It may not come as a surprise to learn that not all home security systems are created alike. Basic systems might come with only a single video camera and a few window and door sensors while a comprehensive system provides everything you need to make your home as secure as Fort Knox. Above and beyond equipment, there is another significant difference: some come with professional monitoring while others do not.
Note that home security monitoring doesn’t have to be handled by professionals. You can monitor your own system if you like. If you don’t want monitoring at all, that’s fine too. You can install a basic home security system that does little more than make noise.
The Monitoring Concept
Before getting into how home security monitoring works, let us first discuss the concept behind it. Monitoring is about staying abreast of what’s going on at the monitored property. It is a given that monitoring allows for better surveillance and, if necessary, quicker response.
Let’s say you have a monitored home security system with both burglary and fire equipment. In the event of either home intrusion or fire, whoever is monitoring your system is instantly alerted. That means a response can be initiated right away. Responding might mean calling the fire department or alerting the police.
The second benefit of monitoring, at least where video cameras are concerned, is letting criminals know that their actions are being recorded. This is enough to send many of them packing. For the most part, criminals want nothing to do with video cameras.
How Professional Monitoring Works
Now let us talk about professional monitoring. Vivint Smart Home, a nationally known provider of home security and automation systems, says that some companies offering monitoring services also sell security systems. You get an all-in-one package that comes with a monthly monitoring agreement. Other monitoring companies provide individual monitoring packages to consumers.
Regardless of how it’s offered, professional monitoring works by connecting your home security system directly to a remote monitoring center. The center is staffed by professionally trained monitors who spring into action the minute an alert is received. They are trained to handle each potential emergency in a specific way.
In the event of a burglary alarm for example, monitoring personnel will first attempt to determine whether a crime is taking place. If they are not able to make that determination, they notify the police just to be safe. And of course, police are notified immediately if personnel determine crime is in progress.
Monitoring works the same way for fires, carbon monoxide leaks and, where applicable, flood and medical monitoring. The monitoring center acts as an advocate capable of responding to an emergency instantly.
How DIY Monitoring Works
DIY monitoring is similar to professional monitoring in some respects but completely different in others. Perhaps the biggest difference is that a DIY system is not directly connected to a monitoring center. Instead, you are monitoring your system through computer software, a mobile app, or both.
Whenever you connect to the internet, your internet service provider (ISP) assigns an IP address to your device. Every device in a DIY security system connects to a system hub which, itself, connects to the internet. The hub has an assigned IP address; your individual devices each have sub address as well. The end result is an entire system capable of communicating via the internet.
Let’s say you have your security system set up to send you alerts whenever your video doorbell is activated. Activation would mean the camera immediately starts recording video images. That data is also being sent, in real time, to your smartphone or tablet via the internet. If you have a computer involved, the data might go to it as well. It is up to you to determine whether an immediate response is required. If so, you call the police yourself.
It is hard to argue against the effectiveness of home security system monitoring. A monitored system is a more effective system hands down. The question is, do you want to pay for professional monitoring or are you content to monitor your own system? Only you can decide that.