Category Archives: General

Property Developers: 7 Tips to Add Value to Your Projects

Appliances communicating with each other.

Forgotten lights turned off from a mobile phone.

Water leak shut down the moment it’s detected.

If you’re a condominium or resort developer, home builder, or architect, you have probably already come in contact with some savvy features of home automation. But did you know that a home automation system is more than a convenient fad?

Making your project a Smart Home will make a significant impact on your bottom line. And it can also improve your brand image!

One System, One Contractor

Don’t bother with the hassle and expense of dealing with multiple contractors and subsystems! With a fully integrated home automation system, you will have 1 contractor (and 1 support center) handling every aspect of the home: security, video surveillance, interior and exterior lighting, temperature control, audio/visual, appliances, irrigation system, pool controls, garage door, and more!

Future-Ready

Home automation systems are fully customizable, and flexible to upgrade according to the customer’s evolving needs. This will be a system that grows with your clients as technology continues to advance – keeping your homes ahead of the curve.

Aesthetic Installation

Who wants a bright eye-sore in the middle of a wall? Modern security is invisible and inconspicuous, leaving your project just as beautiful as it is safe.

One Concierge

No matter how many buildings in your development, you only need 1 person in control. Every system integrates into one harmonious solution, which drastically reduces your facility management costs.

Green

Take the lead in the green building movement! Make a name for your brand with a home automation system that conserves energy and is convenient for the owners. Smart homes can optimize natural light and adjust solar heat gain with smart glass, automate heating based on regular usage, set sprinklers to only go on when the soil and climate conditions are right, automate indoor/outdoor lights, manage window shades, and regulate the temperature in your home.

Crime Prevention

Unlike other systems that only alert after a break-in attempt has already occurred, fully integrated automation systems will keep criminals away. This is both a safety AND financial investment!

Increased Value

Developers who upgrade to a customizable home automation system see increased revenue and sales velocity, and a remarkable improvement in their brand image and loyalty.

Give your customers what they really want

– an upgraded home or condo with the safety, convenience, and technology of the future! Check out the fully customizable future-ready solutions available at Signal Secure, or contact us today to learn how Signal Secure can add value and high demand to your project!

Pineapples for a dollar: Retiring in Costa Rica

The most beautiful beaches on earth, a temperate climate year round, and pineapples for only a dollar–it’s no wonder more and more people are moving here!

Costa Rica has found itself with an influx of retirees from the United States who have decided to call it home.

And why not? Coupled with the beautiful beaches and lush landscapes, life in Costa Rica provides its residents a lower cost of living that can be sustained on an average of $1500 to $2500 per month.

Check out this interesting article recently published in The Huffington Post. Bloggers Suzan Haskins and Dan Prescher listed a very helpful breakdown of the smaller things in life that can quickly add up. How much could you be saving in Costa Rica?

  • Ticket to see a movie in a modern theater — $5
  • Tickets to see a cultural event at the National Theater start at $2
  • Ticket to see a National Soccer Team Match in the brand-new stadium — $20
  • Fresh Red Snapper — approximately $2.50 per pound
  • A pound of beans — $0.90 per pound
  • A pound of rice — $0.50 per pound
  • Four avocados — $2
  • Pineapples — $1 each
  • A bottle of Imperial beer — $1.25

The Happiest Place on Earth

What about quality of living? Would you be happy retiring in Costa Rica? The people at Happy Planet Index tend to think so!

In fact, this independent organization found that Costa Ricans are “the happiest people on the planet.” Their reports shows that “Costa Ricans report the highest life satisfaction in the world, and have the second-highest average life expectancy of the Americas (second only to Canada).

Lower cost of living AND higher happiness index… what more could you ask for?

When to Save, When to Invest

It’s true that you will save money for the rest of your long and happy life in Costa Rica! But remember, some things are definitely worth the investment. While Costa Rica has a lower crime rate than other countries in Central America, it’s not crime-free! Don’t take any chances with the safety of your retirement home and loved ones. Check out the advanced Intelligent Security solutions from Signal Secure before your big move to the Happiest Place on Earth.

