Life on the Farm Goes Wireless

In rural settings, it’s all the rage

Wireless may be all the rage in today’s urban settings–the proliferation of smart phones and Wi-Fi-enabled masses is proof--but rural areas are also getting in on the action.

In fact, it’s arguable that a greater need for wireless security exists on the farm. The typical farm or ranch, for example, can easily have up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment sitting in unguarded, detached sheds.  For years, though, rural customers, turned off by high prices and complicated logistics associated with wiring, elected to simply take their chances and face the consequences without a professionally installed security system.

The rapid evolution of wireless stands the strongest chance to help erase that mentality. A combination of cost-effectiveness, more-reliable sensor technology and ease of installation are allowing dealers in these areas to present a more-appealing sell.

As a result, rural areas are becoming places where dealers can strategically grow their businesses by reducing costly burglaries and liability issues.

Stealing farmer’s livelihood

In central Nebraska, Heartland Security LLC’s Homer Creutz, owner, has several customers who store tools, machinery, feed, automobiles and even livestock on unguarded and often uncovered ground. In most cases, these valuable assets are surrounded by a fence or covered by overhangs. In the past, that was usually the extent of their security, as these facilities are located in pastures or fields, detached from a home or a secure, central security system.

“A lot of people in these areas have detached garages or facilities. Their livelihood is their farms, livestock or machines. Their tools and farm equipment are sometimes worth more than their homes, and yet they’re sitting outside virtually unprotected,” said Homer Creutz.

It doesn’t take much effort, for instance, to gain access to hundreds of thousands of dollars in farm equipment by breaking locks or tearing sheds apart. “Typically, farmers go to great and expensive lengths to install a home security system, yet they lock sheds and barns with just a little latch. Thieves are able to find these and easily break the lock or tear open sides of metal buildings to gain access,” continued Creutz.

And it’s not just farm equipment that sits vulnerable in these open areas. Another common example is the neighborhood car maintenance shop or gated impound lot. “This type of customer has one location where all towed cars are housed, usually within a fenced in facility. Thieves are able to come in and take belongings or stereos out of impounded vehicles. Mechanics are getting sued and the burglars are able to easily take whatever they need by hoping a fence. There’s a huge amount of liability here for the person impounding a car,” explained Creutz.

Slam-dunk rural solutions

In any location, rural or urban, hardwiring is always one of the biggest installation headaches encountered by integrators. Until recently, wireless security was mainly considered an ideal solution for indoor application. Recent advancements in weatherproofing design and extreme temperature performance, among other developments, have made the technology better suited to handle outdoor environments.

These advancements have helped steadily increase the popularity of wireless security in rural communities because the technology is easily applicable for barns, fences and sheds. Motion detection, for example, is among the more popular solutions. When these wireless sensors are connected to an alarm panel, rural customers can be quickly notified by the central station. Additionally, customers can be notified of non-critical alarms by utilizing digital communications services that send messages to their mobile devices.

“With a wireless sensor, if someone enters that barn for example, the authorities are going to be notified within a matter of seconds. Similarly, ranchers can be notified in the instance of non-critical events, such as the wandering of livestock outside a designated fence or perimeter,” Creutz said.

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