January 08, 2011
| by Lisa Montgomery
In Sin City, it’s only fitting to show some sex appeal. The security industry is starting to do just that, as demonstrated by several companies at the Consumer Electronic Show this week. It’s been a long time coming, as security systems have changed very little over the past couple of decades.
Now, though, the systems are looking better, performing better and offering consumers a host of new features that make the thought of having a security system installed into your home a lot more appealing. ADT, for example, will soon offer Netgear’s new HSS101 7-inch Android-based web tablet as an alternative to a traditional security keypad. In addition to using the tablet to arm and disarm the security alarms, consumers will be able to control the lights, thermostats and other devices. Driven by iControl technology, the Netgear tablet will be offered also as part of Honeywell’s and GE’s home security offerings.
The incorporation wireless communications standards like Z-Wave and ZigBee are also upping the attractive factor of security systems. These technologies, which are embedded into a variety of products including surveillance cameras, motion sensors, light switches, thermostats and other products, allow consumers to easily roll new features into their security systems. For example, you can start with a basic alarm package then later add a compatible light switch or thermostat to your system without having to rewire or significantly reprogram.
Owners of existing hardwired security systems can take advantage of these new wireless capabilities and products, thanks to a device developed by 2gig Technologies. Called the Super Switch Wireless Takeover Module, it essentially enables an old hardwired security system to communicate wirelessly. “It breathes new life into old systems,” says 2gig Technologies director of technical services and visual marketing Aaron Zeyer.
Electronic door locks are also undergoing a facelift. Yale, a relative newcomer in the category, has done away with the keypad-style interface that has traditionally been used to operate electronic locks for a touchscreen style interface. The fact that the lock is both Z-Wave and Zigbee-compatible makes it all the more appealing, as it can be integrated into one of the new, sleek sexy security systems on the market.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.