What is an Alarm System?

An alarm system is the control panel for a security setup. Every sensor that is included with the setup reports to the alarm system. Any adjustments to sensor settings are made using the system. The alarm system will also report out and send an alarm signal if it is ever necessary.

A good way to think of an alarm system is that it represents the "brains" of a security setup. Any sensor that is used with the alarm setup will report to the alarm system when it is activated. This includes all security sensors, life-safety sensors, environmental sensors and Z-Wave devices. Without these sensors, the alarm system will have no way of knowing what has occurred. If a sensor is activated, the alarm system will display the zone associated with the activated sensor and perform the programmed Response Type for that zone.

If the Response Type involves triggering an alarm event on the system, then the panel will send out an alarm signal. Depending on the user's monitoring plan, this alarm signal can be sent out to a central monitoring station or to an end user via text or email. If the signal is received by a central station, an operator can request automatic emergency dispatch. If the signal is only received by the end user, then they must contact emergency services on their own.

Many alarm systems can also communicate with an interactive service platform such as Total Connect or Alarm.com. To do this, the system must have an IP or cellular communicator, and the user must have this service included in their monitoring plan. The alarm system will sync with this service so that the user can arm or disarm the system and view the current the current status of security sensors from a remote location. This type of service can also be used to control any Z-Wave devices that have been set up with the system.

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