What is Security Monitoring?  When you have an alarm system in your home ‘monitored,’ the alarm system is connected to a Monitoring Station.  It’s a bit like a large call center that’s on call 24/7 to help assist you if your security system goes off.

When something happens in your home, and the alarm is tripped, a signal is sent to the monitoring station.  With newer home Security Systems, monitoring stations are able to see exactly what the cause of the alarm is; back door, window, fire, medical, etc.  This helps the monitoring dispatch the emergency authorities with the best possible information to help you.

Usually when you’re alarm goes off, the Monitoring station makes an attempt to contact you first.  Higher end systems allow the Monitoring station to talk right through the main keypad in the home.  For systems that don’t support this feature, the monitoring station will call you directly.  If they don’t reach you, they dispatch the emergency crews, and notify your emergency contacts.

Is Monitoring Worth It?

A lot of people tell us they’d rather just get a text message, or email notification from their Security System, but don’t want to have it actually monitored – also referred to as Self Monitoring.  The question always comes, do I really need monitoring?

Scenario 1

Well clearly it’s a personal choice, but here’s a few scenarios to think about. You’re in a business meeting, unable to check your phone when the text comes through. You don’t see that the security system set off an alarm until 10-15 minutes later.  It’s day time, so your better half is at home with the kids or the pets.  When you finally see the text message, no one at the home is responding, so you need to drive home from work nervously to check on the home.

Scenario 2

The fire alarm goes off.  It’s a legitimate fire, and you need to get your family out of the house immediately.  In the chaos, you’re rightly more focused on getting your family out of the house, and never call the fire department or 911.

Now these are just two simple scenarios, and the goal here is not to use scare tactics.  However these are real scenarios, and happen more often than you’d think.  In both these scenarios you would probably feel better knowing that the system was monitored.  In scenario one, even though you were in a business meeting and missed the notification, you’d have the peace of mind of knowing that emergency authorities had already been sent if necessary, and friends and neighbors notified to help.

In Scenario 2 – the fire department gets dispatched from the monitoring station immediately, and emergency contacts notified.  So all you have to do is focus on your family, and someone else can worry about calling the Fire Department.

Monitoring is Monitoring

A common line among door-to-door sales man in the space is ‘Monitoring is Monitoring.’  Customers will ask us if our monitoring station is local to the city, and if they have all the awards and certifications, etc.  Sales people will respond with Monitoring is monitoring.  So that’s obviously not entirely correct.  Some monitoring stations are better than others, but as a general rule Monitoring is Monitoring. ☺

The different stations all work in similar fashion to monitor your home.  You can always test your security system, to make sure the monitoring is working by calling the monitoring station and testing it while they’re on the line.  They’ll ask you to set off your alarm, and verify that signals were sent from your alarm, and received by the monitoring station.

Matt Montgomery, TYM, Salt Lake City, Ut

Matt is a co-founder and lead systems designer for TYM LLC. His smart home and audio/visual designs have won three “Home of the Year Awards” from Electronic House & CE Pro magazine, and two awards from the Consumer Technology Association, including "Home Theater of the Year", and "Custom Smart Home of the Year".

Matt is a golden State fan.