The function of security equipment is to prevent the entry of unauthorized persons into protected spaces, to keep out undesired objects and substances, and to sound warnings when dangers threaten a person, family, or larger group. The purposes served are simple; in the modern situation the methods used to achieve them have become complex. Once we pass beyond structures—fences, walls, doors, barred windows, and locks—we need electric power to work the devices and to signal when they are activated. Over time, simple alarms have evolved into hi-tech machines embedded in complex systems.
Most security equipment is actually compo entry that, by itself, is next to useless. Security is provided by assembling components into systems. These systems, in turn, must be supervised by people. Security installations may be viewed as having three major parts: (1) the actual detector mechanism itself, (2) a wired or wireless communications link, and (3) a supervisory station with controllers, displays, and recorders. Sanyo, for instance, a supplier of video surveillance systems, offers components including cameras, monitors, digital video recorders, analog recorders, multiplexers (for interconnecting cameras and monitors), controllers (for managing the cameras), power supplies, software, and accessories (lenses, mounting brackets, and housings). Within each of these categories Sanyo offers multiple models.
Motion detection installations, like their video counterparts, are complex. When a homeowner leaves the residence, he or she enables the system by means of the central controller and disables it again the same way on returning. Computer intelligence residing in the controller manages the many devices when it is on. When different kinds of detectors (magnets, glass-break detectors, a microwave motion detection array) are used at the same site signals for all of them must be captured, integrated, and interpreted. Such systems must operate even if normal power fails as in stormy weather. Emergency power supplies are therefore important components. Modern installations can even accommodate the pet that's left behind. The family's dog wears a small transmitter that makes it immune to detection: the controller knows to ignore the dog's movements; the controller holds the necessary computing resources to manage the system and to notify the remote supervising centre. That centre, in turn, must have appropriate equipment to monitor the client's equipment in order to take appropriate action.
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