The Ins and Outs of Residential Camera Systems

The home automation industry is increasingly interested in installing and servicing residential camera systems on both a local and remote basis for the roughly 170 million U.S. homes that have PCs. Builders are finding that these systems are a good sales tool, along with offering structured wiring and other electronic systems.

It’s a new entry point for integrators to develop recurring maintenance contracts with homeowners, and a good way to pick up on video monitoring techniques, as well as sharpen a company’s video surveillance skills for larger commercial projects. However, this is a trend for security professionals to watch since many subcontractors are not security dealers but home automation and audio/video dealers.

Homeowners Would Rather Be ‘Safe Than Sorry’

The recordbreaking reductions in the federal funds rate drove the new construction business to new heights in 2002. Builders have latched onto home systems and structured wiring as an excellent sales tool in a competitive environment. But one of the worries now on the minds of homeowners is the threat of terrorism.

There is no single view among homeowners as to what terrorism means on a local basis. As a result, some feel that “it’s better to be safe than sorry,” in which case, they look for security measures. (And they look for more if they already acquired some.) This tends to point to the growing demand for residential cameras.

Cameras are now being used inside homes as well as outside the premises. They’re in baby rooms, greenhouses, garage workshops, stables, workout rooms and vacation homes. Outside the home, they monitor driveways, courtyards, gardens, neighborhood lurkers and contractors working around the house.

As an example of how this trend is affecting our industry, Freeman Labs is now designing a 30-camera system to protect 11 acres of fenced-in property in Connecticut, and another 15 to 20 cameras to monitor the inside of a home with a remote video connection to the homeowner’s office in New York. This system is bigger by normal standards, but the same principle of interior and exterior monitoring applies to smaller residences as well.

Both inside and outside camera applications are good false alarm monitors, and video monitoring is going to be used in more and more ways in the future.

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