Audio and video verification for security systems is a somewhat popular trend, but is it worthwhile? If your alarm home security system—wireless or wired—includes this feature, it’s important that you know the benefits and drawbacks before using it.
Any Alarm Home Security System—Wireless or Wired—May Give off False Alarms
Early home security systems were quite problematic. This was, in part because the tech was developing, but also because people weren’t familiar with how it worked. Malfunctions, unintended triggers, and human error lead to a great number of what’s known in the industry as a false alarm.
While having an alarm go off when there isn’t an emergency or issue is an annoyance, the greater problem came in when law enforcement got calls about a potential break-in or emergency and were dispatched to the scene. At that point, they’d determine it had been a false alarm, but the damage had been done. Officers had already been pulled away from urgent issues to check on a non-existent problem.
Because of this, departments around the country began downgrading the status of calls made by security companies. That means they handle all “priority” calls before going to check out an alarm, and also means they may arrive long after a perpetrator has gotten what he or she came for and left.
That said, now when you purchase an alarm, home security system wireless options are available and the tech has improved drastically. People are much more familiar with the systems and how to work them, which has also cut down on false alarms.
However, when you’re in the business of protecting people and their belongings, your credibility is everything, and so various companies began coming up with ways to cut back even more on false alarms.
Audio and Video Verification for Security Systems are One Option to Reduce False Alarms
Right now, audio and video verification for security systems are trending. The premise is simple. When an alarm is triggered, the monitoring company taps into a feed from the home. They may view the live video footage or simply listed to live audio, and then make a determination of whether a break-in or other emergency is truly in progress. If the person monitoring believes the alarm is false, no action is taken. If he or she sees or hears things that confirm there’s a problem, emergency services is phoned.
This naturally cuts down on the number of false alarms. It doesn’t end them all, but it does reduce the number significantly. On the downside, many homeowners are not comfortable giving monitoring companies open access to listen in or view them in their homes.
There are Many Other Ways to Reduce False Alarms Too
Thankfully, there are many other ways to cut down on the number of false alarms sent to emergency services.
Education: Learning how your alarm system works, including the benefits and shortcomings of all components, can help ensure that you use it correctly and set it up in a way that minimizes the possibility of a false alarm.
Personal Video Monitoring: If audio and video verification for security systems isn’t available through your monitoring company or you choose not to use it, consider selecting a service that allows you to check your own feed. You can then check your feed remotely when you know the alarm has been triggered and cancel the alarm when you know it’s safe to do so.
Cross-Zoning: One technique that’s highly-effective in combating false alarms is known as cross-zoning. With this special alarm feature, two different sensors must be triggered in order for an alarm to signal. For example, a door opening and motion detector might signal someone has entered, whereas a motion detector alone may be responding to a pet.
Swinger Shutdown: A second feature integrated by some companies watches for repeated trips from the same sensor. Aptly named “swinger shutdown” because it would prevent a door or window that’s swinging in the wind from resulting in an alarm.
Fire Alarm Verification: Depending on the type of smoke detector you have, it’s possible that it may go off when dinner is cooking, when you’ve taken a hot shower, or under other non-emergency circumstances. By sounding the audible alarm to signal trouble to you first, then giving you a moment to manage the situation, you can avoid sending false signals to the monitoring company.
Phone Verification: If you have an alarm home security system, wireless or otherwise, the most common verification check is via phone. Oftentimes, companies place a phone call to a primary number to check on the welfare of those inside the home. Most also ask for two or three extra numbers just in case. If the company you go with operates this way, set a reminder for yourself to check and update your numbers on a monthly or quarterly basis, so the monitoring company can always reach you.