Smart video doorbells

Added home security with smart video doorbells

We have seen a lot of customer interest recently in Video Doorbells. These let you respond remotely to visitors at your front door, using your smartphone, tablet and PC and feature an in-built HD camera. 

Video doorbells give you a clear view from your front door or gate, day and night and are ideal for those who want greater protection and screening from nuisance calls or for those in a property alone by themselves. They bring a reassuring layer of additional security as well as convenience.

Flexible to work on any home and property, typical features of video doorbell systems include:

  • 2-way talk functionality – so you can speak to the person through the system via the built-in speakers and microphone, and without opening the door.
  • Crystal-clear 1080HD video so you have a sharp picture of the person at your door.
  • Instant mobile alerts and two-way talk, you can answer the door from your smartphone, tablet and PC.
  • The system’s capability to record images – so you have a record of a visitor.
  • Wireless technology which means you do not need wiring for the installation –you can have the device/bell on any gate or external door within your home’s WIFI range.
  • Motion detection and alerts – these send out an alert if people are loitering close to your property
  • The system runs off rechargeable batteries.
  • A quick and easy installation.

To learn more and find out our current prices for supplying and installing a video door bell in your home  contact the Sales Team on tel 01483 791500.

Listed property security

The Security of Listed and Heritage Properties

Over the last few years we have been helping many owners of listed and heritage properties protect their premises from fire, theft and damage. This has included helping national heritage organisations such as The National Trust. In working with them, we’ve had to balance the security and absolute protection of the site and staff with a sensitivity to the listed or heritage building’s features, history and aesthetics.

 

Popular targets

Heritage and listed properties are sadly popular targets for crime and in a research study English Heritage found that an estimated 18.7% of all listed buildings in 2011 had been physically affected by crime. That represents over 70,000 listed buildings. Lead and metal thefts were the most common, but vandalism and theft of personal possessions is also on the rise.

 

Alliance to Reduce Crime Against Heritage (ARCH)

We are a member of  Alliance to Reduce Crime Against Heritage, a voluntary national network and wholly support their great work to tackle heritage crime and galvanise local action.

 

Heritage and Listed Property Security

There is good news in that security solutions are becoming more sophisticated in detecting and preventing crime and yet less intrusive in their installation to the fabric of the listed property. Access control, intruder alarms, security lighting, staff/volunteer paging systems, CCTV and fire detection systems can be installed with sympathetic care and attention toa historic property’s features. We focus particularly in ensuring the security measures comply with the relevant listed building consent, building standards, fire regulations and certification procedures.

 

Security Tips for Listed and Heritage Buildings

Our work in this area has led us to produce a simple guide of security considerations for owners of listed and heritage properties

For more information about our security work with heritage properties, please contact the sales team on 01483 791500.

Exciting innovation creates neutralising remedy for toxic chemical threats

Toxic chemical agent incidents have been in the press a lot this year.  As well as high profile cases such as a rise in acid attacks on individuals and the Salisbury nerve agent attack, there are many other incidents which don’t necessarily get reported by the media.  Spillages occur on a regular basis in laboratories (including commercial ones and those in the healthcare and education sectors), in hospitals and in transit on UK roads. 

Each spillage presents a risk for those in its vicinity.  Historically, toxic chemical incidents have required significant time and effort to clean them up and make the location safe again. It’s no wonder then that there’s been calls for a faster response solution when tackling chemically-related threats.

Always keen to learn about the latest security and risk prevention measures, the Absolute Security team were excited to see a new innovation in this field.  It will certainly greatly minimise the impact of chemical attacks and spills as it works quickly to rectify any contamination to those affected and the area of the incident.

 

FAST-ACT – for toxic chemical agent incident response

FAST-ACT was originally developed for the US military to counter chemical warfare agents in the Gulf War.  It is now used globally by NATO forces, other military organisations, large industrial organisations (including pharmaceutical, oil and gas companies), as well as public sector institutions such as schools, universities and hospitals.

In essence it is a powder-based product which has impressive neutralisation capabilities when it comes to chemical attacks and spills. The product is non-toxic, non-flammable, simple and quick to use. It does not require a prior knowledge of the chemical being tackled – the majority of chemicals are quickly neutralised in FAST-ACT’s application.

