Safety & Security
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Reader's Tip: High-tech Video Security Systems

By Mark R. Johnson
Published: February 1, 2010
websecurity-camera
Photo by ADT Security Systems, Inc.
Mary Solomon has two high-tech video security systems installed on her lake property: One that doesn’t work and one that does.
   
Mary, whose primary home is in the sunbelt, wanted a web-based video security system for her lake property in the upper reaches of the frostbelt so she could “see my property from wherever
I am.”
   
She thought she made a good choice when she sought and obtained four bids before hiring Security Company A to install a security system. But after spending $24,000, waiting a year for Security Company A to get their system working – it still doesn’t – and piling up attorney fees to recoup her losses, Mary has only a bundle of frustration and a handful of lessons learned to show for her trouble.
   
The main lesson she’s learned about security systems: “Anyone can sell it, but do they know how to make it work?” Mary says.
   
Fortunately, the second time has been the charm for Mary. The second company she hired had a web-based security system with wireless video cameras functioning within mere days.

   
How can you ensure you’re hiring the right company to supply and install a security system for your vacation home? Bob Tucker, spokesperson for ADT Security Systems, offers the following tips:

1.  Spend some time thinking about the amount of security you need. The size and layout of your cabin and property should be taken into consideration when designing a security system.
2.  Do some research into the home security company you’re considering. How many current customers does it have? Is home security its primary business? Check out its track record with the Better Business Bureau.
3.  What kind of phone-based and website-based customer service
is provided? Be sure to ask about hours and weekend service.
4.  Is there a money-back service guarantee in case you’re not satisfied, including a full refund of your installation costs and any fees paid for maintenance and/or monitoring?
5.  How new is the home security product you’re considering? Today’s systems are far superior to those available in past years. Make sure you’re getting the most recent product available.
6.  Ease-of-use and convenience of your home security system ensure a high level of usage. Many homeowners admit that they don’t use their systems to the full extent because they’re inconvenient or “scary” to use. So choose a system that can be armed and disarmed easily by all family members.
7.  Make sure the system you install has a battery backup unit. A system is only useful when it’s active and working – even during a power failure.

Note: Due to the contentious and litigious nature of the situation, Mary Solomon’s true identity and location have been changed to protect her anonymity.

Reader Resources:
• ADT Security Systems, Inc., www.adt.com.
• Broadview Security, www.broadviewsecurity.com.
• USA Security, www.firstalertdistributors.com/usasecurity.

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