Why choose a ‘monitored’ wireless alarm system?

Wireless Alarm System

 

 

With 124,430 burglaries reported between April – October this year alone, burglar alarms are seen by many as a ‘must have’ security measure to protect their homes, assets and people from the risk of being broken into.

In fact, according to both London’s Metropolitan Police and a Which? survey of ex-burglars, you’re less likely to become a victim of burglary if you have a well-fitted and well-maintained burglar alarm system. That means buying one is a worthwhile investment…

But with so many different burglar alarm systems available – which do you choose? The first thing to understand is what you want your alarm to do.

The primary functions of an intruder alarm is to deter would be burglars from attempting to enter your property, and if they do break-in you’ll want to alert someone – but who?

That all depends on the type of alarm system you have installed. Typically it boils down to choosing a wired or wireless alarm system – that is monitored or unmonitored. We outline these in a bit more detail below…

What are the main types of intruder alarm system?

What is an Unmonitored alarm system?

‘Bells Only’ alarms will certainly make a noise if an intruder is detected, but will it bring anyone running to the rescue? probably not.

According to Devon Live, a survey commissioned by Direct Line revealed that only a quarter of neighbours would look out of the window and then intervene if they hear a neighbour’s alarm, only a fifth would call their neighbour and even less would contact the police.

unmonitored alarm system

 

Unmonitored alarms rely on the goodwill of neighbours investigating the cause of the alarm further and will stop ringing in after 20 minutes. Flighty burglars may be deterred by the siren or unwanted attention from neighbours, but more determined thieves may stay their course.

With regards to responding to alarm call outs from the public,  the police advise the following:

“If a building or car alarm is going off and there’s clear evidence of criminal activity, such as a broken window or someone acting suspiciously nearby, call 999 immediately.” Met Police

If an alarm signal is verified as a genuine threat by someone at the scene or even remotely, there is a far better chance the police will respond. The reason for this is that approximately 90% of the alarm calls received by police are false alarms, and it is physically impossible to respond to every alarm call due to sheer numbers and frequency.

This is one of the reasons that the alarm signalling industry and many police forces across the UK are doing a great to reduce false alarms and increase the speed at which they can respond to genuine incidents in the case of alarm signals relayed via alarm monitoring centres. In fact, Farsight is one of he first alarm receiving centres to be get ECHO-connected – an initiative which does just that.

What is a Monitored alarm system?

Having your alarm system monitored adds greatly to the efficiency and effectiveness of an alarm activation.  Here there are two choices on how alarms can monitored:

Self Monitoring OR monitoring by an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) like Farsight. Lets take a look at these options…

Self Monitored Burglar Alarm Systems

The recent advancements in technology, software and of course the internet of things, has spawned a range of self monitoring opportunities for alarm owners to take an active role on managing their alarms. When an alarm is monitored, some modern systems will automatically call or send a push notification to your phone. This all sounds great, giving you the control of monitoring your own alarm system remotely, however, burglars don’t always strike when you are best suited to deal with it yourself.

How would you deal with an alarm notification if say,  in an area with a ropey mobile phone or wi-fi signal, or in the car hurtling down the motorway, in that big work meeting or maybe out shopping, at a restaurant, football game or the movies – you get the picture…

 

Why choose Professional Alarm Monitoring?

For real peace of mind and to ensure your alarm system does what it should in achieving the right response when it counts  – we recommend leaving the monitoring to a professional and industry accredited remote alarm monitoring centre (ARC) like Farsight. Simply, you won’t have the burden of monitoring your alarm when you are away from home and won’t be reliant on the goodwill of neighbours, friends or family members either.

This short explainer video outlines how Farsight’s alarm monitoring service works:

 

So, what is an ARC? An Alarm Receiving Centre or ARC is a remote monitoring facility where security operators receive data, signals and alarms from security systems. An ARC typically performs a central and critical role in the fire, intruder and social alarm sectors. Activations from monitored systems must be routed through an ARC for verification prior to being passed to the relevant authority and keyholder for a response.

Farsight operates from our state-of-the art, custom built Observatory and is a leading Category II Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) with BS5979 accreditation. This means our systems and performance is audited twice yearly by the British Standards Institution (BSI) and the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB). Our alarm monitoring operators are SIA approved and answer alarms quickly and efficiently 24 hours a day 365 days a year.

We are also a BS8418 accredited Remote Video Receiving Centre (RVRC) which means that we can also use video footage from in-situ CCTV cameras to remotely visually verify alarm activations in real-time which adds credibility to alarm signals for police call-outs.  This can be hugely important in reducing false alarm call outs to emergency services and protecting URNs.

URNs or Unique Reference Numbers can be issued by police, allowing our central station direct communication access to police control rooms which can significantly speed up the accuracy of reporting and subsequent response deployment.

What is a Wired Alarm System?

 

wired alarm monitoring

 

Traditionally, wired alarm systems have been the most common type of fire & intruder alarm installation.  These, as the name suggests, rely on the control panel being connected to sensors, keypads, smoke detectors and other devices by physical wires.  These are usually hard wired into the building behind walls, ceilings, floors or crawl spaces by security system installers.

There is nothing obsolete or outdated about this type of alarm system, in fact some prefer it. For example many business, with large spaces to spread signals across and those requiring electrical power and not just reliance on battery power.

However, installation of this type of security system can far more complex and time consuming than wireless equipment and more costly – although typically the actual equipment can be less expensive than wireless. A good alarm system installer will advise you on the best system for your requirements.

Typically, signalling devices are connected to monitoring centres via phone lines or ethernet cables, however much is happening within this space with the role out of the PSTN switchover – with many legacy systems requiring ‘future-proofing’ ahead of the shift to ‘All IP.’ Modern wired alarm systems are equipped with next generation IP, radio or mobile communication – read more on this in our PSTN switchover articles and overviews of CSL Dualcom & BT Redcare alarm signalling products.

