Different types of Alarm systems and Their Costs Available on the marketplace
Today’s alarm system comes in 3 different forms or categories:
- Only Audible.
- Auto Diallers.
- Monitored Alarm Systems.
What Are Only Audible Alarms?
A visible deterrent to opportunist thieves. Making a noise to scare off an intruder. Waking you up if you’re at home and someone tries to break in, Making neighbours aware of a break-in, These are also known as non-monitored or bells-only alarm systems.
You set your alarm by entering a code or some systems provide one or more fobs to go on your key ring. You swipe them against the control panel instead of typing on the keypad. To deactivate the alarm you enter the code again or swipe the fob.When the system is activated by an intruder, it will trigger sounders that are mounted inside and on the external walls of your building. A strobe light on the external sounder will flash as well.To stop the noise and the flashing strobe, someone needs to enter the correct code or swipe the fob. The external sounder will only continue for a maximum of 20 minutes. This limit is to prevent noise pollution – we’ve all cursed that annoying alarm that doesn’t stop in the middle of the night! The internal sounder and outdoor strobe light will continue to flash until the system is turned off.
- The loud noise and attention it attracts is likely to scare off a chance intruder.
- There’s no service charge or running cost once you’ve bought and installed the system
- Battery back-up in external sounder means it keeps ringing even if the mains connection is cut
- This is the bare minimum of protection: if nobody responds to the noise any intruder can carry on intruding!
- Canny intruders can remove external sounders from the wall and put them in a bucket of water to muffle the sound
- Expect to pay 280 GBP for the top range models
What Are Auto Diallers?
Home alarms fitted with an auto dialler will also include internal and external sounders.
Diallers are often used for homes in populated areas, because it’s likely that key-holders will live or work close by.There are two main types: Speech dialler and GSM dialler.Speech diallers
The speech dialler connects to your intruder alarm panel and communicates using your normal home phone line. It’s a cost-effective way to be alerted if your alarm goes off when you’re out.
You record a voice message into the speech dialler device and input the telephone numbers of the people (key-holders) that you want it to call if the alarm is triggered. In this event, the speech dialler will ring the numbers in order and play back your voice message explaining what happened and what you’d like them to do!The person who answers the call will be able to stop the speech dialler from contacting any of the next numbers by pressing a key or entering a code on their phone.Some speech diallers can be set to detect and send different messages for intruder, personal attack or fire incidents.
- Connects to your existing home phone line – no need for additional line rentals.
- Cheap to run, as it only dials out when the alarm goes off
- The speech dialler unit is relatively cheap to buy
- You do need a home landline – not everyone has one these days
- An intruder could cut the line where it comes into the premises, so the speech dialler would not be able to call out
- You need to install a cable to connect your existing phone line to the speech dialler unit
- You need to find reliable people who live nearby to be the message recipients if you’re not available. For example, a good neighbour or local relative or friend.
- Expect to pay 550 GBP for the top range models
What Are Monitored Alarm systems?
A more reliable solution still is a monitored alarm system that communicates with an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC). A third party provider runs the ARC, responding 24/7 to alarm signals by calling keyholders and the local police.
The ARC, often referred to as Central Station in the trade, will use automated software to monitor and respond to alarms, but it will also be staffed, so there’s no risk of technology failure preventing notification calls. For large houses in remote locations, high-risk properties, or residential properties that are occupied part-time, you may find that a monitored alarm system is a requirement for your home insurance policy. Most commercial premises use this kind of system. If you have particularly valuable items in your house, such as technology equipment, expensive jewelry or you run a business from home with computer storage or specialised equipment, we recommend a monitored intruder alarm system. Digital Communicator
Also known as digicoms, these systems were among the first digitally monitored systems to be launched.
Digicoms should ideally use their own dedicated phone line with incoming calls barred. This is to prevent a cunning intruder calling the line to engage it, so that the system can’t call out. The digicom is mounted in the alarm control panel. When the alarm is activated, it dials out to the ARC and sends packets of data in a secure encrypted format that’s decrypted by software at the ARC. The ARC will then take appropriate action by notifying key-holders or calling the police. Single Path Signalling
BT pioneered this system in the 1990s with the launch of the very successful BT Redcare service. Today there are several other reputable suppliers in the market too.
http://www.redcare.bt.com /Products_services/Classic.html Example of a single path signalling device A single path signaling system can dial out using either the GSM mobile network, GPRS mobile data network or a fixed phone line. It can also send more sophisticated information to the ARC. For example, it might report the type of breach, such as a personal attack or standard alarm activation, including the zone triggered within the property. The biggest advantage is that the signaling path itself is monitored.
That means that if the phone line is cut or the GSM or GPRS signal fails, the monitoring station will know about it and will treat it as intruder activation.
Dual Path Signalling
Instead of having one channel to communicate with, these systems have a primary and a back-up signalling path.
That means if there’s a fault or problem with the primary channel, such as a fixed line, it will automatically use the back-up channel, such as the GSM mobile network.
BT Redcare GSM
http://www.redcare.bt.com/Products_services/GSM.html Example of a single path signalling devices
There are many combinations of signal paths you can choose, combining old and new technologies. Depending on the infrastructure you already have, or are prepared to invest in, you could combine two of fixed line (PSTN), mobile (GSM), GPRS and your broad-band service (IP).
There are lots of different types of these systems on the market as many companies have built services around their core communication technologies.
This is good news for you, the consumer, as it has driven the price down.
- Alarm activations are securely sent to a 24/7 monitored Alarm Receiving Centre that will always respond
- It’s relatively cheap to buy the digital communicator and it can be moved with you if you move house
- The signal path is monitored, so any attempt to tamper with it will be notified to the ARC
- It can send out more detailed information than a digital communicator, so keyholders or police are better informed and ready to deal with the situation when they arrive on site
- Dual signalling gives you added security because of the backup signalling path,ARC notification within 40 seconds
- Redcare GSM is Grade 4 rated in the European Intruder Alarm Standards, meaning it’s suitable for the highest identified level of risk
- From August 2013 you can choose GSM Roaming with Redcare: the system can use any UK mobile network and selects the strongest signal available. If one network is down, the system will use another.
- You may have to pay line rental on the dedicated “incoming calls only” phone line
- You have to pay an annual subscription to the monitoring station (ARC)
- You need two reliable signalling paths.
- Expect to pay 1750 GBP for the top range models