School Safety: Why upgrading now rather than later is better

School Safety  has always been something we are extremely passionate about and having school age children gives us the right to do so. Being in the security industry we have the ability to make a difference. I recently came across this video and posting. It is a high school with cameras in virtually every room, nook and cranny. Coming off the Sandy Hook Massacre, Columbine and several others, not to mention the recent school shootings that were right here in the Philadelphia area gives us full reason for concern.  It leads to me my major question of …What are our schools doing to keep our children safe?

Being a reseller of the GeoVision brand, I love seeing this. I know our products are amazing, and I know they can keep our students and teachers safe.  Installed here, are the 360°  Fish Eye Megapixel Cameras – The pioneer of a single camera that eliminates blind spots.

Coming off the Sandy Hook Massacre, Columbine and several others, not to mention the recent school shootings that were right here in the Philadelphia area gives us full reason for concern.

This school has invested a pretty penny in security upgrades. I want to know what do you think? Are our kids safe in school? Would be against or for an elaborate security system  in your local school? And lastly, what about the cost…would you help pay for it? Sound off below.

Mobile Security System Apps Offer True Peace of Mind

It’s become a common saying among all smartphone users: “There’s an app for that.”

Current home and business security systems are at the forefront of mobile app convenience, allowing individuals to monitor the status of those systems remotely  as well as interact with their alarm systems should the need arise. Thanks to mobile app technology such as the Z-Wave digital monitoring system offered by InVision Security, there are a long list of available features that let users stay in touch with their security systems as long as they have their mobile device.

What kind of uses do mobile apps have when it comes to interacting with your fire alarm or burglar alarm system? One of the most beneficial features that a mobile security app can provide is alerting you of any activity taking place in or near a particular property.

Whether it’s a tripped alarm, an open window, or a text message,  letting you know that your child has come home from school and entered in his or her alarm code, you can keep a tab on what’s going on at home or at work without having to make calls or visists.

This communication between you and your security system can go both ways, too. You can use a mobile security app to arm your system from a distance, or turn off an accidental alarm. You can also view remote video monitoring  from cameras installed in your home or office via your phone, which is great for doing quick spot checks on kids or employees.

Moving past standard burglar and fire alarms, mobile apps also offer advanced home and office automation services that can put you in complete control of your property remotely. Wireless apps are available that can lock and unlock doors, turn lights on or off and even let you adjust your thermostat settings from your smartphone. It’s even possible to install modules for specific electrical outlets that provide you with similar control over appliances and other devices.

Mobile security applications offer the kinds of versatile access control, notification and remote automation services that were previously luxuries of the rich and famous. It’s well worth investigating the benefits of this type of technology for busy families on the go as well as company owners looking for increased efficiency from their current business security systems.

5 Reasons Your Security System is Out of Date

Is your security system as old as your business? Or perhaps you upgraded your surveillance system a couple of years ago. This does not mean your system is current! Technology is ever changing and lucky for you, we love keeping up with the times and trends and all the new systems and specs that come out! Here are 5 reasons your surveillance system may be out of date.

1.  Off Site Recording– Recorders do not need to be at the location where all those cameras are! Keeping your NVR (Network Video Recorder, if you do not know this name, there is another reason of out of date!) at your home or satellite office and seeing another location is a nice feature! Do you have a employees who are not the most trustworthy, or perhaps a sneaky teenage kid who can turn off the unit. This would be a perfect way to prevent those issue from coming to light.

2.  Closed Platform – If you have a closed surveillance system you’re making a big mistake. Choosing an open software platform will give your system flexibility over time by allowing you to use various makes and models of cameras. A closed platform limits the potential of your system. All of the systems we sell are non-proprietary, meaning you can add,  or change to just about any brand and they will still work! Something that is a very important trait when choosing to upgrade.

Technology is ever changing and lucky for you, we love keeping up with the times and trends and all the new systems and specs that come out!

3.  Remote Access– At at time when smart phones can control just about anything and everything you have a world of information available to you at your fingertips. A feature that as a business owner or home owner can prove invaluable when the need arises to check in on things at an non convenient time.

4.  Ability to Zoom without pixelation – Did you know with the technology out today and the ‘ah-mazing’ quality of cameras that have flourished our market. Zooming in on pre-recorded footage has be come the “norm”. You can take an image and see someones face, or maybe even make out that license plate! 

5. Slow Search – You should be able to comb through and locate precise points in your recorded footage in seconds. If it takes you hours to find something then you need to get new software. Choose user-friendly software and get to know it well.

Small Business Security: Why you should take local crime seriously

It is pertinent to know the crime statistics of your city, in order to detect increases in crime. Commercial burglaries tend to form patterns. A break-in at one store can quickly turn into a string of burglaries at businesses all around the block. Get proactive as soon as your business or a neighbor business is hit, to prevent more break-ins before they occur. Here are some tips from SafeCity on how to work together with other business owners.

