Home Security Tech Takes a Leap Forward

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Home securityHome security technologies are keeping pace with the other gadgets in our connected, on-demand lives. Unlike the cumbersome systems of the recent past, new home security components are discreet, easily controlled from afar, and smart enough to screen out don't-need-to-know info, like your pet's indoor traffic patterns.

If you're shopping for trustworthy home security support and flexible system options, you have plenty of choices. New-and-improved technologies are also far more affordable than you might guess, whether they're designed for DIY home security or professional installation.

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Smarter surveillance
Motion sensors are standard in home security, and now, high-tech cameras can also be part of

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the plan. A new generation of camera-driven surveillance systems like Cernium's Archerfish removes concerns about cost and time-consuming screening by having the smarts to actually focus on what's important: your home's safety. You can program for expected events and types of motion, such as the kids coming home from school, and will be notified when there's an unexpected event, whether it be a package you forgot you'd ordered or an actual intruder.

"The key change is this degree of intelligence," says Craig Chambers, Cernium president and CEO. "Instead of having to think about when you want to check the video camera--and most of the time, find out nothing's happening--you can very easily configure Archerfish to look for certain kinds of activities in the field of view. Once they're detected, you'll get an e-mail notification with a video clip attached. You have the convenience of knowing what's going on without having to constantly look in on what's happening."

Wireless components
Thanks to the flexibility of wireless technology, you can station critical components in tight spaces or places where wiring would usually be a challenge (as with a partially finished attic or basement). Their comprehensive coverage can be put to work wherever you need them, making it easy to steer clear of interference from other appliances or in-home wireless networks.

More intuitive controls
Gone are keypads with tiny screens and hard-to-decipher displays. Today's home security controls offer touch-screen capabilities in living color, with intuitive system designs that look more like your favorite smartphone app than the complicated monitors they are. Smart security control panels don't even have to be mounted on a wall--many are meant to conveniently travel with you from room to room. Mission control can also extend to your laptop or smartphone, allowing you to check in and receive important alerts during daily routines or extended travel.

Portability
With the exception of professionally installed and hard-wired home security systems, just about every contemporary component is designed to travel to a new home or other site with security concerns. That portability also plays into changing needs within your current living space: compact surveillance cameras, motion sensors and control panels can easily move from one position to another.

Multitasking home management
Home security can also be integrated with other critical monitoring streams for a one-stop solution to home management. Fire and carbon monoxide alarms, temperature regulation, HVAC component status, home lighting, and even freeze and flood alerts can be accessed from the same set of controls. ADT's Pulse system is one example of full-service home automation, easy to monitor and manage remotely via interactive touchscreen, your laptop or smartphone.

High-tech hubs, otherwise known as security companies
Ever-advancing technology means your home security company has even more sophisticated means of supporting your needs. Cutting-edge computer systems, stellar backup measures and strict systems redundancies make it possible to respond immediately and provide customers with critical data records. The ability to customize systems has also increased by leaps and bounds through the integration of wireless components, mobile apps and surveillance technologies smart enough to distinguish between real threats and false alarms.

Even as home security continues to evolve and change, the points to consider while shopping remain the same. Check out the costs involved, including installation charges and any monthly fees and deposits associated with a long-term service contract. Compare component options and make sure you understand how various systems would--or wouldn't--work for your home and lifestyle. Also think about features and whole-system integrations that can make your life easier, offering one-touch control and the level of communication you need to keep your home secure, wherever you are.

Tom Kraeutler is a home improvement expert for AOL Real Estate and host of "The Money Pit," a nationally syndicated home improvement radio program offering home improvement tips and ideas, including tips on home security.

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