Security System Self-Monitoring
In the past, security system communications were typically only sent through a standard telephone land line or cellular communicator hardware that used the cell towers to transmit the signals. These signals were typically sent to a central monitoring station that had specialized software that could understand the signals and spit them out in terms that made sense to the person working there. At that point, the employee would call the authorities or certain users who needed to be notified when certain signals were received.
While these systems are still in use all over the world and do their job well, there are newer alternatives that have come about as technologies have evolved. With most people having reliable internet, and many people cutting their land lines, internet based hardware has started to take a foot hold.
In the video above, I go through how to use a standard DSC alarm panel with an Eyez-on EVL4 internet module to send your security systems alerts to your cell phone, tablet or similar device. Once those notifications are received, the user can decide whether the authorities need to be contacted or not.
Keep in mind, these are professional DSC systems that have a long track record of dependable use in businesses and homes all over the globe. Because they have more features and device options, the learning curve is a little steeper to install and configure them. Although, using the videos on this site you should be able to follow along and do an install of your own without too much of an issue.
Recently, many brands that are new to the security business have come out with their own inexpensive, consumer grade systems. If you are looking into these options, please make sure to do your homework and pick as reliable a system as possible to install.
Lets go over the main Pros and Cons to using this security alarm system self-monitoring method.
Self Monitoring Pros
Cost Savings –
One of the main Pros of going the self monitored route is the ability to set one of these systems up as a do-it-yourselfer. It’s not that difficult to install a panel, keypad, and devices and have the alerts sent to your phone. I do a full installation and walk-through of this process in the course Here.
Going the DIY method I described above will save you many hundreds of dollars compared to getting a local company to come and install a system for you. Another huge savings is that these internet modules don’t require a monthly fee or subscription to operate. Typical monitoring station fees can get to upwards of $25-$30 monthly so the savings add up quick. For those interested in central station monitoring, these EVL4 units do have that service for appx $8 a month.
Hardware flexibility –
The self monitored option allows you to not be dependent on a local company to do the install and service calls. If down the road you decide you want to add a device to the system, that’s not a tough project to take care of yourself. Things like flood sensors near your sump pump, smoke/carbon monoxide detectors, and medical alert buttons are common things that people want to add to a system at a later date when the need arises. Most often, you can add these wireless devices and do a bit of programming on the keypad and you’re set up. Wireless range is appx. 500 feet open air for these DSC wireless devices.
Moving your system –
If you happen to be moving houses, its not a big deal to take a few devices off the wall and bring them with you. There are no disconnect fees and you don’t have to deal with your local security company or monitoring center. You own the hardware outright and can take it with you to set up later.
Self Monitoring Cons-
Self monitored system –
The main con of going the self-monitored route is just that, the system is self monitored. If there is an emergency at the home or business and you receive a notification on your phone, then it is the users responsibility to contact the authorities, if they are needed. That brings up another point. Your monitoring station is typically staffed 24 hours a day. You, or others users who are set up to get notifications from the system have to sometimes do annoying things like work or sleep. In these cases, it can be tough to make that call to the authorities if its needed.
Confirm proper system function –
Going the self monitored route usually means the system was installed by yourself or with a friend. Not everyone is a security system technician so it’s doubly important to make sure the system was installed properly. After you’ve done your install, make sure to arm the system and trigger each device in Stay and Away mode to make sure everything triggers when its meant to. It’s a good idea to confirm that any smart phones or devices that have been set up to receive notifications are getting them properly.
Connectivity issues: Internet/cellular connectivity –
Home internet has gotten quite dependable in most places now, although it isn’t always perfect. Sometimes the service provider may have down times for work that needs to be done or power outages may occur. Whether you go the self monitored or professionally monitored route, these issues can still disrupt your security system sending its signals properly. I just want to point that out because I’ve had many clients in the past who didn’t realize how their signals were transmitted to the monitoring station or cell phones.
For self monitoring on the receiving side of things, you need to try your best to have dependable cell service. If there’s an emergency at your home or business, you want that notification to make it to you. Certain places can have spotty reception that can cause issues with signals making it to your phone. Having multiple trusted users receive a notification in an emergency is a good way to minimize this connectivity risk.
If you are looking to keep your costs low and not have to be locked in to any contract, self monitoring your system may be the way to go for you. You don’t have to be a contractor, but the ability to use a drill and hand tools will be necessary to install your system. If you do decide to go this route, you should be comfortable knowing that you, or other trusted users will need to call the authorities yourself in an emergency.
Pairing these units with a camera system is a great way to maximize your security. For example, if you receive a notification that one of your motion detectors triggered, you can switch over to your camera system app on your phone to see if there’s any sign of entry to the house and then call the authorities.
Check out our Camera System Training for guidance on installing professional hardware to protect your home and family.
Click Here for our video on the basic wiring and install of these DSC security systems.
You can get in touch with me Here or leave a comment below if you have questions on anything in the video or article and I’ll try my best to help.