1. Meet with the owners or managers in your complex to talk about how burglars got in, how they escaped, what time they arrived, and what they stole. Begin keeping centralized records of all the break-ins in the vicinity of your store.

2. Partner with local law enforcement to keep tabs on area break-ins and arrests.Philadelphia offers a program that will pay UP TO $3,000 for your surveillance system.  Try to stick with one contact at the police department, so that one person will be able to see the big picture of the crimes in your complex and notice patterns and problem areas.

Get proactive as soon as your business or a neighbor business is hit, to prevent more break-ins before they occur.

3. If break-ins have already become a pattern in your area, consider a CCTV system or monitored alarm system to get you covered in the event your their next target.

4. Strengthen your front doors and windows, and consider barring back windows. Lock the fire escapes after closing time to cut off an easy escape route for burglars. Talk with your security company about whether your current lighting and security cameras are sufficient.

After implementing your security strategy, meet with other business owners to find out if it’s working. It may take a few months to notice a change in the patterns, for better or worse.

Reasons to Schedule your Fire Inspection NOW!

Spring and summer are popular times of the year for fire alarm monitoring system inspections. Schools are mostly empty, small businesses are gearing up for a busy summer season. Here are some reasons why we recommend scheduling your inspection as soon as possible:

    • Summer is very busy. Since so many businesses want to conduct inspections during the summer, it is important for you, as a building owner, to schedule early to reserve a date that works best for you.
    • If you put it off, you could forget about it. It is the building owner’s responsibility to have their system inspected annually by Pennsylvania law. Many businesses sign up for our Annual Inspection Program.

When the inspection approaches, Invision Security will notify the business owner that it is time for their annual fire alarm inspection. To learn more about signing up your business for this program, contact our office.

    • Ensure that a qualified technician will be there to inspect your system. Invision Security’s technicians have the qualifications and experience to conduct your fire system inspections, provide the appropriate maintenance, and properly test your system that meet the requirements laid out by the State of Pennsylvania’s Fire Marshal’s Office and the National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA®). Scheduling your inspection well in advance will give you peace of mind knowing that this important, protective measure is taken to help your property.

For more information about Invision Security’s Fire System Inspections, call our service department at 877.933.2288.

Commercial Life Safety: What to do when the fire alarm sounds

Picture this situation… You’re working hard at your job and all of a sudden the fire alarm goes off. What do you do?

The decision you make can be the difference between life and death. At a garment factory in India, a sounding fire alarm was waved off by managers. Because of this negligence, more than 100 people perished in a fire. Don’t’ let this happen to you. Taking the proper measures can ultimately save your life.

It’s important to treat fire alarms seriously. Every single year there are nearly 100,000 non-residential structure fires according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Follow these tips when an alarm triggers.

1. Stop working – Immediately stop working. Don’t think of it as a possible false alarm. Every second counts. Get out of the building.

2. Leave your belongings behind – Don’t obsess over gathering all of your personal belongings as you leave. You can always replace them.

3. Find the nearest exit – Locate the nearest exit and leave as quickly as possible. If the exit is blocked, quickly find another one.

4. Avoid elevators – If you work on upper floors, take the stairs in the event of a fire alarm going off at your business.

5. Contact authorities – The fire alarm should alert authorities. To be certain, contact authorities and let them know the situation once outside.

It’s important to treat fire alarms seriously. Every single year there are nearly 100,000 non-residential structure fires according to the National Fire Protection Association.

If it happens to be a false alarm, get it checked out as soon as possible by a company that specializes in fire alarm and suppression services.

At inVision Security, we specialize in inspecting, testing, monitoring and maintaining fire alarm systems. To find out how we can help you, contact us today.

Time To Upgrade: 2G Is Sun-setting Soon.

Cell phone network upgrades are common for many mobile users.  As time goes on, network technology improves and it becomes necessary to upgrade to the next available option.  From 2G, 3G, and most recently 4G LTE, wireless connection continues to get faster and more reliable.  This is also true for security systems.

AT&T announced their intention to sunset their 2G network communication back in 2012. The company recently set a deadline of January 1, 2017 to complete their transition away from 2G.  Since this announcement, we’ve noticed that many areas have already gone through the transition, updating cell phone towers and completing this transition, which renders the 2G networks obsolete.  In addition to AT&T, other data carriers have also started to sunset their 2G networks. It is imperative for you, as a home or business owner, to stay ahead of the game and consider your upgrade options now.

From 2G, 3G, and most recently 4G LTE, wireless connection continues to get faster and more reliable.  This is also true for security systems.