Thinking about moving the beauty of Costa Rica?

Have you considered moving to another country for retirement? We invite you to share your thoughts, experiences, and to join us in the conversation at Signal Secure – Costa Rica’s foremost security experts.

Being Prepared – Beyond Home Security

While you have the capacity to protect your home and loved ones through the advancements of Signal Secure technology, there are unforeseen natural incidences that are beyond your control.

In a recent article by the Tico Times, three earthquakes were reported by Costa Rica’s Volcanological and Seismological Observatory on January 24, occurring at approximately 1:08 am.

The quakes measured a magnitude of 5.2, with the epicenter located in the Pacific region or Turrubares, San Jose.

Fortunately, as you probably know, there were no damages or injuries were reported, but these smaller quakes are still reason for alarm. We all know that the possibility of widespread damage could leave our cities and communities crippled, without power and services for hours, days, even weeks.

Just as a well-designed and executed security system is essential to protection from potential crimes and break-ins, disaster preparedness plays an important role in the overall safety and security of your family as a whole.

As our northern neighbors are equally susceptible to the same natural disasters (such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and flooding), the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) suggests that all households have a checklist of the following items in the event of a disaster or emergency — a checklist that can be used by families everywhere.

  • One gallon of water for every person in the household
  • A three-day supply of food
  • Battery operated radio and extra batteries
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust masks in case of contaminated air
  • Moist towelettes, garbage and trash bags for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to shut off utilities
  • Can opener
  • Maps
  • Paper and writing utensils
  • Books, puzzles, games and activities for children

You may also want to consider other items to add to the list, such as prescription medications, emergency cash, blankets and sleeping bags, and whatever else is of importance to the safety of your family.

Being prepared is the key to survival, so talk with your family about what to do, and what steps to take in the event of disasters and other emergencies.

We at Signal Secure are in the business to keep your family safe, in all aspects of home safety and security. Our advanced security systems can alert your family of potential dangers within the home the moment a disaster is detected, with sensors that detect gas leaks, water leaks, and broken windows.

If you’re away from home during an emergency, you can still stay in the loop! We offer remote capabilities that can shut down the electricity, and video surveillance to check the status of your home — all from the convenience of a computer or your smartphone.

Is your family prepared in the event of an emergency?

Share with us your experiences, thoughts, and join in on the discussion at Signal Secure – Costa Rica’s home security experts.

Good neighbor. Good security.

You’ve equipped your home with a technologically advanced security system, complete with laser fencing, automated lights, and video surveillance to protect and secure your family.

But there’s an element that could be the finishing touch to your already perfect home security system – your neighbors.

In a society where we are increasingly coddled by the convenience of technology, we may overlook the simple component of basic human interaction as a complement to our technological lives.

Getting to know your neighbors is just as important as getting to know your own home, and they can play an integral part in completing your home security system, and the safety of your family.

Here’s how a little neighborliness can go a long way in home security.

Be a Know-it-All

Knowing who lives next door, across the street, even a few doors down is important in keeping your home and neighborhood safe. Take a mental note of the people who look familiar, so you’ll know when someone does not.
Being in-the-know of who lives on your street, as well as their daily patterns, will make you aware of any inconsistencies and suspicious activities that could compromise the safety and security of everyone who lives around the block.

Be Friendly

You probably don’t have to become a best friend to everyone in the neighborhood, but befriending at least one neighbor could help you in the long run. A friendly neighbor is a valuable resource when it comes to asking them to look out for your property when you go on vacation, or exchanging important information about any incidences or occurrences that may have occurred.

Be Proactive

Form a group or host periodic meetings with your neighbors. Make it a social occasion where you take time to get to know everyone, and also discuss and address issues of crime and safety. A proactive neighborhood watch is a strong deterrent that can thwart potential break-ins, theft, and other crimes.

