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2091 posts

Uber Geek


# 175717 9-Jul-2015 15:58
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Kia Ora all,
I am looking at replacing our home alarm as it is getting very long in the tooth and I'm not keen on spending $200+ on a GSM module for it when we cut over to VOIP. We're also looking at adding a new PIR to the garage and wireless range on the old alarm is a bit rubbish.

As a result I thought I'd take the opportunity to see what our replacement options are and what is out there. Does anyone have any recommendations for alarm companies to investigate, scope and install?

We're currently monitored with Kiwi Alarms and will ask them and ADT - any good/bad experiences with them or others?

Sorry did try searching for similar questions.

Is IP worth it or just go GSM?

For interest we've got a 2 story 4 bedroom house with separate garage - currently 4 PIR and a Smoke Alarm connected wirelessly.



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  # 1340094 9-Jul-2015 16:37
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Checkout https://alarmnz.com

We have their IP module with GSM backup - we are on naked Internet.

I don't know how reliable to have GSM alone. There is also radionet which some claim to be more reliable than GSM only solution.





Baby Get Shaky!
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  # 1340135 9-Jul-2015 18:03
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What part of NZ are you in? Can recommend a good company in Chch if that suits (can't remember name off hand but easy enough to track down - owner/operator type, very reasonable and has a good range).

 
 
 
 


151 posts

Master Geek


  # 1340175 9-Jul-2015 19:30
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Since you specifically asked for '2015 options', I'll suggest something like a SmartThings approach.

This consists of a Ethernet connected hub, which in turn connects via ZigBee (I think) to as many sensors as you would care to purchase.
They have a variety of sensors ranging from motion detection PIRs to door open/close, moisture, and even tilt sensors which you can use to determine if the garage door is opened.

Obviously there is no ADT monitoring - you get the alerts on a smartphone app

http://www.smartthings.com

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  # 1340190 9-Jul-2015 20:07
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my parents have a Alarmnz power brick 200 which powers their ONT and converts their alarm to IP.



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  # 1340203 9-Jul-2015 20:25
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McNulty: Since you specifically asked for '2015 options', I'll suggest something like a SmartThings approach.

This consists of a Ethernet connected hub, which in turn connects via ZigBee (I think) to as many sensors as you would care to purchase.
They have a variety of sensors ranging from motion detection PIRs to door open/close, moisture, and even tilt sensors which you can use to determine if the garage door is opened.

Obviously there is no ADT monitoring - you get the alerts on a smartphone app

http://www.smartthings.com


OMG. The geek in me is so 100% sold. That stuff is awesome.

However I dunno about the lack of monitoring. Getting a notification would be all good, but if we are away there isn't anyone to go check on the place.

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Master Geek


  # 1340220 9-Jul-2015 20:49
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Use in conjunction with IP cameras.
If you get an alert, check the camera from your phone. If you see a burglar then phone the police.

Anyway, Police in NZ are more likely to make an arrest based on a clear photo, and less likely to actually catch someone in the act.

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  # 1340224 9-Jul-2015 20:55
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wasabi2k: However I dunno about the lack of monitoring. Getting a notification would be all good, but if we are away there isn't anyone to go check on the place.


Go for the geek approach unless you manage to somehow find a good response company.  We used to be ADT customers and they were absolutely useless, their normal on-site response time was 30-60 minutes and we are 8 minutes drive from Wellington CBD.  I could walk home from town faster than the ADT guards.

We had one activation with ADT where someone staying with us set the alarm off, I was able to get home before ADT had even done anything about the activation.  When I rang it them to say it was a false alarm they still had not done anything about the activation.

That was the end of our relationship with ADT.

Also if you think about the cost of monitoring at around $30 per month or $360 per year the economics just don't make sense unless you are at high risk of being burgled.

 
 
 
 




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  # 1340306 9-Jul-2015 22:53
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graemeh:
wasabi2k: However I dunno about the lack of monitoring. Getting a notification would be all good, but if we are away there isn't anyone to go check on the place.


Go for the geek approach unless you manage to somehow find a good response company.  We used to be ADT customers and they were absolutely useless, their normal on-site response time was 30-60 minutes and we are 8 minutes drive from Wellington CBD.  I could walk home from town faster than the ADT guards.

We had one activation with ADT where someone staying with us set the alarm off, I was able to get home before ADT had even done anything about the activation.  When I rang it them to say it was a false alarm they still had not done anything about the activation.

That was the end of our relationship with ADT.

Also if you think about the cost of monitoring at around $30 per month or $360 per year the economics just don't make sense unless you are at high risk of being burgled.


Yeah - makes sense 99% of the time - it's just when we are away. Had the same experience with ADT - drove home to house, checked all ok, then on my way back to work when they showed up, after calling and telling them not to bother. Then had a month fight about paying the callout fee.

