VOIP AND DIGITAL PHONE SERVICE MAY INTERFERE WITH YOUR SECURITY/LIFE SAFETY SYSTEM

13767649_sWe would like to inform you about the potential impact that new types of phone services may have on your security/life safety system.  Commonly referred to as “VoIP” (Voice over Internet Protocol) and “digital telephone service,” these new phone options are rapidly growing in popularity.  These technologies allow you to make telephone calls via a broadband connection instead of using a traditional, “landline” phone service.  The benefits include enhanced features and lower costs compared to the traditional service. Typically, these new types of phone services replace your landline service.

It is important that you are aware that these new services can adversely affect your electronic security/life safety system.

In almost all cases, your security/life safety system relies on proper operation of the telephone line, and its associated special security wiring, to reliably communicate alarm signals to the central station. There are several important things to consider before making the decision to use VoIP or digital telephone service:

  • With a self-installed VoIP service, such as Vonage or AT&T’s CallVantage, your alarm system may lose its connection to the telephone service, rendering the system unable to send alarm signals to the central station.  VoIP technology may also cause your alarm signals to get scrambled as they are sent to the central station.
  • With digital telephone phone services offered by your cable provider, your system may be unable to consistently and reliably send alarm signals to the central station.  This technology may also cause your alarm signals to get scrambled as they are sent to the central station.
  • In addition to the security system’s battery back-up equipment, VoIP and digital phone services may need additional battery back-up equipment to maintain communications in the event of a power failure.

Either way, there is significant risk that your security/life safety system will not be able to communicate an emergency signal to the central station.

We encourage you to check with Secur-Tek, Inc. before making any changes to your existing telephone service. If you have already made the decision to switch to VoIP or digital phone service, it is extremely important that you contact us after you have the new phone service installed and Secur-Tek, Inc. will arrange a service call to properly test your system and check the wiring.

For the utmost reliability, there are new security communications solutions available that use digital wireless transmission or the Internet to reliably send alarm signals to the central station. These services allow you to take maximum advantage of cost savings from VoIP or digital telephone services while maintaining, and even improving, the reliability of your security/life safety system.  We would be happy to discuss these options with you.

If you have any questions, we encourage you to contact Secur-Tek, Inc. at 919-387-1800.

 

Secur-Tek at The 2016 Peak City Pig Fest, Apex

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On June 17-18, 2016, Secur-Tek was honored to be a Sponsor at the 5th Annual Peak City Pig Fest – a Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) Sanctioned BBQ Competition in the Historic Downtown of Apex, North Carolina.  Peak City Pig Fest is the only KCBS-sanctioned event in the Triangle.

The Apex Sunrise Rotary Foundation Inc. hosted this free, family friendly street festival that attracted over 25,000 visitors to Apex for a day of food, fun and BBQ.

Over 45 professional BBQ cook teams from across the country competed for a total of more than $10,000 in prize money while cooking chicken, ribs, beef brisket and pork. Judging was conducted by 100% KCBS certified BBQ judges using KCBS Rules.

The Peak City Pig Fest raises funds to support the community through the various causes supported by Apex Sunrise Rotary Foundation, including Western Wake Crisis Ministry and Operation Coming Home, which builds homes for disabled veterans.

Secur-Tek is proud to support the local community in this way.

 

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Part 1 Q&A: Secur-Tek Owner Reflects on Best Security Practices

Secur-Tek opened its doors in 1990 to provide the Triangle and central NC residents with security systems and home automation. Owner Ken Henke recently spoke about his business, the industry, and what customers should know about home and business security.

You had your first security job in 1983. How did you get into security?

A security company had a job opening that was appealing to me and with my associate degree in electronics it was a good fit. I worked for this company for seven years and then I started my own business.

What do you love about your job?

I love that I’m my own boss. Working for myself and having more control over what I am providing to the customers. So if I was working for somebody [and] I didn’t agree with what was being provided to the customer, but that’s the way the employer did it, you bit your tongue and got paid. But as the owner, we have a standard we want to meet and make the customer happy and they in turn refer us to neighbors, friends and business associates.

What’s the most important security thing a homeowner can do?

Lock their doors. Go online and read about the breaks-in that occur. For example, you’ll hear about a rash of car break-ins in a neighborhood. The police find out all the car doors were unlocked. A lot of times it’s crimes of opportunity. People will walk up to a door and turn the doorknob and if it opens, they might knock on the door to make sure no-one is home, and if no-  one is home, they’re going to go in.

