The other facet to security is the reliability of the system, which is another area where modern wireless systems have made huge strides. When you install a sensor in a home, it’s crucial to select a very robust wireless system that has a high level of resistance to interference or noise.
Q. What are your thoughts on ZigBee? Is it secure enough for your customers?
A. LaDelfa: ZigBee or Z-Wave is as secure as any other wireless system out there. Many times it is the internal firewalls that are put in place by the customer.
Ladd: ZigBee has allowed for the integration of a lot more home automation types of products. For example, you can replace your door locks with ZigBee locks and then you can remotely unlock them. This technology has been a great addition as it has allowed manufacturers to add more features to their product offering without it being too expensive for the average consumer.
Q. How has wireless for security intrusion changed and progressed over the years? Is it easier to sell?
A. LaDelfa: Wireless intrusion has changed over the years in that the technology is far more advanced. Wireless is a good alternative for the customer but it is a double-edged sword when it comes to being secured. At what level does it operate? Consider the differences between 300 versus 900MHz, for example. Also, the application involved will determine whether or not wireless is a good solution. Older homes are a good place for wireless since you don’t have to do cable pulls. In the past, the cost to run wires in older homes was not cost effective where today wireless has provided an alternative solution.
Ladd: Wireless used to be limited because it wasn’t supervised and battery life wasn’t long. Today, wireless has become more of the standard than the exception. The majority of residential alarm systems installed today are wireless. Because of wireless, panels have evolved too, so that integrators can now sell more features like remote video viewing and home automation. These benefits, plus a quicker installation time, make it easier to sell.
Langlais: Homeowners today have come to trust wireless and they know it’s going to work, whereas 15 to 20 years ago it was not really on peoples’ radar. Along increased range capabilities of today’s wireless systems, battery life, which can now range from five to eight years, is another very attractive advancement.What type of wireless signaling seems to be most prevalent and sought after?
A. LaDelfa: The most prevalent wireless signaling is cellular, especially 3G and 4G.
Ladd: Wi-Fi and cellular are the top two wireless signaling methods. We sell more of the cellular. People are not installing landlines in their homes anymore. They are using their cell phones as their main number; then they may run into the issue of supervising the alarm panel. We encourage a cellular wireless signal because it’s coming right out at the panel.
Langlais: Of all the technologies, wireless panels should have 3G functionality. Wi-Fi is becoming more adopted in the home but at this stage, that technology is more appropriate for high bandwidth applications, such as wireless IP cameras for live streaming video. However, the higher the through-put, the higher the energy usage. Typically, Wi-Fi systems will not be battery powered because power consumption is too high. If batteries are used, it will be as backup in case of power failure.
Q. What can we expect to see coming in wireless technology?
A. LaDelfa: Our big concern for wireless technologies in both the near and distant future is in the supervision of the devices. Supervision will increase and the short and long range of these devices will continue to improve as technology evolves.
Ladd: You are going to see keypads continue to get smarter and smarter and utilize wireless as the means to the home automation piece. You will also see video continue to grow and ZigBee will continue to offer more capabilities.
Langlais: The connected home will play a huge part in wireless technologies, and we’re seeing the effects of that already. Devices like lighting control, thermostats and even refrigerators and dishwashers will someday be connected to a single management system. Today, elements such as home healthcare functions, door locks, Wi-Fi camera systems and security systems are already integrated and that trend will only continue.