to yourself – but if you are simply in an uncomfortable predicament, it’s best to stay calm until help arrives.

Expect utilities to be out. No electricity, gas, water or phone services are all common results of disasters, particularly natural disasters. To be prepared, have supplies such as flashlights, blankets, water bottles, non-perishable foods, cleansing wipes, garbage bags and a cell phone charger in your disaster supply kit.

Pay attention to emergency alerts. The New Jersey State Police and some local police departments participate in the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS). As IPAWS users, they may send messages through the Emergency Alert System. Keep your battery powered radio and/or mobile phone near you as you wait for help; the emergency alerts may come through either of those devices. In some cases, there may also be emergency information on your security system panel.

Again, there is more information on disaster preparedness available through Ready.gov. If you have questions about receiving emergency information on your security system, contact our New Jersey alarm systems office. We will be glad to help.