Commercial Security Is Finding Its Way Home

Technology and Standards are Migrating to Foster Residential Security The application of technology in residential security has gone through several convolutions over its relatively short history. In its early years, equipment and technology available to...

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  • Whole-house telecommunications wiring.

  • Closed Circuit Television.

  • Central vacuum systems.

  • Home theater wiring for video sources such as cable and satellite TV.

  • Advanced audio systems.

  • Home automation systems and computerized reports."

Historically, commercial security equipment was expensive but now costs are lower. Manufacturing is streamlined, and the circuitry is compact, improving performance while reducing expense. Locks, video, alarms, integration, communications are all examples of the technology migrating. They can be identified an all the areas of electronic and physical security.

Setting Standards to Live By
The equipment used by security dealers in the home continues to improve in quality and sophistication. Standards to which companies design and manufacture security products are being closely adhered to. Products might vary with respect to aesthetics and feature set but performance of security products is good regardless of the market it is designed for.

Security distribution also plays an important role in maintaining these high standards, by its response to its customers. A bad product doesn't remain on the shelves very long before the distributor will pull it and promptly advise the manufacturer that the problem needs their immediate attention. This is a supply-and demand- based system of checks and balances that alarm dealers rely on.

Where residential security differed from commercial security, as well as from life safety, fire systems, and electrical wiring, was that it was a price-driven market. Also, few, if any, codes or standards were in place to guide the dealer and protect the end user.

Add to that the creation of direct and mass marketing channels for security. Now, with the Internet, security dealers can obtain security hardware online. Thanks to mass marketing techniques, the homeowner can be lured into a system on the basis of cost rather than features, with little or no control over the quality of the installation or the qualifications of those installing it.

The trade associations such as the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA), the Security Industry Association (SIA) and Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) are moving to confront the problems by lobbying for licensing, standards and with it quality control "IQ" programs. The problems are associated with underdesigned systems; ones installed by underqualified installers; and others being used by untrained end users. What was once a rather lucrative market seems to have bottomed out over the last six years but the outlook is more promising than it has been. "Non-Response Legislation? from municipalities and law enforcement trying to protect themselves against the rising costs of false alarms is another never ending uphill battle, however.