Monitored vs. Unmonitored Home Security Systems: Making the Right Choice

June 10, 2024 Blog 0 Comment

If you are planning to install a home security system in your Perth home, there are two main types from which to choose:

  • Monitored Home Security Systems – Professional security systems linked to control centres staffed by agents 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
  • Unmonitored or Self-Monitored Home Security Systems – Smart home security systems that use a variety of protocols to alert people when their alarms have been triggered or simply emit a noise.

If you have no idea which type is the right option for your home, don’t worry. We will examine the main features of each type, discuss their advantages and disadvantages and enumerate the factors to consider when making your choice.

Understanding Monitored Home Security Systems

A monitored home security system is a system linked to a monitoring centre staffed by trained operators. When an alarm is triggered on a monitored system, an alert is raised immediately at the remote control centre. The way that operators at the control centre respond to specific alerts will depend on the instructions given by the customer, but in all cases, they will have a standard operating procedure (SOP) to follow. SOPs are written following clients’ instructions and help to ensure a suitable response to all alerts sent by monitored systems.

As you can imagine, the performance of a monitored home security system depends largely on the efficiency with which control centre operators deal with alerts as they arrive. If you want to enjoy all the benefits of a monitored system, it is therefore important to choose a service provider with an excellent record of achievement and reputation in the home security industry.

Understanding Unmonitored Home Security Systems

An unmonitored or self-monitored home security system is not linked to a remote control centre or monitored in any way by a third party unless you arrange to have someone monitor it for you. An unmonitored system will sound an alarm when triggered, whilst a self-monitored system will communicate with the owner via one or more selected protocols. Alarm notifications from such systems are normally issued by email or SMS.

The biggest weakness of an unmonitored or self-monitored home security system is that if you are too busy to see the notifications or there is nobody in the vicinity to hear audible alarms, there will be nobody to respond to any alerts that are triggered. Whether this is an issue for you or not is among the points we will discuss in the following sections.

The biggest selling point for many unmonitored or self-monitored systems, when compared to their monitored counterparts, is cost. Because there is no need to run a control centre operated by trained personnel 24 hours a day, home security companies can make and sell good-quality unmonitored systems for considerably less than monitored systems.

Comparative Analysis: Monitored vs. Unmonitored Systems

Choosing a new home security system is a task that many people struggle with, mainly due to a lack of technical knowledge and experience with this type of technology. Whilst we cannot impart decades of knowledge and experience in a brief guide, what we can do is help you decide whether a monitored or unmonitored system is right for your home. Having determined which type is best for your needs, you can then focus on evaluating the options within that category of home security systems.

The main differences between monitored and self-monitored (or unmonitored) home security systems are as follows:

  • Cost – Monitored systems are significantly more expensive, owing to the requirement for trained operators to staff remote control centres.
  • Level of Protection – With vigilant operators standing by to respond 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the level of protection provided by monitored security systems is undoubtedly higher than even the best unmonitored system can offer.
  • Level of Technical Support – As soon as a camera fails or another critical component malfunctions, the staff at a monitored alarm control centre will contact the owner of the faulty system. With unmonitored systems, it is up to you to inspect your system regularly and make sure it is still in good working order.
  • Convenience – With comprehensive technical support and trained operators to keep an eye on things, a monitored security system is the most convenient choice for most people.

So, except for cost, monitored home alarm systems appear to be the obvious choice, but is this really the case? Let’s find out.

How to Choose the Right System for Your Home

When choosing a new home alarm/security system, it is important to consider your unique circumstances and requirements, as not everybody wants or needs the same features and level of protection from a home alarm system.

  • Lifestyle – If you spend most of your time at home, there may be little point in buying an expensive monitored alarm system. On the other hand, if you enjoy travelling and are frequently away from home, a monitored system could be an excellent investment.
  • Location – Properties in remote locations are more vulnerable than homes in major population centres. If your nearest neighbours are 200 kilometres away, a monitored system makes more sense.
  • Property – Some properties are more vulnerable than others because of the materials from which they are constructed or other features, such as large panoramic windows. Such properties may require the added protection that monitored systems provide.
  • Budget – The amount you are prepared to invest will naturally influence your choice but should not be the overriding factor.

Having carefully considered all of the above factors, you should now be in a position to choose the perfect alarm system for your home.

If you are still trying to decide which type of system will best meet your needs, please feel free to contact us. As domestic and commercial security system specialists in Western Australia, we are ideally placed to help residents protect their properties from potential intruders. Call or email the team at Smart Security to start planning your new home security system.