Category Archives for Security System

contract length of security system provider

What Type of Contract Length Can I Expect from My Security Providers?

When you are ready to invest in a security system for your business or company, you need to know the ins and outs of security system contracts. These contracts are usually long-term but they can also present a month-to-month option, depending on your service and equipment needs. Security systems are vital in maintaining the safety of your company and the protection you and your employees. Investing in a security system is an important decision that should not be made haphazardly. Signing security system contracts are crucial in the process because it will help in making sure your needs are met at a price you can afford.

Average Contract Length

Alarm monitoring contracts can last anywhere from 12 months to 60 months. However, the industry standard for contracts is about 36 months. The length of the contract often dictates the amount of your monthly payments, to an extent. The longer you are in the contract for, the lower your monthly fees should be. What makes this possible is that because of being in the contract, you are spreading its initial costs, such as equipment and installation, to be paid over time.

Average Monthly Payment

Other than paying for a continuous monitoring service, one of the main reasons in signing a contract with an alarm monitoring company is to subsidize the costs of equipment so the company can regain its investment of time, equipment, and manpower over time. If a company does not offer this type of contract, then you may be expected to pay for the equipment in a up front lump sum.

Your monthly bill is split up into different parts. One part shows the monthly monitoring fees. Another part is the partial reimbursement of the initial investment of equipment and installation which includes parts and labor. Third part shows the potential cost of maintenance for the equipment, which lasts the duration of the contract. Another is all of the general office overhead, such as vehicles, computers, staff, phone, rent, lights, and so on. Add all of these up, and you have your contract’s average monthly payment.

Month-to-Month (No Contract)

There are also security companies who will offer their services without giving out contracts. This is most often true especially of smaller and local security companies, although large companies may also offer the same deal. You can pay for the service monthly on an as-needed basis, so if you need to suspend service for a few months and reinstate it again later, you can do so freely and easily.

There are several security companies who can make this offer but the question of equipment still lingers. Because you won’t be locked into paying for the equipment you would lease from the company in a standard long-term contract, the company will not be able to return their equipment and installation costs if you were to cancel the contract after one month. So this usually means two things:

  1. You will have to pay for the equipment upfront either all at once or in a few larger payments.
  2. You will have to own your equipment already and only need the company to monitor them for you.

The length of your contract will ultimately depend on how you want to pay for the equipment, whether upfront or over time. Security companies offer different security system contracts and contract lengths. If you have any more questions or comments, you can submit your message below or you can contact us today!

security system work during power outage

Will My Security System Still Work When There Is Power Outage?

When buying a home security system, one of the things that a homeowner considers is the functionality of the equipment when the power is out. It is important to keep this in mind to maintain safety and protection 24/7 even when the power is out.

To know if your home security system still works, know what type of security system you own:

Traditional Phone Lines – if your alarm system operates over traditional phone lines, then it will continue to communicate with the monitoring center even when there is a power outage. The phone lines will still be operational, and the main security control panel in your home will most likely continue to operate on backup power for a limited amount of time only.

Cellular Radio – During power outages, this type of wireless home security system is still operational because of the power they draw from battery backup. It will remain for several hours until the backup power drains. Like a cellular phone, communication is unaffected by localized power outages.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) – Vulnerable to power outages, this type of wireless home security system gets its power from home phone lines. Although they are able to do battery backup, these types of systems may stop communicating with monitoring centers when there is a power outage that also results in an Internet outage. However, some companies have solutions for VoIP systems to maintain its power and connectivity with their monitoring center in the event of a power/Internet outage.

Internet – These types of home security systems are the most vulnerable during power outages due to the fact that it results in an Internet outage as well. Without the Internet, there is no connection to a monitoring center. Therefore, communication will stop until power is restored and Internet is up and

There are lots of companies that offer 24/7 function to home security systems even when there is power outage. It is important to know what your priorities are so that you will not be a victim to sales talk. If you have questions and comments, submit your message below or you can contact us today!

What is License Plate Recognition?

