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There are two main types of home security motion sensors: active detectors,whichemit light, sound or other forms of energy and recognize when that energy is being disturbed; or passive detectors, which recognize incoming signals sent from the disturbance, such as heat or sound waves. The revolution brought on by wireless technologies, smart phones, and mobile apps have changed all of that. Today, home security systems can still sound alarms, but are much more difficult to forget about or foil. A software supported security system can send you a text message every time a door or window is opened, whether you’ve armed it or not. It can stream live video or send still images of what’s happening in your garage, living room, backyard or wherever you deploy a security camera. 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.

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Read ReviewSimpliSafe Home Security System ReviewMSRP: $229. 96 at Pros: Affordable hardware, reasonable monthly monitoring fees. No contract required. Quick, easy installation. Cellular and Wi Fi connectivity, the latter of which is optional. Cons: Underwhelming camera options.