It is now possible to operate one’s alarm system remotely using a Safeguard smartphone application. It is even possible, to open and close the gate to one’s property and switch lights on and off when one is away from home.
The Safeguard app makes it possible to use the smartphone to arm or disarm the alarm, switch the siren on and off, operate the electric gate, switch outside or inside lights on and off and switch off the water geyser.
It is also possible to use the cellphone to bypass an alarmed section of the building and to reactivate the alarm in that section.
“All of this can be done no matter where one is, even if one is as far away as in the United Kingdom, provided one’s cellphone is on roaming,” explained Safeguard Alarms managing director Reason Chitiva.
If the alarm goes off, he said, a text message is automatically sent to the property owner’s phone, advising of this. The householder can then decide what to do.
The app gives a person control over the alarm system no matter where he (or she) is. He might be on holiday or at work but still be able to open the gate at home or arm or disarm the alarm.
When away on holiday the app can be used to switch the lights in the house on at night and to switch them off again before going to bed, giving the impression to people in the neighbourhood that the house is still occupied. It is possible to select what lights to switch on and off.
“This clearly enhances an alarm system. When intruders see lights being switched on, they will obviously think there are people at home and awake, when they perhaps had expected the house to be empty or the occupants to be in bed,” Chitiva said.
All that is required for this service is a smartphone and the installation of a special modem that is connected to the alarm system, as well as the downloading of the app onto the smartphone. The application is compatible with most smartphones running Android software as well as iOS and Windows phones.
The latest encryption software for passwords is used to ensure that no unauthorised person can have control of the alarm system.
The smartphone app is the latest of a number of technological innovations that Safeguard has brought to the Zimbabwean market.
For some time now it has been possible for Safeguard customers to arrange for reports to be automatically sent to their cellphone in the event of the alarm going off or there being a power failure.
Safeguard’s Video Alarm allows video clips to be sent to a mobile phone, when the alarm is triggered. The system can be programmed to send the video clips to Safeguard’s monitoring centre or to a company’s own security monitoring centre.
Recent upgrades to Video Alarm have made it possible to talk to intruders and even to discharge pepper spray if they remain on the property.
Safeguard is fully utilising the latest information communication technology not only for monitoring premises with alarms installed but even for monitoring its own operations, including security guard and cash-in-transit services.
“Safeguard also offers a closed circuit television (CCTV) application for smartphones and tablets that can be used to stream live footage of premises where CCTV is installed,” Mr Chitiva said.
“This requires a broadband internet connection which is now easily available from most internet service providers.
“Although CCTV is most often used for monitoring commercial premises, some people have found this application useful for monitoring what is happening at their homes when they are away,” he said.
In some countries CCTV cameras in homes have revealed instances of child abuse by nannies, maids and babysitters.