Having a home security system installed in your home can give you the peace of mind you need in order to live without fear for your home’s safety. But aside from having a security system at home, you also need to consider home security monitoring. It is the way in which your home security system communicates with a device or center which monitors the information it is receiving. A monitoring center is responsible in processing information to determine what action or steps are needed to be taken in the event of a security breach.
There are two types of monitoring when it comes to home security systems which are the personal and the professional.
- Personal: Personal monitoring is rare. It is usually used when a lower grade home security system is installed in your home. All of the information in this type of monitoring will be redirected straight to you. Meaning, you have to always keep an eye to what’s happening in your home in order to keep on top of things. However, if you do not pay much attention and something happens, there’s nothing you can do because you stand as the monitoring center.
- Professional: In this method of monitoring, an alarm company or a monitoring center is the one keeping an eye on all the signals coming from your home security system. If there’s a security breach, they will be able to inform authorities and help will be sent to your home immediately. Having a fast response is one of the things that make alarm companies attractive to customers because the faster the response time, the less chance that you and your family will acquire serious harm, damage, or losses.
There are two types of professional monitoring centers. One is the in-house monitoring which is conducted within your security provider’s company. They are able to route customer inquiries to the appropriate personnel internally. The other one is the third-party monitoring which is outsourced by the security company to a different monitoring center. However, they have less access to your security company’s internal departments. Either way, both of these centers can perform basic monitoring tasks equally. They can both notify the homeowner and emergency personnel when an alarm is triggered. Each also has trained operators who can verify emergencies and dispatch help if needed.
Monitoring plans are divided into two broad categories which are basic and advanced. These plans differ in how much control you are afforded. If it’s your first time to have a home security system, then having a basic monitoring plan is a good way to start as it doesn’t require a lot of gadgets. But if you want to be kept in the loop with all the things happening in and around your home, advanced and interactive monitoring plans are best for you. An advanced monitoring plan can keep you updated via your smartphone and tablet. You will be able to receive alerts as well as texts about the status of your home. You will also have a remote access to various home security features and to the cameras and sensors you have at home.
Choosing a home security monitoring plan as well as company involves your personal preferences and circumstances. If you’re looking into having a monitoring plan, what should you look for to be able to select a good monitoring center?
One of the most important things to look into when choosing a home security monitoring center is how well their operators are trained. They should be trained well on the burglar and fire alarm industry, the urgency of the situation, customer service, information accuracy, and on how to use the automation software that processes the alarm.
Good monitoring centers invest on training programs and certifications for their operators especially the new hires. An example is The Monitoring Association Level I certification which is an online course that teaches operators about the alarm industry.
When choosing among different monitoring centers, try to consider the training programs length, the tenure and depth of the staff, and the operator’s role. Operators are only responsible in answering incoming phone calls and alarms. They shouldn’t be dividing their time with other office tasks.
Another thing you should look into a monitoring center is their certifications. These are a valuable way to assess overall quality. Here are some certifications you might want to find:
- UL Certification: This certification verifies that the monitoring center meets the industry-accepted standards when it comes to the building structure, equipment, signal response processes, and staffing levels
- Factory Mutual (FM) for fire: This certification ensures that the monitoring center is properly designed to respond to life-safety emergencies.
- The Monitoring Association Five-Diamond certification: This certification demonstrates high-quality training. Having this certification means the monitoring center is sharing industry knowledge and information with their operators.
Monitoring Center Safeguards
All monitoring plans generally have certain key features. Some of them are, 24/7 monitoring and surveillance of your property, primary and secondary contacts, and cellular connection. When choosing a monitoring center, make sure to assess their services. They need to have redundant phone lines, hardware, and staff at multiple locations. It’s because if a problem occurs at one of their facilities, they will be able to quickly move the alarm traffic to another location.
Keep in mind that the home security monitoring center you should select must have strong customer service, operator training, and emergency safeguards in place. Being able to know and see what’s happening at home while you are away or at work is very beneficial.