Electronics are built into everything—they regulate car engines, ensure proper pricing at the grocery store and even keep a person’s heartbeat regular through a small pacemaker. However, electronics are not infallible, making human monitoring a necessary part of the equation, especially in the security alarm field.
Many people have begun to go the do-it-yourself route when choosing an alarm system; they choose the system, purchase it, and then install it themselves. While this may save homeowners and business owners the cost of having a system installed and being stuck with a 2- to 3-year contract, it also leaves them with a problem of who monitors the system. There are apps for smartphones that assist with self-monitoring, but once the owner knows there is a problem, the solution is unclear, and if the owner is out of reach of their cell phone or is in an area with no cell towers and no coverage, they won’t receive the message at all.
While human alarm monitoring may seem decidedly low-tech, it is a more reliable option. Not every alarm system works the same way, and some people don’t know how to properly arm or use them. At a certified UL-Listed Central Station, people are on the job 24 hours a day to determine whether an alert signal is a false alarm or if the authorities should be contacted. Alarm monitors can call the police or multiple specified numbers and explain the situation.
Generally, home alarm monitoring can cost anywhere from $20-$100 per month, although one company named Alarm Relay offers a contract for $8.95 per month. Rates may vary from area to area, and alarm owners should make a list of the services they need before starting their search for a monitoring company. Some providers even offer owners the ability to check a system’s activity using the Internet; almost all will services contact the owner in the event of a break-in and notify them if there was any need for the owner to respond. While it may seem unnecessary, the cost of having a human presence to back up the computer system is a small price to pay for a trained person’s decision-making capability and peace of mind.