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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Worried about the safety of seniors home alone?

Grandpa on alert

 Invest in these digital security systems

 Eight murders targeting the elderly in less than four months was the last straw for Ranjeet Pandit, a computer engineer who resides in Pune. Pandit works in Pune while his 70-year-old mother lives alone in Mumbai. "What worried me most was the fact that these murders were all committed by people known to the deceased, like the maid or the security guard. The only way to guard against such criminals was to turn to digital security," says Pandit, who immediately started his search for the perfect security gadgets to fortify his mothers' home in Mumbai. "I was actually surprised as to how easy and inexpensive the whole process has become," says Pandit.
    Today, there are a lot of easily installable and easy-to-use security gadgets in the market. At the same time, of course, there are a lot of counterfeit gadgets and tools around too, so it's a good idea to shop around and check reviews. Some of the known names currently in home security include the likes of Godrej, Zicom, Aftek, ADT and Honeywell. And all of them come with their own brands of the following security systems.
Video door phone
The first step towards a secure home is probably the video-door phone. Video-door phones work as an electronic version of the good old peep-hole. This tiny piece of gadget sits at the door and gives you a television-like interface that lets you see outside the door and interact with them before letting them in. Therefore, it's a great idea for elderly couples who live alone in the city. The best part is that the system is not too expensive. In fact you could easily install a basic level video-door phone for as little as Rs 7,000.
Another inexpensive but effective tool that could beef up your security are sensors or alarms. The best in the market are burglar alarms, motion sensors, fire alarms and glass-break sensors. The basic
versions come in the range of Rs 5,000 odd each. Most versions are sophisticated equipment which let you feed emergency numbers of friends and family into the memory and can also be hooked up to phone lines. This way, in case of a break-in or mishap, the system will convey the alarms to the security guards downstairs and even to the mobile numbers of your trusted people via SMS.
IP camera
Wired-up motion sensors and burglar alarms are great, but they still don't solve the problem of known criminals such as the maid or the security guard. The ideal solution is an IP-based camera that delivers live feed from within the house over the internet. It's basically like the regular web camera, except that it has its own web address, so it connects directly to the internet and broadcasts the scene under its radar on the web. "This is one equipment that has finally brought me some peace of mind," says Pandit, "with the IP cam, I can check on my mom via my laptop and in case of some problem, I can quickly call on our neighbours to physically check on her." The only glitch with installing this system is it can be slightly expensive — the
whole set-up comes for a minimum of Rs 15,000.
Surveillance cameras
In case you don't want to spend on an IP camera, you can go for its younger brother — the regular surveillance camera. The basic version can come for as little as Rs 4,000. And this is just like a regular camera which will continuously record all the going-ons in the house.
Monitored security
Finally, you also have an option of a monitored security system from companies such as ADT and Napco. These systems are basically a set of alarms and sensors connected to a central monitoring system — manned by a team of security and safety professionals. So, say, a criminal breaks into your house, it will immediately set off an automatic alarm and send a signal to the monitoring centre of the security company. It would call the security agencies, the police as well as the numbers of friends and relatives registered during installation. Needless to say, these systems are pretty expensive and require you to pay a monthly fee for round-the-clock monitoring. However it's a worthy investment for peace of mind, don't you think?

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