Security Sales & Integration

October 2013

SSI serves security installing contractors providing systems and services; surveillance, access control, biometrics, fire alarm and home control/automation. Coverage in commercial and residential product applications, designs, techniques, operations.

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Communications By Gordon Hope be obsolete. However, user communication preferences and behavior also play a role in determining whether connecting an alarm system via a landline telephone makes sense for an installation. If a home has an active landline installed and the owner is committed to maintaining the service to their landline connection, the security system can use the landline as one of its communication channels to transmit alarm signals to the central station. As a best practice in the world of growing smartphone usage, the landline should not be the only way for a home alarm system to communicate with the central monitoring station. Landlines tend to restrict the amount and kinds of data communication infrastructure can handle. Tey cannot transmit data-intensive services like remote management or home automation, which restricts the dealer's ability to sell added-value services such as integrated home automation, remote services and system health alerts. As a result, dealers with customers committed to landlines will miss out on new recurring monthly revenue (RMR) streams. Te inability to sell additional services poses a real busi- Another beneft of cellular communication is bandwidth. Similar to Internet connections, a cellular connection has enough bandwidth to handle a more varied and larger data trafc stream than a landline telephone line. More bandwidth allows dealers to provide their customers with a host of value-added services. Te primary challenge with a cellular connection is the limited shelf life of a specifc cellular technology. Older signals, like 2G now have a limited life. Last year, AT&T confrmed it will transition its network to 3G and 4G, and no longer support 2G service after Jan. 1, 2017. Tis transition requires dealers that installed 2G cellular transmitters in alarm panels to begin swapping them out to ensure customers do not lose communications. Security professionals need to be prepared for signal transmission protocols to be replaced eventually with more advanced technology. Internet: Wired — A hardwired Ethernet connected security system is the best option when dealers have access to an IP network connection. If a dealer cannot easily access the Ethernet connection, they will need to evaluate the cost of run- Advancements in cellular and IP communications have created both upheaval and value-add sales opportunities for alarm dealers. Learn fundamental details, including pros and cons, about these various types of communication pathways and strategies on how to deal with them. ness challenge for security dealers. Competition in the security business continues to heat up as nontraditional companies begin to ofer home security as part of an overall services package. In this environment, to remain competitive security dealers need the ability to ofer added-value services like integrated home automation and remote control, in addition to traditional security technologies. Cellular communication — T is method is one of the most popular installation options for today's security professionals. Installing a cellular radio is usually easier than connecting to a landline connection, as there are no difcult wires to run. Plus, in many cases a landline connection is not available. In comparison to an IP connection, cellular communication also allows a homeowner to use their security system in locations where a hardwired Internet connection may be unavailable. Unlike Internet connections, cellular signal providers do not have scheduled maintenance downtime. With a cellular connection, the communication channel is deployed for always on availability. ning wire to the alarm panel or controller. In most cases this cost will supersede the benefts of a hardwired connection. Te primary beneft of a hardwired Ethernet connection is increased bandwidth speeds. In most cases, though, homeowners will see comparable speeds from a cellular connection. Like cellular communications, an Ethernet connected security system provides ability to deliver added-value oferings like remote services to customers. Internet: Wi-Fi — A security system connected via Wi-Fi deserves separate recognition when compared to a hardwired IP connection. It provides a signifcant beneft for the installer: ease of installation. High labor costs are a leading reason dealers don't connect more security systems via a hardwire Ethernet connection. In comparison, connecting a security system via Wi-Fi is fast, seamless and requires minimal labor. Compared to a decade ago, Wi-Fi usage has steadily increased in homes making it a viable option to transmit alarm signals. Although this approach su fers the same maintenance downtime challenge as a hardwired Ethernet connection, it also can handle high bandwidth and transfer data faster, OCTOBER 2013 / SECURITYSALES.COM / 49

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