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Bg sept09(2)

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  • 1. Buyers’ Guide 110 • september 2009 • electronics for you w w w . e f y m a g . c o m Assess the sources of threat before you select a security system for your home. A totally integrated system is recommended. But, if your budget doesn’t allow, you can start with the basic and gradually upgrade Invest In Your Own Security  Uma Bansal tector panels to intelligent remote moni- toring systems. These include intruder alarm systems, auto dialers, doorphones, electronic locks, remote panic alarms and video surveillance systems. Security systems can also be inte- grated with home automation features. Various residential builders are already offering home automation and security together as an add-on feature for their clients. If you are planning to install, you can choose between wired and wire- less security systems. Both types can be further divided into user-friendly and high-end programmable systems. Here’s the way to go for an ideal security system for your home. Cost Don’t forget this is an investment for your own security. The cost of the E lectronic security for homes is fast catching up in India. With either the elderly or kids alone at home while you are away at work, it is essential for you to have a proper sur- veillance system in place at home. A variety of security systems are available right from simple intrusion de- Surveillance on mobile enabled by Omnisurv solution from Sparsh Buyers’ Guide
  • 2. Buyers’ Guide electronics for you • september 2009 • 111w w w . e f y m a g . c o m system depends on the features sup- ported and technologies used with scalability. It also varies with the brand and application. Home security systems are availa- ble as standalone systems or monitored systems, where a monitored system is connected to a 24×7 monitoring centre. Standalone systems start at around Rs 8000 for a basic package with addi- tional installation charges. An installed monitored system costs around Rs 14,000 onwards for the basic package, which includes one year of 24×7 moni- toring service. Standalone/multi-apartment video doorphones are available in B&W and colour. Standalone video doorphones and intrusion alarms, each costing be- low Rs 10,000, are very affordable. Security systems integrated with home automation features cost any- where between Rs 100,000 and Rs 350,000 per home depending upon the features. What’s available? Home security systems can be cen- tered around an alarm, a system of intercoms, locking systems or video cameras. Determine the needs of your home depending on the surrounding environment. Intrusion alarm system. Alarms can be either silent or very loud. A loud alarm will either frighten the intruder Providers of Security Systems In India, there are today many companies offering home security products. Prominent among them are Zicom, Samriddhi Automations, Honeywell and ADT Security. Digihome, an Aftek Group company, offers home automation solutions for smart homes. Jaymit Systems, a trading concern of Vishal Electronics, which is engaged in the manufacture of CCTVs in India, offers products like alarm systems, CCTV access control, IP cameras, IR cameras, dome cameras, doorphones and electronic safes. away or alert the neighbours that some- one is trying to invade your house. Alarms fitted into the door sound right at the point of entry. Others can be con- nected (through wires or wirelessly) to a central control pad, which sounds if any point of entry is breached. Generally, an intrusion alarm sys- tem has different sensors, magnetic contacts, hooters, etc linked to a control panel. An auto dialer with a prere- corded message can also be integrated, which will automatically dial the fed numbers and leave emergency message. With this feature, if someone intrudes your home, the security system will call the police directly to inform them. While selecting a warning alarm system, ensure that: 1. It doesn’t produce false alarm 2. It has enough battery backup to Sensors That Can be Attached to Home Alarm Systems Magnetic sensor. It detects unauthorised entry through the door/window. One unit of the magnetic sensor is installed on the frame of the door/window that is fixed on the wall and the other unit is installed on the door/window. When there is an intrusion, the magnetic contacts are released and the signal is sent to the main panel informing of an intrusion. Motion sensor. This sophisticated device detects unauthorised human body movement in your home when the home alarm system is activated. It is generally installed in the living room/bedroom of the home. Glass-break sensor. It detects the breakage of framed glass, thus protecting your home from intrusion through the windows. Gas-leak detector. This sensor takes away the worry of a gas leak, be it CNG or LPG. It can be used standalone or integrated with the main panel. The sensor is installed in the kitchen in close proximity to the gas cylinder/pipeline. Smoke detector. This sensor is used to detect smoke that can be generated either by short circuit or fire. Zicom’s smoke detector helps you evade losses due to fire before the fire erupts by sending an alarm through its main panel to the central monitoring station while an in-built buzzer warns people in the vicinity. —Santonu Choudhury, CEO, Zicom Retail
