How Secure Is Your Home ?
Find out how the Sharp Cloud SmartHome System keeps your home safe and secured
According to a report done by the United States Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security (OSAC), the overall crime rate in Malaysia is designated as medium. However, the rate is believed to be higher in urban areas, notably Kuala Lumpur.” The report further stated that residential break-ins do occur and are becoming more frequent in single-family homes. These break-ins generally do not result in confrontations or injuries to the occupants.
While uncommon, some burglars have entered when occupants were home, tied the residents up, and threatened them with weapons. While violent incidents during residential burglaries are rare, one U.S. citizen was killed in an apparent home burglary in 2013 in Malaysia. Hence it is very important for each Malaysian to understand and know more on how they can protect their home.
Recently, Property Insight met up with Sharp marketing manager Linda Lim to learn about one of Sharp’s newest products, the Sharp Cloud SmartHome System, and how it helps property owners to protect their home from theft and break-ins.
“Sharp is a very established brand in Malaysia. In fact, we have been in Malaysia since 1985. This will be the brand’s 30th year in the country. Many Malaysians who are familiar with our brand would know that we are a brand famous for producing electrical appliances such as TV and fridges and more,” said Lim.
She shared that there is a demand for security in Malaysia for a few reasons. Firstly, the demographics of the population are mostly working adults, with children or elderly at home. In fact, according to the offcial CIA World Factbook (year 2014), the majority of the Malaysian population for both male and female are aged between 23-35 years old.
Therefore, most of them are in the working class category. Though this is a very good and healthy sign for the labour market of the country, working adults would have to do some adjustments when it comes to home security.
“Most of them are working, not only to take care of themselves, but also their older parents, or in the case of married couples, their baby and children at home. However, they lack the means to monitor what is actually taking place at home when they are away at work. This is a worrying trend because crime rates in Malaysia, especially for home break-ins, are on the rise,” said Lim.
She pointed out that most owners tend to take their home security matters into their own hands and not rely on the local authorities like the police or the ‘RELA’. This is especially true for those who live in gated-and-guarded neighbourhoods. “Actually, having all these (security facilities) are not bad but they have challenges by themselves.”
She cited an example where most gated-and-guarded housing estates employ foreign guards. Therefore, there is the issue of language barriers, which could result in other issues like credibility and trust for the residents. Then as a home owner with such arrangements, they would need to pay home security maintenance fees monthly or even annually, which can range from a few hundred to a few thousand Ringgit.
How can Sharp Cloud SmartHome System helps?
“Sharp Cloud SmartHome System is designed as a holistic home security system for the mass market, partially factored by the available infrastructure such as the introduction of the high-speed internet network in Malaysia,” said Lim. This is due to mobility, where you can monitor your home virtually be anywhere in the world, so long as you have internet access, a smart phone and a Sharp Cloud SmartHome Starter kit installed.
“Sharp launched this product at the end of last year. Sharp is the first to have this product compared to other electrical brands. Therefore, we are a pioneer of this product in our own industry. You can protect your home with a simple click with your fingertip through an app installed in your smartphone,” said Lim.
The Sharp Cloud SmartHome System app comes in 15 languages. Therefore, it is customised for expatriates as well. The Bahasa Malaysia version was launched in June, where users can choose to receive notifications in Bahasa Malaysia. The app is compatible on smartphones and iPad with iOS and Android platform.
The Sharp Cloud SmartHome System helps property owners in many ways. “We call it CSS for short. Whether you are renting a house or are the owner of your own property, CSS will be able to accommodate your home security needs,” Lim said. The CSS combines both CCTV and alarm features to an app that controls everything.
Most products in the market would require owners to buy the CCTV and the alarm features separately. Besides the issue of being more costly, in the event of an emergency, the owners would have to go through the hassle of tracing back the video of when and what actually happened.
“The CSS provides real-time feedback that is immediate as the product includes door or window sensors. Therefore, when someone opens the door, and the home is armed with the system, the system will notify you immediately and it beeps an alarm sound on your smartphone, and a message informing you of when, where, and which home has an incident happened. You can also add-on an alarm kit in the house, which will produce a siren in the house when triggered.
Lim shared that in the context of renting a home, you may have your landlord coming often to check on his/her property. They do not have to worry if you want to install CSS, as it does not require any drilling into the walls of the property. This is unlike the security systems available in the market, especially the wired ones that require you to drill into the wall, and on top of that, you need to install their keypads.
