Alarm

What happens to the alarm during a power cut?
Do I need a sensor in every room?
How often does the battery need replacing?
Do I need a phone line for monitoring?
What causes my alarm to false activate?
Is it easy to change my Monitoring response when I go on holiday?
Can I change my own code?
Can pets cause the alarm to trigger?

CCTV

What is the difference between analogue & IP systems?
What does CCTV stand for?
Advantages of Analog systems over IP systems
Advantages of IP systems over Analog systems
Is it best to install dome cameras or full-body cameras?
How do I view my cameras remotely?
Do cameras need lighting to see?
How do I keep my cameras recording during a mains failure?

Access Control

What locks do I use on my access control doors?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of using Biometric readers, PIN codes or Proximity cards?
What happens if a Proximity card is lost or stolen?


Alarm

What happens to the alarm during a power cut?

Alarm systems are fitted with batteries which can keep the system running for up to 24 hours during a mains failure. During a power cut the keypad will beep and the mains light will flash to indicate a problem. If the system is monitored a signal will be sent to monitoring which will notify them of a mains failure. If the alarm is set it will remain set, if it is unset it will remain unset. If the battery is flat or faulty the system will down-power. A PIN code may be required on mains restore. Fortunately the programming and codes will still be kept in the memory.

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Do I need a sensor in every room?

Not necessarily, although a sensor is recommended in a room which has:

  • Anything of high value such as a laptop, television, etc.
  • An easy access or escape such as doors, windows, balcony or fire escape
  • A history of attempted break-ins

Usually, rooms which have no entry or exit route or no high value assets such as kitchens, bathrooms, meeting rooms, conference rooms etc do not require a sensor. On the other hand, areas which are extremely vulnerable or have high value assets may need two sensors of different technology, such as Glassbreak detector/Vibration sensor plus a PIR detector. This way an alarm is generated before entry has been gained.

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How often does the battery need replacing?

As a precaution, it is recommended that batteries are replaced every 3 years, however, depending on the type of battery and frequency of power cuts, batteries can last from anywhere between 2 – 9 years. It is recommended that your security system is maintained on an annual basis to ensure the system is operational and the battery is healthy.

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Do I need a phone line for monitoring?

If you already have a phone line then this can be used. It is not uncommon to share the line with a fax or an existing phone. If you do not have a line you can have your alarm monitored using a cellular dialer. There is an initial installation cost involved plus monthly communications charges, however, in the long run cellular dialers are more cost effective than a dedicated phone line.

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What causes my alarm to false activate?

False alarms are usually caused by PIR’s detecting heat movement from something other than people, such as:

  • Insects or spiders: If they walk close enough to the lens, the PIR will activate, some are even found inside the detector. The best way to minimise this is to keep the PIR clean and free of cobwebs.
  • Pets: If you are leaving your pets in the house when you arm the alarm you must ensure that Pet-Immune PIR’s are installed.
  • Direct sunlight: PIR detectors must be positioned away from direct sunlight during installation.
  • Open fireplaces: Heat can be generated from open fires long after the fire has been extinguished. PIR detectors must be positioned away from open fires during installation.
  • Harsh environments: Rooms such as workshops, warehouses or garages can attract drafts which can cause standard PIR’s to false activate. Dual-technology (PIR and Microwave) detectors are recommended in harsh environments, where heat movement of a solid object is required to cause the sensor to trigger.

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Is it easy to change my Monitoring response when I go on holiday?

Just a simple phone call or email to us is all it takes. In addition, Fortress Monitoring customers can login to their Monitoring account, where logs can be viewed and response plans can be updated either permanently or temporarily at the click of a button.

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Can I change my own code?

Yes, the installer will demonstrate how to do this when the system is installed. You will also be given a user-friendly manual which clearly outlines the procedure .

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Can pets cause the alarm to trigger?

Yes they can… if you have pets we will design the system using Pet-immune detectors – these are immune to pets for a weight of up to 45KG’s. This means you can leave your pets indoors while the system is armed.

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CCTV

What is the difference between analogue & IP systems?

Analogue and IP cameras are similar in many ways; in both technologies the lens projects the image to the analogue image sensor where the signal is then converted to digital using an analogue-to-digital converter. The signal is then processed by the camera’s on-board digital circuitry (DSP). In IP cameras the video is compressed and encoded internally then sent to the Network Video Recorder (NVR) via IP protocol. In an analogue camera the signal is converted back to analogue and sent to theDigital Video Recorder (DVR) where it is compressed and encoded.


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What does CCTV stand for?

CCTV stands for Closed Circuit Television. It is a television system that operates on a “closed loop” basis. Unlike broadcast television, which is available to anyone with a suitable reciever, CCTV pictures are only available to those connected to the loop.

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Advantages of Analog systems over IP systems:

  1. Analog systems are cheaper than IP systems - IP cameras can be up to 3 times more expensive than their analogue equivalent.Digital Video Recorders (DVR’)s are cheaper than Network Video Recorders ( NVR’s) and power supplies are cheaper than Power Over Ethernet (POE) switches. Generally there’s less hardware used on an analogue system. Analogue systems are also less labour-intensive, are easy to install and require little to no network and configuration skills.

  2. Analogue cameras cope with low-light and varying light conditions better than IP cameras - Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) cameras have superior image quality in varying light levels and compensates for bright background and low light conditions producing clearer images with greater contrast. To date, WDR technology has not been applied to any high definition megapixel IP cameras.