License plate recognition (LPR) is a feature on software that involves the capturing, detecting, reading, and storing photographic video or images of license plates. The LPR is used mainly for traffic monitoring in parking lots and gated security entrances. The captured videos or images will be processed by a series of algorithms, which will then provide an alpha numeric conversion to make the captured license plate into a text entry.

How does it work?

License plate recognition captures a video or an image of a vehicle’s license plate, and then either stores it for later review or runs the image through software that analyses videos, or video analytics software like Avigilon, to compare it to other license plate numbers stored in a database.

If there is a match of the captured license plate and the license plate found in the database, the system can be set up to send alerts. Immediately notifying you wherever you may be, the alerts sent off by the system can be sent to your email or mobile phone for any unusual or suspicious activities.

Camera factors to consider for effective license plate recognition:

  1. Angle – the proper camera angle is essential in installing LPR; LPR cameras that are installed too high or too low will not see the license plate clearly and can therefore cause irregularities
  2. Distance – the distance from the camera to the vehicle should be considered despite the camera’s ability to zoom in; when the distance is too far, the result of the zoomed in image may be unclear
  3. Lighting – the lighting is particularly needed especially during the dark; it’s going to need additional lighting whether you have already installed lights or used the camera’s built-in IR

Additionally, the quality of the image or the videos should be taken in to consideration. Avigilon LPR analytics appliances can provide all of these with the best results to meet the standards set by your local law enforcement. When used as legal evidence, your equipment must be of good quality to ensure clarity.

How can this help your company?

Although the need for license plate recognition can be very specific, LPR is incredibly essential when it comes to:

  • The security of an area, such as military base or research facility
  • The monitoring of gated entrances and parking lot traffic
  • Tracking a known suspect’s vehicle
  • Tracking a stolen vehicle or a car involved in a crime
  • The enforcement of parking laws like time limits and reserved spaces

For more information on LPR or Avigilon products, contact us. South Bay is an authorized dealer for Avigilon and one of our security specialists will be happy to answer any questions you have.

Storm Alert Information

When a major storm approaches, your security system does have limited capabilities.  Security systems depend on power to stay functioning and communications channels for remote management and notifications.  If you lose either (power or communications), your security may be compromised which will require your intervention to help protect your property.

Anytime we are in a dangerous storm mode or a State of Emergency, our central stations may get saturated with a substantial amount of signals.  Low priority signals (low battery, power loss) will be logged accordingly to ensure higher priority signals are answered promptly and efficiently.  Those customers with remote services such as DMP Virtual keypad or the Honeywell TC2, will continue to get instant messaging of vital system resources, while the systems and cell towers are still functioning.

Here is helpful info as it pertains to your type of security system:

What happens if I lose power?

(Intrusion System, Fire System, Keyless Door Access System, Video Surveillance System)

Your systems need constant power.  One option may be to plug in all of our devices into temporary generators.  Because various power supplies are hard wired while some other devices may be plug-in style, you would have to ensure all components (controllers, power supplies, alarm system panels) and getting their power from your temporary generator source.

What happens during an extended power outage (many hours, days)?

(Intrusion System, Fire System, Keyless Door Access System, Video Surveillance System)

After a fixed amount of time your batteries will begin to expire.  Unless the power supplies for these devices are on a functional backup generator, your systems will eventually run out of battery power.

(Intrusion System, Fire System, Video Surveillance System)

Your systems will eventually shut down when the batteries deplete.  This means no more detection of any kind.

(Keyless Door Access System)

When door access systems run out of power, depending on the type of lock that you have, doors may begin to unlock & release.

Electric Door Strikes: If you have a door strike on a perimeter door, the odds are this design means the door is LOCKED without power.  If you have a door strike on an interior door, there are some designs whereby the electric strike will release without power.

Magnetic Locks: Magnetic locks are installed normally at the top of your door and they need power to remain locked.  If your building is equipped with magnetic locks and you are expecting an extended power outage, you may want to consider manually locking those doors.

Do I need to replace my batteries when power comes back up?

Most control systems are advanced enough to recharge depleted batteries.  In some cases, batteries may go into a deep discharge and are unable to be revived (after normal power is restored).  Rule of thumb is to allow about 24 hours for the batteries to charge.  If your system is still indicating a battery failure, that would be time to contact us for a service call.

