What Are the Best Features to Include in a Security System?

The best security system features are the ones that best protect your home and loved ones. That being said, rapid advances in home security technology have enabled the top security system providers to offer more cutting-edge products and services than ever before.

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Back to the Basics

It wasn’t long ago that the most you could hope for from home security was a system that beeped when the door opened and sounded an alarm if you didn’t punch your code in quickly enough. You had a handful of magnetic sensors, miles of wire buried in your walls, and a control panel that offered only cryptic codes. The pinnacle of security technology was a system that could send a basic signal down the phone lines when an emergency occurred.

Some home security features will always be essential. Sensors, door chimes and alarms are still must-have basics, and the heart of any home security system is still a control panel that can be connected to a remote alarm monitoring service.

However, the past few years have given us a number of innovative and compelling features that greatly extend the capabilities of a home security system.

Wireless Technology

Some of the biggest advances that benefit home security are the developments in reliable and data-rich wireless technology. The same push that allowed smartphones and tablets to free us from desk-bound PCs now allow for home security installations without the drilling, as well as remote monitoring that doesn’t depend on telephone lines. Wireless sensors and cameras are now so powerful and dependable that no major security provider lacks a wireless package.

It’s not simply the sensors that have gone wireless, but the lifeline connection between the home and the central monitoring station. The most crucial and vulnerable part of a classic alarm system was the telephone line. If an intruder knew to cut the wire, they could render the entire system useless. With GSM technology, modern security systems are secure with a cellular backup, which also suits the many homeowners who have replaced their landlines with mobile phones or VoIP.

Camera Technology

Likewise, parallel advances in video and imaging technology gave us mobile miniature megapixels in our webcams and smartphones, but also dramatically increased the role that video surveillance can play among home security system features. Instead of the grainy black-and-white “slideshows” of previous-generation security cameras, we now have vivid full-color HD camera feeds, tucked into devices small enough to blend into our home decor or completely disappear from view. High-capacity DVRs let us record and playback gigabytes of essential camera feed footage, and remote controls lets us pan and zoom individual cameras to see exactly what’s going on.

Home Automation Technology

One of the biggest areas of innovation is home automation technology. Combining two-way wireless communication with mobile app development, home automation systems provide unprecedented options to not simply see what’s happening in our homes, but also to control it from anywhere in the world. We can monitor all sorts of real-time information about our system from our smartphones, and some even give us the option to see the feed from our security system’s cameras right on our devices. You can also use that same app to turn your lights on and off, adjust your thermostat, lock and unlock doors, and, of course, arm and disarm your security system.

Updates to Basic Technology

Many simple and fundamental home security features have been upgraded as well. The basic door and window sensors are more accurate and reliable than ever before, and there are more types of sensors that can be integrated into a home security system. This includes tamper-sensitive sensors to tell you if a window breaks or someone tries to access your control panel, temperature and humidity sensors to alert you of fire and flood conditions, and sophisticated pet-friendly motion detectors that can tell the difference between an intruder and the family dog.

Even the humble smoke detector has benefitted from recent advances. Modern sensors are based on state-of-the-art ionization and photoelectric technology, and utilize broadband two-way communication for detailed up-to-the minute analysis of your home’s air. Whereas the smoke detectors of years past were most likely to let you know when your toast was overdone, today’s security systems can use temperature sensors to incorporate heat thresholds, and carbon dioxide sensors to warn of dangerous changes in air quality.

Protecting against intrusion and fire is still the central goal of any home security system, but the increased technological capabilities have considerably broadened the scope. With wearable panic buttons, emergency response is one touch away for the elderly and disabled. With front door cameras and remote door locks, you no longer have to be home when the housekeeper comes to clean.

The fascinating and innovative possibilities of today’s home security system features make them appealing to the forward-thinking gadget-lover in all of us. It’s easy to forget that it’s not about what cutting-edge home security technology can do; it’s how these products and services can best fulfill the goal of keeping your loved ones and property safe.

When you use the SafeWise security system finder, you won’t be asked how trendy you want your home security system to be. You’ll use it to find out which features match up with your home, your life, and your needs. Or you can call 855-374-4999 to talk with one of our security specialists who won’t try to sell you on home security breakthroughs; they’ll simply answer all your questions and help you find the right home security provider.

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Info current as of 04/12/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

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Celeste Tholen
Written by
Celeste Tholen
Celeste has dedicated her decade-long career to reporting and reviews that help people make well-informed decisions. She oversees editorial strategy and production for SafeWise, with a goal to help people find the information they need to make their homes and lives safer. Prior to SafeWise, she worked as an editor and reporter for KSL and Deseret News. She continues to report on local news as a volunteer with the community paper. For the last six years, she’s led a Girl Scout troop, teaching girls about safety and preparing for whatever life throws their way.

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