Furthermore, most property owners or even renters themselves would not like to have strangers coming into their homes to do drillings.
For CSS, it is home-friendly and user-friendly, in the sense that you can just plug-and-play, and set it up on your own with simple instructions within 15 minutes. Lim shared, “So let’s say, you want to shift to a new house after renting for a number of years. All you have to do is to unplug the CSS and set up in your new house. It will use back the same settings without any added hassle.”
The only requirement is a high-speed internet connection to control the CSS hub. The CSS hub can control up to 70 devices and 6 cameras. Therefore, if property owners want to extend the surrounding security coverage within their homes, they can just add on additional alarm kits or camera kits.
She highlighted that another differentiation point for home owners is that they can monitor multiple properties with a single application over their smart phone. Each of these locations will have their own CSS hub. The owners will then be able to monitor real time even though he/she is travelling overseas.
“So what happens if you are overseas on a business trip and you do not have the luxury of time to monitor and make sure your home is safe?” we asked. She said that with CSS, you don’t have to shoulder the entire security burden of your home. What this meant was you can actually assign up to five authorisers who can see what is going on in your home and at the same time, arm and disarm your home.
But what if the authorisers are busy with other things themselves? She highlighted that the system is flexible, in the sense that besides providing five authorisers, the property owners who own CSS can also add five more additional emergency contacts.
Although they can’t monitor what is going on in your house, they will receive an SMS notification informing them of a possible break-in and will automatically record or force-record the footages for their later preview.
“For example, if you are in the U.S.A on a working trip and you have a home in Melaka, you can have your family members in Melaka as the authorisers who can arm and disarm your home with the system. At the same time, you can add the phone contact of your Melaka local police to notify them, in-case anything unfortunate happens in your home,” Lim elaborated.
The benefit of this feature is not in the flexibility of adding people to become your home authoriser or emergency contact, but above all that, it helps you to save time, because as the owner, you can change the settings easily via the app on your smartphone.
Currently, the CSS product comes with alarm and CCTV features, but in months to come, it will also have a special feature called Smart Home on the app. This is a feature where it will allow property owners to switch on/off their electrical appliances such as TV or air-conditioners automatically.
“You don’t have to worry if you have switched off the light at your house, even when you are already out on the road, on the way to work. Therefore, it provides convenience for home owners with this wonderful feature,” Lim said.
“The next product that will be introduced in the market is the Sharp Smart Plug, which will help make this feature compatible with products of different brands in your home,” Lim commented. Lim cited, “The CSS is certified and approved, according to SIRIM and PDRM standards, for the mass market.”
“Besides providing real-time monitoring, it also has a recording feature or videogram, activated with a button located at the lower left-hand corner of the app. The CSS comes with a 16GB flash drive that can store up to 8,000 videos and every movement is recorded for 30 seconds that will be stored for up to 30 days,” Lim said.
Hence, owners can see today what had happen a week ago. Lim also said that for the latest app update release, which is free and updated every six months, the videogram will provide additional features for property owners to push the recorded content into Dropbox with their permission.
There are three packages for home owners to choose from, when it comes to Sharp Cloud SmartHome System. The compulsory kit is the YL-SU 100M Starter Kit, which consists of an OverCloud Processing Unit(OPU), 2 cameras, wireless door sensors and remote control.
Most of the property owners who have many large properties will want to add-on additional devices. This is where Sharp provides the Alarm Kit YZ-AL 100M, which includes one indoor siren (for home installation), two door or window sensors, one panic button, one motion sensor and one remote control. There is also the add–on high-definition camera kit YZ-VC 100M, which will provide property owners with two high-definition IP cameras.
The Sharp Cloud SmartHome System packages contrasts many alarm systems in the market, where their functions are only allocated in a fixed zone.
Currently, if property owners purchase a Starter kit, which costs RM2649, with an add-on package of either the alarm or camera kit, they can buy the add-on package at a purchase-with-purchase (PWP) price of only RM699. The normal price for each add-on package is RM1059.
Prevention is better than cure
“There is no such thing as the perfect security system in the world today. Therefore, there is no security system that is 100% fool-proof,” said Lim. She advised property owners that they would still need to take the necessary precautions to avoid having unnecessary incidents from happening.
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