We are a customer with a high-risk level, what do we do?

(Intrusion System, Fire System, Keyless Door Access System, Video Surveillance System)

Depending on your risk level, you may need to consider hiring a guard to stand watch, to man doors, provide building security, etc…   If your building has a required fire alarm, fire code requires “fire-watch” to manually staff your building in the event your main fire alarm system is out of service.

If our alarm trips, will it be responded to?

(Intrusion System, Fire System)

During emergency modes, as an alarm event occurs, the central station will filter and sort the signals based on priority.  Fire events have some of the highest priority while a/c loss, low battery and general trouble conditions have the lowest.  Once the central station reacts to a condition, if the condition warrants calling the local authorities, the decision to send (police or fire) response is up to the city as we cannot control the behavior of the dispatch.  You may want to contact your local city emergency dispatch center if you have questions as to how they will be reacting to alarm events during the storm crisis.  It is important to note that no security system replaces the need to carry adequate insurance.

What is the best method to setup a service call?

The quickest and most efficient method would be to send an email to us at: SERVICE@SOUTHBAYCOMM.COM   You can always call us with any questions at 757-523-9646.


Reasons to Invest in a Home Security System

Your home is not just an investment. Like most families, you may spend a considerable portion of income on a home mortgage or rent, you will naturally want to protect it. Homes serve as a storage place for years’ worth of valuable personal property, crucial information, and much more. However, the main reason for the protection of your home is the family that lives in it. When it comes to protecting your home, you should know that locking the doors and windows, and creating friendly relationships with the neighbors will not suffice. This is why many families turn to modern technology specifically, a home alarm system.

Installing a home alarm system goes far beyond safety. Here are reasons why you should invest in one:

  1. 24/7 Protection

You home will never go unprotected. When home owners are away, a home alarm system monitors your home all the time. This is especially advantageous in the nighttime when everyone is asleep including your watch dog. A home alarm system will not blink an eye when it comes to protecting your home.

  1. Effective Warning

The mere presence of security cameras that are installed throughout your house will ward off people with criminal intent. Residences with home security systems have a lower risk of becoming a burglary target. Criminals will hesitate to encroach on your home when they are aware of your security system.

  1. Phone Access

When you’re not at home, you will still be able to access the live footage of your home’s security camera through your phone or computer. This is particularly helpful in monitoring children that are left with babysitters, or even pets that are by themselves at the house.

  1. Smart Home

Home alarm systems can make your home ‘smart’ with advanced features that help automate locks, lights, and even doorbells. Even when nobody is at home, you are able to turn appliances off with just the use of your phone.

  1. Fire Protection

Your home security system alerts you when your smoke detector goes off even if you’re not at home. It is also able to detect the unusually high levels of carbon monoxide in your home. When your home is monitored with fire detection equipment, an automatic call will go out to the fire station even before you have a chance to get to the phone.

  1. Lower Insurance

According to comparison site Safewise, it is possible to receive a discount from your home insurance company. With an alarm system, your home is considered a lower liability than those who do not have security. In addition, a good home security system will help increase the value of your home, should you decide to put it on the market.

  1. Peace of Mind

With a home alarm system, you will definitely have a peaceful, calm sleep with no worries of danger in your home. Your home is your comfort zone, and this insures that it will not be disrupted. True peace of mind is found knowing your home is safe wherever you go and no matter the time of day.

A home security system is a great investment for your house and family safety.  A quality home security system will not let you down ensuring you the protection your family and home deserves. If you have questions or comments, submit your message below or you can contact us today so we can assist you!

Choosing The Right Security Camera For Your Business

With today’s technology, protecting homes and businesses is much easier with the presence of video surveillance systems. Many home and business owners have opted to install private security networks on their premises to keep them safe from criminal activity. However, with the many advanced security camera systems on the market, it can be challenging to choose the right security system.

So before you go through it alone, you need to first ask yourself these questions to determine which security system is the best one:

  1. Do the cameras need to be installed discreetly or visibly?

Knowing the location and what you need to monitor will help you decide whether or not you need obvious or discreet cameras. Usually, there are two types of security cameras that often come up when talking about how it should be installed.

