Anthony Parkinson, Technical Manager at Ansell Lighting, discusses security lighting and the profit opportunities for wholesalers who ask the right questions.
Dark nights are drawing in and, whilst wholesalers might still be drawing breath from the mad rush for garden makeovers sparked by summer and Covid-enforced staycations, it is time to pivot to the next opportunity: security lighting.
Let’s be clear, lighting will not stop crime completely. But can it help secure a home and provide a deterrent to burglars? Yes. Darkness provides the ideal cover for would-be intruders, so the right lighting used in conjunction with other safety measures can make a real impact. This is supported by local police forces, who routinely advise that both external and internal lighting should be re-evaluated when the nights are darker. Working on the front line, they know that darker nights usually lead to an immediate spike in residential burglaries.
Why? It’s easier to identify if a property is unoccupied and gaining unauthorised access without being seen by a neighbour is also a more attractive proposition. So, for the homeowner who is seeking to secure their home, what should the installer suggest?
Arguably, the best place to start is inside. Smart lighting has many benefits, but perhaps one of the most undersold is how easy it is to use it to support home security. Adding lighting products which have smart technology embedded in them – such as our Octo WiZ Connected technology – means leaving lights on permanently when you’re out or using old fashioned timer switches is a thing of the past.
Instead, connected lighting gives end users optimum control over their lighting, enabling them to link luminaires to create different scenes, groups, and schedules, creating a far more believable ‘I’m home’ appearance than ever before. Operated via Wi-Fi, they can be programmed to respond to voice or motion, can be operated remotely and can even be integrated with eco systems such as Alexa, Hey Google and Siri. If the homeowner ends up staying out unexpectedly or is delayed coming home from work, they can adjust their lighting from wherever they are by using an app.
When it comes to external lighting, simply placing security lighting everywhere around the property’s exterior is not the answer, the installation positions and what type of lighting equipment will offer the optimum solution must to be considered. Then discuss how the system is to be operated, whether through manual switching, photocell control, or by sensor control activated through movement.
Alternatively, like indoors, optimum control may be achieved via a smart lighting solution which can, in addition to manual or timed switching and activation through movement, be operated remotely through a mobile phone or tablet, allowing the end user to have a solution which fits best with their daily lives.
Selecting the right equipment and how the lighting will be used falls into one of two scenarios: where the illumination is of areas which can clearly be seen by the homeowner when safe inside the property and seen from surrounding properties and by people walking innocently past in the street, or where illumination is for areas not visible by the homeowner, not overlooked from adjacent properties or having no clear line of sight from the street.
For visible areas, the use of activated lighting by manual switching, through a photocell or Passive Infrared or microwave detection offers a beneficial solution as it will allow visibility of any potential intruder approaching the property. This is an ideal solution for the front of the home, a driveway or garage. For a gated driveway, lighting can be positioned to illuminate the exterior of the gate, as any attempt to climb over increases the likelihood of being seen.
For hidden areas of the garden or if the property is in a more rural location, having automatically controlled security lighting is the obvious choice, however, if there is no-one around to see the activation this may be less appropriate. Generally, it is not possible to use the lighting as a method of determining unwarranted access remotely, however, as an alternative solution, it may be more appropriate to use the activation through movement signal to operate another form of security, whether that be an audible alarm or phone alert, by way of a different platform.
What’s crucial is that it’s not one solution fits all and so as a wholesaler you need to have a good working knowledge of the options in order to ask the right questions of your customer so they can deliver to theirs. And, to a certain extent, it also helps to think like a criminal!
Feeling safe in our homes is something most of us take for granted and the sad reality is that most people seeking to install security lighting will already have been a victim of crime or an intended victim. Taking the time to offer the right advice will secure a returning customer and potentially allow an installer to secure a trade-up purchase of a full lighting control system.
To find out more about Ansell Lighting click here