Cable companies getting into the Security Alarm business

January 9, 2013 | 2 Comments »

As a member of the Board of Directors of the San Diego Security Association, currently serving as its Treasurer, I was a bit surprised to see several representatives from Cox Cable and Time Warner at our annual Christmas party last month. I thought and hoped that these folks realized that this was a bad idea from the last time that they attempted and failed to break into the Security business.

Today I received a call from a nice gentleman who had signed a contract with Cox to provide his alarm monitoring, but they were not familiar with the GE security system that was installed in the home that he just purchased, so they advised him that he would need to find an alarm company that could have a technician get his system up and running and programmed to send signals to their central station. Are you kidding me? We are not talking about an old and outdated off brand security system. This home had a General Electric (one of the three major manufacturers of systems) that was only four years old!

People have to understand that this is not like picking a calling plan and an internet speed and a TV channel line up, and you’re done. Every home is a little unique, and every homeowner is very unique. A security system needs to be designed by a professional in the industry who can customize each system to fit the needs of the individual users, and needs to be installed by a trained and experienced technician who can program the approximately eighty options to work most effectively for those individuals and make sure that the equipment is installed properly to work effectively and not cause false alarms.

Whether someone is serviced by AT&T, Cox, or Time/Warner, I have never met anyone who raved about the wonderful customer service that they receive from their cable provider. Why would they want to add security to the list of things that they receive bad customer service from? If they do not even have technicians with the skills to put a new system online, how are they going to provide repair service when these systems are malfunctioning and require a service call? Maybe instead of adding to the list of bad services that these companies can offer the public, they should concentrate on improving the services that they currently provide.

Let me know what you think about this…

 

Inexpensive Phone Service

May 25, 2012 | 6 Comments »

A new customer of ours did not have a home phone line, but wanted to avoid paying the extra $15 for a Global Satellite Module for cellular transmitting of their alarm signals.

They shared with me that Vonage offers phone service for $6 per month with no start up fees. The plan allows for unlimited incoming calls, and 5 cents per minute outgoing calls.

Unlike our national competitors, Alarm2000 and the monitoring companies that we work with DO NOT    require cellular back up with VOIP phone service, so this saved our customers $9 per month or $108 per year. That is a nice dinner out, and they can go out knowing that their home is safe and secure while they are enjoying their meal!!

Just got back from the Annual Security Show

April 1, 2012 | 1 Comment »

We just returned to San Diego after attending the International Conference on Security – West in Las Vegas. Our industry, like so many technology businesses these days is changing rapidly. At Alarm2000 we focus on the equipment and services that will allow our clients to secure their homes and businesses more effectively and with cost efficiency.

This year our focus was in two areas. First, enhanced “Smart Phone” applications for our clients through Total Connect for Honeywell systems and Alarm.com for GE Interlogix systems. DSC finally is able to show us their version, but it is still not available for users, so we will just have to wait and see how it compares to the two products now on the market.

Our second area of interest was in finding affordable video surveillance solutions for our clients. Customers are frustrated with only having a choice between cheap DIY systems sold in big box retail and warehouse stores that are difficult to install, of disappointing image quality, and don’t last very long, or much more expensive high quality systems that we currently are able to offer.

We discovered a new product that we think has a bright future for Alarm2000 and our clients. It is called Check Video. With this product, there is no digital video recorder and no cable to run as the  IP cameras  send their signal to your WIFI router, and the images are stored in the cloud on the internet. Because the cost of a DVR and the hours of labor to run cable are eliminated, the entry cost is lowered substantially. There is a monthly fee for the service of course, but the break even point from the initial savings is several years. Plus it makes sense that if an intruder is in your property, they could steal or damage your DVR and the images of their intrusion are unavailable and useless. With off site recording, your images are secure.

We have ordered some cameras to test the product at our place before marketing it to our customers. I can’t wait to show off this new technology to current and future clients of Alarm2000

 

Weigh in on Alarm Permits San Diego

March 15, 2012 | 1 Comment »

I am the treasurer of the San Diego Security Association. As a result, I am aware of changes that the City of San Diego is looking at making with the Security Alarm Permit fees for San Diego homeowners and business owners.

A little over a year ago the city raised the fee from $55 to $100.25 for a two-year permit. This fee is much higher than any other city in the county, and can not be justified by the cost of administering the alarm permit program, which is all that it is supposed to cover.

Even representatives of the San Diego Police who have attended our association’s meetings have shared that they would like to have the fee lowered and shift the cost to those alarm owners who do not take care of their equipment and create excessive false alarms, as is done in most other cities successfully.

If the city council does not receive feedback from their constituents, they presume that they do not care about the excessive fee and will increase it even further. Every City of San Diego home and business owner that has a monitored security alarm system needs to contact their City Council Member and let them know that you DO CARE about this fee, and that you VOTE!!

Glass Break Detectors

March 3, 2012 | 3 Comments »

Alan B. asked if glass break detectors are a good addition to a monitored home security system, since I am not a fan of window contacts.

For residential applications, I am not a fan of glass break detectors. Just like with window contacts, every installation is unique, and there are instances where either or both devises may be appropriate.

In general glass break detection is a good part of a security system in a retail application where there is a threat of a “smash and grab” scenario. The burglar can break the glass of the store and take merchandise without entering the premise.

