A generation ago, many of us expected to be living in automated homes by now, perhaps with robots tending to our everyday, menial needs. Ten years ago, many still thought that by 2011 our homes would at least be marvels of networked security. So here we are. The need for physical home security sure hasn’t slackened, but how far has computing technology come in helping? We see movies in which action heroes must regularly circumvent elaborate biometric safeguards and all manner of computer-based protection. Do such things exist for everyday homes? If so, are they affordable and easy to set up?
Many people are content to call a traditional security company, get some sensors installed, plant a
This house protected by…” sign out front, and call it a day. However, according to Parks Associates, “the average monitoring fee for a U.S. household increased from $28.60 to $32 between 2008 and 2010.” The collapse of the housing market barely caused a hiccup in home security. As you can see from this pie graph, a decent-size chunk of subscribers pay more than $50, exceeding $600 per year out of pocket. Big security companies will point out that there’s a back-end benefit to monitoring in the form of lower home insurance rates. Of course, that’s not much incentive if you want more security for your apartment. Also, I’ve never had an insurance agent ask me anything beyond, “Do you have home security monitoring?” They’ve never asked me who the provider was, how many sensors or cameras were in place, or anything else. Just yes or no.
The downside with most conventional home security is that it hasn’t really changed from the 1980s. A well-executed smash-and-grab will be in and out in under two minutes, and that $30/month security system, complete with door, window, and motion sensors, will have saved you the trouble of dialing the police yourself.