Other benefits of the product include:

  • It is safe to use on people
  • It reduces chemical contact with the skin
  • It is quick and easy to apply and doesn’t require any premixing
  • It works immediately when applied
  • It is effective over a wide range of environmental conditions
  • It doesn’t require any specialist training

 

Handy and cost-effective kit

FAST-ACT, which is distributed by Specialist Response Solutions in the UK and Europe, has just launched a handy and cost-effective Chemical Threat Response Case.  It is ideal for organisations to have on-site so they can quickly respond and counter any chemical threat incident.

We envisage it will become a valuable element of organisations’ health and safety approaches when protecting staff, the public and also those responding to an incident. The kit comes with a 5year shelf life and prices start from £1500 per unit. Specialist Response Solutions also have a range of other products for bespoke response requirements.

 

Summary

It’s really good to hear that solutions are being found to tackle the growing number of toxic chemical incidents taking place.  We are particularly looking forward to the day when the UK’s emergency services are equipped with the likes of FAST-ACT, as this will greatly help reduce the suffering of chemical incident victims and also protect the responders who bravely rush to their aid.

If you would like to learn more about FAST-ACT’s benefits to your organisation’s health and safety approaches, and would like an introduction to Specialist Response Solutions, please contact the Absolute Security Team on e: sales@absolutesecurity.co.uk or t: 01483 791500.

Keyless car theft precautions

Protecting your car from a keyless theft

Over the last two years vehicle crime has been on the rise in Surrey and Hampshire and a particular focus of criminals has been the theft of high value cars like BMW and Landrover who feature keyless systems. Detective Inspector Dee Fielding of Surrey Police recently said, “Keyless car theft is a crime on the rise and something that has been affecting the whole nation. Unfortunately criminals have adapted to the technology now available in cars.”

 

The different approaches to keyless car theft

Thieves are using different wireless technology gadgets to capture vehicle key fobs’ radio transmissions and over-ride them. They can do this in a number of ways including:

  • Signal jamming – here they intercept the key fob’s signal and jam it. This ensures the car remains unlocked, even though you think you’ve locked it. Whilst the thieves may not be able to drive the car away, they can use the opportunity to steal valuables in your car.
  • Signal relaying – in this case the thieves’ technology transmits with your key fob and either clones or instructs it to unlock your car’s doors and allow the ignition to work. They can then drive the car away.
  • Key programming – every car comes with a standard diagnostic port. Computer hackers have developed devices that plug into the port, boot up a vehicle’s software and then programme a blank key fob. In keyless cars this can be used to start the engine as well as unlock doors.

 

Taking preventative measures against keyless car theft

There are a number of steps you can take to help prevent your car being stolen:

  1. Make sure your car is properly locked and keep keys away from doors and windows. Surrey Police recommend placing them in metal tin or a signal blocking pouch which can prevent criminals copying the necessary access codes in the keys’ technology to gain entry to your vehicle.  Do test your blocking pouch properly works as some have been found not to offer significant protection.  Another effective storage location is a microwave.  Microwaves’ faraday cage technology blocks radio control signals and will hamper a criminal attempting to clone your keys remotely.  Just remember to take the keys out before you cook!
  2. Surrey Police also recommend checking your car manual or speak to your dealer to find out if your key has combination button presses to switch its signal off.
  3. Add physical barriers to your car’s protection such as a steering wheel lock, a driveway parking post, electronic gate or wheel clamp.  We’ve recently seen a big interest in electronically operated bollards as well as manually operated units.
  4. Get a vehicle tracker added to your car. This may in fact be a criteria of your insurance policy. It means that, if your car is stolen, you and the Police will be able to track down its whereabouts more easily.
  5. Consider adding security lighting and CCTV to your home and driveway’s protection. This can act as a deterrent but also, if your car is stolen, CCTV gives you the evidence to help Police track down the criminals.
  6. Talk to your car dealer to see if the keyless element of your vehicle’s system can be disabled.

