Securing an upmarket home

July 2009

Effective security means all-round peace of mind.
When looking to secure their brand new home in a newly developed estate in Kyalami, Susan and John realised two things: that they were not only looking at security solutions from an intruder perspective, but also from a watchdog perspective.
Their front gate was continually being opened and closed in order to let the garden service, the housekeeper, as well as builders still completing bits and pieces around their home in. In addition, Susan also has a work from home set-up so there was a continual flow of visitors needing to gain access to the property.
Susan and John also needed their au pair to be able to access the property securely and feel completely safe while looking after their three young children. The activity was endless.
It was concluded that the couple’s security requirements would need to address the following:
* Access control: they needed remote control for their front gate to function both from within the home and from afar.
* Cameras had to be placed in all major entry points of their home, for example, their entrance gate, their garage, their front door, their kitchen entrance and their veranda entrance.

* Cameras needed to be placed in view of all vulnerable areas of their home for example their swimming pool.
By using software programmed into their alarm system, they would select a boundary that was considered ‘too close to the pool’; a camera and a security beam would be positioned to zone in on this demarcated perimeter of the pool. If the beam was crossed it would activate, sending an e-mail or SMS alert warning of potential danger. The camera would also start recording the minute the alarm was activated.
* They would need outside lighting throughout their garden and exterior of their home that would turn on automatically after dark.

* An optional extra was to place security beams in their garden.

* They decided that because the outside of their property was well secured, they would have no need to put cameras in the living areas inside their home.

* Motion detectors were to be placed in all rooms in the house, all being programmed via their alarm system to ring a warning sound should any person access these rooms uninvited.

* Because they were living in an estate, they decided that perimeter security around their own home boundary would be unnecessary, as the main estate perimeter security had already been taken care of.

* When investigating the estate’s perimeter security, they were shown several cameras that had been placed in strategic spots along the perimeter.
These cameras are called pan tilt zoom (PTZ) cameras because they can rotate. If an alarm is triggered on a certain spot on the perimeter security, this camera would be controlled by software programmed to hone in on the area that triggered the alarm – known as an active tampering alarm. Not only would the camera rotate and fix on the spot where the tampering took place, but inside the control room where all the camera footage is being monitored, the software had been programmed in such a way that it was able to pick up the specific camera that detected the specific area that had been tampered with.
* Travel: because the couple travel abroad, they wanted to be able to monitor their home from anywhere in the world. All that was required for this was setting up an IP (digital) address which is simple and straightforward. From their cellphones or laptops they would then be able to not only check out visually that their home was in order, but they could also open and close gates via the Internet.
Once they had worked out what they would need in their home, Susan and John set out to do a costing sheet on each item that they would require to secure their home. They categorised each item.
For example, when looking at the costs of CCTV cameras they discovered a considerable variance in price and quality; however they did learn that a sound, versatile camera with a small footprint (±15 cm) did not have to come with a high price tag. With cameras no longer being luxury unobtainable items, market prices were competitive. The cameras they chose retailed at R1500,00 each, and were designed in such a way that they could be reduced in size by dismantling their outer cases, to fit in a passive detector These cameras were therefore designed to fit in small, well lit spaces, with a special focus on a specific area. Susan and John needed five cameras for their large home, as they opted for swimming pool security; most homeowners however would only need two or three cameras.

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