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

Smart Advantages Make Life Easier For People With Disabilities.

As we age we have to accept that we generally start to lose our faculties. It’s natural and accepted that our hearing will go, our eyesight will become weak and our cognitive skills will also be less sharp from our middle age onwards, compared to our youth. Spectacles and hearing aids are no longer the cumbersome, unattractive ‘utility over aesthetic’ devices they once were. Now they not only serve their primary function of helping your see and hear, they look stylish (or are virtually invisible) and actively improve on what nature gave us. 

My case in point here is Smart hearing aids and Smart glasses. I recently went to stay with family and noticed my uncle has Smart hearing aids. I’m not certain he’s got the hang of them yet as he was watching TV very low and told us off for talking too loud while we were watching England snatch victory from certain defeat at the hands of New Zealand. Read more

Simple, Effective Security For Small Business

Not long ago a business’ security relied on secure windows and shutters, a large safe sturdy gates and a regular beat police officer making their rounds, keeping an eye on everything.

And of course crime was rife in those days. Don’t let anyone ever fool you that ‘back in my day you could leave your door unlocked all night and nobody would break in!’ Because the fact is that back in those days ordinary people had nothing of value to steal. The temptation for criminals and opportunists to steal from businesses and banks on the other hand was everywhere.

Bank robberies and larceny from shops, trains, security vans and businesses has largely gone by the wayside too. Staff are no longer paid in cash so there’s no point doing a wages snatch and banks do all their business electronically, meaning that there is only a couple of thousand pounds float in cash on site at any point during the day. Thanks to improved security and the low take on offer it’s not worth the risk of breaking into a bank or shop any longer if cash is what you’re looking for. Read more

Don’t Keep Changing Your Password To Keep It Safe

Child watching television in a lounge filled with furniture.We mentioned in a previous post that when security is too complex it has the unintended consequence of becoming less secure as people are forced to write down passwords, access codes and other ‘memorable’ details which it would be impossible for other people to guess but you should have memorised.

And now, finally, Microsoft has decided that regularly changing passwords is no longer required for their products which had previously still clung to the notion that getting rid of a perfectly good secure password for another password which you’ll have to remember is outdated. Of course this doesn’t give me back access to accounts which I’ve changed passwords for, promptly forgotten and, not having prepared for such an event properly, lost access to the tool, but at least it won’t happen again!

With the advent of password management tools it’s no longer necessary for our human brains to recall long, complex codes which include upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters. Instead we can get technology to do it for us, meaning that we can make any networked device incredibly secure. Having to arbitrarily change these passwords every few months would mean having to needlessly change a raft of different log in details. Read more

Making Homes Safer, More Efficient And More Secure With Smart Home Technology

When we talk about Smart Home Solutions it’s usually put in terms of home entertainments and making it easier to control media. What is often overlooked is the ‘Home’ aspect of the technology. We’re dazzled with the fun and exciting developments, but often overlook the incredible opportunities ‘domotics’ are offering.

Domotics is the word coined to refer to domestic robotics. These are the devices which are smart, but are related to the smooth, efficient, comfortable running of the home rather than home entertainments. Domotic devices include heating controls, smart lights, air conditioning, blinds, shutters and access control.

These devices don’t leap out as being the most exciting items on your home’s complement of goods, but in terms of function, labour saving and economy, they’re the stand-outs that are going to save you enough money to invest in the fun stuff. Bear in mind that anything which saves you money is therefore reducing energy consumption, which means that you’re saving the environment too, which are all good arguments to look into domotic

Smart Home systems. A cosy, low cost, low labour home? Sign me up! Read more

If You’ve Ever Been Burgled, You Never Forget The Feeling

home security, break in, burglary, robbery
Home Looks Secure At First, But Is It?

As soon as you walk through the door you realise there’s something amiss. It just doesn’t feel right. There’s an odd draft and it’s much colder than it normally is.

That’s your first clue. Then you notice the sound. Outdoor sounds are a little too loud and the hairs on the back of your neck and on your arms start to prickle.

If you’ve ever been the victim of a break in, you’ll know the feeling. You just know when someone’s been in your house. Even before you see the missing items and the mess they left after ransacking your property you get a feeling. And that feeling doesn’t go away quickly, it’s only added to by the feeling of violation you have knowing some stranger has had their hands all over your things. Selecting the goods they think they’ll be able to flog on quickly; electronics, jewellery, cash and cards, keys, tools, and whatever else they can carry away quickly.

Once It’s Happened To You, You Don’t Want To Get Burgled Again

Knowing that your life has been evaluated, and that there’s every chance that the burglar will be back if they saw something they liked that they couldn’t carry off, or that they will wait for you to replace your things and come back for a second sweep makes it hard to sleep at night, and hard to relax the rest of the time. So what can you do to improve your security measures, and stop them coming back if they’ve invaded your home before?

Read more

DIY HiFi, How And Why?

DIY is one of the UK’s favourite pass-times. Last year the DIY industry was worth £36,000,000,0000 and caused 25,763 injuries requiring medical attention between 2014 and 2017.

I’m sure if you really looked into it you could find out how much of that £36bn was spent on repairing their own mistakes, and replacing stuff that they had broken. Look deeper still and you can probably find how much was spent getting a professional in after a disastrous weekend of failed home improvement.

DIY ranges from building a lean-to, putting together flat-pack furniture, decorating or installing home entertainment systems and the like. For the most part these kinds of jobs are easy enough, don’t require any specialist tools besides pliers, screwdrivers and a drill. I could write for ages about the guy who removed all the floors and load bearing walls out for reasons known only to himself, or the one who began burrowing under his home, then his neighbours’ eventually undermining several properties down his street over a period of years.