In a residential application, it is unlikely that someone will break a window, reach in to grab something, and leave without entering the home. So when they do enter the home with your alarm system armed in the “away” mode, they will be picked up by your motion detector and immediately send the system into alarm. If you are in the home and the system is armed in the “stay” mode without your motion detection active, you will hear the very loud sound of glass breaking and hit the panic button on your system, which will sound your alarm and bring law enforcement to your home.

The problem with glass break detection in homes is that it is the biggest cause of false alarms. The device is tripped by sound that is within the decibel and frequency range that is created when glass is broken. The problem is two fold. First, if you drop a glass or plate in your home while your system is armed, in addition to the startling affect of dropping something, you now have the added startling affect of your security system siren activating. Second, there are many noises like dogs barking, children screaming and motorcycles driving by your home that will set your alarm off. If you live by one of our military bases that are practicing blowing things up, your alarm is likely to trip.

When folks experience multiple false alarms, they get fined by their local municipality, and tend to stop using their system. So whatever benefit is gained by these devices are lost if you stop arming your system.

 

 

Beware of long contract renewal terms!!

February 17, 2012 | Comments Off on Beware of long contract renewal terms!!

I was on a sales call yesterday for someone who was disappointed with the service that they were receiving from their national alarm company and they were looking for a local alternative. She called on Alarm2000 because of our great reviews on Yelp.com

She told me that she not only signed up for an initial term of five (5) years, but that she did not read the contract to learn that the contract automatically reviewed for five (5) more years at the end of the initial term.

It sounds silly to have to remind everyone to read the contract before signing anything… but, READ THE CONTRACT BEFORE SIGNING ANYTHING!!

At Alarm2000 our initial term is just two (2) years, and renews for one (1) year terms. You should never enter an alarm monitoring agreement that is for more that three (3) years, and should not renew for more that one (1) year at a time. If you are being asked to commit for a longer period, it is a bad deal.

 

Alarm2000 made CSG Top Ten Dealer!!

February 4, 2012 | No Comments »

Central Security Group has over 300 Security Alarm Dealers nation wide, and for the first time in almost a decade of using them as one of our three central monitoring stations, Alarm2000 was recognized as being one of their Top 10 Dealers, based on the number of new clients.

We are very proud of this accomplishment, and would like to thank all of the home and business owners in San Diego that have trusted Alarm2000 to provide them with our security services, and especially to those who have referred us to their friends, co-workers, relatives and neighbors. We get a majority of our new business from referrals, and we sincerely appreciate your support.

As a matter of fact, if you have someone to refer to Alarm2000 for a home or business security system, and mention this BLOG entry, and we will send  you a $75 cash reward when we sign up your referral.

 

Smart Phone App for Security Alarm Systems

January 29, 2012 | 6 Comments »

Sandra C. wrote into the site wanting information on adding the feature of controlling her security system through her “Smart Phone”.

The big national security alarm monitoring company, let’s call them “Another Darn Television commercial, is spending $100 million dollars advertising this feature, and give the impression that they are the only company possessing this exciting capability.

Alarm2000, and just about any other reputable alarm company in San Diego can offer this feature to anyone with a reasonably current Honeywell or GE alarm panel. Platforms are under development for other panels and should be available very soon.

With a Honeywell Vista or Lynx panel, the owner needs to add a Global Satellite Module or “GSM” to their system and sign up for “Total Connect” service. For a demo you can go to www.mytotalconnect.com

With a GE NX, Concord, or Simon XT panel, the owner needs to add a Global Satellite Module to their system as well, and sign up for service with “Alarm.com”, which by no surprise you can learn more about at www.alarm.com

Alarm2000 has the experience of having installed both products and have the relationships with the U/L Listed Central Monitoring Stations to add this service to anyone who would like it.

Carbon Monoxide detectors

January 1, 2012 | 1 Comment »

Cameron L. wrote in to ask if the new California law requiring all homeowners to have carbon monoxide detectors in their house means that he needs to add a CO devise to his monitored security alarm system.

The answer is NO.

Carbon Monoxide  is a gas produced by combustion and when household appliances that produce CO are properly vented, the gas escapes the hope and dissipates into the atmosphere. If your ventilation becomes compromised, the gas can accumulate in your home with potentially harmful results including death. A local alarm only detector will set of a siren to alert home residents when CO levels go above normal levels so that the occupants can open windows to ventilate the home and evacuate until the problem can be resolved.

A Carbon Monoxide detector that is tied into your monitored security alarm system will send a signal to your central monitoring station who will dispatch the fire department to your home. Most homeowners (including me) do not feel that this is a necessary response and therefor elect not to have CO detection as part of their system.

 

Holiday WARNING

December 21, 2011 | 1 Comment »

As much as I love doing a lot of business, I prefer to install monitored security alarm systems before people need them, not after. Unfortunately, my phone has been ringing off the hook with burglary victims.

There is always a spike of home burglaries around the holiday season due to travel, and a bunch of new merchandise conveniently kept together and clearly marked under a bright tree in the house.

Please be sure to make sure that your home is locked up and your security alarm system is armed whenever you leave your home, even for a quick errand. Have a safe and happy holiday! Cheers!!

 

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