There has been a lot of marketing of “Smart Home Monitoring” by certain companies in many locations across Canada.  One big campaign is comparing a “Smart Home” product to Traditional Home Security.  Since it is a marketing campaign it certainly shows all kinds of offered services that are available in this Smart Home product that are not available in a traditional security system.  This would be true if you defined a traditional security system as a main stream product that alarm dealers were selling 5 years ago or more.   The fact is that automation systems that incorporate HVAC, Lighting, locks, etc were being installed by more advanced companies since as far back as 1985.  At that point in time these systems were very expensive and would never be considered a traditional offering.

Today things are much different.  I would define today’s traditional security system to be one that can be expanded to incorporate the control of all of the above.  Products being offered by traditional Security product manufacturers such as Honeywell, DSC, HAI and Interlogix all have these capabilities and are not proprietary.  This comparison to products that many companies are no longer selling is ridiculous in my opinion.  Sure bare bones security systems still exist and most of the public still only want a system that is only a security system protecting them from threats to life and property.  In these cases the only part of an advanced system that might appeal is the fact that today ALL security companies can offer systems that communicate over the cable network, wireless networks and any form of internet connected communications path so that they don’t require a POTS land line.  This is truly not unique in any way.

So let’s list the items that my company offers that are not a feature of a “Traditional Home Security” System (sorry for the long list as it was found on the internet):

Two-way voice over cellular network (no phone line required), Real-time 24/7 monitoring with constant full system status check across two networks, Dual Network support with free wireless back-up (well how about three or more network support), Integrated Camera viewing, Fully integrated web portal (supports personal remote viewing in real-time), Instant emergency alerts via text or email, Instant information alerts via text or email (e.g. when family arrives home), Remotely control your home system from a smartphone or computer, Remotely arm and disarm your system, Remotely control heating and air conditioning, Remotely control lighting and small appliances, Automate lighting and thermostat to react to sensors, Automate lighting and thermostat by day/time, Create automated email/text reminders, Easy-to-use Touchpad with 24-hour battery backup, Free apps.

Also just some items left off of the list:

Boolean logic control of events and actions, True dusk and dawn event control, integration with your home audio controller, Home theatre control, Quad path communications with the monitoring station, Compatible with other alarm companies so that you are not locked into a proprietary system, Customer service that is personal and extremely responsive etc.  The list of extra items not mentioned is truly extensive.

So the hype and promotions are not as exclusive as we would be led to believe.  If considering integrating security and other services consider the option of comparing products being offered by the cable companies with products being offered by your community leaders in security, that have been providing security for years.   Look for a company that is a member of the Alarm association (In Canada that would be CANASA).

Get the straight goods (don’t get locked into proprietary products) and enjoy your new smart home with the confidence that you selected the best.  And yes if you only want to protect what you care about we are the right choice there as well.

Bob Hoevenaars, B.E.Sc.

Alarmtech Systems for Life