What are the best home security systems available in India?
April 06, 2020
Before I answer this question in an unbiased way, I think it’s important that we set the context more precisely. The scope of this discussion will be limited to security solutions that are used by common people like us, here in India, to keep our homes safe.
I will also try to cover a slight overview of what different going on in the rest of the world.
I personally believe that we Indians take a lot of pain in keeping our homes or valuables safe. We go above and beyond to ensure that the construction quality of our home is rock solid – thicker walls with more and more iron and concrete buried inside is everyone’s preference! We protect glass windows with iron grills and the wooden main door in our home is usually reinforced with an extra iron door.
It will not be an exaggeration to say that houses in India are probably structurally stronger than the rest of the world!
However, this seems to have no impact on thieves, burglars, robbers, or opportunists! It’s so common to read about a break-in or theft or robbery that it doesn’t even matter anymore. So, the question is:
- Can technology help?
- What about CCTV, everyone got one but still, it doesn’t help much, does it?
- Home automation, Home Security, IoT, Smart Homes – there are so much new jargons we hear every day, what is the real deal?
- What is missing, why can’t we Indians take a month-long break away from home without worrying about it?
I don’t think I can cover everything in one question unless I write a book, so let me first answer the question in hand and for more information, I will give few more links at the bottom of this question, do have a look.
CCTV Camera: The most common ones, cheapest too. Good for large departmental stores, large shops, public places where surveillance is required, so the public, in general, behaves in a civilized way (not just robbers and thieves)!
It provides a psychological defense. For example, a person is more likely to pee on someone’s garden wall or steal a lightbulb if he thinks that no one is going to notice. A lot of people even install a dummy camera to create the same psychological effect.
But it’s not really for homes, even as a deterrent! They are less than effective on thieves due to multiple reasons
1) A thief may not care if his face will be recorded as he does not have a social reputation to keep.
2) He can simply wear a mask.
3) By cutting the power supply, It can be made useless; CCTV cameras usually don’t come with battery backup.
4) A thief may just as well decide to take the DVR with him, once the job is done!
So, in summary, CCTV cameras are very useful for community areas, large shops, Malls, and anywhere with a lot of people but not so useful if you are looking to secure your home.
IP Camera: The next most common device. Quite useful. You can see what is going on inside or outside your home from anywhere using your mobile phone. Video quality is much better than CCTV and no wiring required.
So, all in all, seems like a good choice. You can buy one from Amazon or Flipkart and install it yourself.
It’s also quite useful if you have elderly at home or small babies who need constant attention, or if you just want to ensure that your new maid is doing her job properly when you are not around!
It’s like a pair of extra eyes inside your home, sounds all good, right?
But be very careful what you wish for! Think about it, Google Nest IP camera costs about USD 300, that’s like INR 22000, Ring (an Amazon-owned company) camera costs about the same, on the other hand, you have typical china made cameras with more features which are sold on Amazon or Flipkart for just INR 2000–3000, with hundreds of good reviews! (Typically these camera comes with mobile apps like you see, IPC360, smart life, 360eye, to see or some funny-sounding name)
So why do Ring or Google or any good western brand cost so much more? Is it because they look better? Or build quality is better? Or the brand value? Or some other features like Alexa or echo integration?
The answer is – It’s because these companies ensure privacy! you can be sure that no one else is peaking into your camera, the company itself is not collecting all the video feeds into their server.
Read this to get some more context about the privacy issue with China’s IP cameras:
So, my suggestion is, if you need one where privacy doesn’t matter, knock yourself out and buy anyone with good reviews from amazon. It will last some time and once it’s broken, replace it with another cheap one… there are like 100 options!
But if you are buying to use inside your home, need a long life, post-sale support, and peace of mind that no one is looking inside your home, then go for a good one. Ring, Google Nest, Hipcam.. something like that will do; it will cost significantly more but will give you peace of mind and a much better experience overall.
A smart doorbell or Video door phone: Another good product! In the past, doorbells were about having a video display inside your home so you can see who is at door!
But with internet in every home and mobile in every hand; nowadays doorbells come with amazing capabilities and features – you can see and speak to the visitor using your mobile phone from anywhere, with motion sensor you can get notifications if someone is approaching your door, battery backup is another good feature, considering power cuts are not uncommon in India!
