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2017-12-27 / Featured / Real Estate

Home security systems get sophisticated, less expensive

BY RICH GRISET STAFF WRITER


Richmond Alarm’s general manager, Corey Boggs, and CEO Brian Vanderheyden at the company’s offices in Midlothian, above. 
ASH DANIEL Richmond Alarm’s general manager, Corey Boggs, and CEO Brian Vanderheyden at the company’s offices in Midlothian, above. ASH DANIEL Your doorbell rings. Miles away, you receive a notification on your smartphone. Engaging the camera on your front porch via app, you see that UPS has finally delivered that package you’ve been waiting for. You text your neighbor, who puts the package in your foyer after you unlock your front door through an app. Now, your family’s Christmas presents are safe.

As technology continues to invade all aspects of our daily lives, scenarios like this one are becoming increasingly common for homeowners. It’s a change that Midlothian’s Richmond Alarm has witnessed firsthand. Founded in 1947, the third-generation business handles both commercial and residential security systems, and has operated its own 24-hour security monitoring center since the 1970s.


Home security is increasingly high-tech, with customers being able to control alarms and cameras via smartphone, and the use of touch-screen interfaces, left, at home. Home security is increasingly high-tech, with customers being able to control alarms and cameras via smartphone, and the use of touch-screen interfaces, left, at home. “The [security system wall] interfaces are moving to touch-screen interfaces,” explains Corey Boggs, Richmond Alarm’s general manager. “It’s widely accepted. People use [security systems] every day on their phones.”

Boggs, whose grandfather founded Richmond Alarm, says it’s now standard for homeowners to control door locks, thermostats, cameras, lights and garage doors via smartphone or other wireless device. These security systems can be programmed to engage on a set schedule or depend on the physical location of a smartphone. Should a homeowner drive away without remembering to set an alarm, the system can be set to kick in automatically when the smartphone is far enough away.

While Boggs says do-it-yourself security systems have their place, he says professionally installed and monitored systems are usually best.

Bill Conner, area general manager for Richmond’s ADT office, says affordability has played a large role in the shift toward more high-tech security systems.

“The pricing for a lot of home automation devices is not as expensive as it used to be, especially with the cameras,” Conner says. “Those cameras used to cost a lot, and today we sell packages for hundreds of dollars where you can get multiple cameras.”

Conner says ADT’s home automation system, Pulse, has become increasingly popular over the years. More than two million ADT customers currently use Pulse, which can be customized with a variety of packages from the company.

“We want to see what your needs are, because every single person’s lifestyle is different,” Conner says.

Chris Ford, owner of Alarm Systems of Richmond in Midlothian, says that while today’s wireless systems are reliable, they require batteries where previous hardwired systems didn’t. Ford also warns against allowing a security provider to install the temperature control portion of these automation packages without contacting an HVAC provider. “It’s a mistake, in my opinion, to have the security system control your heat pump,” Ford says. “Lots of heat pumps have been destroyed.”

Ford encourages homeowners to have outdoor sirens installed to alert neighbors of intruders, fire or carbon monoxide. He adds that while many people get security systems to ward off intruders, fire and carbon monoxide alarms are probably more valuable.

For Boggs, there’s no question about the value of these systems.

“Security is super important,” he says. “It can literally mean life and death.” ¦

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