Installing a security system is also important because it’s more than just security. It’s smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors. It’s protecting your home from burning down or the death of a person who lives in your house because of carbon monoxide.

For businesses, what’s the most important security measure they can take?

In that case, a monitored security system is important. With businesses, people do break in and randomly search for things to steal whether it’s petty cash or small electronic devices. They’re going to break open doors and cabinets. It could be more of a monetary loss from the vandalism versus anything that’s been stolen from your business. How much money are you going to lose from being out of business for a day?

Are there any security challenges unique to the Triangle area?

People in North Carolina face the same crime challenges everyone does. Crime is pretty much random. All it takes is for somebody that is living a life of crime or if someone gets into a financial situation and they’re desperate or need quick cash. Neighborhoods are getting broken into now where people have said, “Oh crime doesn’t happen in our neighborhood.” One thing I would pass onto people is: some sort of crime is going to come to your neighborhood in the future. There is no way that you’re going to stop it, and it’s random. So a security system is like an insurance policy. Things happen at the wrong time. A security system is there to minimize the impact and to allow you to have peace of mind and go on with your life.

What security mistake do homeowners or business owners make most?

They buy the “free” alarm systems. The public is susceptible to the marketers, who say “I’ve got a free alarm system.” But they charge the customer more for the monthly monitoring. In the long run, you pay more for the free system than you do a purchased system. A lot of our current customers have already gone through the free system and came to Secur-Tek, Inc. to get away from it.

Click here to read Part 2

5 Ways You’re Wasting Your Money on an Alarm System

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You might be wasting your money on that home alarm system.

That might not sound like something a security company like Secur-Tek should say to potential customers. But yes, we’ll say that. Here is why: We believe in alarm systems as a large part of your home security. While we install high-quality alarm systems, we know that you are just as much a part of your home security as the alarm.

You might be wasting money on an alarm system if …

  1. You don’t set the alarm. About one in every 36 homes in the U.S. will be burglarized this year. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, financial losses from burglaries increased between 1994 and 2011. Alarm systems have been proven to decrease the dollar amount of items stolen. But only if you set the alarm.
  2. You don’t use the stickers or sign as a warning. Homes with alarms are less likely to be targets; those stickers and signs are a good way to deter them from even trying to enter your home.
  3. You don’t test the system. Our home security systems are high quality. But technology sometimes fails. Be sure to call us each month using your system so we can run a test and make sure everything is functioning properly.
  4. Your system isn’t monitored. You may have inherited a home alarm system that no longer has a contract for monitoring. Although the noise of an alarm may scare off those who enter your home, it’s vital that you have a company monitor those alarms so that a police officer will check for forced entry. Monitoring is also useful in case of a fire or carbon monoxide alarm.
  5. You leave windows open. Thirty percent of burglars entered a home through an unlocked door, window or other opening — no force necessary. Windows are a favorite, especially those left open in warmer months and obscured by bushes or buildings. Many lower-priced alarm systems do not activate if someone enters through an open window. If you don’t install glass-breaking alarms or alarms on the windows, be sure to at least close and lock your windows while you are not home.

Help us protect your home by keeping your security top of mind. That way your dollars — and your belongings — aren’t going out the window.

Prevent Your Wireless Home Alarm from Burglar Hacking

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There’s a new tool in town.

Protecting your home or business with a security system is an important part of preventing burglary, but those intent on breaking in and stealing your possessions will often think of unique ways to thwart the system. The latest: a software defined radio that connects to a laptop. For an easy $20, a burglar can buy the device and instructions on how to use it.

The device reads the alarm system’s radio signals and can overpower them, allowing a burglar to tell the system a door is closed when it’s open. They could even prevent an alarm signal from reaching your security company.

But there is a solution. It’s called spread-spectrum technology. You can protect your possessions by installing a device that uses S-ST, as its known. Such devices “spread out” the wireless signals in your system, hopping from one to another to avoid interference from outside sources. So if a signal is jammed, it simply chooses another route. S-ST technology can also encrypt signals, making sure a burglar can’t try to send a fake message to the system.