 

Act fast

Clive Wain, head of police liaison at Tracker, a company that traces stolen cars, said it is important to act fast if your car is stolen as thieves work quickly and authorities often have just hours to trace the car once it’s stolen. “Many vehicles will be shipped to Eastern Europe,” he said, “while police have also found an increasing number of chop-shops where prestige cars are broken down for parts within hours.”

 

Summary

Car manufacturers are responding to the rise in keyless crime and developing new systems. In a recent article, Richard Billyeald, chief technical officer at Thatcham Research, the UK insurance industry’s research body said, “Manufacturers are already working on new systems. A few new models already have set-ups that aren’t vulnerable to relay attacks. The functionality is the same, but they cannot be fooled by relay devices.” If you are looking to purchase a new vehicle, it is worth checking which models give you greater protection.  Do, however, continue to take security precautions.  As manufacturers develop more secure solutions, criminals will research and develop ways to over-ride them.

 

Can we help?

If you would like to discuss physical measures to help protect your property, such as electronic gates, safes and CCTV, contact the team on t 01483 429111 or email sales@absolutesecurity.co.uk

School’s out for summer (but we’re not)

public-sectorIt may be the summer holidays for Schools across the country but it’s certainly a busy time for our surveyors and engineers.  They are using the time to spec, install and maintain a variety of different school security systems.

Over the past few years Security has become a major part of a school’s management and governance responsibilities.  Senior management teams are under increasing pressure to ensure their school fully complies with the latest safeguarding and other staff and child protection obligations.

Smarter technology

The sites and structures of many school buildings have traditionally presented challenges when it comes to creating the right level of security protection.  The good news is that technological advances have meant intruder, access control, CCTV and fire detection systems are now more precise in pinpointing incidents across a site and issuing an alert.

Less cabling and lower costs

At the same time, wireless technology and security systems which utilise a school’s existing IP network are reducing the need for cabling and, as a result, the cost of systems is coming down. It also means that installation work can often be done discreetly during School hours, and not necessarily left till the holidays.

Greater systems integration for management efficiencies

Security technology is also integrating far more effectively with other school systems and processes.  Access control systems now integrate with electronic registration, cashless vending and school printer networks to establish permissions and provide logs and audit trails.  These systems no longer rely on identity passes, and often now feature bio-metric functionality such as fingerprinting to avoid problems occurring with lost cards.

Creating a positive learning environment

Security will always be a key concern of school management teams and rightly so.  They are responsible for ensuring both pupils, staff and equipment remain safe and secure in the School site. Security systems are helping them fulfil their obligations and create a positive learning environment.

For example, CCTV systems are supporting work within schools to tackle bullying and ensure the effective implementation of anti-bullying policies. Where schools lease out their premises out of hours, CCTV and access control systems are helping to reduce damage, theft and alert school managers to behaviour which is at odds with the school’s safeguarding policies.

If you would like to learn more about how we could help your school or college with its security arrangements, contact the team on tel 01483 791500.

A great 16 months of security solutions

James Lewis, Business Development Manager at Absolute Security, reflects on an exciting period of innovative customer projects and cutting-edge security solutions from the team.

 

James Lewis – Absolute Security

As I look back over my first 16 months at Absolute Security, I’m delighted by so many highlights that spring to mind.  For some they’ve involved cutting-edge security innovations – with the team devising solutions to respond to the increasingly sophisticated security challenges our customers face.

Other highlights stem from the relationships I’ve formed with key customers and contacts, and how we add value and support them as their preferred security specialist.

So, whilst in a reflective mode, I thought it would be good to share some of those highlights in this post.

 

Overhauling the fire and security system at popular racing/event venue

A key project this year is the work we are undergoing, upgrading and improving the fire and security systems at a popular racing event venue.  This is to ensure they comply with the latest regulations.  It has given the venue a far more manageable solution, as well as faster reporting and more precise alerts to potential incidents as they arise.  It will greatly aid their speed of response going forward.

