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Simply no substitute

by Andy Clutton

Dufour_Quentin_140410It was interesting to see that there were many security related launches at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. What does this say about the relationship between security and modern life?

Since the development of IP security cameras and the evolution of wireless intruder alarm systems, the two technologies have been steadily coming together in a number of formats, further driven by the advent of remote monitoring via handheld devices and Cloud storage. When all these factors are combined with the popularity of being able to access any web device from anywhere on the planet (and the seemingly unstoppable need for anyone aged 18-30 to look at their phone every two minutes) the world of security is seeing the dawn of a new sector.

This is not a sector that will threaten anything that the professional, dedicated security system itself can do, but it is something that might initially take some money out of the market at the domestic level for the installer.

Let’s be honest, there are a lot of people that have bought an iPad when a cheaper tablet would have sufficed and there are plenty of consumers who want to change their smartphone every six months because the new version is 0.1mm thinner; all of which goes to show the “it’s new, I want it and before everyone else” mentality is stronger than ever.

Despite the fact we are supposed to still be in a recession, the consumption of hand held gadgetry and all of its trappings is showing no real signs of abating and this has in turn allowed some new companies to come to market with systems that utilise phones and tablets for tasks previously considered too much of a security risk due to how we care for them.

Apparently there has to be an app for everything these days so why not security? Well overlooking the obvious risks of having access to your home security on a personal device that you could easily leave behind somewhere (more than 15,000 mobile phones were lost on the London Underground in 2013) there is also the quality of the system, the positioning of the cameras and the overall usefulness of the technology to consider. And what happens when the network goes down?

I love a gadget, but if it’s a toss-up between something that will actually protect my home and my loved ones or something that looks nice on a swish website, the professional system is the one for me. However I accept I am not the target market for these solutions and those that fit the demographic for the gizmos are not so concerned about the robustness and performance of the system compared to the actual ownership of it or what it looks like.

Of course these DIY, user-maintained glorified webcams do offer some level of security so let’s not give them the full cold shoulder, but if you are aged 18-30 and have a home full of expensive technology then choosing a security solution simply because it has a designer look about it could be a mistake.

There are plenty of professional standard systems that can do what these new trendy ones do but with more system security and functionality built in. After a year or so with the DIY option the user may well see the need for an upgrade which could be the silver lining in all of this. After a short time with the consumer system, users will realise the shortfalls of the novelty and that it is no substitute for dedicated, proven technology; just a simple first step.


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