Box cameras are large cameras that are shaped like a box with a lens attached to the front. This can be the most noticeable type of security camera to remind people that someone is watching over them. This reduces the chances of a crime happening in the first place as it iss conspicuous and will ward off criminal behavior.

Dome cameras, on the other hand, are the best option for a discreet installation due to their small size. Dome cameras are usually mounted on ceilings or hung from poles attached to the ceiling. Because the housing is the only visible part of the dome camera, it is difficult to deduce which areas are actually being monitored. This type of security camera is most commonly used indoors.

  1. Will the cameras be installed with bright light or low light?

It is important for you to know where your security camera is going to be filming as the overall light level of the surroundings will definitely affect your choice. If they will be installed in bright or well-lit areas, your choice of camera will have very few limitations. Sufficient lighting will make it easy for security cameras to capture clear footage. When installed with dim lighting, however, you might have to take some more time in choosing your security camera. There are only a few types of security cameras that can handle dim lighting. Make sure to look for a camera that lists low-light compatibility among its specifications.

  1. Will the security cameras be used indoors or outdoors?

Although most modern cameras can be used both indoor and outdoor, it is still important to consider their specific features. In cold temperatures, you must choose a durable camera with an in-built heater for it to keep operating despite a harsh environment. For the use in the transport industry where there is a high level of vibration, choose a robust video surveillance solution for a reliable operation.

  1. Do the cameras need to have an audio?

You need to decide if audio is an important feature for you as a home or business owner. This feature allows for personnel to hear and speak to possible perpetrators. From the point of view of the surveillance, it can also be used in detecting possible threats which will record and alarm automatically.

  1. What resolution does the security camera need to have?

The security camera’s resolution is determined by either TVL or pixels. If you are willing to invest significantly when buying your security camera system, then you will want a TVL rating with at least 480 or 10-megapixel. The rating is an important detail to consider when you choosing your security camera.

Once you have answered these basic questions concerning buying the right security camera, it will be an easy decision! However, remember to take your time. Do not be misled by sales people who are only after the big sale. Take your time and choose carefully as the safety and security of your family or employees is paramount.

More questions? Talk to one of our security specialists today. We would be happy to help in any way we can. Contact us at 757-523-9646 or comment below!

5 Keys to Implement an Effective Surveillance System

In the world of cameras and security equipment, it can be quite overwhelming and intimidating when installing or upgrading your surveillance system. This can be especially challenging if you’re not an expert in the industry. However, for the surveillance system to be effective, it’s imperative to know the keys implementing the right one. When working properly, the surveillance system will improve security and safety for your homes or business. In addition, it can help the authorities respond to crimes or other issues that might arise.

Understanding how video surveillance systems increase the safety of your facility will be of little help if they are not installed and operated properly.

Here are 5 keys in implementing an effective surveillance system:

Identify the vulnerabilities.

Know the exact reasons why you’re installing cameras to avoid disappointments. A clear statement of purpose will define your goals will help you communicate more clearly with surveillance experts who will eventually address any kind of help you will need before you even ask them. Communication is really important for you to achieve the goal you have set for your business and allow the security professionals to design a system that is suitable for you needs.

Set expectations.

When you are planning to install a surveillance system, establish reasonable goals. Although they are especially helpful in crime investigations and criminal suspect identification, some systems do not get to achieve every goal you have. You will have to balance your needs with your budget. No security solution is perfect.

Identifying your surveillance priorities will allow you to understand how far your budget will go. Not all systems will offer the great quality for a low cost. The type of resolution and the number of cameras will naturally affect how much you will invest. When you are concerned about the wellness of your family or employees and security of your assets, it is vital to identify your security goals (e.g. the coverage of the video, blind spots, etc.).

Consider lighting and indoor cameras.

Video quality continues to improve as camera technology advances. Indoors cameras provide the best quality of picture as the conditions are controlled. Consistent lighting helps with video quality. If you are installing indoors, you can get away with a less expensive camera and still expect really good results.

