Monitored Burglar Alarms
Monitored alarm systems communicate with an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC). The ARC responds 24/7 to alarm activations by calling your nominated keyholders and police.
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The ARC, often referred to as Central Station in the trade, will use automated software to monitor and respond to alarms, but it will also be staffed, so there's no risk of technology failure preventing notification calls.
For large houses in remote locations, high risk properties, or residential properties that are occupied part time, you may find that a monitored alarm system is a requirement for your home insurance policy. Most commercial premises require this kind of alarm system. If you have particularly valuable items in your house, such as technology equipment, expensive jewellery or you run a business from home with computer storage or specialised equipment, we recommend a monitored intruder alarm system.
There are three ways burglar alarm systems connect to an ARC:
Also known as digicoms, these systems were among the first digitally monitored systems to be launched.
Digicoms should ideally use their own dedicated phone line with incoming calls barred. This is to prevent a cunning intruder calling the line to engage it, so that the system can't call out.
The digicom is mounted in the alarm control panel. When the alarm is activated, it dials out to the ARC and sends packets of data in a secure encrypted format that's decrypted by software at the ARC. The ARC will then take appropriate action by notifying key-holders or calling the police.
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Single Path Signalling
BT pioneered this system in the 1990s with the launch of the very successful BT Redcare service. Today there are several other reputable suppliers in the market too.
A single path signalling system can dial out using either the GSM mobile network, GPRS mobile data network or a fixed phone line. It can also send more sophisticated information to the ARC. For example, it might report the type of breach, such as a personal attack or standard alarm activation, including the zone triggered within the property.
The biggest advantage is that the signalling path itself is monitored.
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Dual Path Signalling
Instead of having one channel to communicate with, these systems have a primary and a back-up signalling path.
That means if there's a fault or problem with the primary channel, such as a fixed line, it will automatically use the back-up channel, such as the GSM mobile network.
There are many combinations of signal paths you can choose, combining old and new technologies. Depending on the infrastructure you already have, or are prepared to invest in, you could combine two of fixed line (PSTN), mobile (GSM), GPRS and your broad-band service (IP).
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