A deeper look at the best monitored home alarm systems
Home alarm monitoring does not violate your privacy by granting monitoring center technicians indiscriminate access to your home’s devices. Instead, operators at monitoring centers receive information in the form of alerts or notifications that are prompted by your in-home sensors and detectors. They only receive information when it warrants a call to action, i.e. if an alarm in your home is activated.
The exact information available to operators depends on the components of your home security system and the type of monitoring service you subscribe to. For example, a robust system with environmental monitoring and lots of peripherals (smoke alarms, motion detectors, glass break sensors, water leak sensors, etc.) grants more opportunities for sending signals to monitoring centers.
In general, monitored alarm systems do not access or watch your surveillance cameras. If you have a security camera or video doorbell integrated into your home security system, you and the operator could receive smart alerts like motion alerts or activity detection, but the monitoring center can not see the video feed itself.
There is one category of exception, and those are companies that specifically offer remote CCTV or security feed monitoring. When you pay for one of these services, it’s like having a remote security center manned by people who can see your live video feeds on a screen. This service is not part of ordinary home security monitoring, and separate companies who offer this service for residential properties do put privacy safeguards in place.
As John MacMahon of the UK-based video monitoring service Re:sure explains, “Our technicians and control rooms won’t be watching your home 24/7. We use smart cameras and motion detection to ensure your privacy is protected. Once these motion detectors have identified a potential threat, one of our control centres will be notified and we’ll take action.”
In-house vs. outsourced alarm monitoring
As mentioned earlier, some home security companies have their own dedicated monitoring centers while others hire a third-party monitoring center to take care of it for them. One is not inherently better than the other. On one hand, in-house alarm monitoring centers can give a security company better control over aspects of employee training and system optimization. On the other hand, outsourcing this service may help a home security provider offer more effective monitoring plans at the most competitive rates.
So what makes one alarm monitoring center better than another? Essentially, how well it runs. Size, communication infrastructure, employee training and performance, awards and longevity can all indicate a center’s quality of service.
You’ll need to ask some questions in order to evaluate a home security company’s monitoring services: Are monitoring centers in-house or outsourced? Are they certified by any regulatory body? What’s the average response time? Can operators see your video footage? We kickstarted your research by highlighting how a few top home security providers approach monitoring.