What You Can Do

Secur-Tek is making sure its alarm systems are protected against outside threats. But a home alarm system is only as good as the person using it. Many customers install home alarm systems, but fail to set them. Protect your home and family from smoke, carbon monoxide, burglary, and more by setting your system each time you leave the house. Here are some other home protection tips:

  • Test your system with us once each month.
  • Lock all windows and install deadbolts on the doors.
  • Secure sliding doors with a dowel.
  • Look for other ways to dissuade burglar activity, such as planting bushes below windows, making sure entrances are visible to neighbors

What questions do you have about home security? Send us a message and we can answer them in a future post.

What Is Sonos?

Sonos 2What Is Sonos?

Sonos is a wireless audio system of HiFi speakers and components that lets you listen to music in any room with no skips, delays, or drops. You place the speakers throughout your house and then use the Sonos app to combine and access your music collection. Individual songs can be listened to on each speaker or the whole system can play the same song.

Sonos works with a variety of music sources. Wherever you like to get your audio—iTunes, podcasts, radio stations, Spotify, or Pandora—you can find it and file it into a dedicated local Sonos network through wireless or Ethernet connections and stream it to any Sonos device on the network. The Sonos system creates a dedicated path for playing audio which means you get smoother playback.

The Sonos system can be controlled by PC or Mac desktop applications, or apps for iOS or Android. Having a computer-based system means that you can customize all the playlists and music you want to hear. It’s like having an iPod in every room of your house that plays all the music you like—with great quality.

How It Works

The Sonos system consists of Zoneplayers and Controllers. “Zoneplayer” is the Sonos name for an element which outputs audio either via digital or analog connections or via speakers. Zoneplayers can be set up through wired or wireless connections. The Controller is the Mac/PC or mobile phone that runs the Sonos app.

If you have a home where WiFi doesn’t reach everywhere, you can use the Sonos BRIDGE to extend the range of your Sonos network. The BRIDGE also creates a dedicated wireless network for your Sonos system. The BRIDGE plugs into your router with an Ethernet cable. If you’re in an environment where the WiFi has performance challenges, you can use a BOOST—it’s like a super-charged BRIDGE.

For speakers like the PLAY:1, PLAY:2, or PLAY:3 you can simply plug them into the power outlet and they will wirelessly connect to your existing WiFi network or your dedicated Sonos network (if you have the BRIDGE or BOOST).

Place your speakers in the rooms where you want to listen to music. Then download and install a Sonos Controller app. You can access your entire music collection from anywhere in your house with the Controller. Follow the quick set-up guide that comes with the system and simply tell the Sonos app where the Zoneplayers and music library are located.

Last, but not least: play music! You can use any Sonos Controller to make music selections. Choose a music source from the Sonos music menu on a handheld controller, or from the MUSIC pane if you’re using the Sonos Controller App for Mac or PC.

You can tell the system to play the same thing on every stereo that’s linked to it or you can have a different playlist or source going in every room of the house.

Once you’ve got your system set up, you can easily add more Sonos products whenever you want. Only one part of the Sonos system needs to be linked with your home network; the other components link together directly. Since the Zoneplayers each transmit individually, each player you add increases the range of the Sonos network.

Why it’s Great

The main benefit of the Sonos system is that it delivers HiFi audio while really simplifying wireless streaming. The Sonos app lets you easily control the system and access a variety of music sources. There’s no need to link your phone with any of the individual speakers—all the speakers are controllable through the same app, no matter where in the house they’re located. Sonos uses their years of wireless networking know-how to make sure your music is in perfect sync and skip-free. It’s also super easy to get it going and new features are constantly being developed that work even with some of the oldest components.

Contact Secur-Tek today to find out more about the benefits of Sonos in your home.

Halloween Hootenanny & Home Security!

PumpkinYou know it’s Halloween time when there’s a slight chill in the air, the leaves have begun to turn and fall, and there’s the frenzy of ghoulish-super-hero-ninja-giant-banana-princess costumes vying for space among the Christmas decorations!

Like most of your friends, family and neighbors, you’ve probably decided on the costumes, purchased the candy corn, chocolates, and pretzels, and am waiting ever so patiently for October 31st to arrive so that you can begin the trek around the neighborhood, just to get home and see who has gotten the most candy and treats. While trick-or-treating can be a fun-filled adventure, a time where family and friends can gather together with a shared agenda, it is also a time that opens your home up to criminals.

Vandals, burglars and other like characters know that you won’t be home, not just from a visual perspective, but this is one time where they can ring your bell and have a reason for doing so. Before you go out with the kids, make sure that your home is safe and secure. Don’t make the mistake of assuming your most valuable possession is safe because you’ll be just around the block – always be aware of your home security. Lock your doors and windows.  Set your security system.

