Home Automation systems are a great way to integrate all the various facilities within a home into one cohesive system for convenience, control and comfort.
Home security systems which include Burglar alarm systems, indoor and outdoor cameras and also fire alarm systems which have always been installed as stand alone systems are now frequently being integrated into the home automation systems. Is this a good idea ?
Most security system installers feel that by installing a security system independent of the home automation system makes it secure and immune to problems within the automation system.
This might have been true in earlier systems where all the various sub systems were integrated into one control panel, so that if any component of any part of the system failed, the entire system would breakdown so that, a minor problem in lets say, the HVAC control could have the entire system including the security system down, until it was rectified.
This is not a problem in todays systems.
Even though various sub systems are still integrated into a common control system, todays technology allows the integrator to design the overall system in such a way that even if a component in any sub system fails, that particular component / assembly will be isolated from the rest of the system which will still continue functioning normally.
However, the biggest advantage in integrating the security system into home automation comes in case of alarm events such as break ins or fire.
For example, in case of a fire alarm, the system can be programmed such that the HVAC is shut off immediately, alarm alerts can be sent to pre programmed numbers or contacts, hallway lights can be programmed to come on so that they will light the way for family members to proceed to safer locations, electronic door locks can be programmed to open, electrical devices can be turned off etc.
In case of a break in, for example, specific cameras can be programmed to start recording continuously, alerts can be sent to pre programmed individuals or numbers, sirens and voice announcements can be triggered, lights both indoor and outdoor can be made to come on etc. compelling the intruders to leave.
All these features not only add to the safety and security of the family members, but brings a sense of comfort and control and minimises losses due to damage.
Further, automation systems today are designed to work with diverse systems with universally accepted communication standards, so that the inclusion of security systems within an automation system not only makes design sense but also ensures that the system integrator can use the most appropriate components in building the entire system including the security to have a complete automation system that meets all the present and future needs of the home owner.