While a technologically advanced system is ideal for protecting your home, being an aware and conscientious neighbor to your community can be a welcomed enhancement to the overall safety of your family as a whole.

Do you think being a watchful neighborhood enhances the security of your home and family?
We invite you to share your thoughts, experiences, and join the discussion with us at Signal Secure. Leave your comments below!

Stay Sane Caring for Elderly Parents

For those of us who care for our elderly parents and relatives, it’s disheartening to hear that statistically, seniors are the number one target for home related crimes. And to make matters worse, falls are the leading cause of injury and death for those over the age of 65.

While we strive to protect our elderly loved ones from unfortunate accidents and crime, it can be difficult to juggle the challenges of balancing our own lives, and the comfort and safety of theirs.

This dilemma becomes more worrisome and complicated especially when they live alone, as we cannot give them the immediate protection they need and deserve.

With Signal Secure’s advanced mobile technology, families can now have an integrated home security system to enhance the lives of their senior family members, providing added assurance and protection for them to live more independently.

Let’s examine a few of the ways Signal Secure can be a valuable asset in taking care of your loved one:

Automation

For seniors who have mobility difficulties, simple tasks such as turning on lights inside and outside the house can be burdensome, tiring, and even dangerous if it means they have to climb up or down the stairs. Your parents may find it difficult to get up and answer the door, to know who to trust and allow into the home, or to remember to turn off the stove.
But with an integrated home security system, you can conveniently control the feats that make it hard for your parents to live alone.

  • Automate the lights to turn on and off during the course of the day and night
  • Receive alerts if an appliance is left on, and turn them off with a simple touch on your smartphone
  • Schedule the sprinkler system to water the lawn on certain days of the week
  • Have the house call your phone if someone is at your elderly parent’s front door, and open the door from your own smartphone
  • Program approved (and trusted) users to unlock and open the door without assistance
  • At night, program the house to turn off all lights (except a nightlife in the bathroom), lower the temperature, secure the property, and keep your loved one safe all night long
    Monitoring

As our seniors enjoy the independence of living at home, alerts can play an essential role in ensuring their safety. With Signal Secure, you will receive an alert at the very first sign of potential danger! Make sure you’re the first to know! Receive an alert if/when:

  • Irregular activity is detected outside the home, or by a door or window
  • Irregular activity is detected outside the home, or by a door or window
  • There is a glass break, carbon monoxide, fire/smoke, or water leak detected
  • A safe has been breached
  • Your parent falls down or sustains any other injury in the home
  • Your loved one did not get out of bed
  • An appliance is broken or faulty
  • It’s time to change filters, batteries, etc throughout the home

Surveillance

Taking care of seniors can be especially stressful since we cannot be in two places at the same time.
Thankfully, an advanced security system like Signal Secure can provide remote video surveillance that will act as virtual nanny, allowing you to check their living conditions in real time, in the event of a fall or other related health issue – all from the convenience of the internet or smart phone.

While a home security system can’t fully replace the need for human care and protection, a well-integrated system can play an important role in protecting, assisting, and alerting our valuable seniors, as well as family members and caregivers alike.
Do you have elderly members of the family that you care for? How would a home security system like Signal Secure play a role in protecting your elderly loved ones?

We invite you to share your thoughts and experiences, and join us in the discussion below.

Intelligent Video Surveillance

Remember when video surveillance was limited to places like high-rise corporate office buildings and government institutions?

And when your sole option for a home security system consisted of a couple motion sensors and window alarms that you could only control on one control panel?
Thankfully, we’ve moved on from yesterday’s security.

Now you can have futuristic video surveillance from Signal Secure in your own home, keeping you safer by surveying your entire premises. And you might be surprised to learn that this high-tech surveillance technology is more accessible, user-friendly and convenient than anything you’ve experienced before. In fact, if you can operate a smart phone, you can completely control your home’s video surveillance in the palm of your hand.
Let’s explore some scenarios and advantages of Intelligent Video Surveillance in your home.

Keep watch of the premises.

