Wireless security-- what it means and what is best

Wireless security really has two meanings, and a lot of companies muddy the airwaves by using this term and saying that wireless is better across the board. They want you to buy their product. That is why they spend so much on ads.

I’m FOR one kind of wireless in virtually every case (wireless communications), and AGAINST wireless for upgrading hardwired systems unless the wires have been damaged extensively.

The case for not throwing away the hardwired system

I am and always have been an environmentalist. From the “give a hoot, don’t pollute” ads of my youth, and Smokey the Bear, and being a Girl Scout picking up trash to leave places better than I found them. So I can’t say that wireless is better in all cases. The batteries used have to be replaced every few years. That’s not great for the environment, because some of those batteries aren’t going to be recycled.

If you have a hard-wired system now, you’ve got a great investment that can be upgraded simply by changing out the master panel and keypads. If wall-mounted devices have yellowed over the years, swap those out for new ones— it will be cheaper than buying a new wireless one, and it won’t come with the maintenance cost of batteries and time changing them.

If you have 3 keypads, it can get pretty expensive. Here’s how to modernize cost effectively: Upgrade 1 keypad and the master panel, and add a cellular communicator that works with an app you can use on your smartphones, tablets, and computers. You will have a virtual keypad everywhere you go if you do that. (FYI The newest all-wireless systems usually only have one keypad or controller.)

Wireless door/ window switch and magnet

Wireless door/ window switch and magnet

Changing out door and window switches that are hardwired and making them wireless can leave you with devices in plain sight that used to be discretely hidden. That is not an improvement. (If necessary, it is a nice option to have, admittedly)

Wireless motion detector

Wireless motion detector

Another thing that isn’t good for the environment is tossing aside used circuit boards and plastic cases without thought. Are we lusting after the newest device, the sleekest thing, and forgetting about the landfills were building up? There are reminders everywhere to urge us to upgrade to the newest thing, but we need to be critical of the claims. Are they really offering something new that couldn’t have been done before? The hard-wired system on your wall has the flexibility to do hundreds of things beyond what you needed— a lot of the new wireless systems are touted as being more useful, but the older ones had most of the same capabilities.

The “simple” system that you hear about on the radio and TV constantly? The designer’s most revolutionary idea is really just that people could install them on their own using an app. Radio Shack always had kits that did the same thing. The guy just made it work with an app and used prettier cases on the devices for our modern tastes. Other manufacturers have DIY kits— we offer a great one that can be relocated and expanded as your needs change. It installs with an app, you can view multiple location in the same app, and add cameras and automation.

Honeywell’s Lyric controller

Honeywell’s Lyric controller

Nortek’s 2GIG GC2

Nortek’s 2GIG GC2

“Takeover modules” or “Harwired to wireless modules” are a better option than ripping out wires. You would use one of those to switch to a system that is really made to be wireless. 2GIG has one and so does Honeywell. You can use them to switch to the GC2 (2GIG) or Honeywell’s Lyric panels.

The case for wireless communication for alarm systems

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Here’s why you should want “wireless”— you should abandon using a landline phone and use the much less vulnerable digital cellular communicator. They have come down in price to be very affordable (from $600 years ago to $99 or so now). We provide installation labor for free to encourage the upgrade. There are no cables outside the building vulnerable to tampering (internet monitoring leaves those cables vulnerable, as does VoIP phone line use).

The cellular communicator has battery back-up. Your VoIP might not. Your internet router might not. Your cordless plain old phones might not.

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If you are keeping the landline phone for other reasons and it is still working properly for transmitting alarm signals, keep it. If you change phone providers, test it afterward. Every time. If you change providers, your search for a better deal may be harming your security. You won’t have to worry about that if you upgrade to wireless communications (cellular communicator).

There is an additional monthly fee— but it is way less than a landline phone (we charge $8). You’ll save money, and increase the reliability of your security system.

Wireless is here to stay. Thank God it is more reliable than it was in the 80s! Batteries are better and it is easier to recycle them. Wireless communications make it easier to reach people wherever they are, any time of day or night. Our networks have gotten better, cheaper to use, and highly reliable. Wireless is a good thing, but it isn’t necessary to ditch things that are working and start from scratch if you have a wired security system.

Security That is Life or Death

Physical Safety Concerns

When people talk about security, they could be talking about a lot of different things. Rampart deals with a specialized subsection of security- the detection of a burglary or fire, reporting it, and getting a professional response (police or fire department). People want our type of security for two main reasons: 1) to preserve their belongings and 2) to help monitor and maintain their families’ or employees’ physical safety.

Physical safety concerns whatever threatens lives. Robberies, intrusions, and the like are really very rare compared to the threats I want to talk about today. I am on this train of thought because of flu season and politics. I have to post about this— I haven’t been able to stop thinking about health as a security issue. This year is the 100th anniversary of the flu pandemic of 1918, which cased the deaths of millions of people. Our national political discussions are full of gun rights/gun control arguments and healthcare/health insurance. Both things are huge security issues. So, while I applaud all of you who have or are considering beefing up your home security with an alarm system or cameras, I have to admit that your health is a bigger safety concern, and health should matter to everyone.

