Alarm System Monitoring
Alarm systems do not have to be monitored. If you choose not to have your alarm monitored you need to have some sort of “outside noise” like a bell or siren, in order to notify your neighbors to call for assistance. Most systems can be monitored for fire, medical, panic and burglary signals. Burglary dispatch of police can be subject to a fee to the police (see section on false alarms) and homeowners are increasingly having the call from the monitoring company directed to them. Signal routing monitoring technology is increasingly common as well, such as Blockwatch Alarm neighborhood based security monitoring where notifications are sent to whom you choose by our proprietary Apps, text, email, or call.
At this point there are no cities that are charging homeowners for fire, panic or medical responses that we know of.
All alarm systems come with built in modems that allow you to connect the alarm system into the telephone line in order to send signals to a central monitoring station. Some alarm systems allow you to call a cell phone or a pager in addition (or in place of) a central monitoring company. Some of the newer alarm systems can send their signals by cellular telephone, radio transmission or over the Internet. Police and Fire departments in almost all jurisdictions will not allow you to send alarm system signals directly to their dispatch centers. The modems in the alarm systems also allow your installation company to be able to remotely program (download) or diagnose problems with your alarm system over the telephone. These download features can be controlled so that the customer can prevent unauthorized program entry by the alarm company. (All the download programs are encrypted and or password protected to prevent any unauthorized access to the alarm system.)
Cost of alarm system monitoring varies greatly. One of the biggest reasons for the variety of rates is the practice of “bundling” services. Some of the services that are bundled are:
- Alarm monitoring
- Alarm system service (labor)
- Alarm system service (parts)
- Subsidized installation cost
Some companies will let you choose the services you want and others require that you take all the services. There is no universal best way to charge for monitoring. The important thing to understand is what services you need and what services you are paying for. That will allow comparing “apples to apples” as you make the choice as to which service is best for you.
Newer companies are opting to keep costs low, eliminating unnecessary costs and using innovative models for monitoring service. Blockwatch Alarm uses “signal routing” technology to auto notify the people you choose by App pushes, text, email, or phone, and keep the cost at only $20 a month. The service can work on nearly any alarm equipment, so the cost of equipment isn’t subsidized in the price, keep the service costs low.