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5 Levels of Security: How to Take Customers from Basic to Advanced

Consumers might walk in the door requesting a basic alarm system or a couple of cameras, but integrators can move them into a more advanced solution by using this simple ‘5 Levels of Security’ cheat sheet.

A customer walks in your door or calls you and asks for a “security system.” They're thinking a simple alarm panel with a few door/window sensors, maybe a camera or two. They just don't know better.

Home invasions tend to rise during holiday and vacation seasons, with summer the peak time for burglaries, followed by the month of December. Now is a good time to talk to your customers about increased security.

1. Traditional Alarm System

A limited protection area – no alarm until home is breached.

2. Traditional Surveillance 

Identifies intruders … after the fact.

3. Video Verification

Indoor sensor + camera prompts more urgent response from police.

4. Intelligent Video Security

Extends security perimeter and can thwart intruders before they enter home.

5. Pro-Monitored Video Security

24/7 pros notify authorities of a crime in progress before breach.

SnapAV and its video-analytics group Visualint offer this simple “5 Levels of Security” cheat sheet to help integrators explain the value of stepping up to a more advanced solution.

Level 1 – Traditional Security

Traditional security features a series of sensors that identify if someone enters a home or business: dry contacts for doors and windows, indoor motion detectors, and glass breaks.

Typically, this system is monitored, so if a sensor is triggered an alarm goes off and law enforcement may be called. The problem is that response is not always immediate – and sometimes doesn’t come at all – making this option less than optimal.  

Level 2 – Traditional Surveillance

For additional peace of mind, many people add surveillance cameras to their security systems to create a recording of activities that happen.

The recording is a nice historical record, but it doesn’t do anything to stop the intruder. And the cameras work independently from the security system, making integration impossible.


Video recording is a nice historical record, but it doesn’t do anything to stop the intruder. 


Level 3 – Video Verification

To combat the delays in law enforcement response, security systems began attaching basic cameras to their indoor sensors. So, when the sensor is triggered, a short video clip is sent to the monitoring station to verify the event.

This verification forces a more urgent response, but unfortunately the intruder is already in the home or business, and damage has begun.

Level 4 – Intelligent Video Security

This is where things get really interesting. Advancements in video processing and analytics allow intelligent video systems to create virtual sensors that can be placed onto a property.

They extend the security perimeter away from a building, and allow for proactive response to an intruder before he/she enters the home. Plus, the intelligent video system can be integrated with a security system, so the virtual sensors can be armed along with everything else.

Level 5 – Professionally-Monitored Video Security

The ultimate security solution pairs an intelligent video security system (level 4) with professional video monitoring.

This allows for identification of intruders before they enter the property. Once identified, the monitoring station operator can initiate a talk down –  telling them to leave the premises – as well as notify police of a “crime in progress.”

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