Security Alarms and CCTV Systems
Photo Courtesy GE

Security Alarms and CCTV Systems

Alarms and CCTV Systems

Are you wondering whether to install a security system in your home and if you should go for security, alarms or CCTV system? Most homes and businesses experience invasion, but it has been shown that security systems can help reduce or prevent theft and burglary. To help you make an informed decision, so you don’t leave your home or company vulnerable without a security system, we shall take a look at different types of systems for security.
Most systems work on the basic principle of securing the entry points like the windows and doors including interior spaces that contain valuables such as guns, computers, coin collections, and art. No matter the size of the home or the total number of windows and doors you have, you can actually deploy numerous security components throughout your home. Here are three main systems you can install.
1. Security system
A security system is a method or means by which something is secured via a system of interworking devices and components. It comprises of a network of integrated, electronic devices that work together with the central control panel to protect a homeowner or business owner against burglars or intruders. Typically, a security system includes:
 Control panel –this is the main controller of the security system
 Interior and exterior motion sensors
 Door and window sensors
 Wireless or wired security cameras
 A high decibel alarm or siren
 Window stickers or a yard sign
How the system works
As aforementioned, these systems work on the concept of securing the entry points with sensors that send information to the command center or control panel usually installed in a convenient location in the company or home. Sensors are placed indoors that lead to or from the building. The open spaces in the home are also secured with motion sensors.
Window and door sensors comprise of two main parts that are usually installed adjacent to each other. One section of the device is usually installed on the window or door and the on a window seal or door frame. Whenever a window or door is closed, the two sensor parts get joined and create a security circuit.
When a security system gets armed at a control panel, the sensors communicate with it and report that the entry point is now secure. In case the monitored window or door is opened suddenly, the security circuit gets broken, and immediately the control panel will interpret that the secured zone has been breached. Immediately, the alarm will go off or the alarm monitoring company will be notified automatically.
The control panel is a computer which arms or disarms a security system, communicates with all the installed components, triggers the alarm once the security zone gets breached and sends information to the alarm monitoring company.
The control panels feature a touchpad that makes it easy to program or operate it. This is where passcodes are entered to either arm or disarm a system, or be programmed to work using wireless remote controls known as key fobs.
Motion sensors are components that protect against a certain space when armed by creating an invisible zone which can be breached without sounding the alarm. Typically, they are used to protect the rooms with valuables or rooms that are less frequent in a large home or business.
A security system also has surveillance cameras which are available in wireless and wired configurations. The surveillance camera may be used in various ways, and they are part of the overall security system. Cameras are used to:
 Monitor areas of the property that are hard to see
 Monitor remote buildings like workshops, barns, and garages
 Monitor exterior and interior entry points such as front doors and garage doors
Usually, surveillance cameras are accessed remotely on smartphones, tablets or computers and are often used this way when the property owner isn’t out of town but still wants to watch whatever is taking place. The cameras can also record security breaches that may result in a home invasion. They can also help you look at the burglars or thieves and even the vehicle they drove.
High-decibel alarms are normally loud enough for the neighbors to hear. They alert your neighbors that a problem has occurred and are shrill enough to send the invader running.
Window stickers and yard sign may seem like a marketing tool for the security company, but they also have an essential role in your property’s security. Once you place the sticker on your front yard or window, you will be informing everyone including the burglars that your property is protected professionally, so it’s unwise to attempt burglary.
2. Alarm system
Alarm systems are electronic installations which consist of input and output devices, control panel as well as the respective wiring. The purpose of alarm systems is to minimize loss from fire, burglary, vandalism and to warn building occupants of a hazardous situation. The warning devices comprise of small alarm, carbon dioxide detectors, and security systems.
Components or an alarm system
A standard alarm system consists of various devices that are placed on doors to detect when it is opened. The alarm sounds whenever the system gets activated. Usually, similar contacts are put on or near windows, and they trigger the alarm in case the glass gets broken when a person is trying to gain entry. Components of an alarm system include:
1. Control panel –this is the system’s main hub and contains a backup battery. The phones lines of the system are connected here, and this is where the system gets monitored too.
2. Siren –it’s triggered whenever an intruder is detected by the system. It can be aural, silent or visual sending signals to the system’s monitoring agency.
3. Keypad –this where the system is armed or disarmed mainly through the input of numerical codes
4. Motion detectors –these detectors are meant to send any change in a room as a result of a human presence when the system is still armed.
5. Window and door contacts –these contacts help send information when a window or door is opened or broken. It triggers the alarm in case the system is armed.
When the alarm is triggered, the monitoring company will contact you and then the fire station, police or ambulance. The companies charge a monthly fee, but you don’t necessarily need to hire them for this service. However, it’s advisable to have a monitoring company in case of an emergency.
