What Are The Differences Between Total Connect and Alarm.com?

Alarm.com and Total Connect are both interactive platforms for use with alarm systems. Total Connect is Honeywell's own service, and it only works with Honeywell Systems. Alarm.com has slightly more features, and it is compatible with many brands. But ADC requires cellular communication.

Below are some of the main differences between TC 2.0 and ADC:

Honeywell vs. Alarm.com: Total Connect 2.0 operates using Honeywell’s AlarmNet360 platform. The Alarm.com platform was created by the company Alarm.com. The major difference between Honeywell and Alarm.com is that Honeywell creates hardware to work with its software and services. Total Connect 2.0 will only run on a compatible Honeywell Panel.

However, Alarm.com focuses on supporting multiple manufacturers with their service. Alarm.com supports panels made by 2GIG, DSC, Interlogix and Qolsys. The Alarm.com platform has the same user interface for all of these companies. Users can even link locations with systems installed by different manufacturers on Alarm.com. Total Connect 2.0 can also link panels, but they must be made by Honeywell. If an end user is looking to use Total Connect 2.0, then they must purchase a Honeywell Panel.

Company Size: Honeywell is considerably larger and more established than Alarm.com. Honeywell has been in the alarm industry for many years. Their hardware is of high quality, and it is used in countless residential and commercial locations. Alarm.com is a much newer company. Alarm.com does manufacture alarm equipment, but they are more focused on supporting many different alarm systems with their platform. The company doesn't necessarily have the credentials or the years of experience that Honeywell has. But ADC is a strong company, and they are growing each year.

An advantage to Alarm.com’s more compact size is how quickly they are able to push software updates out, release interoperability for new devices and respond to consumer requests. Honeywell usually releases their software updates much slower than Alarm.com, and they are much slower in their development cycles.

Communication Path: Honeywell’s services are fully supported by multiple communication paths. On Honeywell Systems that support it, the remote services can run on Ethernet, WIFI and/or Cellular. On the other hand, Alarm.com requires cellular communication with an Alarm.com cellular communicator in order to function. At this time, Alarm.com doesn’t support IP communication (Ethernet and WIFI) unless a cellular module is also installed.

Third Party Support: Alarm.com is significantly superior in terms of third party support. As stated earlier, Honeywell’s remote services only work with Honeywell Panels. Total Connect 2.0 does not offer any third party support. Alarm.com offers third party support for alarm panels across multiple companies. Alarm.com continuously adds new systems and manufacturers to be compatible with their services. Alarm.com also allows a system to integrate with many other devices. Amazon Alexa can interface with ADC to bring voice control to the respective system for certain actions. Google Home is also compatible with the Alarm.com platform. Nest thermostats can be tied-in with an Alarm.com account. Even the MyQ garage door openers are compatible with ADC service. The only thing that’s remotely similar from Honeywell is the ability of the Lyric Controller to be used with Apple HomeKit.

Video: Total Connect 2.0 is used with Total Connect Cameras. These are proprietary IP cameras manufactured by Honeywell. No other cameras can be used with Total Connect 2.0. A user will need a Total Connect 2.0 account with the video feature enabled in order to remotely view and interact with their Total Connect Cameras. Newer HD Total Connect Cameras can have their footage stored for 30 days on Honeywell's cloud service. However, older TC cameras can only have their footage stored for 7 days. Total Connect cameras can only initiate recording clips when they are triggered. Newer HD cameras can record based on motion and/or sound, while the older cameras can only record based off of motion. These clips are saved to the cloud server, and they can be downloaded via Total Connect 2.0. There is no option for 24 hour continuous recording with Total Connect 2.0.

Alarm.com has a similar service in which proprietary Alarm.com cameras can only be used with the platform. But the service and options available from Alarm.com are much more robust than those from Total Connect. The cameras can have motion events saved to Alarm.com’s cloud service. Alarm.com also offers a 24 hour recording option using their proprietary SVR. The SVR is a network video recorder that allows a user to save the recording for their ADC cameras on up to 4 Terabytes of storage. The SVR and its saved recordings can all be accessed via Alarm.com. Any of the saved clips and recordings can be downloaded.

Automation: Total Connect 2.0 allows a user to remotely access and interact with the Z-Wave devices connected with their system. With Total Connect 2.0, a user can individually activate Z-Wave devices or program them into Smart Scenes. By using Smart Scenes, the Z-wave devices can be programmed to activate based on either triggered events, or at a scheduled time.

On the Alarm.com platform, users can access their Z-Wave devices on their system with the ADC Empower Menu. Just like Total Connect 2.0, devices can be programmed into Scenes to run based on certain events. Each device can also be activated individually. Since Alarm.com supports multiple brands of alarm panels, there is a much wider support for Z-Wave devices. Any Z-Wave device that works with an ADC-compatible panel can be used with the service.

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