Home Security While You’re Enjoying A Vacation

girl phone beach internet accessSummer’s here and as August turns to September it’s the perfect time to jet away to the Mediterranean, Europe or America for a holiday and return in time to pack the kids off to school.

But who is keeping their eye on your home while you’re away?

If it’s your neighbours, that’s fine. Neighbourhood Watch schemes are a great way for a community to look out for one another, working together to make our towns and cities safer places.

However, if it’s not the nice neighbours but the bad, that’s not such good news.

Burglars have been found to typically stay within a few miles of their own homes, and typically strike during the hours of daylight.

The reasons for these habits among housebreakers are logical when you think about it. While the expression has it “a fox doesn’t make a mess on its own doorstep” a burglar will. It’s not that they lack the common sense not to steal from their neighbours because they might be seen using the stolen goods. They have no intention of keeping any of their booty anyway. It will be sold for cash or drugs, and at a fraction of what you paid for it. Read more

Turning Your Family Room Into A Home Cinema

home cinema, family room, entertainment, home theatreWhen people think of a home cinema they probably think of a small bank of recliners, low light, big screen and an audio system most of us would have to take out a second mortgage to be able to afford. And yes, such home cinema exist and we’d all love to be able to have one in our home if only we could, but what about we mere mortals who don’t have the kind of wallet that allows for a wing of the family pile to be given over to home entertainment?

What if we’ve got kids, a regular size house, bills and car payments to make? How do we get into Home Cinema?

First of all, think about which space you’re going to use and how you already use it. People don’t tend to keep the Front Room for best any more, nor do they have dining rooms which are only used to entertain guests. Often these spaces have been knocked through to provide a larger living space or made into family rooms where the kids can shout and scream until they wear themselves out in time for bed.

Aha! There’s the trick! If you’re going to use it for watching serious movies or playing until it’s your bedtime there is no overlap. Once the kids have vacated it it’s yours for the use of.

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What’s Stopping You From Installing A Home Cinema?

home cinema, home theatre, projection screen, Unless you’re building a new home or have the luxury of being able to add an extension to you home just to facilitate your new home cinema you’re going to have to work with the layout of the room you’ve got when thinking about configuration & location. Windows and doors offer the biggest problems, followed by chimney breasts and fireplaces. Not only can you not place a projector screen or large format TV across a window or door, you need to be able to use them, and can’t put speakers in them either!

Chimneys and fireplaces offer their own inconveniences as a mantle is a great place to hang a regular size flat screen TV, but a large format is too big to hang where they can be seen without straining your neck while hanging a projector screen in front of the fireplace makes it a fire hazard.

And once you’ve found the right location for your TV or screen, where do you put the speakers to get the most out of your surround sound?

In order to get the most out of your home theatre you have to be both flexible, and imaginative. Windows, doors and furniture tell you where things can’t go, so you have to work that little bit harder to find the perfect spot where things can go.

Often placing the picture, be that the TV screen or projector screen is the least of your worries. You’ve got a perfect, UHD display, but now where to put the speakers to get the surround sound to finish off the full theatre experience? Read more

News For Nest Environmental Control Customers

Touch sensitive digital heating control panel mounted on a light coloured wall.Briant Communications have been installing Nest domestic environmental controls for a number of homes in the southeast since they first landed in the UK. Recently they have been going through some changes and that has had an impact on the way their devices can be used and operated.

Google owns the Nest brand and as such has taken the decision to incorporate the Nest controls and Google Home controls into one Google Nest. This rebranding and control overhaul will also be reflected in the Google Home Hub becoming the Nest Hub, which will be followed by the Google Nest Hub Max at some point in the future.

The only problem is that users don’t get to simply update the app or download a piece of software to complete the update. Instead you’ll need to manually switch from Nest to a Google account. Read more

Dos And Don’ts When Changing Broadband Providers

Hands holding a wifi enabled tabletWhy do people stick with their poor, expensive ISP & cable TV providers when there are usually better deals to be had? When we looked at why people don’t migrate their broadband to fibre, despite it being faster, more reliable and cheaper it was the perceived inconvenience that held people back. Despite 94% of people having fibre broadband available, fewer than half to British internet consumers have taken up the option, and one of the main barriers to uptake was the thought that it would be a huge inconvenience to change.

Internet service providers do themselves few favours on this score. While there are ads for superfast broadband, with mesh disks which will mean that no matter where you are in the house your wifi will blow your socks off people aren’t making a bee-line to become new customers.

