What Is a Monitored Alarm System?

A monitored alarm system is any alarm system that receives active service from an alarm monitoring company. This service is used by the system to send outbound distress signals in the event of an emergency. The signals can be sent to a monitoring station or directly to the end user.

In the past, a monitored alarm system referred to an alarm panel that was connected with a central monitoring station. But thanks to advances in technology, a system no longer needs to be connected with a central station to be monitored. While this is still the preferred option for many users, some users choose to receive self-monitoring instead. A self-monitoring plan involves having system alerts and events sent directly to the user via text or email. From there it is up to the user to contact any emergency personnel that are needed. Whether a user should get central station monitoring or self-monitoring for their system depends on their unique needs.

However, the main distinction for any monitored system is that it is able to send outbound alerts. This is the case whether the alerts are being sent out to a monitoring station or directly to an end user. Either way, the alarm system informs somebody outside the protected premises so that help can be requested. Please note that a monitored system will not be able to send out alerts if it is not communicating properly. For that reason, we strongly advise users to obtain a monitoring plan that includes cellular connectivity. Cellular communication is the most reliable communication path for alarm systems, due to the fact that cellular service is almost always available, even in the event of a power outage.

The opposite of a monitored alarm system is an unmonitored system, which is sometimes referred to as a "local sounder". An unmonitored system cannot send outbound alerts, and it cannot inform people off the premises about an alarm event. Instead, an unmonitored system can only produce local noises to alert on-site users about a situation. This makes unmonitored systems unsuitable for most applications.

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