11 Practical Ways to Save Money by Avoiding False Alarms from Your Commercial Security System

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Lately, authorities in jurisdictions across the country have begun to crack down on local companies by charging fines for false alarms in order to recoup some of the costs associated with responding to these calls. These new practices only add to the overall costs of security for an organization and compile unnecessary stress onto the shoulders of the business owners. 

As a leading integrator in the commercial security industry, Invision Security Group strives to provide our customers with a customized system that will greatly minimize, if not eliminate, false alarms completely, giving them back their peace of mind. 

There are a lot of ways that your security system could throw off a false alarm causing confusion during the workday or waking you or your employees up in the middle of the night. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways that business owners can avoid these inconveniences by implementing some simple modifications to their company’s day-to-day policies & procedures. 

We asked our experienced and dedicated staff of installers, service technicians, salespeople and customer support specialists for their best tips for avoiding false alarms and were inspired by their responses to share the wealth with our loyal customers. 

1.) Ensure that the designated employees have the proper access codes to disarm the system if necessary. Those that do not have access should not be trying to disarm the system.

2.) Be sure that individuals that are on your call list are aware that they have been designated as such and are responsive to phone calls or alerts during off-hours.  They should also be aware of what factors related to the business could trigger a false alarm so they are prepared. I.e. construction, animals on the perimeter, etc.

3.) You should be training your staff monthly or quarterly on your own protocols. Having more than one person attend the post-installation training is key.

4.) If you are using motion sensors, ensure that they are placed in an area that has minimal background motion and/or noise. Placement is very important. 

5.) After having your windows and doors cleaned, be sure to check any connections that are a part of your system.

6.) It is important to have sufficient delays on doors for employees and/or patrons that walk slower than the average person, i.e. retirement communities, hospitals, doctor’s offices, etc.

7.) Refrain from hanging signs and banners from the ceiling. Also, remember to turn off ceiling fans and remove any balloons after a party. These could set off motion sensors after the system is armed while the air is circulating. 

8.) Make sure that the batteries in any motion sensors and all door and window contacts are in good working order.

9.) Maintain & test your entire system monthly or quarterly to ensure all devices are functioning properly.

10.) Always advise your alarm monitoring provider of construction projects taking place at your facility or in the area or if something is damaged.

11.) If you suspect trouble, call your security provider as soon as possible. Do not wait until the end of the day. If something seems off, it probably is; trust your instincts.

If you and your staff follow this handy list of guidelines to administer your own security system in-house, you will greatly lessen the chance of having a costly false alarm inconveniencing you while you are busy running your business. 

If you found this article useful or would like to add other suggestions, feel free to reach out to us and give us your feedback. We love hearing from our customers.

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Back to School! The Importance of School Security.

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With the new school year starting, it’s important to consider a few aspects that don’t revolve around new pencils, and notebooks and backpacks. It’s time to think about campus security and if your child is safe when you drop them off each day. Whether your child is in middle school, high school or on a college campus, security systems and safety protocols are more important than ever. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, “in 2012, there were 29,500 criminal incidents against persons and property on campus at public and private 2-year and 4-year postsecondary institutions.” Additionally, there has been an uptick in campus shootings and active shooter situations across the United States, a number that is unfortunately predicted to rise.

To help combat violence and vandalism on campus, active and up-to-date security systems not only act as preventative measures discouraging actions that could result in disciplinary and legal action, but also help educational institutions crack down on crimes that do take place through expertly placed CCTV cameras or other electronic security solutions.

By implementing and constantly updating advanced electronic security measures on a school campus, safety becomes a priority and helps to give parents a sense of security when they send their children off to school each day. In addition to security cameras, access control systems also help to monitor the comings and goings of visitors while technology linked to smartphones and other devices help to increase the immediacy of lockdowns when a threat is detected on campus. These security measures not only alleviate parents’ concerns, but also benefit their children as one study conducted by the Institute for Education and Social Policy finds that students who report feeling unsafe in the classroom consistently experience adverse effects on academic performance and have higher absentee rates. This September make sure your child’s academic institution is implementing the best, most up-to-date security systems to prevent and ensure safety through the school year.

Security Systems Can Increase Energy Efficiency of Businesses

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At ISG, we understand that every penny matters to you and your small business; however, especially during the hot summer months, it can be difficult to stay on budget. But did you know that your security system can actually help relieve some of your high energy bills?

A security system equipped with the ability to manage your building’s energy utilities is a great way to help save your business money. Through ISG, we make it easy to keep track of your business’s energy usage with energy usage breakdowns to help pinpoint any areas that may be costing you needless money.

These security systems also allow you to set energy usage schedules, which allows business owners to better manage and control monthly energy costs. These energy usage schedules can be managed from mobile devices, granting business owners a simple way to have control over their energy use from anywhere.

