It’s been a while coming, but we’re finally seeing some really useful innovations in home security systems. And honestly, it’s about time. In fact the only real ‘innovation’ I have seen since I started in 1981 is the introduction of a codepad to turn your alarm on and off. Before that, systems used a key-operated switch.

Anyway, now that alot of us have affordable high-speed internet and carry a smartphone wherever we go, the security system manufacturers are starting introduce systems that allow you to have more control over your security system.

Some of the features of these new ‘Next Generation’ system include:

* the ability to arm and disarm your system from anywhere using your smartphone and a free App

 * text and/or emails sent directly to your phone/tablet/PC that give precise details of alarms or other events that have occurred. A typical alarm message looks like this: “Family Room Motion Sensor was triggered at  10:04 am on Friday 25 July”. Some systems can also be programmed to send you a message if a particular code has been used to arm or disarm the alarm. This useful feature can alert you when a child has returned  home from school. I recently installed a system that uses this feature to alert the owner as to what time his house cleaner arrived and what time she left

* video clip or a series of 4 or 5 snap shots can be sent to your phone if an alarm occurs giving you a clear indication of what caused the alarm. This allows you to adjust your response according to the nature of the alarm.

 * a standard telephone line is no longer needed in order for you to have your alarm monitored – weather by a professional monitoring station (such as Chubb or ADT) or directly to your smartphone. Next Gen systems alert you by using your existing internet connection or by popping in a pre-paid SIM card

The range of features is growing all the time – some are gimmicky but some are really useful, it depends on what you need.

If you want to discover more about what these new system offer, go here to see a detailed list of the systems that I have personally tested for at least 3 months in my own home and can recommend.

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