VOIP & Your Alarm

VOIP graphic.

What You Need to Know About VOIP

Are your phone lines being changed to VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol)? If so, please call us first.

Frontier recently sent a letter to many California residents informing them they are switching their phone lines to internet technology, otherwise known as VOIP. If you received this letter, please be sure to contact us right away so we can get you scheduled for a reliable communication method for your security system.

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) is becoming increasingly popular as telephone companies offer lowered rates and incentives to clients who switch over from their analog phone service. However, VOIP does not provide a reliable connection for your alarm system and could disrupt or drop emergency signals.

We can provide a better, more reliable, primary communication method for your alarm system. Please let us know before your phone service is switched to VOIP, so we can install a new alarm connection right away.

Why is VOIP not reliable for alarm systems? There are multiple issues that arise when a security system is placed on a VOIP phone system:

  1. VOIP requires continuous power to run. If you have a complete power loss, you will not be able to use your phone and your alarm system will not be able to send signals to the central station.
  2. Alarm systems require consistent and precise frequency in their communication signals in order to communicate effectively. VOIP is a service which uses the internet to mimic phone lines and is susceptible to losing packets of data, frequency shifts, and data errors, all of which can interfere with the alarm systems ability to call out to the monitoring station. VOIP systems send packets of data over the internet and there are times when these data packets are out of order or get sent to routes which they weren't destined for. This data loss issue is fine during the occasional phone call between two people talking, but it can be life-threatening when an alarm system is not correctly sending fire, burglary, panic, or medical emergency signals.
  3. Businessman annoyed by telephone.

  4. In order for VOIP phone service to run efficiently over the internet, audible analog dialogue is converted to digital data for transmission and then compressed so it can be sent over limited bandwidth. On the other end of the signal, the information is then decompressed and re-interpreted. This compression and decompression process is where the alarm signals can be lost or altered. When this occurs during a phone call between two people, the sound may come across as slightly garbled or it may cut out for a second. During an alarm signal transmission, however, losing just one digit of this communication may cause the entire signal to become unintelligible.
  5. Many VOIP providers that first sell themselves on their large amounts of bandwidth and ability to not lose packets of information, have later changed their digital platforms or outsourced certain areas to less adequate providers later. Even when your alarm system appears to be communicating well when first tested, there is no way to guarantee a continuous high level of VOIP service.
  6. VOIP phone systems are more prone to user errors, for example, when someone accidentally unplugs or trips over a cable which disconnects your internet service - this would cause an immediate loss of communication for your alarm system.
  7. Internet phone service can be prone to outages that can last minutes or sometimes hours. If you're moving your traditional analog phone service to VOIP, and there is an emergency, you would still be able to call 911 by using your cell phone. In the same way, alarm systems using VOIP should also have another alternate way to call out which is more reliable.
  8. Even if your alarm system sends signals perfectly over a VOIP phone line during testing, that connection is still susceptible to issues from increased internet traffic, internet hops, lag time, and other concerns which can garble the connection, drop signals, and result in a loss of communication to your security system.

There are solutions readily available to keep your monitoring connection running smoothly if you are moving to a VOIP phone system. Please call us as soon as you know you will be making this change so we can assist you.

Two young boys share a phone call over tin can and string telephones.
Safety Tips

California Holiday Safety.

Staying Safe During the Holidays

    As you prepare for a season full of giving, thieves are primed for their time of taking. Increased crime is as common as ugly Christmas sweaters during the holiday season, but you don't have to be a victim. Arm yourself with the knowledge of typical holiday crimes so you can protect yourself.

  2. Criminals are looking for people who are distracted, focused on shopping, talking or texting on the phone, and generally lost in the busyness of the holiday season. The number one tip that applies to almost all of your shopping expeditions is: Stay alert and aware of your surroundings. If you do this one thing, most criminals won't see you as an easy target and will move on to someone else. Here are a few other thoughts on shopping this season to keep you safe:

    • Avoid storing valuables and shopping bags in your car where they are visible to passersby. Keep them locked securely in your trunk or hidden.

    • Temecula car thief.
    • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash; use a credit card whenever possible
    • Use cash machines that are in well-lit busy areas or bank foyers - and always cover the keypad when inputting your pin number into an ATM machine.
    • Know the most common ATM scams and don't use a machine if you think something isn't quite right with it. You can read this Snopes.com article about imitation ATM facades and also this piece from Investopedia.com if you want an added education on all the ATM scams lurking out there.

  4. During December, it is more common to break into homes during the day than at night - so remember to arm your security system any time you leave your home.

