Smart Security Isn’t Always the Smart Option for Rural Dwellers
In some remote areas, even locking the front door when you leave home is still optional. A 2014 HuffPost/YouGov poll found that 14% of rural Americans leave their doors unlocked when they leave home . Rural security is, indeed, a different beast, one that smart security systems are, not usually the most practical solution to.
Internet-connected smart security systems are steadily gaining ground in urban centers. The new systems not only provide more efficient surveillance and monitoring than traditional analog systems (which uses a landline to connect), but also allow users to set, and remotely control, home automation. Where the internet connection is strong, smart security has many benefits.
Traditional systems lack the remote, centralized control that makes smart systems so user friendly, for example. Smart security users can monitor their homes’ video and sensor feeds remotely from their smartphones.
They can respond quickly from their phone app when the system raises an alarm, preventing unnecessary police intervention. Users can also arm or disarm their systems remotely to let guests and workers into their homes without giving out their passcode.
Also, as part of a complete smart home suite, smart security users can control their security system, entertainment system, lights, and heating remotely from the same phone app. Integrating different aspects of home management in one automation app makes it easier for smart security users to keep their residences safe, comfortable, and energy efficient, all at the same time.
Smart security systems – particularly those the homeowner installs by him- or herself – are easy to customize. Not only do homeowners have the freedom to arrange cameras and sensors as they’d like (and check viewing angles immediately with monitoring apps), there are a number of very different professionally monitored and self-monitored smart security options. The diversity of options gives users more freedom to choose the scale of security they prefer than traditional systems.
Continued innovation is, overall, driving down the cost of home security systems. Although professional smart security is still more expensive than traditional security, competitively priced self-monitored systems from companies like Google and Apple are making home security more cost effect than ever.
As you can probably guess from the wide range of features, all smart home security systems use a significant amount of internet bandwidth and some smart home security systems use a ton of bandwidth. If you live in a remote area without access to cable or DSL, limited available bandwidth is a clear barrier to entry.
Smart security systems with high definition livestreams are out of the question for most rural users. Neither mobile broadband nor satellite can support real time, high definition content. Even low definition content, on a continuous stream, can hog limited mobile broadband/satellite bandwidth, making your internet painfully slow.
The smart security provider Eldes Cloud Services estimates that its security and home automation system, which does not include a livestream, uses 50 GB of data per month . This means that, for mobile broadband users paying for data per unit, smart security will be much more expensive than traditional security.
All smart security systems are connected to a backup wireless network that protects your home even when your home internet is down. Unfortunately, wireless networks are not always reliable in remote areas, which means your security may occasionally go offline.
Because smart security is internet-connected, your smart security system will be only as reliable as your internet connection. If your internet connection is unreliable, as is the case in many rural areas, it’s probably better to stick to analog security – that or just locking the front door.