DIY Is Often More Expensive Than Hiring Professionals

Instead we’ll stick to covering the mistakes and mishaps that can happen when you’re installing your own home entertainment systems. These mistakes can prove costly, and incredibly inconvenient if you have to replace expensive TV or hi-fi equipment when you break it. Others, while not needing a pricey fix, can be really irritating if you get them wrong.

Cabling. Even speakers, routers, and other devices named ‘wireless’ still need power cables, so the cliché runs as true for them as it does for traditional cabled equipment, you can always cut it shorter, never longer. Always buy and fit more cable than you think you’re going to need because you’ll always want to move things around, change your mind about positioning, find the wire has to go around something, and no matter how good your wire is, it never ever stretches. Once your speaker is in position there’s nothing as irritating as pulling it out to adjust it and the cable comes out, and then slips back down behind the bookcase you’ve put it on!

On the subject of cabling; ID your ends! Once you start to get into a multichannel system with amps, DVD players, CD players, decoders, computers, HDTVs etc you’re going to find that you have A LOT of cable and they’re all going to start looking very similar. If you haven’t identified the ends of each cable you’re going to have to spend a lot of time and trouble tracing each line from one end to the other, scrabbling around behind furniture, untying and untwisting knotted wires… All you needed to do was stick a label made of masking tape to the end and all your woes would have been solved. Read more

DIY Hi-Fi, WiFi And Home Entertainment Pitfalls

DIY is one of the UK’s favourite pass-times. Last year the DIY industry was worth £36,000,000,0000 and caused 25,763 injuries requiring medical attention between 2014 and 2017.

I’m sure if you really looked into it you could find out how much of that £36bn was spent on repairing their own mistakes, and replacing stuff that they had broken. Look deeper still and you can probably find how much was spent getting a professional in after a disastrous weekend of failed home improvement.

DIY ranges from building a lean-to, putting together flatpack furniture, decorating or installing home entertainment systems and the like. For the most part these kinds of jobs are easy enough, don’t require any specialist tools besides pliers, screwdrivers and a drill. I could write for ages about the guy who removed all the floors and load bearing walls out for reasons known only to himself, or the one who began burrowing under his home, then his neighbours’ eventually undermining several properties down his street over the period of several years. Read more

What’s The Story With Google’s Assistant?

If you have an android phone you may have already been interfacing with some iteration of Google’s Assistant for several years. If you’ve ever been too busy to use your hands, but needed information and said “OK Google, how do I get to Sainsbury’s?” or said “Hey Google, show me pictures of kittens” (and who hasn’t!?) then you’re already an experienced Google Assistant user.

Because that’s all it takes. Say “OK” or “Hey Google” and it starts listening for instructions. Google’s language analysis is now well advanced over its competitors and can follow several complex linguistic challenges which any child could understand, but computers really struggle with.

Linguistic challenges include context. Google’s Assistant can ‘turn off the light’, which seems innocuous, but other smart assistants will need to be informed which specific light you mean. Google’s application can also follow a string of instructions, for example ‘OK Google, turn off the lights and put the heating on too’ contains ‘off’ ‘on’ and the word ‘too’ which could easily be mistaken for the number 2. According to machine learning, this is an incredibly hard thing for a computer to understand, and Google’s assistant seems to have cracked it more elegantly than other devices on the market, such as Alexa or Echo.

As well as contextual understanding, it also allows you to have an ongoing conversation, so you don’t have to use the ‘Hotword’ (the spoken trigger that starts these devices listening) every time you want to have the assistant do something. It also recognises different voices, which is great for access to shopping, games and parental controls over adult content. Read more

Communal Fibre TV System – Hindhead

When Thakeham, a local developer who specialises in high-quality new homes across Sussex, Hampshire, and Surrey, approached Briant Communications in 2013, they had a vision of building a beautiful development in a beautiful location in Hindhead, Surrey.

One issue surrounding Thakeham, along with numerous high-quality specialist builders, is how to keep the beautiful development, remain beautiful when people move in, and bring with them the day-to-day items that can distract from the ascetics of such developments.

One key thought from the management at Thakeham was how do we ensure that the site is not distracted from when residents install their Aerials and Sky/Satellite dishes when they move in, without trying to micro-manage the site and the residents, telling them: “you can’t do this. you can’t do that”.

We sat down with them, looked at architectural drawings for services that were being implemented within the walkways and roads of the site and introduced them to a Communal Fibre TV System.

This Communal Fibre TV System would run alongside all the services that would be introduced into each home as per normal but in an additional duct.

From a single Aerial and Satellite array, between 1 and 10,000 properties can be connected to the Communal Fibre TV System, therefore allowing everyone from the site the ability to connect to a completed TV system on the day they move in. Therefore managing the ascetics of the site, and offering another service to their purchasers, and giving Thakeham yet another USP (unique selling point) over their competition.

Services that were added to the Communal Fibre TV System at Hindhead for Thakeham were Freeview, FM, and DAB (Radio services both Analogue and Digital) and Satellite, which gave access to Sky and Freesat. The set up that Thakeham decided for was for the Lounge and Master Bedroom to have Freeview, FM/DAB and Sky Plus (2 Feeds) each and then all other Bedrooms and Kitchens to have Freeview, but with the ability for this to be completely customisable by the purchaser once they moved in.

Briant Communications in the autumn of 2015 ensured the site was completed, with all 20 properties within the Hindhead site connected to the Communal Fibre TV System, with the specifications that Thakeham and their architects set.

Are you a developer or architect that has these issues affecting you next development? We offer a free consultation on all Communal TV Systems. Please contact the office on 01273 465377 or contact us via email on enquiries@briantcomms.com