The best solution is to upgrade your alarm system to a new GSM Communicator, which offers a reliable form of communication between your system and our UL Listed Monitoring Center.  One of the greatest benefits to using radio communication over wireless Internet communication is the timeless reliability of this system.  Future network sunsets will not affect your mesh radio system.  You will have peace of mind knowing that your business is protected by reliable communication, and can also be assured that you will not have to worry about future telecommunications company network upgrades or changes impacting your alarm system.

We encourage our customers to make informed decisions about their alarm systems well in advance.  If your system operates on a 2G network, start thinking about your options.  We welcome you to call our offices to discuss those options with our sales team.  At Invision Security, we are committed to finding the right system for your property, your safety, and within your budget.

Summer Safety Tips

Summer is here (finally) and that means spending more time outside enjoying pool parties, outdoor barbecues, fireworks and all kinds of fun activities — it shouldn’t mean treating burns, bandaging cuts, icing bruises, or trips to the emergency room.

Follow our summer safety tips below to help you and your family have a fun and safe summer:

 1. Don’t let the heat spoil your fun in the sun.

Drink lots of water and don’t work or play too hard in the hot weather. Take some breaks in the shade or inside your home.

 2. Protect yourself from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Limit exposure to the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when UV rays are most powerful. Wear sunglasses that block 100% of UV rays. Wraparound frames work best because they protect your eyes and the sensitive area around them. Wear hats with wide brims and slather on the sunscreen — SPF 15 or higher.

Summer shouldn’t mean treating burns, bandaging cuts, icing bruises, or trips to the emergency room.

3. Be careful with all fireworks (if fireworks are legal in your state, of course).

Although sparklers and pinwheels look really pretty and appear to be low risk, don’t be fooled. You should never allow children to play with any type of fireworks unless there’s an adult present to supervise. It’s just not safe.

 4. Make pool safety a priority.

Secure your pool with appropriate barriers — and supervise children at all times.

 5. Keep your barbecue grill at least 10 feet away from anything that can burn.

That means your car, your house, trees, bushes — anything that can catch on fire. To prevent an accidental grease fire — before you light up your grill — don’t forget to clean out all that grease that’s built up over time. Never use kerosene or gasoline to light a charcoal fire — those fuels can cause explosions.

 6. Inspect backyard playground equipment carefully.

Be sure equipment like swing sets are anchored safely into the ground and ensure that nothing is broken or in a state of disrepair. Also check that any bolts, nails, etc., aren’t sticking out.

 7. Don’t forget your pets.

If you head to the mall or the grocery store, leave your pet at home. Being cooped up in the car, even with the window cracked open, can prove deadly to your animals. Don’t forget to leave out a lot of fresh, clean water for all your pets.

Access Control Systems: The pros outweigh the cons

Controlling who has access to the sensitive areas of your business has always been an essential part of any overall security system. However, in the post 911 world, such issues take on even greater concerns and greater challenges as matters of privacy, identity theft and Homeland Security also have to be taken into consideration.

Advanced access control systems can do a whole lot more than merely control who has access to your premise or key areas and when that person has access. They can be used to track specific employees, monitor the locations of high-value equipment or assets, and even verify employee hours and attendance records. Such systems can range from the simple and familiar “card keys” to the most advanced biometric systems using thumbprints, hand prints or facial recognition. Integration also means recognizing that in today’s environment, no one security system can do it all. Total security is achieved only with the incorporation of key systems such as intrusion detection, video surveillance and access control. By integrating these separate security systems under a single flexible building automation system, many CEOs have realized lower upfront investments while leveraging considerably more powerful security solutions.

Integration also means recognizing that in today’s environment, no one security system can do it all.

One of the greatest advantages of today’s access control systems is that they can also be “integrated” into a company’s existing IT infrastructure. That means instead of a huge investment in separate hardware and servers to run and monitor the access system, everything is web-based. Security administrators can access, monitor and control the system simply by logging onto any computer with a network or internet connection. However such convenience does not come without its share of challenges

Even a web-based access control system requires ongoing administrative tasks such as adding and deleting users, changing access permissions, providing reports, etc. But since the system can be cloud based and accessed remotely, that also means that it is far more cost effective than it has ever been to assign such tasks to an outside company. When you let qualified professionals handle everything from installing to operating and monitoring your integrated service, you can also be sure that all privacy and homeland security issues are always complied with.

But this may be the best part. While the pros are doing their jobs and ensuring that your premises are secure and your people are safe – you still have access to the system 24/7 anywhere you have an internet connection, not to mention you can receive email alerts, or live video direct to your desktop or smartphone. Which means you receive all the advantages of powerful access to and control of your system without any expensive IT infrastructure or racks full of on-site equipment, while all operation, maintenance, and upgrades are professionally managed over the web by your security provider. That is a proposition that should make any business owner feel a little more secure.