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You can even be alerted before the break in, the moment the burglar pulls into the driveway!BUILDING A SECURITY SYSTEM Smart systems consist of hardware that doesn’t look a lot different than it did twenty five years ago. There are some specialized sensors and video cameras that weren’t common in the past and window and door contact switches have gotten a lot smaller, but the basics are the same: a control panel or console, magnetic contact switches, motion sensors, a siren. The new systems may also be connected to central monitoring stations, as do many old style security systems. The big difference, however, is the degree of interactivity. New software platforms, such as alarm. com and iControl allow you to send commands, program home systems, view surveillance video, and receive alerts on a smart phone or computer—whether you’re at home or away. When shopping for a system, review software platforms first. Alarm. com and iControl are the two biggest. The former has partnered with more than 2,500 dealers and the latter with ADT and Comcast. Among other things, you’ll have to decide between a “cellular primary” or “broadband primary” system.

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That’s not to say there weren’t annoyances — which can become major sore points if you’re interacting with your system every time you leave the house.

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“Consumers’ willingness to take on responsibility for some aspects of monitoring will continue to change the industry.

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It can be set in two different modes: monitored and unmonitored.

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Half of the systems we tested can also use If This Then That IFTTT, a free internet based automation service that helps DIY security systems and third party smart home devices work together.