There is more than just the perceived hassle of migrating. When we sign up to a contract it usually comes with a year, 18 month, or two year minimum contract. Breaking the contract will mean having to pay off a fee, get a new landline, cancel a bunch of stuff, sign up to a new bunch of stuff, replace cookies and saved sign-ins, and lose all your old saved shows. All that fuss to save a few pounds a month doesn’t seem worth it, does it? Read more

Briant Security Systems

Briant Security Systems are here to help you keep your home & business a safe, comfortable place to live or work.

As part of Briant Communications, our engineers and installers have accrued many years’ experience fitting a range of electronic and entertainment systems throughout the south east of England, and those electronics often included CCTV, intruder alarms and fire safety equipment.

Briant Security Systems primarily take advantage of the latest Smart Home technology in order to be able to give you an easier to manage, controllable, integrated home security system which is far superior to the traditional ‘box on the wall’ deterrent we’re currently used to seeing. Read more

Switching Over To Fibre? Myths & Realities

Ofcom suggest that as many as 94% of British homes could take advantage of fibre broadband, however, only 45% of us have taken advantage of superfast internet. What are the advantages of switching from cable to fibre optic data transfer, and what are the stumbling blocks preventing people from taking up fibre?

A recent Which? survey found that 41% of internet users said they weren’t considering moving over to fibre because they were currently happy with the speeds they were getting. 20% said they didn’t use the internet enough to make it worth while changing provider or switching their contract.

While it’s true that the average speed currently provided via metal cable, around 12Mbps, is quite sufficient for browsing, using social media and streaming a movie, as data use increases both in individual homes and generally throughout the population, those speeds won’t be sustainable with the current infrastructure and won’t be sufficient for the average homeowner.

As media continues to be delivered by Earth based technology (cable & transmitter to antenna) the metal cable infrastructure cannot keep up with the amount of data which needs to be delivered as we continue to increasingly inhabit the internet. As our demand for more data, delivered more reliably increases every year the current infrastructure will increasingly find it hard to cope. However, fibre is more than capable of taking over and delivering what is required. Read more

Smart Sensors Offer So Much More Than Security

sensors. alarms, automation, security, We talk a lot about “Home Automation” and then go on to speak about how we can control our home environment via our apps, computer, control panel or voice, but surely that’s negating the entire ethos of ‘Automated’? For a full automated home you need sensors. With a little time and patience when setting up you can let your sensors take care of many of the mundane tasks which you do every day. Tie them in with Smart or If This Then That (IFTTT) devices then the simplicity and elegance of a fully automated home is on the horizon.

There are a range of different sensors which detect one, several, or many of the following:

  • Temperature
  • Light
  • Moisture
  • Movement
  • Other specific Smart devices
  • Fire, smoke, and carbon monoxide

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Improving Security In Schools & Colleges

burglar alarms, cctv systemsSecurity in environments where children, young adults and the vulnerable is of paramount importance. Of course we in Britain face nothing like the security issues that our friends in the USA have, but yet it remains important that people in positions of responsibility over the young and those in need of additional consideration are able to secure their premises here in the UK.

Security systems in schools don’t only protect the children, school estates are often victim to vandalism and burglary while teachers and the children under their supervision can be victims of violence and accusations of malpractice, assault or violence.

The problem lies with the expectation of privacy in such an environment. There’s a misconception that the faces of children can’t be filmed in public without their consent and people think this extends to school property. The reality is that in spaces such as classrooms, hallways and corridors there is no reasonable ‘expectation of privacy’ so you could put cameras up, however, teachers and pupils don’t appreciate having cameras trained on them all day. Unfortunately, it’s in the classroom where misbehaviour occurs and recorded footage proving who was at fault would be beneficial. Read more

What Are The Pros & Cons Of Professional Vs DIY Home Security Systems?

home security, security, business security, DIY, burglar alarm, intruder alarmRecent surveys have revealed that in up to 28% of broadband users have an active internet based security system, 24% also take advantage of a monitoring service. Most of these people are homeowners with children. And many of these people have chosen to go down the DIY path when it comes to installation.

The message put out by the manufacturers including Ring, Hive, Nest, et cetera is being picked up the consumer as a further 52% report as being “highly likely” to purchase a security system of their own, and install it themselves.

So what are the pros and cons of DIY burglar alarm and security system installations versus a professional installation service?

The first consideration is naturally the cost. Buying a system that you can take straight out of the box and put up yourself is clearly going to be cheaper than buying a system and then paying a professional to mount it for you.

Then there is the convenience. If you’re a DIYer and you have the skills and tools required you can buy a home security system, get it home, wire it in and have it up and running in an afternoon. You don’t have to make an appointment for someone to come and see your property, recommend a system, order it, and then come back and install the product. Read more