For years we have been hearing trickles and rumors about how various ISPs were planning on integrating digital security into their broadband offerings. We were mystified at the time, as it did not necessarily seem like a very logical leap compared to the jump between DSL to digital cable or digital cable to VoIP provider; those moves were to counter intrusion into previously sheltered markets and to compete for a new piece of a bigger pie. So, how does broadband help bring about the promise of a better tomorrow when it comes to home security? Let’s look at what companies like Comcast have to offer and use that as a basis to find out…
Sensors Here, Sensors There, Sensors Everywhere
Long since a staple of home security systems, sensors on doors and windows will now take on additional functionality. Now the devices are no longer limited to detecting whether they are on or off and reporting whenever an unexpected change happens, now they digital age brings with it some key advantages including silent alarms, activating lighting to get good video of intruders, directing cameras and other devices towards the intrusion. The net result would be a more intelligent utilization of resources, but also additional discretion.
Imagine a situation that takes place in two houses: a teenager escapes their room at night for an evening of fun on the town. In House A an antiquated alarm system automatically sounds the alarm and sooner or later the teenager either learns to act out in other ways or how to circumvent locks, and neither of these are great outcomes. Especially when the alarm automatically summons emergency response personnel that will want to charge a fee for a false alarm.
House B has an intelligent alarm system backed by broadband that lets an adult lock the house at night and monitor each window and door remotely. If the teenager were to leave, the alarm would not instantly summon assistance but rather allow someone with some decision making power a window in which to respond. In short, the intelligence offered by sensors backed up by data is going to bring about an entirely new era of discrete security.
Motion sensors and other hardware may also be set to record data either remotely or locally, but the ways in which that data can and will be used are not fully explored at this time. There are obvious arguments that having cameras start monitoring or intensify frequency/data rates of monitoring when motion detectors or other sensors trigger them is a great start, as is turning on lights to get images useful for police and prosecutors.
Remotes & Scheduling
In a situation outlined above, there would be almost no chance at all that the adult(s) of House A would be able to remotely engage the alarm system. If gone, the residents of House A will rely on the teenager not leaving or sneaking out, or the house would go unprotected. While each household security system that is backed by broadband tends to have its own tablet-like master control panel, the real future may be in remote access via Android, iOS, and other web-capable devices.
Intelligence offered by computer systems may also allow for some better automation as well. For example, it may be less important for a house record full HD 24/7 on all cameras during the overnight when everyone is sleeping, but it would probably be wise to be on full alert when everyone is working or at school. The potential ability to modify these settings remotely via the web or an app is a great way to manage security remotely, and it is a great way to use broadband as well.
Not only is security a concern for the modern household, but so is intelligent use of natural resources. In an age when the term smart-grid is part of the average lexicon, the remote capabilities and intelligent management of an entire home may bleed over to energy consumption as well. While there are already automated systems that turn on lights at specific times, etc., the future of energy management may be tied closely with broadband in much the same way as home security is. In fact, the three forces could be intertwined with unique twists such as the activation of a light or computer by a particularly stealthy sneak giving their position away with nothing more than an unexpected blip on the power consumption monitor.