The Differences Between Self-Monitoring & Back to Base Monitoring

Self-monitoring has become a highlight to many and for those wishing to save a buck its an alternative option to Back to Base Monitoring. Let us explain the differences between the various options and why we feel Back to Base Monitoring will always outperform self-monitoring. This view is based on in-house user experience on a wide range of self-monitoring applications and control room services.

Self-Monitoring Modules & Apps

In this blog we will explore two of the most common set ups for a self-monitored alarm system. IP module or a GSM module. The IP module relies on your internet framework. The GSM relies on the mobile network. Let’s explore the two:

IP Module Pros & Cons:

  • If your internet drops out, so does the communication to your alarm system.
  • If your router fails, so does the communication to your alarm system.
  • If the AC to your premise is switched off (as it is often done so in a burglar), the communication to your alarm system will drop out.
  • You may have an uninterrupted power supply on your router but this will only give you approx. 10-15 minutes back up in battery life.
  • Smart phone apps can be a great tool to keep a track of your alarm events however what if you have minimal Wi-Fi strength in your area? You may miss an alarm event taking place on your phone.
  • Some apps still cost per month or per annum yet you are monitoring the alarm yourself. You are essentially being charged a fee to do all the work. Why not let someone else take care of this for you?
  • Free apps are generally limited versions. You can remote arm/disarm and see the last number of events but generally you do not have full functionality of a paid version of the app.
  • Apps allow you to remote arm/disarm your alarm. You can have multiple key persons programmed for this access
  • Paid versions can offer an array of automatic control over other features in the house such as lights, garage, air con with the introduction of additional parts.
  • If there is an alarm event, you have no back up services to assist you in a time of need. You will be required to arrange a patrol, neighbor, police or ambulance yourself. Delays of this kind can mean disaster.

    GSM Module Pros & Cons:

    • The GSM module relies on the mobile network.
    • You need to supply and manage the credit top up of the sim card to ensure if there is an alarm event, it can dial your phone
    • The app can allow remote arm/disarm and review event history
    • The GSM is powered off the main alarm panel board which holds a 12v back up battery so in the event of a main AC fail, this device will draw power from this battery

    In both self-monitoring scenarios, it is up to you to act upon all alarm events. What happens when you go on holidays? Weekends away? In the cinemas? Entertaining guests? In a business meeting? What is you cannot drop everything and get back to the site immediately?

    We found that 9 out of 10 people will ignore a new alarm event if they have recently experienced a false alarm from their system. In many cased this has dire consequences.

    The client either fails to act or eventually stops using the app because they know they have a fault and have forgotten to chase up a fix for the problem.

    Medical, Fire and Duress events are not handled quickly or at all. You take it upon yourself to attend to all events.

    Back to Base Alarm Monitoring Pros & Cons:

    This service is a paid service (either monthly, quarterly or annually). Some may see this as a negative but let’s explore the benefits of this service during a real live event:

    • Peace of mind 24/7, 365 days a year.
    • Our certified team of security professionals have your back covered at all times, even when you are uncountable.
    • You can relax and focus on life.
    • 4G modules allow your alarm to communicate to the control room. This device comes with a free app to allow you to remote arm/disarm your alarm from your phone. You can also see a history log.
    • Our operators receive your alarm event within milliseconds via a single or dual mobile network pathway. They will call your key person list of names and numbers and if no one is available we can call patrol, police, fire or ambulance on your behalf.
    • Our service includes free SMS notifications for one of the key persons for all events should you miss the call.
    • Our team has the ability to identify which zone (i.e. main office, stairs, kitchen) has activated & how many times it’s been activated when calling you. This gives you support and alleviates distress when making a decision to act. We will identify if its burglar, fire, medical or duress alert
    • They can call a list of key holders on your account and if no one is available we can send a licensed patrolman to your site with priority, from your local area.
    • You can be updated if a problem has been identified on site and police can be contacted on your behalf to attend site to a confirmed break and enter.
    • Fire Brigade, Ambulance and Police can be notified as required depending on the alert type, all you need to do is worry about driving safely to your site to meet them.
    • Have an elderly family member? You can have medial pendants programmed into your alarm for an ambulance to be sent immediately if no key persons can be contacted. Let us arrange an external ‘lock box’ for a spare key at your site for the emergency services team. They will be given the code by our operators to access the keys to gain entry into the premise.
    • Domestic Violence from an ex-partner? We can program a wireless duress pendant into your alarm system so if you fear for your safety, press this button for patrol and/or police to be sent immediately. Register your situation & alarm set up with the local police.
    • Insurance Rebates can be obtained by your provider if they know you have a monitored alarm.
    • You can use these savings (sometimes up to 15%) towards your monitoring fees making it as cheap as $1 a day for full coverage.
    • Our control room is graded A1, the highest grading in Australia.
    • All phone call costs made by the alarm to the control room is covered in the monthly rate

    Kylie Butchard.

    Article by:

    Kylie Butchard

    Managing Director of Pacific Security Group.

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