If home cinemas, covered in the last smart spotlight, are the hedonistic and emotive superstars of smart tech, then smart security systems are the pragmatic, intellectual big-sellers. While people splash on home cinemas to feel good, they spend on security systems for the knowledge that their home and family are as safe as can be, and the peace of mind that comes with that.
The reason smart security technology sells so well is that it’s a big and appreciable step forward from what existed before, with appreciably improved results for the homeowner. Smart systems provide severable major functional advantages over traditional security systems:
- Recognising threats and intruders intelligently
- Contacting the owner, security or emergency services instantly
- Helping owners keep a careful eye on their homes, pets and kids remotely and effortlessly.
- Taking preventative measures before threats arise and while they are occurring.
- Providing superior evidence to insurers and law enforcement.
- Insurance companies will offer lower insurance premiums in principle, reflecting the system’s effectiveness (AA).
What is a smart home security system?
There is a huge range of smart home security products on offer, some of which are smarter than others. All truly smart systems share digital analysis of sensor inputs to analyse risk, as well as decision-making based on AI or advanced digital logic. This process removes or severely limits the dangers of human error, time delay and human neutralisation, removing the three major weak points from security systems. This gives rise to the advantages listed above and many more.
Most smart security systems include remote communication and cameras, though this is not necessary. In product terms, systems range from self-installed remote cameras that report to the owner's phone, right to complete, professionally-installed systems. The latter usually involves a secure central processing hub on site, some mix of visual and non-visual sensors, and unhackable access control that’s easy for the owner to override, but impossible for others. Most security systems involve some mix of onsite monitoring and input analysis with offsite processing and management. This usually comes with a subscription fee as well as an installation cost. More complete systems will combine on- and off-site analysis without compromising your security or privacy.
To prevent hacking, the best smart security systems use military-grade signal encryption over Wi-Fi and wires. This makes systems practically impossible to hack and camera images impossible to see for anyone but the owner and those they expressly allow.
Access control is a closely related set of systems that can allow people in or lock them out of a particular area. These systems range from smart doorbells to threat-responding security doors and lockdown systems.
A giant leap: The history of smart security
Watch almost any 20th-century heist movie and you will see the usual suspects exploit the weaknesses of old-fashioned non-smart security systems. There are a few hollywood staples that showed up the weaknesses of such systems again and again: Cutting the phone lines, ‘neutralising’ the security personnel and creeping past distracted (or sleeping) security guards. Shortly after the start of the new millennium, these staples, and the weaknesses that brought them into existence, began to be made obsolete by unsleeping, unerring, and unwired smart security systems.
Around the tick of the year 2000, Wi-Fi was beginning to enter the UK market. This meant cameras and remote monitors could be completely wireless and uncompromisable with the help of a battery backup and shrewd installation. Less obviously, it also meant monitors could be linked to a central computing system without the need for extensive, expensive, and oh-so-cuttable wiring.
Meanwhile, developments in AI logic, visual recognition, remote control and intelligent communications management were removing the biggest weakness in most contemporary security systems. That is, the big, fleshy ones that sleep, draw a salary, and get distracted by the likes of Ethan Hunt. Threats could be reviewed, considered and responded to with minimal human intervention. Thanks to mobile and wireless technology, any human consideration that was needed could be cued in instantly and conveniently without distraction.
The dark side - smart surveillance
As this system developed, its ability to effectively monitor and neutralise risks, made it popular around the world with homeowners and business owners, as well as authoritarian governments and intrusive organisations. This was revealed to the world in brutal fashion in 2013 when China revealed the existence of its 20-million camera ‘Skynet’ system and Edward Snowden leaked the existence of a world-spanning digital intelligence system in the West. Since then, the debate has roared about large-scale government surveillance endangering the public interest, even as the technology’s domestic sibling quietly keeps our homes safe. Now it’s estimated that 540 million of the world’s 1 billion digital security cameras are pointed at the population of China.
“New Technology is not good or evil in and of itself. It’s all about how people choose to use it.” – Dr. David Wong
If this cloud can be said to have a silver lining, it is that the news of remote monitoring led to a lockdown of smart home security systems with military standard signal encryption and other fail-safes. This means they can be used by the homeowner and no one else.
Smart security in 2022
The security, efficiency, and simple usability of smart security systems have made them a popular option across the market. Intelligent computer control makes low-end DIY systems easy to install and use with a mobile phone. A simple and cheap, yet imperfect solution to security threats. Meanwhile, elite system installers like the ones Baker Stone designs provide the closest thing to absolute security in physical and digital terms. When designed and implemented by professionals, systems effectively prevent and, perhaps more importantly, discourage most intruders from entering a property, as well as responding to them when they do. As mentioned above, professionally designed systems are difficult to compromise due to the lack of distraction, compromisable infrastructure or human error.
These major benefits are just some of the reasons why the smart security market is projected to grow by 54%, over the coming two years, hitting a 5 billion dollar value in 2025 (Statista, 2022).
Why have a smart security system?
High—specification smart security systems aren’t just toys for tech lovers like some ‘smart’ technologies. In real terms, they actually provide vastly superior protection, security and threat surveillance compared to their analogue ancestors. They may not be as sexy as a home cinema system, but the smart home security system can be justified much more easily as an investment in the security of your family and your possessions. That’s why the AA has stated that a smart home security system will lower your insurance premium (in principle) – an added bonus and a reflection of the system's recognised efficacy.
Choosing and specifying a smart security system
In short, come to us or another professional smart security system installer. The guidance you would need to trawl through to learn to specify a complete and effective smart security system is large, specific and technically complex. To save time, get in touch with us if you need advice and we can sort out your specific issue.
There is a wide range of options across the board, and we would advise researching and considering a variety of the ones that apply to your situation before deciding on one. This is a situation where needs and offerings are multiple and nuanced, so individual consideration is a good thing. DIY systems are one option, but we would advise avoiding these if you have the money for the alternative. This is because small installation and use errors or knowledge gaps can have serious consequences.
In terms of keeping your home and family safe, smart home security systems are a vast improvement on what existed before. Within this sphere, a complete, professionally installed system is definitely the way to go for maximum security. These systems discourage, prevent, respond to and report threats effectively, providing evidence for insurers and law enforcement. The data generated is as secure as the systems themselves.
Whatever you want, it’s worth doing some research on your needs and talking to an expert before you invest.
Baker Stone has a number of smart security systems experts able to work with homeowners and other professionals to specify and install these systems to the highest specification. Just book below to discuss your needs with us.