You’re inside watching a movie with the family at night, when you get a text message that something tripped the laser fence outside.
Don’t get up! Use your smart phone to watch the live video footage, and rewind, pause, and play as needed. You can even use the 2-way listen in feature to hear what’s going on. And once you figure out it’s your daughter’s boyfriend sneaking in, you can talk to him (as forcibly as you like) directly from your phone to the cameras.
Since your video surveillance system is equipped with a DVR that records every action for days and months at a time, you can rewind through stock video footage to determine if this is the first time it’s happened!

Keep the family in sight.

The kids are playing with friends in the back yard.
You can’t be in two places at the same time, but Signal Secure Video Surveillance can be everywhere at once! As you prepare a meal in the kitchen, you can watch the live video stream of your children playing outside.
And if you have elderly parents (living with you or even a hundred miles away), our video surveillance will help you keep a loving eye on them at all times.

Keep tabs while you’re away.

You’re going on vacation for two weeks and you want to make sure your home is safe.
With remote technology made available, you can keep up with what’s going on inside and outside your home at all times. Just click on the app on your smart phone, or log into your online account from any computer. Live and archived video footage is at your fingertips 24/7 – no matter where you are!
No home security system is complete without Signal Secure video surveillance. Nothing gives you greater control and flexibility when it comes to the safety of your home and family.
What do you think about video surveillance as a part of a home security system? Share your thoughts and experiences, and join in the conversation with us below.

Smart phone. Smart home.

Your smart phone isn’t only for watching the latest movie, playing Angry Birds, or asking it to suggest the best restaurant in the area – it also has the power to fully control and automate your home. The ever changing landscape of technology is growing exponentially, and now you can integrate your smart phone to manage your business or home remotely. Here are four different scenarios that you can do with just a swipe of your phone to control your home.

SOS

1. Turn on the lights.

You’re out late with family and want the front entry lights to brighten your home and ward off would-be criminals. With Signal Secure, your smart phone features a remote control where you can turn on the lights throughout the house, no matter where you are.

 

SOS

2. Unlock the doors.

There might be a time when either your need to let your child in because they lost the key, or a relative drops by for an unexpected visit and you’re not home. No problem! With a couple swipes on your phone, you can unlock the doors and welcome them in from wherever you are.

 

SOS

3. Staying updated.

Perhaps the backdoor opens unexpectedly, a water faucet is left on, a light burns out, or you forgot to arm the alarm system entirely. With your home security app, you can view and refresh updates about the activity of your home, receive text messages or email alerts for virtually anything related to your home, view live video feed, and even pull up archived surveillance footage from the past for you to review.

 

SOS

4. Keeping tabs.

You decided to go on that fabulous vacation to Miami for a week, but left the kids home with grandma. With Signal Secure, you can monitor every room in the house in real time via your home security app to see and hear if the kids are behaving and treating grandma with respect – so you can actually have peace of mind and enjoy your vacation.

 

As technology advances with the marriage of smart phones and home security, you need a company that’s moving forward and staying ahead of the curve. Signal Secure – Costa Rica’s foremost authority in home security – is on the cutting edge of this technology. Our home security experts will help you integrate these features into your home, protecting you and your family. Contact us today and find out how you can control your home with a tap and a swipe of your phone. Who knows? Maybe one day, you’ll finally be able to get your security app to make you banana pancakes for breakfast.

Does Costa Rica have security issues or not?

By Special Guest Contributor Ivo Henfling of GoDutchRealty.com

I received this email from Paul, a future expat, today:

“I just returned from a 4 day trip to San Jose and participated in an Expat seminar put on by International Living magazine at the San Jose Marriott.  I walked to 7:00 mass one morning through a neighborhood where EVERY HOUSE had heavy iron gates across the driveway, razor wire and or electrical security fence and some even had uniformed guards.

