Tech Talk: Security for the Security Pro

Mobile technology could help security pros feel more secure themselves when working alone or on remote jobsites.

Tech Talk: Security for the Security Pro

Many have asked me over the years, “What got you started in the electronic security alarm business?”

What attracted me to electronic security was a love of technology and the meaningful applications that this technology could help make people’s lives safer and less stressful. These personal interests are what led me into a recent real-world, out-of-the-norm security application.

David, a good friend of mine, is a self-employed subcontractor. He installs new residential windows and doors. David often finds himself working alone in these isolated residential construction sites, making himself an easy target for criminals — something we did not have to worry about much in the past, but, as we all know, with drugs and guns, the times are a-changing.

One early evening, while David was installing some second-story windows in a home under construction, he suddenly and surprisingly felt a gun pointed at the back of his head. The robber had quietly snuck up behind him in that isolated house.

At that moment, scared as hell, David commented on his fear of never seeing his family again. The robber took his wallet, tied him up and covered his mouth with duct tape. He then made a getaway in this truck and trailer.

David has not gone back to that isolated construction site, thereby losing badly needed business. After almost a month, David has his truck and trailer repaired but has lost personal confidence in working at remote job sites. Because of this, he has endured a valuable loss of income.

Keeping Security Pros Safe on the Jobsite

After hearing David’s story, I put my techie security hat on and thought how I could possibly use security technology to make him safer and regain some confidence when working at remote jobsites.

Since David was caught off-guard by this sneaky robber, what if I could use some inexpensive mobile technology to give him a heads-up the next time someone is approaching?

Since this would not be our typical systems security device, I had to do a little digging to find the right low-cost, reliable, small and portable sensor. There were many low-cost devices, most with questionable characteristics.

I finally came across a small self-contained, and portable system called the CP2 PIR motion sensor alarm from a company called CPVan. I then ordered a unit at a staggering $24 in order to take a closer look. I was impressed.

The basic system is perfect for a subcontractor working on an isolated jobsite. The main unit has a small 125dB loud siren and PIR sensor. The unit measures only a few inches and weighs only 8 ounces. It can be temporarily placed in obvious high-traffic areas, making sure to cover the contractor’s back.

The device has a loud door chime mode to annunciate anyone approaching and, if needed, an instant siren mode as well. The device is battery operated and draws <40ua standby and <100ma working. It only takes pushing two buttons to turn off/on and arm/disarm with a small remote.

The units can also be nicely paired with similar devices for more coverage in a large jobsite. When the contractor is done for the day he can simply turn the devices off and stow them away.

Again, this is not the type of device we would normally use in our professional systems. However, it is a good example of being flexible in finding something to fit a customer’s security concerns.

Some other professional early warning security devices to consider for your customers are:

  • Vehicle detection systems from Dakota Alert, Mier and Sure Action. These systems give early warning of a vehicle approaching in a driveway.
  • Window alarm screens from Security Screens, Maxwell and other companies. An old-time technology that is still popular in turning normal window screens into alarm screens by weaving thin wire alarm circuits into the screen, thereby giving homeowners the flexibility of keeping windows open and early warning of an intrusion.
  • Outdoor building perimeter dual PIR detectors by Optex. A more professional approach to protecting a side of a building and its windows. The BX-80 Series is both wired and wireless. The devices have dual sensors to help reduce false alarms. The long and narrow detection area can cover up to 24 meters (12 meters on each side). Because they use PIR technology there is no need for alignment as with beams.

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About the Author


Bob is currently a Security Sales & Integration "Tech Talk" columnist and a contributing technical writer. Bob installed his first DIY home intercom system at the age of 13, and formally started his technology career as a Navy communication electronics technician during the Vietnam War. He then attended the Milwaukee School of Engineering and went on to complete a Security Management program at Milwaukee Area Technical College. Since 1976, Bob has served in a variety of technical, training and project management positions with organizations such ADT, Rollins, National Guardian, Lockheed Martin, American Alarm Supply, Sonitrol and Ingersoll Rand. Early in his career, Bob started and operated his own alarm dealership. He has also served as treasurer of the Wisconsin Burglar and Fire Alarm Association and on Security Industry Association (SIA) standards committees. Bob also provides media and training consulting to the security industry.

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