What questions to ask when installing an alarm system?
Buying alarm systems is becoming increasingly complicated as technologies advance – in particular as smart home technology and phone technologies and apps drive forward the ‘smart home’ agenda with more and more devices now linking with mobile phones.
The following are the key questions to ask when buying an alarm system for your home or business:
– Wired or wireless?
– Siren-only or monitored back-to-base?
– Monthly monitoring fee or not?
– Yearly maintenance service or not?
Wireless alarm technology has come on leaps and bounds over the last few years, becoming more reliable and better quality. That said, going for a wireless system isn’t necessarily the best option as there are numerous issues to consider.
Here’s a quick overview of the strengths and weaknesses of the two different options:
– Strength: quicker and easier to install. A few of the wireless options can be done completely DIY. See our DIY options on Rock Security’s security store.
– Weakness: comparatively unreliable, with faults usually linked to batteries failing, issues with connectivity between devices. Layout and type of building (concrete/steel) causing varying levels of concern.
– Strength: very reliable and robust. Rarely go wrong.
– Weakness: require hard-wiring into your property. This involves cabling to each device which may be aesthetically unpleasing as well as the additional cost of labour.
The two biggest considerations with the wired / wireless argument is ‘ease of installation’ over ‘reliability’. Arguably reliability is the most important aspect to consider, especially as security systems should be fail-safe, working in the in-frequent occasions you really need it to work. Keep these in mind when installing an alarm system, and whether you use Rock Security or someone else, make sure that you investigate all the relevant options.
In the past most alarm systems were siren-based system, meaning that when the alarm was activated a siren sounded outside the property to alert people in the neighbouring area that there had been an activation. Because of high-levels of false alarms, and because people found sirens ringing in the street annoying, siren only systems have become less effective and therefore a lot less popular.
Monitored alarm systems, i.e. systems that are connected to an ‘alarm monitoring service’, have proven a lot more effective at providing a response to an emergency. The main reason for this is that because the alarm is connected directly to a monitoring station (via a telephone line or GPRS if NBN is in your area) you’re guaranteed a response 24/7.
Here’s a a comparison the strengths and weaknesses of the two systems
– Strength: generally cheaper, no ongoing monitoring cost
– Weakness: not at all effective as a security system as people ignore alarm bells
Monitored alarm system
– Strength: as a rule highly effective as you’re guaranteed a response to the alarm activation every time
– Weakness: generally more expensive than siren-only systems and require a monthly monitoring fee
If a monitored alarm system is connected to a monitoring station then you’ll be required to pay for monthly monitoring fee.
The monitoring fee isn’t always paid monthly, but can also be quarterly or annual too (depending on circumstances). For example, it’s fairly standard for businesses to pay on a yearly basis, but for homeowners to pay on a monthly or quarterly basis.