Most deaths in the United States are caused by the following: (figures are from 2016, CDC)

  • Heart disease: 635,260

  • Cancer: 598,038

  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 161,374

  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 154,596

  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 142,142

  • Alzheimer’s disease: 116,103

  • Diabetes: 80,058

  • Influenza and pneumonia: 51,537

  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 50,046

  • Intentional self-harm (suicide): 44,965

We’re talking about diseases and dangers that have caused a decrease in our Life Expectancy at birth nationwide. Since 2000 it has decreased, which you wouldn’t expect for a wealthy, industrialized nation. Most of these are not contagious, but many are common due to our way of life. We all can fall victim to fast food, less activity, desk jobs, and poor benefits. Many people scared to go to the doctor because of high costs or can’t afford required treatments. You won’t catch your neighbor’s heart disease, but you might get his flu.

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So— what can you do?

As I see it:

Get check-ups

Get immunized

Take your doctor’s advice— have the recommended health screenings

Be selfish and consider that nation-wide healthcare is good for YOU

Wear your seatbelt (part of the accident numbers were traffic accidents)

Watch the sodium

Exercise regularly

Keep prescription drugs and guns secure (related to accidents and suicide)

Do what you can to promote mental health

Acknowledgment that this is a weird blog post

I should point out that I know what a weird blog post this is. My company does not provide what you need to address these problems. I just keep thinking about it, and how illness and disease is so much more likely to kill us than the things we can help protect you from. (Although, now that I think about it, we can at least help you secure your gun safe, and we do provide medical panic buttons/ medical alerts.)

I DO think that what Rampart does is of great value and does save lives. I have no doubts about that. I am choosing today to recognize the bigger threats and what we can all do to make our country safer.

To conclude, health threats are the leading cause of deaths in the US. If you have good health care, great! If your neighbors and millions of total strangers don’t, you are in greater danger than you think. We need to all do our part to keep our country safe, and it may start with your flu shot.

Caption this:

Caption this:

There’s still time to add a doorbell camera or Total Connect camera before Halloween, and certainly before you travel for Thanksgiving or Winter break/Christmas. Let us know if you’re interested. You can call 816-436-3000 x1 or request pricing from our website.

Security and Control

We’re not ALL “control freaks” but having control over matters makes everyone feel more secure. It is the situations when you don’t have control that makes a person feel uneasy, and less than secure. Rampart tries to keep you in control.

We offer Control

Control is something we can help you with, at least in some ways.

Control your Home Alarm

You can use a keypad, remote key fob, voice, or a smartphone or computer to control your alarm system at home or at your business.

Control your alarm with your voice, or keypad, or smartphone

Control your alarm with your voice, or keypad, or smartphone

Control your payments

You can pay via paper check and the US postal service, credit card or e-check, or enroll in auto-pay— you choose, we don’t force you to use auto-pay like some companies do. Bonus for us— we get a to build our stamp collection!

Small bit of the growing stamp collection

Small bit of the growing stamp collection

Control your privacy

We don’t constantly monitor your personal activity. Unless you subscribe to “opening and closing” logs, we won’t know when you arm or disarm. We don’t know when you are home or away, unless you decide to tell us.

We don’t track you’re whereabouts like Google (owner of Nest). Think about how much Google knows about you. What you shop for, things you search online, where you are, where you’re going, maybe your credit card numbers, who your friends are… We’ll never be that invasive.

We don’t have to know your arming codes. You can keep a separate password to identify yourself with us. Your choice!

Confidential

Control how you get invoices

We will still mail them via the post office, or email them, or not send them if you don’t need them because you pay automatically. You choose. Seems reasonable, right? But some companies don’t give you a choice.

I’m sure there are other ways we offer control— maybe I’ll think of more later. Right now I just have to get back to my regular work before the workload gets out of control..

New DIY Security Trend in KC

Here’s the latest DIY home security and business security trend in the Kansas City area:

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MOATS

I’ve seen them EVERYWHERE— cropping up since last week around businesses and homes in all neighborhoods I visited. Brookside, Waldo, North Kansas City, West Bottoms, East bottoms— we’re all in the same moat.

Effectiveness

But how effective are they?

I checked CrimeReports.com to find out if crime statistics changed when these moats started appearing. Is there a correlation?

Kansas City weather for the past week. Note that storms started Oct 5, 3 days ago.

Kansas City weather for the past week. Note that storms started Oct 5, 3 days ago.

Past week of crime in part of Brookside, Waldo, and Plaza areas of KC. LOTS of incidents!

Past week of crime in part of Brookside, Waldo, and Plaza areas of KC. LOTS of incidents!

Past 3 days of crime in part of Brookside, Waldo, and Plaza areas of KC. Very little crime shown.

Past 3 days of crime in part of Brookside, Waldo, and Plaza areas of KC. Very little crime shown.

You can see that way more than half of the reported incidents were before the rain started.

Conclusion and recommendations

To conclude, moats seem pretty effective. If your moat hasn’t shown up on its own yet— DIY one— start digging!

An actual moat in NKC MO

An actual moat in NKC MO

(Note: this post was not real research— I KNOW that there could be a reason for delay in reporting crimes to the CrimeReports.com website that would skew this. I’m just trying to find the humor in the flooded driveway and little ponds forming all around us, while there is more rain to come! I also know that a bunch of people have probably already actually studied this, and probably wrote many pages about it with footnotes and references. I’m revealing my social science background here.)