Making a case for presence-based security systems. An evolution from security alarm systems to smart buildings. Part 1.

  • Armed and disarmed state
  • Motion sensors
  • Door and window sensors
  • Local alarm with sound, optional remote notification to security service or to the owner
  • Separate camera system with recording
  • Security is just one of the goals, home automation is equally pronounced
  • Motion and sometimes person detection cameras (wireless)
  • Door and window sensors (wireless)
  • Expressly cloud based services
  • Mobile App configuration and notification

So how do we turn an existing security alarm system into a smart home system?

  • Make use of existing motion detectors and window/door sensors. In most systems those are wired and their signals can be used by integrating a small “bridge” box in between the sensor and the central unit. The most convenient place for these is right beside the sensor. Power is also available since those sensors also use power so it is delivered to them anyway on an existing wire.
  • Another option is to upgrade the motion detectors with equivalent ones that also have the necessary electronics for Wi-Fi connectivity and bluetooth detection. The extra investment needed is still pretty low.
  • These bridge boxes or upgraded motion detectors are Wi-Fi (mesh) and bluetooth enabled so they connect to the cloud easily and able to detect the presence of bluetooth beacons.
  • Authorized or allowed presence in a room is defined by the presence of a bluetooth beacon. These are small wearable devices that run on battery for months without needing a recharge or battery replacement. People can have those with them in a form of a bracelet, keycard or as a keychain token.

What’s next?

Once you have these unobtrusive sensors in your building it opens up other use cases as well.

  • Door / gate access control with bluetooth tags. Motion sensing, orientation detection and integrated button combined with enctrypted bluetooth communication opens up exciting features toward multi factor authentication.
  • Asset tracking / asset motion detection
  • Ad-hoc, personalized emergency evacuation plan



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