It’s quite useful and really handy if you have a small nuclear family, or you are not always around, or if you have kids alone at home and worried if they might open the door to someone stranger!
You can buy one from amazon for like INR6000, but again, be careful about what you are buying. The experience with these cheap doorbells are quite annoying, sometimes notifications come, sometimes they don’t, their integration with Android, iOS, support on software upgrades, firewall upgrade, etc is usually not there or quite poor! So if you are looking for a reliable, long-lasting, and seamless experience, go for a good one from companies like Google nest, Ring, Hipcam to name a few.
Pro tip – don’t trust the battery backup mentioned on the websites! It’s usually one-tenth of what is written on the box!
Alarm systems: Alarm systems are not as popular as other products, but they are gaining momentum and more and more people are choosing alarm systems to protect their homes.
An alarm system is a combination of different types of sensors. For example, a door or window sensor detects the opening of a door, it is installed at the main entry points. The motion sensor detects motion and typically used in a common area like a living room or drawing room. Smoke sensors are used to protect from fire accidents. There are many other types of sensors like CO sensor, flood sensor, glass break sensor, light sensor, etc.
These sensors are usually quite small, like a paperweight and they are wirelessly connected with the main unit called control panel or control hub. It’s like the brain of the system. Sometimes, this control hub also has an inbuilt siren for an emergency, though you will also need an additional siren outside your home to warn the thieves!
The whole system is operated by a remote key, which typically looks like a car key! And most of the systems come with mobile app integration too. You can just activate it when you leave your house and deactivate it when you come back!
Again, you can buy one from amazon for like INR 15000. Without any doubt, it will be manufactured in China which is not a bad thing really, cause even iPhone is manufactured there! But a good quality system from companies like Visonic, Eldes, Pyrex, bold, Ajax, etc will cost a lot more. Somewhere above INR 80000- 100000 for the most basic setup.
While good hardware quality ensures the long life and reliability of the alarm system, it’s the professional monitoring that makes the real difference! Unfortunately, this is still not widely available in India and most people don’t even know about it. In western countries there are plenty who offer monitoring services like ADT, Simplisafe, Vivint smart home, Frontpoint, Protect America, DFS Services.
Let me briefly explain what CMS monitoring is really.
CMS Monitored Alarm systems: CMS (central monitoring station) is also referred to as an Alarm receiving center or ARC. Imagine a large room with a lot of large TV screens and big monitors, more or less that’s how a CMS looks like!
CMS is capable of processing millions of signals every second and professionally trained operators process those signals with software algorithms.
In nutshell, the CMS is constantly connected with the alarm system installed at your home and it monitors, maintains, and looks after the alarm system! When I say constantly connected, I mean in real-time! The alarm system sends a notification every 30 seconds to CMS, just to confirm if everything is working as expected.. pretty cool, isn’t it!
So if a battery goes low, someone tries to steal any sensor, someone tries to open it, any communication issue, network issue, alarm trigger, smoke, fire, or anything like that – these guys at CMS can make sure that appropriate action is taken.
This is why monitored alarm systems are not sold as PRODUCT, but they are offered as a SERVICE, cause you don’t just buy the hardware, you opt for a monitoring service!
CMS works round the clock, literally. In fact, in order to qualify, certain standards must be met! Typically, CMS has to prove the uptime of 99.99%, this will come about 1 hour of system downtime in a YEAR, So it’s a service that does not take weekend breaks or Christmas holidays, after all, an accident can happen anytime.
In nutshell, CMS monitored alarm systems are indisputably considered the most effective way to protect a home or shop and are adopted by millions in western countries. But in India, due to high installation and monitoring costs and awareness issues in general, these are rarely known.
Image source Home Security System India
You can watch some related videos here:
DFS Services and Vprotect India are two companies (there may be a few more but I doubt), that offer monitored security solutions and have CMS capability.
You can find more information, ask questions, or request a live demo from here:
When I say that CMS monitored alarm systems are indisputably the best way to keep your home or shop safe, don’t just take my word for it, google about it, read about it, and make your own assessment.