 

Damage-proof fire suppression for luxury car enthusiast

It was also great to help a customer who wanted a fire suppression system to protect his fleet of luxury cars.  The 31 cars are housed in an underground car park in his home and he wanted a fire suppression system which would extinguish a fire, but not damage the vehicles in any way.  Conventional systems using water or foam were clearly not suitable.  We therefore designed and installed an inert gas suppression system. This uses specific gases to extinguish a fire and, at the same time, leaves the vehicles unscathed.

 

State of the art security system for sizeable property development

Another highlight is our involvement in an extensive single dwelling property development. Here the home owner wanted a state of the art security system.  Our solution involved high-tech perimeter security, thermal imaging PTZ CCTV, security lighting and integration with their home building management system. This is so intruder detection, fire and access control integrates into the central Audio-Visual hub for the home and is managed from one source.  One safety example of this integration is that when the fire alarm is activated, all media systems throughout property automatically silence to alert the home owner.

 

Home building management systems become all the rage

In fact we’ve seen a lot of interest amongst home owners for home building management systems.  You can see the attraction for them of bringing elements such as home entertainment systems, phone, access/gate systems, heating/air conditioning as well as security and fire protection into one central control.  And many of these systems enable the home owner to view the status of their property and possessions when they’re away, via app technology.

 

Discreet fire detection

Another highlight this year was to work with a new manufacturer to Absolute Security.  Wagner, specialise in air sampling solutions – a smoke detection system that works through discreet capillary holes in the ceiling. It assesses the air quality throughout the property, raises the alarm and is room specific on the area of the activation.

 

Working with great teams

It’s been great to support our customers over the past year – not just with security solutions, but also in finding other ways to support their business.  One particular example of this was participating recently in Park Garages’ Cricket Day. The event brought together all their staff, customers and suppliers for a great day of this summer sport.

And of course it’s been brilliant to work with my not so new now, fellow colleagues at Absolute Security.  Their commitment to quality and care of our customers is impressive.  Care also extends to our role in the local community and environment.  It was really good to see a number of the sales team switching over to electric hybrid cars in 2018.

The time has certainly flown by and I’m now looking forward to my next year with the team. Given how fast security and fire prevention technology evolves, and the need to help customers protect their properties and possessions, I’m sure it’ll be another exciting year.

If you’d like to get in touch about any of the solutions I’ve described here, please contact me on t 01483 791500 or email me.

What to expect from Security technology in 2018

Security technology has a constant habit of evolving. In this article we’re given a glimpse of the very latest developments and popular trends that will continue into 2018.

As intruders get smarter in their approaches, and the threat of violent crime continues to concern people, so does the security technology to combat it.

 

  1. More sophisticated perimeter protection – for both homes, businesses and other organisations alike the security of their premises perimeter has become paramount in recent months. Be it to deter burglars, other intruders or the threat of violent crime such as acid attacks, we’ve seen a big rise in interest in CCTV, automatic gates and systems integration with intruder alarms. The technology for these are becoming more precise.  On the CCTV front high-definition developments are serving up even sharper images. With access control systems, many give property owners greater ease of management by enabling them to operate their system remotely via and app, or log-in to view who is on the premises.

 

  1. Smarter recognition – CCTV systems are also becoming smarter. Avigilon have developed systems which, using vehicle recognition and facial recognition technology, can pinpoint a specific vehicle or person in a given territory or across a site.  This brings greater speed of identification and location of a missing vehicle, person or an intruder, in a given space.

 

  1. Completely wireless intruder alarm systems – gone are the days when intruder alarm systems needed wiring. The latest models are completely wireless and more versatile for installation on a premises. This is great news for properties with historic features or aesthetics which need to be maintained.  The physical impact on a property from an intruder alarm installation is greatly reduced.

 

  1. Integrated systems for a more holistic protection – various security systems such as CCTV, intruder, gates and access control now integrate more easily and seamlessly with each other to give more holistic security protection to a site. This makes them easier for the home, business or site owner to manage and monitor.

 

  1. Flush smoke detectors – a new development we’re expecting to see in 2018 are smoke detectors which are flush to the ceiling and do not protrude. This will offer added protection to properties with important aesthetic features which have to be maintained.

