Life on the Farm Goes Wireless

In rural settings, it’s all the rage


For example, Creutz has taken to using weatherproof outdoor passive infrared (PIR) technology such as Honeywell’s 5800PIR-OD device to offer both protection and awareness needed for his rural customers.

“Our installers do not have to dig trenches or run wires. In remote locations in the past, I’ve had to run a trench across to hook up several door contacts in a barn because customers have been so worried about theft,” Creutz said.

And with the simpler installation comes the biggest selling tool of all: cost-effectiveness.

“Instead of being a two-day install and charging much more, wireless is a simple slam dunk. It is exactly the application we had been hoping to hear about,” Creutz said.

Intrusion detection, though, is only one part of the solution when dealing with rural area risks. Unlike urban settings where high-valued assets are usually inanimate objects, it’s not unusual for high-value rural assets to have four legs and minds of their own. In non-alarm situations, therefore, early notification can eliminate the threat of lost property such as livestock, in addition to preventing theft.

Many of Heartland’s rancher customers, for instance, invest in livestock that are free to roam within fenced or gated areas. “Cattle like to be everywhere, beyond the perimeter of a barn. Wireless sensors are able to potentially warn ranchers of livestock which have wandered out of designated areas, protecting a rancher’s valuable assets by way of notification,” Creutz said.

Reliability even in brutal winters

Temperature is another unique element wireless technology must contend with to survive a rural environment. Lithium battery enhancements give wireless sensors a longer life, proving the biting cold of winter and sweltering summers are no obstacles. Today’s PIR sensors can operate in intense sunlight, a range of humidity of up to 95 percent and in temperatures down to -4 degrees Fahrenheit.

“The real key is the ability to use this device in low temperature environments–high temperatures have never been an issue before. Customers have been wanting to use a device like this. We’re excited because we don’t have to tell them ‘no’ anymore, we now have options. This enhancement has opened opportunities for Heartland Security because it allows us to effectively design a system using the most optimum locations for protection.”

Creutz recently was faced with a customer situation that needed temperature-sensitive monitoring, both inside and out.

It began with the installation of a security system for a residential customer. Creutz realized he could also offer the customer outside motion detection, for use inside a saddle-storage barn housing thousands of dollars worth of saddles and other equipment, in addition to the security in the family home. But before he could do this, the customer needed a new wireless system. A separate, hardwired panel had been installed years prior. The panel’s reach was limited, making it difficult to add other motion detectors. Creutz installed the Honeywell 5800PIR-OD as the wireless solution, to operate in both cold and hot seasons and to withstand the harsh elements of the barn.

“Now with wireless, we can put in only one motion detector that can secure both the customer’s home and barn. The temperature advantage comes in handy for both locations. This was the opportunity to show this customer what Honeywell’s outdoor PIR weatherproof device could do,” he said.

Power of the network

Wireless is also extending conveniences to more people than just the end user.

Creutz, for example, has significantly cut down on the amount of time spent returning to customer locations to deal with installation issues.

“It’s hard for customers to comprehend that we have the ability to do this so cost-effectively. Many times people think of wires and difficulties associated with receivers and reliability in many scattered locations. In reality, I’m not making multiple trips to the lot or farm. I install it and walk away. It is that reliable of a product,” Creutz said.