Is it possible to visually verify a wired alarm system – remotely?

As an independently operated business within the OPTEX Group of companies, Farsight is a leading remote monitoring station in the UK.  Over the past few years we have worked closely with companies within the OPTEX Group to support and drive advancements in technology innovation and development to ensure we remain at the cutting edge of remote monitoring excellence.

Bridging the gap between blind alarm monitoring and visually verifying incidents in real time has long been a particular focus for Farsight. As a leading CCTV monitoring station providing remote monitoring solutions to thousands of homes and businesses across the UK, visual verification of incidents and emergencies with our dedicated monitored CCTV services is nothing new. However, the concept of giving our alarm monitoring operators the ability to see what is happening inside a premises to establish the cause of triggered alarm has major benefits – like verifying the cause of an alarm to reduce false alarm call-outs to emergency services, help to protect URN status, and where a URN status has been downgraded – can add credibility to call-outs for a faster response.

Optex Visual Alarm Monitoring

 

The ‘concept’ is now a reality with OPTEX rolling out its Intelligent Visual Monitoring solutions to installers and Alarm Receiving Centres in the UK. This innovative technology has enabled Farsight to rollout our own next generation alarm monitoring package, AlarmSight – which enables us to offer a visually verified alarm response service to our installer partners giving peace of mind that their client’s premises, assets and people are fully protected.

Joel Babb, Farsight’s CTO has worked with US based CHeKT who developed the solution for a number of years,  before its rollout in the UK as a valuable addition to the Optex security solutions arsenal available to installers here. Joel says this about the OPTEX Intelligent Visual Monitoring powered by CHeKT solution:

” The OPTEX Bridge unifies monitoring stations, installers and end users though state-of-the art cloud services and award winning tech. It is easy to retro fit in existing sites or new sites allowing visual verification of alarm signals from wired systems when it counts the most.”

So what is the OPTEX Intelligent Visual Alarm Monitoring solution, what are its benefits and how does it work? The below article answers these questions:

> Optex Intelligent Visual Alarm Monitoring powered by CHekT

What is a Wireless Alarm System?

 

ajax monitoring station

 

Wireless alarm systems have been gaining popularity especially for home applications. These are easy and cheaper to install (although we recommend profession installers do this) as they require no wires to install.

In the age of the Internet of Things (IoT), wireless technology has evolved immeasurably in recent years, making communication between control panels and central monitoring stations without reliance on hardwiring.

The key benefit that wireless systems bring is that they are portable and can be moved without rewiring – for example to cover other areas in the home as needed and can be taken with you if you move. They offer immunity from power outages, and can simply can also look in the home.

The negatives however, can include possible signal interference from other devices – although rare, as well as require regular battery checks as they are reliant on these as opposed to mains power.

From a signalling viewpoint, wireless alarm system control panels communicate with central monitoring stations via IP/cellular connection which relies on signals being available, as is the case for wired systems too as PSTN lines are switched off.

As a leading Category II Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC), working with trusted and reliable alarm systems, that once installed, can be remotely monitored efficiently and effectively is so crucial to giving our remote monitoring clients the peace of mind that their premises, assets and people are protected.

Joel Babb, CTO at Farsight says this about the growth of ‘monitored’ wireless alarm systems:

‘Wireless alarm systems like Ajax are growing in popularity with an extensive range of sensor types and great end user applications they are extreme versatile and are simple to install. Combine all of that with visually verified professional monitoring and everyone wins.’

Let’s take a look at the benefits of a ‘remotely monitored’ Ajax wireless alarm system:

 

AJAX ALARM System

The Ajax alarm system is an advanced and reliable wireless alarm system that enables wireless communication in your home or business and uses certified equipment. AJAX have developed Jeweller –  a radio protocol that delivers an uninterrupted interaction between the hub and security system devices without the need for wires.

Ajax offer a comprehensive range of multi-award winning wireless alarm system products. These include a range of hubs, detectors that monitor motion, opening of doors or windows, glass breaks, fire and even leaks or floods. They also provide range extenders for larger premises, control panels and panic buttons and sirens (Ajax even offer bespoke branding on their siren boxes for installers to add their logos).

Ajax wireless alarm systems are rated Grade 2 (certified EN50131) which is the highest security grade a wireless alarm system can achieve, that’s one of the reasons Farsight has partnered with Ajax to provide a professionally monitored solution for its alarm systems – with alarm signals being received directly by our central monitoring station – the Observatory, following a very simple connection process allowing full integration with our own monitoring interface.

When it comes to visually verifying alarm signals from Ajax wireless systems, Ajax have thought of that too with the addition of MotionCam to your alarm system…

alarm visual verification Ajax

Ajax MotionCam wireless motion detector with alarm verification and pet immunity can take a series of still images with its in-built camera which can be delivered to our monitoring station in seconds and played back in the form of animation for a quick assessment of the situation by an operator. This reduces unnecessary emergency response call-outs by verifying the cause of an alarm activation, whilst including privacy features too, so our operators can only see what you want them to.

Let’s Talk Alarm Monitoring

If you want the peace of mind your alarm system is being monitored by professionals – whether a wired or wireless system, please let us know and our experienced remote monitoring team will be happy to advise you on the best service to meet your needs.  You can call us on 0845 371 0101request a call back or leave us a message below:

Why work with Farsight?

Farsight were awarded ‘Best Security Services Provider – UK’ in 2020 and ‘Best CCTV Remote Monitoring Specialists -UK’ in 2021. However, as nice as it it is to win awards, we value what our customers think above all else. You can read our customer reviews below:

Farsight Customer Reviews