On Guard 24/7
Comtronics uses wireless technology to safeguard homes, businesses
by: Nancy Miller
Jackson Magazine, August 2013
Millions of moviegoers remained riveted to their seats as elite secret agent Ethan Hunt nimbly navigated laser beams in the recent blockbuster movie “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.”
While the scene is a nail biter (and Tom Cruise is agile and dazzling), there’s no need to envy the technology. Why? Because you can have it in your home or business, said Gregg Judge, director of sales at Comtronics, a premium provider of security systems since 1968.
“We offer devices that can transmit invisible beams hundreds of feet and secure fence lines to prevent theft from corporations’ backyards,” Judge
said. “And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what we can do.”
Comtronics can create invisible fences with laser mapping. “Literally, if you put a finger through the beam, it will detect it,” Judge said. They’re not only fit for a scene in a spy thriller, but they can be fitted to homes and businesses, too.
Security That’s Savvy
Security systems have come a long way – from basic burglar alarms and motion-detecting outdoor lights in the 1970s – to today’s video surveillance cameras that let you view what’s happening at your home or business on your laptop, tablet or smartphone when you’re miles away.
“In the past, systems were ugly, big modules on windows and doors with exposed wires running down walls,” Judge said. “Now, almost everything is wireless. There’s no need to drill through walls or molding. Contacts are recessed and hidden. The control panel is small and attractive. Flood, fire and carbon monoxide detectors can all be connected to one unit.”
Before, criminals knew to cut phone lines to interrupt communications. Comtronics receives signals over wireless networks or the Internet so there aren’t any wires to cut. And if a burglar smashes the control panel off the wall, a signal is sent 24/7 to the Comtronics Central Station Alarm Center.
The center meets Underwriter Laboratories standards and is a Five Diamond Certified Central Station Alarm Center. The center was awarded that prestigious designation from the international Central Station Alarm Association.
If a video camera or digital video recorder is stolen, the information is stored on the Internet, making it impossible for the thief to destroy. “We’re always trying to stay one step ahead of the thieves,” Judge said.
In the old days, the police or fire department was immediately called if a homeowner’s alarm went off. “Those departments now require our alarm center to contact two phone numbers, provided by the customer, prior to dispatching services,” Judge said. “That helps avoid expensive or unnecessary visits.” Fewer false alarms translate into lower security costs. Customers also can get credits on their home or business insurance if they have a security system in place.
“A few years ago, people believed a security system was limited to doors, windows and motion detectors,” Judge said. “Today, security isn’t just about your home. It’s about people, kids, pets, family heirlooms and all your possessions. We can tie all of them to your security system.”
Judge has helped customers marry wireless technology to their security systems. With over two decades of experience in the cellular industry, he “cut his teeth” on cellular. “I like things that are changing and adapting all the time,” he said. “It makes the job fresh and unique every day. There’s always something new to learn. It’s true in cellular and even more in security now.”
While at Nextel (now Sprint), Judge was the indirect dealer manager who handled the Comtronics account. “I had an opportunity to accept the position as director of sales for cellular at Comtronics,” Judge said. “A year ago, I was given the reins for the security side of the business.”
Photo by Jeanette Stull / Jackson Magazine
Nick Melchiori works with Arron King as they install security cameras at Queen of the Miraculous Medal Church.
Lights, Camera, Action
Judge demonstrated the remarkable capabilities of his home security system while sitting in the conference room at the Comtronics location at 102 S. Brown Street across from Westwood Mall. (The company’s other Jackson locations are downtown at One Comtronics Place next to Wendy’s and 3318 E. Michigan Ave. across from Meijer).
Judge powered up his laptop, clicked on the Internet and presto! (He also can do the same thing on his smartphone and tablet.) The outdoor surveillance cameras at his home let him see his mother-inlaw’s car parked in the driveway and watch her as she approached the front door. Judge can create a “box” detection area that can take a 10-second video clip of anything that happens in that area and have it emailed to him.
Outdoor cameras add a layer of security beyond the typical Neighborhood Watch. When neighbors across the street are out of town, Judge uses his security system to activate a box around their house. When there’s movement, the camera takes a video clip of it. If anything goes awry, the video could identify the perpetrator. Cameras also can be installed without an alarm system if owners just want to watch what’s going on at their home or business. Judge clicked on a view taken by an indoor camera focused on his living room, where his son was sitting in front of the TV. He then switched views to the man cave in his basement, where he also has a motion detector and sensors on the window to detect intruders. If a burglar broke the window, an alert would be sent to the Comtronics’ Alarm Center. “The cameras are plug and play,” Judge said. “They plug into regular AC outlets and wirelessly transmit information to my computer, tablet or smartphone. There is tremendous value in being able to monitor and access information no
matter where you are.”
He also can control his thermostat, lamps, lock and unlock doors, open and close drapes and blinds using his smartphone, tablet or computer. He replaced his wall outlets and switches with Z-Wave technology, a wireless control that uses radio waves. “Anything that can be plugged into Z-Wave and has an on/ off or open/close switch can be controlled remotely,” Judge said.
Thanks to wireless technology, businesses can be viewed remotely.
Comtronics’ mission is to safeguard people and communities. Theft and burglary are the top two crimes committed in Jackson County. “Jackson has a crime rate that’s higher than the state and national average, so it’s important to have security systems in place to protect you, your family and belongings,” Judge said.
Surveillance cameras not only improve security but also help police catch criminals faster, Judge said. Even when they’re away from home or work, owners can see what the criminal looks like as well as watch the crime on surveillance cameras while it’s being committed.
“We want to do three things: deter criminals, detect them and document what they did,” Judge said. “We provide surveillance information to police so they can arrest the perpetrator.” Jackson resident Sherry Davenport knows times have changed. “I don’t feel comfortable just locking the doors,” she said. She worries about criminals breaking into her home, ransacking it and leaving with her belongings. Even more frightening is the thought of coming face-to- face with a burglar inside her home.
Because she isn’t tech-savvy, Davenport called Comtronics for answers to her questions. “A representative came out and the experience was awesome,” she said. “They made me feel comfortable and took care of everything.” Everything included installation of a whole security system. “The equipment is high-tech and the motion sensors are fabulous,” Davenport said. She liked the security system so well that she had one installed at her business, A.L.A.M. Inc., which specializes in asbestos, lead and mold removal. What Davenport enjoys most is the peace of mind she has. Like the spy characters in the movies, Comtronics obliterated the worry with the most sophisticated devices on the market.
Reprinted with permission from Jackson Magazine