Survive outdoor elements.

Outdoor surveillance systems can be more difficult because of inconsistent lighting like cloud coverage, darkness, bright lights that blind the lenses, and uneven lighting.

However, this does not mean that cameras installed outdoor are unusable. You just have to know, as an owner, that there will be some challenges to overcome. The right lighting set up can help this problem so that it eliminates some of the inconsistency.

Establish surveillance policies.

To avoid conflicts, when installing a surveillance system, always establish a written policy to help people understand the purposes that the cameras will and will not serve. Address the basic functions of the system and the basic rules such as:

  1. What the intended purposes are of the surveillance system
  2. Specific personnel who have access to footage
  3. The appropriate locations of the installment of the cameras
  4. Basic operations of cameras
  5. Propriety rights of footage

Installing surveillance systems can provide you the security you need but with the right expectations and implementation. If you need more help with the planning and implementation of your surveillance system, do not hesitate to reach out to our specialists.

If you have questions or comments, submit your message below or you can contact us today!

5 Reasons Why CCTV Systems Are Vital For Your Businesses

A long time ago, the main targets of commercial crime were those which held physical money and other valuable items like post offices, banks, jewelry stores, and many more. However, because the times have changed and technology has become more advanced, even small businesses but with high-technology equipment have also become targets of these criminals.

One of the most effective ways to avoid this from happening to your business is installing CCTV Security or Video Surveillance Systems in the workplace. These low-cost modern security cameras allow businesses to be protected along with the business’s assets. With continuous security monitoring of every part of the business, these cameras will act as your security guards. They provide 24/7 reliability and accountability by providing real time remote video surveillance.

Here are 5 reasons why you should install CCTV security in the workplace:

  1. Increased Safety

A feature that is available to some CCTV surveillance systems alerts the control center in case of emergency. For instance when a security breach is in progress, it prompts a rapid notification to allow employees or customers who are in danger to move away from the situation. Having a CCTV solution can create a secure environment assuring the safety of staff and customers alike which of course is good for the business and the company culture. This will also deter criminals from making your business a target.

  1. Full Proof Coverage

A well-designed infrastructure of a CCTV security system can provide 100% coverage. These cameras can keep an eye on each other’s blind spots and most importantly, they can monitor the most vulnerable, most unfrequented, and most secluded areas of your business. Compared to an actual guard, a full monitoring of your location can be hindered by human errors such as falling asleep or being distracted with something else.

  1. Law Enforcement Assistance

CCTV recordings can help law enforcement agencies solve crimes when they take place. Police can use the footage and release the photos and videos of the perpetrators to the public to help track them down. Additionally, internal disputes that can be used in a courtroom such as sexual harassment or absenteeism can be verified, confirmed, or disproved by viewing the video footages captured by the CCTV system.

  1. Encouragement of Good Behavior

Even though they are small machines, these CCTV cameras help in fostering discipline and honesty among your employees and customers. With their awareness of the presence of a CCTV camera in the area, it encourages them to be on their best behavior to avoid causing problems. In addition, it also gives customers a sense of safety and security which eventually makes them confident in doing business with you.

  1. Cost-effectiveness

The moment CCTV security systems are installed, they prove themselves to be worthy of your investment. With a 24-hour and a full view of your business premise, they will serve to be the one of the best investments when it comes to the safety and security of your business, employees, and your customers. They are reasonably priced as they offer special features like remote online access, sensory detectors, motion detectors, fire alerts, and many more.

Installing a CCTV security system will offer significant benefits to your business. A proper video surveillance solution will insure that you are not leaving your business vulnerable to theft, emergency and legal situations. If you have questions or comments, submit your message below or you can contact us today so we can help you!

Portable Wireless Burglar Alarm Systems vs. Permanent Fixtures

Choosing an alarm system for your home or business premises can be quite a task. Installing a wireless or wired burglar alarm system is not a flippant decision. Every day, somebody somewhere is planning to burglarize large and small businesses! As a business owner, don’t let them get away with this. For these criminals to be caught red-handed, you should be wise in choosing the right burglar alarm system for your business or your home.