    Watch out for thieves who roam around neighborhoods looking for unattended packages on doorsteps to swipe. Consider having a front home camera or doorbell camera installed which will take video clips of visitors.

    This problem is so pervasive, if you search "package thief" on YouTube, there are around 90,000 results. One person even decided to make a compilation video to show the different types of package thieves out there:

    Here are some other home holiday safety tips:

    • Ask a trusted neighbor to accept packages on your behalf when you can't be home.
    • When traveling, keep your home looking occupied. Have someone stop by to pick up your mail, packages, and newspapers while you're away. Set your lighting to turn on and off on your smart home system at various times throughout the evenings to give the illusion that someone is home.
    • Do not place the boxes for expensive gifts such as TV's, stereos, and DVD players outside your home after Christmas. Burglars view this as an advertisement for a home with valuable contents inside.

    Criminals will do their best to take advantage of a busy season that gives them plenty of opportunity for theft. By staying alert and implementing some safety measures, you could stop them in their tracks and possibly even help the police capture some of these Christmas crooks.

    Southern California santa pug caught by police.

    Stay tuned for more safety tips brought to you by Central Security Services.

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Safety Tips

Girl reading book alone in Murrieta, California home.

Home Alone? How to Keep Your Kids Safe

Kids are back in school this month leaving many parents scrambling to meet new after school activity schedule demands. Parents with multiple children are finding this an increasing challenge. How can Sarah get to soccer practice while Junior finishes his science project at home? Scenarios like this leave parents asking themselves, "Is Junior old enough now to stay home alone?"

This used to be a working parents issue, but with children now enrolled in multiple after school activities, it's becoming common for all families. The good news is that modern technology is keeping up with our family needs and doing more for us now to keep our kids safe than ever before.

With this being a prevalent concern for most modern families, we decided to make this blog topic a two part series, offering current technology solutions for parents. Here are five solutions to problems parents face when their kids are home alone:

Mobile phone shows video of kids arriving home to their Temecula, California home.

  1. Stay close when you're far away.
  2. Parents who monitor their security systems through their smartphones feel closer to their kids when they can't be there. They know when their kids arrive home safely because their phone alerts them when their child disarms the alarm system. If they have a camera system, they can also see video of their children, an extra visual that is especially reassuring. If you still need to add this feature to your security system, simply call us to inquire about our Mobile Access upgrade.

  3. Help kids when they forget their key.
  4. Even the most responsible kid will have that bad day when he loses his house key. For these moments, parents should have a back-up plan in place. Leaving an extra house key under the mat is risky, so many parents ask a neighbor to hold on to an extra key. An even better solution would be to get automated locks. Did Junior text that he can't get in the house? You can unlock the door for him from your smartphone within seconds, all while still cheering Scotty at football practice.

    Boy in Murrieta, California does homework at home.

  5. Make sure he's doing his homework.
  6. One of the challenges of not being there is that it's hard to make sure your kid is getting his homework done. Many parents have found that a high tech solution to this problem is to set up an indoor IP camera and direct it at the family homework station. These cameras connect to an app in your smartphone so you can check on your child to make he's at the homework station or dining table, getting down to business. Ask us for a camera that ties in with your current security system and we can add it to your existing smartphone app.

  7. Make strangers believe you're home
  8. Don't open the door to strangers. Don't tell someone who knocks on the door that your parents aren't home. These are the usually the first two instructions we give our kids when they start staying home alone. Now you can take complete control over the front door situation by installing a doorbell camera. A stranger is knocking on the door while your kid is home alone? Using the Smart Alert Doorbell Camera, you can talk with the unexpected visitor in real time and give the illusion that you're home. Your child doesn't need to answer the door at all.

    Prescription drugs in cabinet at Lake Arrowhead home.

  9. What are your kids getting into when you're not there?
  10. Do you remember what you did when your parents first left you home alone? For many kids, it becomes a scavenger hunt to explore and discover all of the mysterious nooks and crannies of your home. Sometimes this is harmless, like when they're searching for hidden Christmas presents. Other times it's downright dangerous. For instance, if they're looking through prescription drugs in the medicine cabinet or finding the hidden key to your gun safe. You can secure these areas in your home with alarm sensors that will alert you immediately of a child trespasser. You can even put sensors on your Christmas present closet!

    Keeping kids safe is always the first and most important thing on a parent's mind. It's good to know that in 2016, we have more resources than ever to help us with this task. Keep an eye out for next month's blog which offers five additional ways your security system can keep your child safe and make it easier for everyone when they need to stay home alone.

    Stay tuned for more safety tips brought to you by Central Security Services.

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Safety Tips

Temecula kids going trick-or-treating.

