Can I Use Alarm.com Cameras w/o Service?
No, you cannot use Alarm.com Cameras without service. All Alarm.com Security Cameras require that the user has active monitoring service. The monitoring plan needs to include video surveillance service. Alarm Grid customers need a Platinum Plan, a Self-Platinum Plan, or a Video-Only Plan.
Alarm.com (ADC) is an interactive service platform that end users frequently use with their security systems. Users can access their ADC accounts through a web browser or by using the Alarm.com Mobile App on an Android or iOS device. By accessing their ADC account, a user can interact with their system and control it from a remote location. Some of the features that ADC offers include arming and disarming, checking current system status, and controlling Z-Wave smart home automation devices. ADC is also where you go to view the live feed of your Alarm.com Security Cameras, as well as stored clips.
Alarm.com Cameras can only be used by connecting with the ADC Servers. All footage from ADC Cameras is sent to these servers. If you don't have active service with ADC, then the cameras will not have a place to send the footage. As a result, the footage will become lost. The cameras also won't be able to send footage to an Alarm.com Stream Video Recorder (SVR), since active service with ADC is required for an ADC Camera to communicate with one of these devices. Without access to ADC, you will not be able to use ADC Security Cameras. More information on the SVR can be found in this FAQ.
It is important to understand that Alarm.com is not a free service. Users are charged a monthly fee to help maintain the ADC Servers and to cover the cellular service expenses required for connecting with the platform. This monthly fee is typically covered in the user's monthly monitoring costs. Other expenses such as service with a central station and the service of the alarm monitoring company are also usually grouped with this expense. In the end, the user pays a flat monthly rate for their monitoring service and the included add-ons.
Access to Alarm.com in itself is not enough to use ADC Cameras. Video surveillance is an add-on package for an ADC account. Your alarm monitoring company must apply the video surveillance add-on package to your ADC account for you to start using ADC Cameras. This usually requires a more expensive and higher-end monitoring plan than a lower-end plan that just includes access to ADC without the video surveillance add-on package. At Alarm Grid, we apply the Alarm.com video surveillance add-on package for all users with Platinum and Self-Platinum Plans who have access to the ADC platform.
Alarm Grid also offers a Video-Only Plan for users who just want to use Alarm.com Security Cameras, without using a security system. This plan costs $15 per month, and it allows users to use ADC Cameras. Users can access the ADC platform to view the live feed of their ADC Cameras, as well as any stored clips. They can also receive text and/or email alerts regarding any camera activity. However, this plan does not include service with a central station. The user will also not receive any alerts regarding activity on their security system. In fact, this plan can be used without even owning a security system. The Video-Only Plan is technically not a monitoring plan, as no monitoring service is provided. But it is still a service offered from Alarm Grid that many customers use to obtain video surveillance for their homes and businesses.
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