Types of Systems:
The Electronic Systems Industry includes businesses that sell, install, maintain, service and monitor various types of electronic systems in homes, businesses and government installations including:
Burglar Alarm Systems – A system that alerts homeowners or business owners to an intruder via annunciators and sensors. A burglar alarm system is activated and deactivated by the user via a control panel or keypad. Visit our guide to Burglar alarm systems for more information.
Fire Alarm Systems – A system that alerts homeowners or business owners to fire via manual pull stations, smoke or detectors or monitoring of sprinkler systems. Visit our guide to Fire alarm systems for more information.
Robbery Alarms – known as hold-up, duress, ambush or emergency alarms and have communications capabilities to alert someone off site when the alarm is activated.
Access Control Systems – Allow people or vehicles into a restricted area via identification through coded keys, magnetic cards, or biometric readers such as hand, face, voice, finger of retina readers. These systems are used in many businesses, hotels and apartment complexes.
Closed Circuit Television Systems (CCTV) – A camera system that displays activity on a premise via video monitors. Used primarily in businesses but becoming more popular in homes as well to view visitors at the door or monitor activity in a baby’s room.
Audio & Video Systems– An entertainment system can provide you own Home Theater that can be connected via a home automation package to a security, CCTV, or access control system.
Home Control and Automation Systems – Home automation connects all aspects of a system together through one central control panel, keypad or remote. Used in what is called a “smart home” where virtually all home functions can be linked together and controlled via one central remote or keypad.
Telephone and Intercom Systems – Simple communications form room to room can also include capability for music in each room or the addition of video.
Computer Cabling and/or networks – Structured cabling can provide for your current and future needs for electronic systems.
Central Vacuum Systems – eliminate the need to haul heavy and awkward canisters up and down stairs and through the house.
Be An Educated Consumer
In order to be an informed consumer you need to understand the different components of a system. The best systems professional will help you determine what components you need to serve your home or business.
Your systems professional should discuss what options fit your home and/or business and lifestyle, for instance, do you have small children, pets, are you away from your home for long periods of time, do you have expensive items such as jewelry you want to protect. All of these things may factor in to determine which system is best for you.
You may decide to install a system for a specific purpose but keep in mind in you can link other devices into your system such as security, fire, entertainment, controlled heating and lighting, and carbon monoxide detection. There can also be cost savings to combine these features versus installing them at a later date. It all depends on what you want and what suits you best.
The best systems professional will customize your system for your specific needs!
Selecting a Contractor
The Texas Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (TBFAA) recommends that consumers take the following steps BEFORE selecting a systems contractor:
- Check to see if the contractor is a member of the TBFAA. Associations members agree to maintain a high level of conduct under a Code of Ethics and render services at the highest level of quality.
- Call several companies. Ask them if their employees are trained and/or certified by the TBFAA.
- Ask the companies if they have appropriate state and/or local licenses, if required. Some sort of license will be required for any company that provides these services in Texas (see use licensed contractors section below for more information)
- Ask the companies if they conduct any pre-employment screening.
- Contact your local police department’s Crime Prevention Department, state licensing agencies, Consumer Protection Agencies, and the Better Business Bureau.
- Ask your insurance agent, friends, family or neighbors for referrals.
- After you’ve narrowed the field to three or four alarm companies, ask for the name of the person who will call on you. It is best to plan the appointment time when all those involved in the decision are present.
- When he/she visits, ask to see some company identification.
- Ask each alarm company representative for an inspection, recommendation and a quote in writing. Use a checklist to compare different packages and price quotes.