  3. IR (Infra-Red) technology is unavailable in IP cameras - IR cameras have built-in IR illuminators which allow the camera to see in zero lux or complete darkness. As IR cameras draw more current than standard cameras, the load is usually too great for an IP camera which draws its power from the network switch. Standalone IR illuminators have to be installed separately for IP cameras.

  4. Real-time images can be viewed from analogue systems - As the image from an analogue camera is compressed at the DVR, the image can be viewed live from the camera with no latency. IP cameras have latency and “lag” for up to two seconds which can lead to over-correction issues if an operator needs to track something from a PTZ camera.

  5. Cable distances to Analogue cameras can be greater - Using active Baluns on Cat5E cabling, the video signal can be transmitted up to 2 kilometers to the DVR. IP camera cable distances are restricted by structured cabling regulations which limit the cable distance to 100 metres between the camera and the network switch.

  6. Analogue video signals are more reliable - Analogue video traffic is not subject to any networking issues or risks such as bandwidth limitations, network congestion, varying bit rates, large file sizes, viruses and latency. Once installed, the analogue systems are very reliable and require little maintenance.

  7. Analogue systems are compatible with any brand of camera - Any analogue camera can plug into any DVR. IP systems use NVR’s which need the correct protocol installed to communicate with each camera. Different brands of NVR and camera may not be compatible with each other and may not be able to communicate.

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Advantages of IP systems over Analog systems:

  1. IP systems have superior image quality - IP cameras can deliver high definition images of up to 8megapixels in resolution, compared to a maximum of 650TVLine (equivalent to 0.4 megapixel) in analogue cameras.

  2. IP systems can use the existing network infrastructure - Unlike analogue cameras, IP cameras don’t have to be wired back directly to the recording device, they can be wired to the nearest network hub or switch and the existing network infrastructure can be used to carry video signals to the NVR, eliminating the need for un-necessary wiring.

  3. IP systems have superior wireless capabilities - IP cameras have the flexibility to integrate with a wireless network and are virtually unlimited in terms of expansion. Analogue wireless cameras use radio frequencies and are limited to about sixteen cameras before they reach full capacity.

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Is it best to install dome cameras or full-body cameras?

Dome cameras are becoming increasingly popular and many customers and security companies are opting to install dome cameras instead of full body cameras. It may be said that full body cameras offer more of a deterrent as they are usually more visible than dome cameras; on the other hand, dome cameras can be favorable as they are more discreet and aesthetically pleasing. Dome cameras can also be more cost effective, as all of the components such as the camera, lens and housing are manufactured in one product. The Field of view in dome cameras is often unknown and the public are usually unaware of which area they cover. Full body cameras are more prone to vandalism or theft and can be tampered with easily; they can be pointed in another direction or removed using a rope.

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How do I view my cameras remotely?

By connecting your DVR to your home broadband or office network it is possible to view your cameras from virtually anywhere, as long as there’s a broadband connection or mobile phone signal. You can even view your cameras from your Smart phone such as iPhone or windows Mobile.
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Do cameras need lighting to see?

It is always best to ensure the camera field of view is adequately lit, however, with the introduction of Infra-Red (IR), lighting is not essential. Many cameras now have built-in IR illuminators which claim to produce effective images in zero light conditions for distances up to 50metres.

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How do I keep my cameras recording during a mains failure?

An Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) can be in installed as part of your CCTV system’s hardware. A UPS is basically a battery backup and is a cost-effective way of ensuring your CCTV system has enough power to keep running in the event of a power cut. A UPS Also acts as a surge protection unit and regulates the supply to the equipment, reducing the risk of damage from electrical surges or spikes.

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Access Control

What locks do I use on my access control doors?

There are many different types of electronic locks to suit the application in which they are installed. In most cases the site needs to be surveyed prior to choosing the types of lock as circumstances such as type (single/double/inward opening/outward opening, bi-fold, roller), construction material (wood/aluminum), location (internal/external) and size, needs to be assessed before implementing the final design. For more information on types of lock click here.

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What are the advantages and disadvantages of using Biometric readers, PIN codes or Proximity cards?

Biometric systems are usually more secure than the standard Proximity mean. A Proximity card can be lost or stolen and a PIN can be announced or viewed. Biometric systems are usually more expensive than PIN or Proximity systems for the following reasons:

  • Hardware such as Biometric readers are likely to cost more than PIN or Proximity readers
  • The Biometric software usually requires a license which is purchased upon initial setup
  • There are usually ongoing costs such as Annual license fees with Biometric systems

The big advantage of Proximity over Biometric technologies lies in its simplicity. There are no moving parts, no mechanical wear, no slots, and no read heads to maintain. The reader can be concealed inside walls or special enclosures and poses even fewer problems when surface-mounted because it has no opening with which to jam or tamper.

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What happens if a Proximity card is lost or stolen?

Proximity cards can be easily deleted or void from the system which instantly disables the user from accessing any doors. Cards can be made void through the system’s keypad or through the management software. If the system is set-up for remote off-site connection the card can be deleted remotely without the need for a visit to site. It is recommended that the card is not carried with ID badges (which could potentially display details of the premises), and that the loss or theft of a card is reported immediately.

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Latest News

2012 January -Media Release - Crimes generally increase in the summer months. Are you 2-3 times more likely to be targeted than your neighbour?

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