What on earth are the Ticos afraid of?  I live in the DETROIT area sometimes called the MURDER City instead of the Motor City and I assure the only razor wire you see is at the county jail.  What gives? “

This is my answer to Paul and to all of the future expats and retirees who have the same doubt about property in Costa Rica and your security when you move here:

Hi Paul, I am glad you enjoyed your 4 day trip and the 2012 International Living conference, we did too! Let me first explain about the razor wire and other security measurements the Ticos take. It is a very simple explanation, though a long one. I had to check first how much jail time you get for home invasion for example in the US to give you a clear answer:

1) Home invasion in the first degree is a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 20 years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both.

2) Home invasion in the second degree is a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years or a fine of not more than $3,000.00, or both.

3) Home invasion in the third degree is a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both.

The judicial system and welfare

That said, Costa Rica like most of Latin America, has a messed up judicial system that takes forever to judge a case and there is no money to build jails. The reason is that most people in Costa Rica don’t pay their taxes. Expats who live in Costa Rica don’t pay any taxes either, except for the duty on imported goods, the sales tax they pay in the stores and a variety of real estate taxes.

Costa Rica does not have a welfare system like many 1st world countries and there are a lot of poor people here. So anybody who loses his/her job for whatever reason, has to find a way to feed the babies. And there is also the drug addict who will do anything to pay for his habit. For the above reasons, we have a lot of petty thievery and even if the police does catch them, they have to let them go in a few hours because there are not enough jails to put them in. Most jails in Costa Rica have an 80% overpopulation.

Security systems

To stop thieves to come into our home, in Costa Rica we build walls around it, razor wire on top and if we have flatscreen TV’s, jewelry and other valuables, even a security system.


Because of this petty thievery, Costaricans protect themselves as much as they can with alarm systems, razor wires and a security fence. It is like a competition of who has a better security system, starting the day a house is built. I used to have a chainlink fence and one night, someone broke into my office and took all my cameras and computers and probably sold it all for a few bucks. Now I have a electrical security fence too, though I don’t have any bars on my windows. You can also grow Bougainvillea around your property like I did, I’ve actually done a blog about that a while ago.

Adjust your lifestyle

No place on earth is perfect and living in Latin America also has a negative side and you just found it. If you are looking to live in another country, you might have to adjust your lifestyle a bit. In Costa Rica, you will see very little police around and even if they pick up the thief, nothing much will happen to the thief, quite the opposite from the 5 years, the 15 years and the 20 years in jail of punishment they will receive where you come from.

Condo living


I have lived in a condo, right next to my neighbors, with security fences all over and security guards everywhere and living in a condo is not my lifestyle either. I live in a single family home and besides the security fence I have, we also pay a guard at entrance of our street. But I live in Escazu, which is more city, where you have more security issues (if you don’t protect your home) then you will have in more rural areas like Atenas, Grecia and San Ramon. Though living in those areas doesn’t make your home safe. You still need to make sure there is either someone taking care of your home while you are away, like a maid, a gardener or a friend or at least have a neighbor keep an eye out.

Not feeling unsafe

I have lived in Costa Rica for over 30 years and haveNEVER felt unsafe. Just like everybody else, I just like to make sure nobody takes my belongings when I’m not looking.

If you plan to move to Costa Rica, you need to keep an open mind for some of these issues as they are a fact. If you move to another country, you will need to be aware of the advantages as well as the disadvantages of living there. When you move to Costa Rica, wherever you will live, security is definitely an issue you should be aware of and you should consult your real estate agent about the security issue when you are looking at properties in Costa Rica for sale and for rent.

The lights are on, but no one’s home.

It’s no secret that crimes of opportunity – such as robberies and burglaries – are the most common crimes in Costa Rica. Experts say that burglars take 4 to 5 minutes to break into a home…. or they go elsewhere for an easier opportunity.

 

Question: How can you prevent burglars from seeing your home as an opportunity from afar?

Answer: By creating a presence that someone is in the house (even when you’re away).

