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Self-monitored home security is relatively new and the technology still young. Companies like SimpliSafe have been in the game for a while, but there is an explosion of new companies offering self-monitored alarm systems through the smart home market. With all the new choices, picking one can be a challenge. In general, you will want to look for a system that can communicate with multiple people in multiple ways while allowing you control and providing protection for things beyond burglaries.

1. Communication

If you plan to self-monitor your alarm, you are solely responsible for responding to any emergencies. From a communication perspective, it’s important that a self-monitored system can:

  • Send push or text notifications.
  • Call you if your system is breached.
  • Notify designated contacts, like friends or family members.

2. Control

Although communication is the most important feature, the ability to self-service the alarm is also important. Look for things like:

  • The ability to arm and disarm a system remotely
  • Full control over system customization.
  • Full control over modes like home, away, vacation, and sleep

3. Protection Beyond Burglaries

A self-monitored system should be smart. It should have the ability to follow rules with cause and effect relationships between different devices. For example, if carbon monoxide is detected, you can create a rule to turn your heating system off. Or you can create another rule that says if the front door is open, your security camera should automatically start recording footage. In doing so, it can potentially protect your home from flooding, fire, or even rapidly changing temperatures.

4. Visual Verification

Finally, you will want to add a security camera to your system if you choose to self-monitor. Trust me, there is nothing more annoying than receiving an alert when you’re miles away with no way to know if the event is serious or not.

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The following post first appeared on the Think Protection blog

What’s Better: Monitored Or Self-Monitored Alarm?

You’re thinking about getting a home alarm system. You’ve looked at a few options and are wondering to yourself what kind should you get: one that comes with professional monitoring or a self-monitored system, where only you and a select contact list are notified if an alarm is triggered. How can you make a smart decision?

There is no shortage of options for a self-monitored alarm system and a monitored alarm system. Companies like ADT, AlarmForce, Simplisafe, CPI, and Ackerman offer a traditional monitored home alarm system, while companies like Canary and Dropcam have a self-monitored solution. What’s the difference between self-monitored and professionally monitored alarms?

When a professionally monitored home security system is tripped a signal is sent to the monitoring station who can then assess the situation and then contact the police if necessary. A self-monitored system only notifies the homeowner through a text, email or automated phone call.

If the homeowner is busy or doesn’t have their phone on them, then they can’t deal with whatever situation is occurring. Plus, if they are far from their home, they may know that the alarm was tripped but can’t get any information beyond that. Self-monitored systems rely solely on the homeowner to resolve the situation, which may not always be possible.

A professionally monitored system has the monitoring station involved in the assessing process and the dispatching of whatever first responder is needed. This provides unmatched peace of mind and a response regardless of the homeowner’s activities or location.

While a self-monitored system is better than nothing, it doesn’t come close to the value that a professionally monitored home alarm provides. The peace of mind and level of security is unparalleled, giving the homeowner a better response and ultimately better security.

Remember though that not all alarm systems are created equal, so do your research on what type of alarm monitoring they provide, if their central station is a 5-diamond certified central station if they have an alarm contract and also the monthly price should factor into your decision. Think Protection and make an informed choice.