As a complete security integration company, we work with hundreds of customers every year to create a complete security plan. Out of all of the types of equipment we work with, we always recommend installing a monitored burglar alarm (also known as a “security system”). A monitored security system creates both a blaring siren response and an emergency dispatch to your home upon activation. The dispatch occurs because of a connection we create between our customers’ alarms and our central station. However, many customers have a hard time sorting through their various alarm monitoring options. In this post, we help you understand the many ways we can create additional monitoring-based security features to your burglar alarm.
First, we’ll explain the basics behind the concept of alarm monitoring. This will help you understand the “foundation” behind the various options we’ll introduce throughout the post. From there, we’ll explain some of the additional monitoring services available to our customers. These range from traditional monitoring that the industry has offered for decades, to more technology-dependent and specialized offerings that we’ve only had the ability to utilize in recent times. Now, let’s get started with a general overview of security system monitoring.
What Does Alarm Monitoring Entail?
As we mentioned, security systems generally create a couple layers of security. Onsite equipment detects and alerts users to a breach through the use of sirens. This system response also often scares burglars away before they complete their crime. Additionally, connecting security systems to our central station adds the next layer of security. Upon receiving an alarm signal, our central station attempts to contact the premise. If this proves unsuccesful, the central station dispatcher then calls for the proper authorities. This includes potential police, fire department, and ambulance responses to an emergency.
In the next couple sections, we will explain how we can create this central station connection. At that point, we will also share some monitoring services that go above and beyond the emergency dispatches generally associated with alarm monitoring. Knowing these details will help you choose the monitoring services that work best for you. Additionally, it will also help you create an “apples to apples” comparison when looking at the costs and details of different alarm services offered by different companies. Let’s start with a focus on the oldest and most “traditional” version of security system monitoring.
Traditional Phone-Based Alarm Monitoring
Traditionally, the process of creating alarm monitoring involves connecting an alarm to a property’s phone lines. This lets an alarm call out for help using a customer’s existing phone lines. Because the phone lines are already in place, this provides the cheapest alarm monitoring available. For this reason, security companies advertising monitoring rates generally include pricing including phone-line based monitoring rates.
Unfortunately, phone-line based monitoring comes with some serious shortcomings. For starters, any phone outage effectively negates alarm monitoring for systems monitored through a phone line. Of course, events such as severe weather and traffic accidents involving telephone poles can affect phone service. Furthermore, burglars often cut phone lines before attempting a break-in. These dangers make traditional alarm monitoring far less effective than other alarm monitoring options. In the next section, we’ll go over a couple of these higher-security methods for monitoring our customers’ security systems.
Non Phone-Line Based Monitoring
Luckily, we have a couple routes we can take to address the issues caused by traditional alarm monitoring. For example, we can install cellular dialers that use a cellular network, rather than phone lines, to communicate to our central station. Therefore, none of the issues listed above have any effect on cell dialer-based monitoring. We also offer internet and radio-based monitoring equipment as well. All of these devices provide more reliable monitoring than phones line offer.
As you can probably expect, utilizing these options include an additional cost. For starters, we need to install equipment to take advantage of these options, and this of course comes at a cost. Furthermore, these monitoring devices often include a monthly upcharge as well. However, customers who have maintained phone lines strictly to monitor their alarms will find that going with cellular, internet, or radio-based options still saves them money when compared to paying for a phone line. Next up, let’s check out a couple unique monitoring options that many of our customers take advantage of!
“Specialty” Monitoring Add-Ons
In addition to monitoring your alarm in case of the need for a burglary, fire, or ambulance response, we also offer a couple unique monitoring options for added security. For example, our “two-way voice” monitoring creates a direct line of communication between your property and our central station. Our two-way voice customers can use their alarm’s speaker to hold a direct conversation with a central station dispatcher upon an alarm or panic activation. This can prove especially useful for homeowners with elderly residents in their homes. Having two-way voice services allows these residents to activate a medical pendant if they fall, and then talk to our central station to ask for an emergency response, all without needing to answer a phone call or attempt to call anyone for help at all.
Additionally, our “open-close” reports also create added security by generating a time log of system armings and disarmings. The most basic level of open/close reports is receiving “unsupervised” reports. At this level, the central station sends the alarm owner a weekly email detailing each arming and disarming event. For many customers, this periodic check-in provides enough detail. In addition to seeing what times people armed and disarmed the alarm system, the reports can also help track who did the arming or disarming. If you provide different codes for different users, the open/close report includes the code used to arm and disarm the security system at different times.
Our “supervised” level of open/close reports also gives some real-time monitoring support. When we set a customer up with this service, we work with them to create an “expected” schedule of openings and closings. For example, you may expect someone to disarm the security system by 8am every day and arm it by 10pm. If either one of these events does not happen, our central station will call our subscribers and let them know. This allows our customers to look into the situation immediately. In this manner, supervised open/close reports helps customers track security system use in real time. Now, let’s check out another set of features that our most popular form of monitoring provides out customers.
Interactive Monitoring Services
As we mentioned earlier, installing a cellular dialer allows us to create alarm monitoring without the use of phone lines. Additionally, our own Alarm.com-powered cell dialer provides even more unique security benefits in the form of interactive alarm monitoring! When we refer to “interactive” monitoring, we refer to the ability to control and communicate with your alarm directly using a smartphone or any other internet-connected device. Installing an Alarm.com dialer gives you access to an Alarm.com account. In turn, this lets you use their website or smartphone app to interact with your security system.
First and foremost, this allows you to arm and disarm your security system remotely. Obviously, this adds a major level of security. Forget to arm your alarm on the way out the door? No problem! Now, you can use your phone to fix this issue immediately. Of course, the ability to disarm your security system remotely also adds security. If you need to give access to a house sitter or contractor while away from your home, now you can do so without giving away an alarm code. Finally, interactive monitoring customers can receive instant alerts regarding alarm activations, low sensor batteries, security system arming and disarming, and many other important security events! These features make this the most popular and effective of our alarm monitoring options.
Finding the Alarm Monitoring Options that Work for You
We hope that this post helps you find the alarm monitoring options that best fit your security needs. Additionally, we encourage you to contact us with any questions this post raises. We will happily answer any security-related queries you may have. Moreover, we invite you to take advantage of our free site survery program. We offer complimentary visits and equipment quotes to both new and existing customers alike. While on site, we can address any security concerns you may have. Furthermore, we can also make our own suggestions based on observations made during our visit. We will work with you to design an alarm with both the equipment and monitoring that best suits your needs. Together, we can create a complete security plan that keeps you, your property, and your family as safe and secure as possible!