More Ways to Keep Your Kids Safe

What better time to further discuss keeping kids safe than on Halloween? This very holiday addresses all the things that go bump in the night and scare children when they're home alone, and it doesn't take a creepy costume to remind parents the importance of helping their kids feel protected - this is something we worry about constantly. To stave off the heebie jeebies of Halloween, you can read five additional ways your security system can help keep your children safe and secure:

  1. Know when your child leaves home
  2. It's reassuring to know your children arrived home safely from school, but how can you be sure they won't leave again? Set your alarm system up to send you alerts on your phone so you know when the system is armed and disarmed, and tell your children to re-arm the security system when they first get home. This way, if they leave the house, the disarmed security system will send you an automatic alert.

  3. Communicate easily during an alarm event
  4. Consider getting an alarm panel with a 2-way voice feature that allows both you and your monitoring center to listen in and communicate with anyone at home during alarm activations. Having this feature gives your children extra reassurance when they're home alone that someone is there watching out for them, especially during a stressful event like an alarm trigger.

    Murrieta, California home lit up at night.

  5. 'Welcome home' lighting
  6. The older your children are, the busier they seem to be. If you have children in carpools with other parents or teens who drive, there may be nights when they arrive home after dark by themselves. They don't have to arrive home to a dark uninviting house. Set your home automation lights to turn on as the dusk sets, which at this time of the year is getting earlier and earlier. Your child can come home feeling safe as they enter a warm well-lit home.

  7. Codeless entry for kids
  8. Remembering a code can be stressful for some kids, especially when they hear the countdown and see they have only seconds left to enter their code before an alarm siren sounds off. If this sounds like your child, consider getting him a keyfob to turn the alarm system off or set his smartphone up with security system access for easy entry once he arrives home.

    Temecula toddler leaving through door.

  9. Know if your child is sneaking out
  10. Whether you have toddlers or teens, it's a good idea to keep the chime on your security system. You can't keep your eye on everything at all times and the door/window chime feature of your alarm system is a great auditory alert that someone is leaving or entering the house. Every movie with teens seems to have a scene in which someone is sneaking out the second story window to meet their friends for a forbidden party. Also, toddlers can reach milestones when we least expect it. An alarm chime could be the very thing that helps you catch your toddler as she figures out how to open the back door, toddling out to explore the outdoors without you.

    In addition to the chime feature, you can also set up alerts on your smartphone to let you know when certain areas of the home have been breached. This is an added benefit in those moments when you can't be home.

    As we get ready to take our kids out among spooky costumes and creepy decorations, it's helpful to know that we have security system advantages that can keep our kids feeling safe and protected today and all year long.

    Stay tuned for more safety tips brought to you by Central Security Services.

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Safety Tips

Central Security Services' Smart Alert Doorbell Camera

Who's That Knocking On Your Door?

Now you can always know the answer to that question, whether you're home or on family vacation three states away. Answer your door from anywhere you are with the new Smart Alert Doorbell Camera. It allows you to communicate in real time with any new visitors using a live video and audio feed sent straight to your smartphone.

We've received many recent requests for this newest security feature and are excited to now be able to offer this to our Central Security Services customers! The Smart Alert Doorbell Camera works seamlessly with most of our client's existing security and smart home systems. It also has all of the features so many of you have been asking for:

  • Video clips recorded of every front door visitor.
  • Clear night vision HD camera.
  • 2 way live communication with visitors from anywhere you are.
  • Full 180° view from your doorbell camera.
  • Extreme weather resistance: works from -40° to 140° F.

  • How it works:

    When a visitor arrives at your front door, your Smart Alert Doorbell Camera will send an immediate alert to your smartphone. If you're home and the visitor rings your doorbell, you will also hear a chime inside. Your doorbell camera will notify you of anyone who comes to your front door, whether they ring your doorbell or not. With its 180 degree motion detector, the Smart Alert Doorbell Camera catches every new arrival at your front door even if they just quietly drop off a package and leave.

    Activity log on smartphone for Central Security Services Murrieta client.

    Once you receive the alert on your smartphone, you will receive a live audio and video feed from your doorbell camera, which is equipped with both a microphone and speaker, enabling you to easily chat with your new visitor.

    If you miss the alert on your phone and weren't home to hear the doorbell chime, you can review the recorded video clips of your visitors on your phone later at your own convenience.

    Package delivery for Murrieta home owner.

    Does the Smart Alert Doorbell Camera sound right for you? If so, please call Central Security Services and we will schedule your professional installation soon: 951-676-7121.

    Stay tuned for more safety tips brought to you by Central Security Services.

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