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Posted on: 14/01/11

Modern day home monitoring

Traditionally, monitoring your home was done by connecting a burglar alarm to a manned alarm receiving centre.  In the event of an alarm, a signal was sent over the phone line to the centre where someone could pick up the alarm activation and call the home owner to alert them to the problem at their home. 

The problem with this method is two-fold.  Firstly, there is an obvious expense incurred from running a manned response centre, and these costs are inevitably passed onto the consumer.  Secondly, connecting to the alarm centre over the phone line means that whenever there is an alarm event, the home owner has to pay for the phone call the alarm initiates.  This may not sound a lot but if you have a lot of false alarms then the phone bill will quickly rack up.  In addition, the communication only occurs when something has triggered the alarm, it’s not feasible for the phone line to be open all the time to allow for a constant flow of data from the sensors in the home to the alarm receiving centre, so the user will only have access to information about events that have actually triggered the alarm when it is set.  

But with improvements in technology and in particular the fact that residential broadband is virtually ubiquitous, home monitoring companies can now offer much more for much less. 

By connecting a burglar alarm to the internet via a broadband connection the home owner can cut out the middle man (the alarm receiving centre) altogether, and in doing so save money.  The reason the alarm receiving centre is no longer required is because all of the monitoring services can be managed automatically from a monitoring web platform, so essentially all of the information is processed over the Internet.  This is the method of home monitoring utilised by Halo.  This way when an alarm is triggered at the home, instead of the manned response an SMS text message, email or automated phone call can be sent out to inform the home owner.

Another crucial advantage of having an alarm system that connects via broadband rather than through a phone line is that the connection is permanently open, meaning that information from the alarm and it’s sensors can be constantly streamed to the monitoring platform even when the alarm has not been set and triggered.  From here it can be presented to the user in the form of an online account where the user can view real time activity from their home.  Broadband enables the user to login to their account through a single, simple web interface at any time to see live data from the home, from anywhere with an Internet connection, whether that be at home on on the go via a smartphone. 

What Halo allows users to do is monitor their home from anywhere in the world.  The real time information available means that a standard burglar alarm system can become a system for monitoring elderly relatives at home, as all movement can be recorded and customizable alerts set up based on user preferences, for example, an SMS can be sent if no activity is recorded between 8am and 10am.

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