Video camera or back-to-base security?

Traditionally, home and business security systems throughout Australia were back-to-base style monitored systems that had ongoing fees that covered the monitoring. More recently, advances in video cameras, smartphones and cheap mobile internet data have resulted in a new generation of smartphone controlled, camera based security systems.

Back-to-base monitored alarm or a camera based system, which suits you best?

What sort of alarm is best for you?

So what are the pros and cons of the two types of system, do they work well together, and how do you choose the right security system for you?

Back-to-base monitored security

This is the type of security system that most people are familiar with, and has commonly been sold in Australia for a long time.

Normally a variety of sensors, including on doors and windows, internal motion sensors and less commonly outdoor beam based perimeter sensors all connect back to a central hub with sirens attached to it.

In the event of one or more sensors being tripped, the sirens go off (ideally to scare off a burglar, but often just to annoy neighbours), and a signal is sent to the company that monitors the alarm system for you.

The monitoring company then contacts you to tell you that your alarm has gone off, and see if you want to pay for a security guard to go and check your home. The call out fees can cost a reasonable amount.

Back-to-Base monitoring is common with traditional built-in alarm systems.

Back-to-Base monitoring is common with traditional built in alarm systems.

More recently, companies that make this style of alarm have integrated smartphones into the system, where you can be contacted directly to be told that your alarm is going off.

One positive of this type of system is that they can provide extensive coverage of the inside of your house or business, including sensors in every room, and on every door and window. The other advantage is that these systems often have their own back-up power systems, so will keep working even if the electricity to the premises is cut off.

Of course, for both of these advantages, as the size and the complexity of the system increases, so does the price tag.

The big downside of a monitored back-to-base style system is the lack of feedback. Generally, you have no idea why the alarm has gone off, or if it is a false alarm or not, and so have no information to base any further response on.

One thing to watch out for is that a system with a pleasantly low up front price may lock you into a monitoring contract, with a high monthly cost, for many years to come.

Camera based security

These systems are usually composed of a number of digital video cameras that are connected to your local network, a central control unit, and an app on your smart phone that lets you control the whole thing.

CleverLoop Camera Security System

CleverLoop Camera Security System

You can normally have both indoor and outdoor cameras as part of the system, which have night vision to allow them to function 24 hours a day.

The biggest advantages of cameras based systems are:

  • Can be bought as DIY packages and are easy to set up yourself.
  • Can be used to protect specific things like a garage, car, tool shed etc, or for businesses, stock and cash areas as well as entrances.
  • They let you easily protect the outside of your property, and catch trouble before it gets inside.
  • Some systems provide you with a range of tools to fine tune the motion detection and alerts, greatly reducing false alarms.
  • Let you ‘live view’ cameras from your phone to check up on what’s happening.
  • They let you see exactly what is happening if you get an alert, giving you the ability to decide exactly what to do about it.
  • Some have the ability to store continuous footage from cameras to a hard drive.
  • Many don’t have any ongoing fees.
  • They can easily be moved, so great for flats or if you move house.

One way to describe a camera based system is as a ‘self monitored security system’. The images from the cameras give you all the feedback that you need to make a decision around any situation.

Which is right for you?

If you think you need full home security with complete coverage of all rooms, doors, windows etc, then a back-to-base system is probably right for you. Keep in mind that the cost is going to be relatively high if you consider how many years you will run the system for, depending on the size of the ongoing, monthly monitoring costs.

If you are more interested in covering a few areas outside your home or small business, as well as some inside, without spending a huge amount of money, then a camera system is going to work better for you. Make sure you work out all the features that you want from a system, then check out the offerings from the different providers out there.

If you have already got a home security system or a small business security system, but generally don’t have it monitored, then adding a camera system to the mix might be the solution you are looking for. You’ll have the alarm system giving good coverage inside, and a siren for if it detects anything, plus a camera system that can alert you to trouble before it gets inside, or let you see what is inside causing your alarm to go off.

For a camera based system that gives you all the features you want, at an affordable price, with no ongoing fees, check out CleverLoop.






by The CleverLoop Team
April 21, 2017