Taking control over your business’s energy usage is a key step in helping the growth of your business. Not only is it helping reduce the carbon footprint of your company, but it also helps your business have more control over its budget. The savings from energy can be used to increase your business’s financial stability or even be applied to other aspects necessary aspects of your company such as hiring more employees or updating equipment. If you’re struggling to stay on budget due to fluctuating energy costs, then it’s time to consider investing in a security system that works for you.

How Mobile Technology Allows You Take Control Over Your Business

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Technology has come a long way in helping to make our lives easier and safer, and this progress extends into the security system industry. Whether you’re a small business owner or a property manager, ISG makes it easier than ever to give you peace of mind through the most up-to-date mobile technology.

At ISG, we work exclusively with software that allows you to control all facets of your security system remotely on your smartphone. You can oversee each door and entryway in your business and easily lock and unlock a specific door with the touch of a button. With the video section, you can easily view your business from anywhere with live streaming through your security cameras. You can arm and disarm your intrusion systems at any time and can easily manage users who can gain access through your security.

If you aren’t able to manually manage everything yourself due to a busy schedule, the app can take care of everything for you! You can easily create a schedule on the app so that locks and alarms can be set automatically at specific times. The app also has an events section that details each time an entryway is attempted access and you can easy send detailed reports through email.

In addition to its sleek interface, this mobile technology is incredibly user-friendly and easy to use. Most functions can be performed with the touch of a single button, so you won’t have to worry about figuring out a complicated system.

Mobile technology is a game changer for small business owners and property managers alike. Never again will you have to worry if you remembered to lock the door on your way out or if an unwanted visitor is attempting to enter. No matter where you are in the world, peace of mind over your business or properties is at your fingertips.

Home Safety Month!

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June marks Home Safety Month, a month dedicated to raising safety awareness at home, work and everywhere in between. When it comes to apartments, condos and other residential areas with property managers and tenants, safety should be a high priority because they serve as both a home and a workplace. In this vein, property managers need to provide a safe environment and empower their tenants with the knowledge and supplies necessary to protect themselves and their homes.

 

First and foremost, a property’s windows and doors need to be checked and secured. According to security expert Chris E. McGoey, more than 30% of apartment burglars gain access through open doors and windows, making it critical that you stress to your tenants the importance of locking up. That being said, burglars do often use household items like pliers, screwdrivers, and even credit cards to break in through doors and windows, so make sure to set up your building with locks capable of withstanding those attacks and even supply deadlocks to further protect your tenants against break-ins.

 

Having both surveillance cameras and access control systems set up within your building are also great security measures.  A clear presence of surveillance can discourage criminals from making a move in the first place, and access control systems requiring verification on main entrances and amenity areas can keep unwanted visitors away from your property as well.

 

Finally, property managers should take care to screen new tenants as much as possible. It has been proven that by thoroughly vetting potential tenants, you can reduce the amount of crime within the building’s premises. Having a safe and secure reputation is worth much more than quickly filling an open apartment or rental space.

Employee Monitored Surveillance is a Highly Effective Way to GROW Profits!

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A recently performed study shows that employee monitored surveillance technology is a highly effective way to grow business profits, especially in industries with lower wages and higher employee turnover. It suggests that perhaps employee misconduct is a direct result of managerial policies rather than the individual themselves. Interesting, huh?

Employee theft and widespread behavioral problems are if anything but on the downward slope. In fact employees in general, according to staticbrain.com, will steal about $50 million annually from US based businesses.

The researchers from Brigham Young, Washington University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology studied the impacts of electronic employee surveillance on employee theft and productivity at 392 restaurants in 38 different states. The results were astounding:

-Revenues increased a whopping $2,975 per week, per location for those restaurants with theft detection technology.

-Drink Sales, where is the primary source of theft, increased $975/week. That is  10.5% increase! If you are in the restaurant industry you know that profit margins are between 60-90% in alcohol sales! Wow!

-The study went on and speculated that workers stopped unethical behaviors and focused on activities that drive increased sales, like appetizer and dessert sales.

-Theft reduction was about $108 per store, per week.

Employee theft and widespread behavioral problems are if anything but on the downward slope. In fact employees in general, according to staticbrain.com, will steal about $50 million annually from US based businesses.

This research suggests and clearly identifies that electronic employee monitoring surveillance technologies, such as camera surveillance systems, register interfaces, and text overlay, will not only increase sales, it will lower employee theft and maintain a safe environment for your staff as well as patrons!

The study is titled, “Cleaning House: The Impact of Information Technology Monitoring on Employee Theft and Productivity*,”. Read the entire study at http://apps.olin.wustl.edu/faculty/pierce/cleaninghouse.pdf

Invision Security designs and installs employee monitoring surveillance technology in businesses throughout the tri-state area. We can help solve your problems, we can assist with covert applications, and we will help get your margins back on track and get YOU making money. Call us at 877.933.2288 for more information.

Mobile Security System Apps Offer True Peace of Mind

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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

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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

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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.

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

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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.