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How to protect your home: security systems range from low-tech to state of the art

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 May, 2015, 10:17am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 March, 2016, 5:33pm

Despite a recent high-profile kidnapping incident, Hong Kong is widely considered to be one of the safest cities in the world to live, however, simply for peace of mind and comfort, it can still be useful to invest in a home security system.

Although protecting the home from criminal intrusion is usually the main priority for installing a home security system, advances in technology and a wave of new devices go beyond basic security to include lighting controls, temperature settings and appliance operation, which can be controlled with a mobile device.

Allan Lee, Honeywell Security channel marketing leader with responsibility for product development and channel sales marketing in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan says home security systems vary between simple non-tech precautions to the latest high-tech laser-motion sensors and systems that can be operated remotely. He says the ascendancy of the smart home and advances in technology enable real time video streaming in and around the home and the ability to receive clips and images at anytime and anywhere. 

However, before installing a security system, Lee emphasises it is mission critical to do thorough research to make sure any devises installed are the best suited to the appropriate safety or security requirements. For example, people living in a high-rise apartment or a managed property complex would have different safety and security needs to those living in a stand-alone home. Generally in Hong Kong, most high-rise apartment blocks and complexes are fitted with surveillance cameras and have security guards who are on duty round the clock. In this case a home security system could be useful for smoke detection and checking on people in the apartment, such as elderly relatives or anyone who may require emergency assistance.

In contrast, properties without security guards present would be more suited to having close circuit television cameras (CCTV) fitted both outdoors and indoors. ''Exterior surveillance cameras can act as the first line of deterrent,'' explains Lee who adds cameras that monitor street scenes can provide police with useful information when tracking people thought to be acting suspiciously.  If in doubt about which system will work the best, Lee recommends an on-site assessment by a security system professional to determine the best solution.

Focus on the details

When installing a security system, particularly  for those who choose to set up their own devices, Lee says  attention needs to  paid to the  angle and the locations cameras are positioned.  Placed too high, and in the event an intruder enters premises, the recorded image is only likely to show the top of a head, which makes it difficult to identify a person, especially if they are wearing a cap. Attention also needs to be given to the quality of surveillance equipment including recording resolution and infrared capabilities.

Lee suggests that security systems should be regularly checked to ensure they are in good working order. Consideration should also be given to how the system relays an alarm call through landline, cellular or Broadband.  '' In case of an emergency, you need to be confident that your system will be able to communicate effectively with the monitoring center or your mobile device,'' says Lee who adds   there is a Honeywell security system for every lifestyle, budget and need.

While home surveillance cameras can help to deter or catch burglars, there are also other ways to discourage would be intruders, such as fitting motion-detector spotlights and timer devices that turn interior lights or a television on and off.  

According to Lee, the rapid advance in the use of technology means the capabilities and efficiency of home safety and security systems are being constantly improved, but at the same time, they are becoming easier to install and operate.  A good example, he says is infrared laser detectors.  However, like a chef who carefully protects a secret recipe, Lee is reluctant to explain how the technology works explaining it could give the ''bad guys'' an advantage.  ''I would say it would be very difficult for anyone to make it 'Mission Impossible' film-style pass the latest laser technology, without setting off an alarm,'' says Lee.