  • 3. Buyers’ Guide 112 • september 2009 • electronics for you w w w . e f y m a g . c o m meet unpredictable power conditions 3. It is user-friendly, with minimal and easy controls 4. If sensors like PIR are used, it must be EMI-/RFI-protected 5. Magnetic sensors are easy to align 6. The sound output is above 105 dB at 1 metre Video/door phones. These can be installed at the entrance to see/talk to the person at the gate. Cameras. A wide variety of cameras are available for home security. Your home can have a single camera at the front door or many cameras placed throughout the house. The multiple cameras can be attached to motion de- tectors and activated only when there is movement in a certain area. These can also be attached to VCRs or computers for additional monitoring and record- ing. If attached to a computer, you can check the status of the home from any- where over the Internet connection. Cameras with audio are useful if you want to monitor sound as well as sight. These make use of a small micro- phone to monitor sound. If the camera will be used outdoors, it should have a casing that is durable enough to withstand the weather. If you fear vandalism, an extra-durable casing is needed. For units that need to be plugged in, ensure that there is a power source nearby. A CCTV will let you view the en- trance and other strategic areas around your home. You may detect a regular unwanted or unknown face moving near your home. Electronic/electromagnetic locks. Window and door lock systems can be added onto your home’s existing locks, creating a double lock at each point of entry. Intruders will find it difficult to break through such locks. More elabo- rate locks include fingerprint checks or number pads. Panic switches. These are nothing but simple buttons with hooters at- tached to create an alarming sound of high pitch. PIR lights. These lights activate automatically when there is an activity in the area of focus. Standalone or integrated? You can go for the different security devices one by one, depending on your budget. A gradual upgrade would also let you understand the use of each system one by one. If your house has no inmate during the daytime, an inte- grated alarm system to prevent burglary, trespassing as well as fire would be required. For the elderly or kids alone at the home, a video surveil- lance system is prefer- able. For an occupied house visited by many outsiders, an audio/ video doorphone is essential to identify the visitors before they get ac- cess inside the house. If your house needs all the above, consider an integrated system. Gener- ally, an audio doorphone coupled with a burglar alarm system with magnetic contacts at all openings, and panic switches at strategic locations, is the basic requirement for homes. Use of the rest of the equipment depends on individual requirements. For example, you can choose to add other sensors like PIR, glass break detectors and LPG detectors to the burglar alarm system. Video doorphones are more popu- lar. Builders generally provide them as a part of amenities in the society. You may also go for the technically advanced systems that provide clips of the visitors in your absence at home. There are also systems with smart card- and biometrics-based door ac- Zicom Safe Homes home security solution cess. Emergency pushbutton lockets for the elderly in the house will alert the watchman of the society and the nearest hospital when they are in trouble. Wired vs wireless Both wired and wireless systems have their own advantages and disadvan- tages. The choice between the two has to be made based on the actual site condi- tions. For instance, homes that are under construction may go for a wired system, as the cables can be concealed. Moreover, wired systems are more cost-effective and more immune to any external dis- turbance. However, these require high degree of care and maintenance. Also, wiring is cumbersome. On the other hand, wireless sys- tems are versatile and flexible in op- eration. As the name suggests, these do not use hard cables for connectivity for various transmissions, but electric cable is still used for power source. You can go for them if you don’t want to spoil the aesthetics and the décor of your well-furnished home with dan- gling cables. But remember that wireless systems have limitations in terms of features set. No system with sophisticated fea- tures will be completely wireless. Even if it were, it would have issues related to signal strength, etc. Also, wireless systems based on advanced technology shall be extremely costly. Wireless systems can be either RF- or WiFi-based. RF-based wireless systems are not very reliable in terms of signal strength and large data com- munication. They may also interfere with other electronic devices like mobile phone, television, radio and refrigerator in your home. Therefore it is better to put up a wired system wherever possible. Electric or battery powered? No system will be entirely working on battery. It would need power to survive over longer period of time. Also, a system with fully featured
