By Katy Tomasulo. As Americans opt to stay at home more and more, security systems are providing them with a greater sense of well-being. A far cry from a guard dog and leaving the lights on, today's systems are high-tech, integrated, and portable.

Thanks to advancements in wireless technology, the latest security systems go beyond wall-mounted master control panels. Homeowners fond of keyless entry systems for their cars can now find the same technology in key fobs that control their entry door locks, alarms, garage doors, and interior and exterior lights. On some systems, homeowners can access security functions from their computer or a cell phone to check and change settings.

Many of today's security units can be integrated with other functions of the home, such as lighting and HVAC. ADT's iCenter, for example, goes beyond controlling security, with functions for lighting, HVAC, and voice mail boxes and message boards for communication between family members. In addition, most structured wiring products can incorporate security modules into their hubs. "We're seeing a lot of integration," says Jim Boots, director of sales training for Protection One. "[Homeowners ask,] 'How can I integrate my security products so that they also are useful in other things I do?'"

Like other aspects of home automation, remodelers are advised to form relationships with local dealers and installers for potential lead and market sharing. With a heightened desire for security and a growing demand for home automation, security systems are an opportunity for remodelers to add on to projects while giving homeowners greater protection and confidence.

Courtesy ADT ADT. The Safewatch iCenter combines home security and home automation, including 24-hour monitoring for forced entry, fire, carbon monoxide, and flooding; control of lighting, appliances, and home entertainment; and retrieval of individual voice mail boxes and home pages. The unit uses graphical touch screens and can be accessed via the Web or phone. (800) 238-3312. Aiphone. The KC-32EU video entry unit includes a memory function that saves images of visitors who arrive while the homeowner is away. The unit, which can be added on to new or existing systems, is available in color or black and white and retains up to eight pictures in its memory. (800) 692-0200.

Courtesy Napco Napco. The 2Way-UNIVKF remote control for home security systems features visual and audible confirmation of system status, using an LCD display with up to seven visual icons and corresponding sound commands. The system works with almost any major alarm control panel and can control up to two groups of lighting/appliances or two separate garage doors. The receiver supports up to seven key fobs. (800) 645-9445. Ademco. Providing homeowners with remote control of their security system, the 5804Watch combines the functions of a standard digital wristwatch with four buttons that can be used to arm and disarm the security system, open the garage door, and turn lights on and off. The watch is water resistant and has an Indiglo light. (800) 233-6261.

Courtesy Silent Witness Silent Witness. Now available in a cornermount version, the MagnaView V28 can be mounted in tight corners, blending in with the deacute;cor while offering a wider field of view. The unit features a snap-in gimbal and self-configuring power connection. It comes in white urethane or polished steel. (888) 335-3036. Interlogix. The Concord Security System line can use a combination of wireless and wired sensors. Homeowners can turn the system on and off via a keychain touchpad. A common programming platform for each panel allows for fast installation. (800) 777-5484.

OnQ. The HMS 800 home management system provides security, energy management, and low-voltage control in one unit. The system also offers an interface for connection of up to 16 lighting modules. Security functions can be controlled via telephone, computer, key fob, or LCD display.