They usually contain RF, Wi Fi, Zigbee, and Z Wave radios, allowing them to communicate with and control a multitude of components including door and window sensors, door locks, glass break detectors, indoor and outdoor cameras, light switches, motion and water detectors, smoke/CO alarms, thermostats, video doorbells, and a host of other home automation devices. With a professionally monitored system, when a smoke or intrusion alarm is triggered, an agent will first try to reach you via the two way control panel before calling your listed phone number. If you fail to respond the agent will call 911 to dispatch an emergency responder to your home. The nice thing about professionally installed systems is you don't have to lift a finger; after you've placed your order a technician will come to your home, set everything up for you, and show you how the system works. It's important to note that in some municipalities you may have to file for a permit to have a security system installed in your home. If you live in a small apartment and want to keep tabs on things when you're not home, a security camera can get the job done for a lot less money than what you'll pay for a full security system.
, Lee, D. S. and Baek, J. W. 2009 Home Network Configuring Scheme for All Electric Appliances using ZigBee Based Integrated Remote Controller. IEEE Transactions on Consumer Electronics, 55, 1300 1307.
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The family that owned that home had to move after the second break in because they felt they were specifically targeted, and most of the other neighbors thought it was because of the teenage daughter and her hoodlum friends, and most of us took extra precautions after that.