 

If you would like to learn more about the latest security technology developments, why not contact our sales team on tel 01483 791500 or email sales@absolutesecurity.co.uk

Protecting your home and possessions in the longer nights

Traditionally there is a rise in burglary offences at this time of year due to the longer nights and increased spending in the lead up to the Christmas period. Here’s a reminder of seven simple actions you can put in place to help protect your home.

 

  1. Make your property look occupied when you are not there by setting lights on a timer switch – vary which lights come on and when so it doesn’t become obvious that you are out

 

  1. Move anything of value out of view of your windows – go outside and see what an intruder may find enticing.

 

  1. Lock side gates of your property with a secure lock, not just a simple bolt and make sure all your windows, patio and conservatory windows are locked. Remember to lock kitchen and bathroom windows before you go out – these often get forgotten

 

  1. In the run up to Christmas store presents in a locked cupboard, preferably in a room protected by a burglar alarm detector/sensor

 

  1. Check your security lighting is working and consider CCTV if there is easy access to the rear of your property which an intruder could take advantage of. There are affordable infra-red versions that operate in the dark

 

  1. Once it is up, avoid putting wrapped presents under your Christmas tree, especially if they are visible through your windows

 

  1. Don’t leave keys for cars or back doors visible through windows or right by the doors in your property.

 

If you are concerned about the security of your home and possessions, contact the Absolute Security team for a free survey. Tel 01483 791500 or email sales@absolutesecurity.co.uk

Electronic Gate Safety

Electronic Gates Free Health & Safety Check From Absolute Security

Automatic Gates give greater convenience and controlled access to all types of property –  from homes and businesses, through to major organisations and institutions. At the same time they offer valuable protection to:

  • Stop children and animals running out on to busy roads
  • Manage, monitor and control access to a site
  • Deter intruders and make access to the property difficult
  • Deter car thefts from drives

They can also help to reduce a home/commercial insurance premiums and can enhance the aesthetics of a property.

New technology for electronic gates

New technology in recent years have made Automatic Gates far more sophisticated and user-friendly, for example when it comes to controlling access they can:

  • Alert assigned fixed intercom or landline/ mobile phones, which can be responded to remotely by the property owner or a receptionist – they don’t have to be on-site to give/decline access
  • Enable the property owner to see the person at their gate, even if they are not on the premises – via two-way video-calling functionality linking to mobile phones
  • Programme permissions into the Gate’s access systems so dedicated people can gain entry. Permissions can be time-specific to permit entry at fixed times.
  • Number-plate recognition and other hands-free permission options – so, for convenience, the gates automatically open to approved people. They in turn don’t have to type in an access key, present a fob or buzz the intercom
  • Integrate with other security measures on a premises, for example CCTV and fire detection (in the case of the latter, so they don’t cause obstructions when people are trying to evacuate the premises, delay the emergency services or prevent a lock-down operation running smoothly)

Health & Safety considerations

Automatic gates tend to come in two varieties:

  • Electronic – Those which are controlled by access passes, intercoms or fobs and then open automatically
  • Manual – Those controlled by access passes, intercoms or fobs which then require a person to push them open

In the case of the first, new health and safety regulations have come into force over recent years.  These have focused on minimising the risk to people and things of getting trapped as the gate opens or closes.

This legislation focuses on aspects such as the gate and its system’s:

  • hinges
  • safety/pressure edge
  • photocells/ safety beams
  • support posts
  • control cabinet
  • warning mechanism

All commercial property is legally required to maintain automatic gates to meet current Health & Safety requirements – that includes multi-occupancy housing, schools, rented property and premises managed by companies. Home owners have a legal responsibility to ensure that their gate is safe for anyone using it.

So it is important to maintain your Electronic Gate (for example via a regular servicing regime). This will ensure its parts remain fully functional and compliant with the latest industry standards.  When looking to a maintenance/servicing company, ensure the engineers are Gate Safe trained and accredited.

Free survey

Absolute Security is offering property owners with Electronic Gates the opportunity to have a free Health & Safety to ensure their gates comply with the latest guidelines.  If you would like to take up this offer or are interested in how Automatic Gates would improve the security of your premises, please contact the Sales Team on tel 01483 791500 or email sales@absolutesecurity.co.uk