  • 4. Buyers’ Guide 114 • september 2009 • electronics for you w w w . e f y m a g . c o m out, you may be prone to hacking. Your camera clips may be available to hackers. Hence while selecting a sys- tem with remote monitoring, ensure the data security solution. Evaluate threat before freezing the components Before deciding on the components of your home security system, evaluate key sources of threat, and then de- rive your security need. Decide your budget, then refine security needs to meet the budget. Look for easy installation, mainte- nance as well as actual performance in crisis. Also, the system should be user-friendly. Sensors are extremely important to home security. If they fail, security is at risk. If they give wrong signals, it is a false alarm and so on. Sen- sors should be of good quality and able to track the slightest of movements. Video doorphones are more of convenience than a security solution. These are restricted to the use of iden- tifying a person ringing your doorbell and communicating with the same. For the sake of convenience, all warning alarms, sensors and door phones should be connected to a central home security access monitoring device which logs details of all intrusions. This device should send reports and updates of the intrusions to you via SMS so that you are aware about the same from anywhere through your mobile. How to get more value for money? Ensure that the system integrates with your electronics appliances, so that these can be controlled from remote location through codes with user-de- fined passwords. Digital systems are recommended. The reason: you’ll have visitor clips ac- cessible all the time, so your family is secured all the time. You have access to home on phone, SMS and Internet. You can add multiple devices whenever you need in and around the house.  The author is a deputy editor at EFY functions will consume a good amount of power and can’t be used on the bat- tery alone. So a security system should prin- cipally be electrically powered with long battery backup. Most of the secu- rity systems currently available in the market come with a built-in recharge- able battery to function as a secondary backup which can last for a minimum of five hours. In the event of a power failure resulting in a cut-off of the primary source of power supply, the secondary backup takes over. Video surveillance, how important? Video surveillance is added protection on top of the security system in moni- toring the home. For the most funda- mental reason, the presence of a CCTV deters intruders. It helps recreate the events for review and determine what really happened when you were not Major contributors to this report 1. Santonu Choudhury, CEO, Zicom Retail 2. Chandrashekhar Raje, CEO, Digihome Solutions 3. Sanjeev Sehgal, managing director, Samriddhi Automations 4. Ramesh Jayaraman, general manager of India, ADT Security 5. Kamal Arora, head marketing, technical services, Honeywell Security & Data Collection ADT MotionViewer wireless video intrusion detection system watching. It ensures that you have the facts after an inci- dent has occurred. Video surveillance adds more precision to the security. With an audio door phone, you cannot be sure whether there is a single person stand- ing outside the door or more people with the person who is talking through the outdoor unit. So video along with audio is much better. DVR-based video surveillance combined with live real-time view on mobile and sensor technology can enable applications that make security proactive and not just a form of post- event evaluation. Sparsh has launched OmniSurv—a Windows-based series of DVR cards for building multichannel video sur- veillance DVR systems. This solution provides video surveillance anytime, anywhere, enabling you to keep an eye on your home at all times. You can view continuous, live, real-time video on your GPRS-enabled mobile handset as well as remote PC/laptop through TCP/IP protocol at high speed and clarity. Remote monitoring It is through the IP technologies that homeowners can centrally monitor their homes at their convenience. You can control your home lighting and ap- pliances, and monitor events through a Web-enabled device. Security alerts can be delivered through the Web-enabled device such as the cell phone. Remote access to your home adds to convenience in terms of cheaper (24×7) communication and surveil- lance. It saves time and money by ac- cessing home remotely for activating your desired system profiles. You may literally carry and communicate to your home wherever you move. Remember, you should opt for re- mote monitoring only if the situation demands. Otherwise, it may hike the system cost unnecessarily. Also, if it is not well-designed and well thought-

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