Why Proprietary Systems Can't Be Monitored By Alarm GridPosted By Julia Ross
For many proprietary panels, the settings that determine where signals are sent are hardcoded. That means, if a customer decides they want to change alarm companies, they have to replace their system, and in some cases, all of their sensors. Alarm Grid does not sell proprietary systems.
There are many different ways in which alarm companies retain their customers. Some use cheap up-front pricing with long contracts for monitoring services. Others use completely proprietary systems, with the alarm panel and all sensors being useless unless they are used with the original company's monitoring service. At Alarm Grid, we retain our customers by providing equipment at a fair price, and excellent customer service.
The "Low Up-Front Cost" System:
You're probably familiar with many of the alarm companies that use, or have used, proprietary equipment. Names like ADT, Moni (formerly Monitronics), Vivint, and Xfinity have all used proprietary systems in the past, and I'm sure there are more. They were successful in this because in most cases, they were providing the equipment free, or at a reduced rate with very inexpensive installation.
In exchange, the customer would be required to sign an expensive, multi-year monitoring contract. Monthly monitoring is where they make up the money lost on equipment and installation. In most cases, these companies design the system and have it manufactured in such a way that the account information, the information that identifies which system this is, can't be changed. This ensures that if the customer wants to continue using the equipment, they have to continue paying the monthly fees.
The good news about these systems is that in most cases, it is possible to reuse the equipment with a new company. You may have to replace the communicator, and in some cases, you may even have to replace the main system, but the sensors can usually be reused.
The "Completely Proprietary" System:
In other instances, a company may sell and install a completely proprietary system. With these systems, not only is the information about where the system sends its signals pre-defined, but any wireless sensors used to protect the premises are also proprietary. So, if you decide to switch to a different monitoring company, you'll have to replace not just the main panel and communicator, but every sensor too.
When this type of system is used, the company will often tout the fact that they have no long-term contract for monitoring. But, how many customers are willing, or able for that matter, to replace their entire system if they are unhappy with their service after a few months?
Unfortunately, with this type of system, to switch to a new monitoring company everything will usually need to be replaced. Recently, some progress has been made by professional security equipment manufacturers being able to work with these sensors. Qolsys now has a Zigbee daughter card that can be installed with the IQ4 panels. This allows the Qolsys IQ4 panels to work with some once-proprietary sensors. You can see a list of compatible Zigbee Automation and Security Sensors here.
The "Alarm Grid Way":
At Alarm Grid, we're in this business to help home and business owners de-mystify the installation and use of alarm systems. For years, many of us have worked within the industry and were frustrated by its practices. The alarm industry is modeled after the automobile industry. A manufacturer sells equipment to dealers, the dealers sell to end-users and it is up to the dealer to support and service their customers.
The alarm dealer is the manufacturer's customer, and the end-user is the alarm dealer's customer. Therefore, an end-user can not get any support from the manufacturer, they have to go through their dealer. This is a great setup, as long as your alarm dealer is competent, responsive, and promptly returns your calls, texts, or emails.
The problem is, that's not always the case, and when it's not, what is a customer to do? They can't get assistance from the manufacturer. So, we help them. We provide hundreds, if not thousands of FAQ articles on our site that outline how to install, program, and service alarm systems and equipment from Honeywell/Resideo, Qolsys, 2GIG, Interlogix, DSC, and others. We provide this information freely to anyone who can use it.
For many of these FAQs, we also offer companion YouTube videos. For our monitored customers, we provide free one-on-one technical support through phone calls, email, and chat. We sell alarm equipment, but we don't push anyone to buy from us. If you're our monitored customer, we'll support you no matter where you purchase your equipment. We'll also do everything we can to be sure you can use as much of your existing equipment as possible.
At Alarm Grid, we don't require contracts for our monitored customers. All of our plans are month-to-month and you can cancel at any time. We believe in retaining customers based on providing superior service, not because of a contractual obligation or a gimmicky system that only works if you use our service. That's the Alarm Grid way.