Usually, the alarm system is set up in a basic way that allows the homeowner to either arm or disarms the system as required. While an unmonitored alarm system has light and a siren, it relies on neighbors to contact police if it sets off. Therefore, it’s good to allow the systems to be monitored to make sure the authorities are contacted promptly in case an event occurs.
3. CCTV (closed circuit television) system
A CCTV is a television system in which captured signals aren’t distributed publicly, but they are monitored mainly for security and surveillance purposes. This system relies on the strategic placement of the camera in various places including the observation of the inputs of the cameras on monitors placed at strategic locations. Since the cameras communicate with the video recorders and/or monitors across a private coaxial cable or wireless communication links, they are given the designation closed circuit to show that access to their content is limited only to those who can see it.
Initially, CCTV systems used tiny low-resolution white and black monitors which lacked interactive capabilities. Now the modern CCTV can provide high-resolution color displays and include features like the ability to track something or someone or to zoom on an image, among other features. You can also get talk CCTV which lets an overseer communicate with people within range of the camera-linked speakers.
Key components of CCTV security systems
Surveillance cameras
Closed circuit television cameras are devices that capture videos and images once the system is installed. Security cameras are available in different designs, types, styles, and configurations. This usually depends on several factors such as:
 The style of the camera, e.g., dome cameras, bullet cameras, and box cameras
 Mode of operation that’s, IP cameras or analog cameras
 Purpose, for instance, indoor vs. outdoor cameras and covert cameras
 Special characteristic and features such as infrared or night vision cameras and pan-tilt-zoom cameras.
Cabling/wiring
The cabling in a CCTV security system is the infrastructure the system relies on to transmit information. The cables can be used to transmit either digital or analog signals from the surveillance cameras to both the video recording as well as viewing devices.
If you have an analog CCTV system, your surveillance cameras will capture the raw video footage then transmit the video in a traditional baseband format. In this case, video conversion isn’t necessary. Such analog videos may be transmitted over either coax or the popular Siamese wiring that combines the power and video wiring.
Another alternative you have is to go for the IP CCTV system which uses UTP cables when transmitting information. These IP cameras come with powerful video encoding software that converts the analog video the CCTV captures into a digital video format. Then the video is transmitted via UTP5 or UTP6 cabling as a digital stream.
Recording/video monitoring system
Surveillance footage which is captured by the CCTV cameras can be handled in two main ways:
In case you have an analog CCTV system, the video will be sent either to a special closed-circuit television video monitor so it can be view live, or to a DVR where it gets converted into a digital format then it is stored in hard drives.
If you have an IP CCTV system, you will realize that it’s more advanced than the analog one. Typically, each IP camera is an independent device in the network. You can access every IP CCTV camera using your computer provided it’s connected to the network. You may also access the information via the internet if you want to view the video captured in real time. What’s more, the network video recorder assists the system to store surveillance video on a hard drive.
Popular applications for CCTV security system
Unlike the security and alarm systems, the CCTV system has many applications. Some of them include:
Preventing crime
CCTV surveillance systems are used in many locations because they have proved to be effective when it comes to preventing crimes especially in crime hot spots like ATMs, parking lots as well as public transportation. These systems are also essential in casinos, shopping malls, and banking halls because they deter shoplifters and pickpockets.
Industrial monitoring and safety
You can use a CCTV security system for various industrial supervision purposes particularly if your company deals with hazardous industrial processes and the operating conditions aren’t conducive for humans.
Public safety applications
Surveillance cameras tend to be instrumental when it comes to ensuring public safety in operating large machines like subway trains and amusement park rides. Operators utilize these cameras to make sure that people are safe –they should be far away from the moving parts before the machines start to operate.
Management tool
Managers in a retail environment can also use CCTV cameras to monitor activities and movement of their employees as such, the managers can tell whether a member of staff came to work in time or not or if they are handling their duties and responsibilities as expected. The systems are also essential when it comes to preventing theft, mischief or other kinds of unprofessional conduct in a workplace.
Monitoring traffic
A CCTV system is an important tool in a traffic monitoring application. It can be installed in a city or motorway to monitor the flow of traffic and detect accidents, congestion or other incidents that could be hazardous to motorists.
Post-event evidence tool
CCTV videos have also gained popularity in offering evidence in a court of law. Footage captured by the system can be used by the police or law enforcers as evidence which could help detect or convict offenders. What more, CCTV can trace the movements of suspects or victims particularly in cases that relate to terrorism.
If you’re worried about the security of your home or business, you can pick any of these systems we have discussed in this post to ensure your family and property is protected. The technology is very easy to use, simple to understand and is cost effective. Do not sit and wait for the worst to happen –thinking ahead of time will save you money and stress.

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