One of the most effective ways to create a presence is simple – turn on the lights. A brightened home makes your house look alive and lived-in…. not the ideal conditions for a simple daytime break-in attempt. But do you really need to keep the lights on ALL DAY? Wouldn’t it be nice if different rooms could brighten themselves intermittently? With Signal Secure, Costa Rica’s most trusted home security system, you can program and customize lighting settings all day and night. A ‘daytime’ setting could turn lights on throughout the home at pre-determined intervals. You can even integrate Signal Secure’s automated window treatment feature to have your blinds open as your lights turn off in a particular room while you’re away. And a ‘visitor’ setting could activate both the porch and front entry lights by the trip of a laser fence when guests approach your home. Remember, a darkened home can signal an unoccupied home to unwanted visitors, so lighting is essential in complementing your security system.

Offering a security system with advanced integration, Signal Secure enables you to take complete control of the lighting in your home—regardless of whether you’re away at work, on vacation, or just out with the family.  With Signal Secure’s remote technology, you can conveniently control, schedule, time, and even monitor the lighting of your house with the simple use of a smart phone, PC, or telephone.

With Signal Secure, you can have peace of mind – even when the lights are on and no one’s home.

Household Staff Surveillance

Know the people you welcome in your home!

How well do you know your household staff? When it comes to the people you’ve hired to care for your children, clean your house, manage your property, and oversee construction or remodeling projects, you need to know that they are dependable and trustworthy – whether you’re home or away.

Even after you’ve run background checks and called every reference on a resume, you still want to ensure that your new hire is an honest, efficient worker who not only performs tasks correctly, but also manages your property, home, or children with great attention and care. Monitoring your nanny, housekeeper, or contractors doesn’t necessarily mean you suspect them of any wrongdoing; it simply provides a way for you to know exactly what’s going on at home when you’re not there.

You need peace of mind.

You need Signal Secure!

Signal Secure is the Next Generation of Intelligent Security and Surveillance. We offer the most cutting-edge US-manufactured technology available on the market today, with a wide variety of surveillance products that can be customized to meet your specific needs. You can place Wireless IP Cameras virtually anywhere throughout the interior and exterior of your home and perimeter.

Signal Secure offers industry-leading technology surveillance cameras with a built-in Web server so you can access live or recorded video feed on any computer or remote device – anywhere and anytime. We use your existing electrical outlet to connect to your network and transmit video to your chosen device without any wires. There are limitless options available, so you can tailor-fit your surveillance system to your lifestyle. You can choose to have the cameras record continuously, program the times you want them to begin and end recording in advance, or control the surveillance system on demand from your computer, phone, or other remote device. Signal Secure also offers Wireless Motion Cameras that automatically begin recording when motion is detected and can immediately alert you via phone call, text or email.

You may also want to include small cameras that can be discretely hidden in inconspicuous places – a smoke detector, alarm clock, wall plate, and many other hideaway locations. This allows your staff to confidently do their work without any anxiety that they are under surveillance, while you gain peace of mind that your home and children are being well cared for.

All our cameras have built-in microphones so you can hear how your little one is being cared for, and some cameras even feature two-way built-in audio so you can chime in and converse with your staff if the need arises. Of course, Signal Secure offers a state-of-the-art alarm system that has a two-way listen in and speak feature through speakers mounted throughout the interior and exterior of your home. So next time you observe your housekeeper using bleach on the persian rug, or the nanny paying more attention to her phone than your child, you can intervene and voice your disapproval immediately!

Whether you’re home, at work, or on the go, Signal Secure allows you to access the live or recorded video feed of all the cameras around your home and interact with your staff in real time. With your computer, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, or Android device, you’re just a click away from home!

With so many options available, how do you know where to start?

Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about designing your custom surveillance system and installing it on your own! At Signal Secure, we take pride in our friendly, qualified and bi-lingual support staff that is guaranteed to deliver an unprecedented customer service experience. And our meticulously trained installation staff will install your wireless system with NO dust and NO hassles!

Invest in your peace of mind, and start monitoring your home 24/7 with Signal Secure’s Complete Intelligent Surveillance System!

Keep an eye on what matters most – anywhere you are!