To make it easier for you, here are the pros and cons of wireless and wired alarm systems:

Installation Cost

While the parts of this system are relatively expensive, what you should be concerned about is the labor in installing the alarm system. Since wireless alarm systems are, of course, portable, this costs a lot less than the wired alarm system which usually takes more than twice time to install. Installation costs for wireless alarm systems are significantly less than what wired alarm systems require. However, if your business is involved with cable trays and suspended ceilings, wired alarm systems may be the right one for you.

Long-term Costs

Wireless burglar alarms require the ongoing cost of sensor battery replacements every two years. Despite the disruptive installation process for wired alarm systems, once they are in, they are in for good. The cabling can still be reused even if you decide on upgrading the system. However, you must always remember that both alarm systems need regular maintenance to prevent costly expenses when unidentified issues arise.


At one time it was a popular opinion that wired burglar alarm systems were much more reliable because wireless systems were known to have false alarms. However, both alarm systems are now sufficiently reliable. Concerns about signal interference have been eliminated as wireless technology advanced. Additionally, with a wired system, this concern is not a problem.


When somebody asks which alarm system is cleaner and less disruptive, the answer is definitely going to be the wireless alarm system. However, both alarm systems can be installed neat and tidy with the right people. It’s just that the wireless system provides the nicer finish considering that there are fewer wires to conceal unlike the wired alarm system that usually need to be fitted around doorways and other corners of the area.


Installing extensions to wireless alarm systems are simple considering that they are of course portable. Wired systems, however, are more disruptive and time-consuming. Hardwired alarm systems are there to stay wherever you put them. If you plan on moving, you’re going to need to re-cable the whole system into a new property which results in a large bill from your alarm system provider.  With a wireless burglar alarm system, you just have to simply unscrew the control panel and wireless devices off the walls and you are good to go.

It is clear which burglar alarm system is easier to manage. However, it is still up to you which alarm system is right for your home or your business. Either way, both will give you peace of mind and can truly help you in making your business premises safe and secure.

If you need help selecting the right security system for your business, contact us. We’ll be happy to help in any way!

5 Benefits of a Business Security Alarm System

Whether or not you run a small business that is close to home, your business will need a security alarm system to protect of your company’s assets. Business security alarms alert you when the property is invaded by thieves or when the property is attacked by intruders. Burglaries not only affect current stock; but they can also cause your business to close for an investigation. Additionally, they can also have significant emotional impact on you and your employees. However, as a business owner, to prevent or minimize the chances of this happening, a business security alarm is a priority for your company.

Here are five reasons why you should install business security alarms:

Constant Protection

To assign security guards to personally secure and protect the property 24/7 is not always feasible. A security system will provide round-the-lock protection against burglars and break-ins and also allow you to have playback functionality on your security cameras.

Strong and Effective Warning

Home and commercial properties that have security systems installed are known to have a lower risk of being targeted by criminals. Knowing that they have a higher chance of getting caught, the alarm system will persuade potential thieves that your property is not worth the hassle.

Nonstop Functionality

There are two types of alarm systems – wireless and hardwired. Wireless alarm systems function with batteries and do not need a constant source of electricity. They continue to function during blackouts which can be very helpful as looting is common when this happens. Hardwired systems do not use batteries as their source but rather, consume electricity. Regularly charging a battery is unnecessary.

Easy Relocation

Alarm system devices can be disconnected and installed at different areas of your property. Both types of alarm systems are easy to relocate. If your company expands or moves that does not mean your system has to be completely replaced.

Special Features

Many modern alarm security systems now have features such as smoke and fire detection, sprinklers, and motion detectors. These systems can also alert you immediately during emergency situations like a gas leak or a flood.

Oftentimes, installing a business security alarm is the best way to keep you, your assets, and your employees safer than simply have a security officer to look after your business. Criminals can attack anytime and anywhere no matter the location of your business. Here at South Bay Communications & Security, we make sure your company is well-secured and protected so that you can go about your day to day business with confidence.

Do you have questions about our security products and services? Contact us today by submitting your message below or call us at 757-523-9646!