Saturday, April 28, 2012

Home Automation-The Alarm Industry and the future...What's in it for me?

Electronic security has exploded in the last several years with All-In-One wireless systems making security installations easy and convenient for homeowners with existing construction. Wireless panels typically give you the option of an on-board GSM (or cellular) unit which makes the installation even easier because no phone wire needs to be pulled to the demarc location to complete the install. The additional monthly monitoring cost for a cellular unit averages $12 or so with the national brand alarm companies. This is more than offset by most customers simply by eliminating the now largely unnecessary land line phone in favor of using a mobile, resulting in a net savings for the customer. The proliferation of GSM units has a further benefit because you are now fully prepared for the sunset of analog P.O.T.S (Plain Old Telephone Service) land lines the telco industry is pushing for. This could happen as soon as 2014.

In addition on board GSM units installed in an all-in-one wireless panel can be used in internet connected households in conjunction with an enabled central station to allow the alarm panel status to be monitored from internet connected devices such as smart phones, tablets and notebook computers. The user can arm and disarm the system and get text notifications for any event the user desires. (This could be a disarm event when a child gets home for example.)

More recently alarm panels have become more capable still. Thanks to wireless Z-wave technology you can use a modern touch screen wireless all-in-one alarm panel to control thermostats, lights, door locks and monitor IP video cameras.  You can hop on your iPhone or iPad or similar Android device before you leave the office, check your cameras, turn on your air conditioner and lights. Once you get home you can disarm the alarm and unlock the door from the same device! These new systems give the customer conveniences and peace of mind. As of this writing, basic home automation has been made affordable for the masses via the integration of home automation technology into security systems.

ADT (Pulse) and Vivint (Home Automation Package) are among the national brands offering modern streamlined touch screen panels with all of the features mentioned above. There is typically some up-front cost involved for equipment and/or installation fees. The monitoring of systems with home automation can be more than double the cost of standard home security monitoring. A typical basic home-automation and security system has an up-front cost of about $200, and a recurring monthly cost of approximately $70/month on a 36 month monitoring agreement that includes an IP camera, a wireless thermostat, light control modules and wireless door locks.

Honeywell Lynx Touch is used by ADT Pulse

2Gig's Go is used by Vivint Home Automation

These technologies will ensure the relevance of electronic home security in the future. If you haven't seen this technology in action, check out  or You'll be glad you did.