Take the few minutes before you go spookify the neighbors to help ensure that you’ll return to your home just the way you left it.

And have a safe and fun-tastic Halloween!

Cut Through the Mess with Structured Wiring

wiring panelIn today’s technology-driven world, many of us have a multitude of electronic and video devices in our homes, from televisions, DVD players and cable boxes to computers, modems and printers. And while these products have added to our home experiences, there was a definite period of frustration we had to endure before getting to the point of enjoyment—you know that time when you had to connect all the pieces of the puzzle together, getting the right wires to the right places, all the while trying to minimize that bundled mess of cable, which is now tucked behind the console.

There’s a solution to the wire and cable chaos—and that’s “structured wiring”, a generic term used to describe a network that efficiently and effectively distributes data signals throughout your home, including all the audio, data, phone, stereo and video signals, as well as temperature controls, home security controls and lighting.

Structured wiring not only gives you a centralized location (a structured networking panel) from which all devices are controlled, but gives homeowners:

  • More consistent signal quality: splicing wires/cables decreases signal strength. Structured wiring allows each device its own connection.
  • Simplicity in control and troubleshooting, as everything is centrally located and uniquely connected, eradicating wiring guesswork.
  • Signal speed: Wired signals come through faster than wireless signals. For those who need faster Internet, an Ethernet connection would be preferable.
  • The opportunity to more easily integrate and add components as needed.
  • An increase in home value: structured wiring improves your home entertainment and work experience while adding value to your home.

So why wouldn’t you consider structured wiring for your home? Whether it’s a new construction or an existing home, structured wiring can add simplicity and ease to your lifestyle and value to your home.

For more information on structured wiring, contact Secur-Tek today at 919-387-1800.

 

Pollen Plays Allergy Hardball in Apex and the Triangle

Dirt Devil JVSpring has sprung here in Apex and across the Triangle NC. In fact, the temperatures have been rising for almost two weeks throughout central NC!  That means the air is warming up, windows are opening up and people are coming outside after months of cooler and often wetter weather. This beautiful weather here in our part of the region is something to be appreciated, and we all do a good job of enjoying the outdoors during even the year’s warmer months.  But we are not the only ones coming out this time of year!

As many of us know first-hand, the start of April has brought about a lot of blooming, and consequently, a lot of pollen!  Southern Pine pollen is appearing everywhere on porches, decks, houses and cars. In fact, almost every single thing that flowers is opening up, contributing to a mellow yellow presence as we get a fine dusting of the heavier than air pollen as things green up for summer.  Beautiful as it is, many of us are suffering from symptoms of seasonal allergies because of the spring bloom!

Pollen can be brought into your home in many ways:

  • Having windows open during the day and in the cooler evenings
  • Animals or children playing outside, then bringing it in with them
  • Opening and closing the front and back door throughout the day!

Most of us spend the majority of the day inside. Because of this fact, the quality of the air in your home or office is critical when it comes to individual and family health.  No one wants to live and work in an environment where allergies dominate and it is more challenging to breathe.

It has been proven through various studies that installing a central vacuum system is one of the best measures you can have in place to greatly improve the quality of air in your home. The indoor systems alleviate allergens and exhaust them outdoors where they belong.

Here at Secur-Tek in Apex, we’ve been the first word in home installation for 22 years and counting!  From home security to home theatre, central vacuum systems to total home integration, we can provide many services that increase the safety and quality of your home.

The experts at Secur-Tek are trained to install and service Dirt Devil Central Vacuum systems.  The benefits of these central systems are considerable:

  • Central vacuums vent to the outdoors, as opposed to cycling air back into your indoor environment. This keeps the air quality much higher than with conventional-style vacuum cleaners.
  • Storage of vacuum components is much easier, with vacuum inlets installed throughout the home
  • Everyone in the house will experience better health through breathing cleaner air, thanks to the central system.
  • Installing a central vacuum system must be considered an investment that adds value to the house and to the property itself.

Deep cleaning, convenient, smart investment, and allergy reduction benefit every household.  Please contact us today to get the ball rolling on installing your Dirt Devil Central Vacuum System.  Secur-Tek wants you and your family to enjoy the warm season, and we can make it even easier to enjoy. Call us today!