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  # 1340422 10-Jul-2015 10:31
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wasabi2k:
graemeh:
wasabi2k: However I dunno about the lack of monitoring. Getting a notification would be all good, but if we are away there isn't anyone to go check on the place.


Go for the geek approach unless you manage to somehow find a good response company.  We used to be ADT customers and they were absolutely useless, their normal on-site response time was 30-60 minutes and we are 8 minutes drive from Wellington CBD.  I could walk home from town faster than the ADT guards.

We had one activation with ADT where someone staying with us set the alarm off, I was able to get home before ADT had even done anything about the activation.  When I rang it them to say it was a false alarm they still had not done anything about the activation.

That was the end of our relationship with ADT.

Also if you think about the cost of monitoring at around $30 per month or $360 per year the economics just don't make sense unless you are at high risk of being burgled.


Yeah - makes sense 99% of the time - it's just when we are away. Had the same experience with ADT - drove home to house, checked all ok, then on my way back to work when they showed up, after calling and telling them not to bother. Then had a month fight about paying the callout fee.


I also had the experience of being out of town when the alarm went off.  They did call to let me know and sent a guard.  When I got home I found the guard arrived one hour after activation.  Like you, I refused to pay for the callout.  I should have cancelled the contract then.

70 posts

Master Geek


  # 1341290 11-Jul-2015 19:03
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These guys do some good panels.
http://www.aap.co.nz/

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Wannabe Geek


  # 1346075 17-Jul-2015 10:49
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I can confirm the Arrowhead panel would be a good choice, its RF option allows you to learn a wide range of wireless sensors so you wouldn't have to replace everything.

Their IP options allow for Smart Phone access and control and allow for monitoring as well as calling you direct.  If using their standard IP module you will have to ensure battery backed up power of the Fibre interface or the Router if ADSL.  Otherwise for greater security use their GSMIP module...

If you have not done alarms before then there is a lot you would have to learn, also you need to be electrically registered to replace the controller or at least get a sparky to do the mains connection.

What part of NZ are you in?  




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  # 1346097 17-Jul-2015 11:18
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eaglealm: I can confirm the Arrowhead panel would be a good choice, its RF option allows you to learn a wide range of wireless sensors so you wouldn't have to replace everything.

Their IP options allow for Smart Phone access and control and allow for monitoring as well as calling you direct.  If using their standard IP module you will have to ensure battery backed up power of the Fibre interface or the Router if ADSL.  Otherwise for greater security use their GSMIP module...

If you have not done alarms before then there is a lot you would have to learn, also you need to be electrically registered to replace the controller or at least get a sparky to do the mains connection.

What part of NZ are you in?  



Auckland - not at all interested in installing it myself - just interested in what options there are so I can talk to the security companies with some level of knowledge/ask the right questions.

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  # 1346118 17-Jul-2015 11:45
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McNulty: Since you specifically asked for '2015 options', I'll suggest something like a SmartThings approach.

This consists of a Ethernet connected hub, which in turn connects via ZigBee (I think) to as many sensors as you would care to purchase.
They have a variety of sensors ranging from motion detection PIRs to door open/close, moisture, and even tilt sensors which you can use to determine if the garage door is opened.

Obviously there is no ADT monitoring - you get the alerts on a smartphone app

http://www.smartthings.com


However, there's a problem with Smart Things - https://community.smartthings.com/t/australia-new-zealand-compatibility/10857/2

elv

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Wannabe Geek


  # 1346121 17-Jul-2015 11:48
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McNulty: Since you specifically asked for '2015 options', I'll suggest something like a SmartThings approach.

This consists of a Ethernet connected hub, which in turn connects via ZigBee (I think) to as many sensors as you would care to purchase.
They have a variety of sensors ranging from motion detection PIRs to door open/close, moisture, and even tilt sensors which you can use to determine if the garage door is opened.

Obviously there is no ADT monitoring - you get the alerts on a smartphone app

http://www.smartthings.com


Some of the wireless toys are cute and have their use but often fail in some way when it comes to experienced burglars.  There have been some wireless alarms that get stolen by the burglars. There is nothing more embarrassing that having the item that is suppose to secure your property stolen.  

Monitoring your own property on an app is better than no monitoring but it has many flaws.
1) Apps malfunction, phones freeze
2) Phone signal is not guaranted
3) Monitoring stations get a regular test signal to show your alarm is still communicating.
4) You may be in a position where you are unable to respond of have your phone turned off.
5) Internet connection is down

To get around the Voip issue I recommend using radionet or symilar GPRS network (there is an alternative company but I can't remember their name)  for sending signals to a monitoring station.

For a burglar alarm it pays to stick to hardwired if you can help it.  Crow (arrowhead), DSC, Bosch, Micron, Paradox, Inner Range, Tecom and Ness are some common reliable equipment names. With motion sensors, door switches and smoke alarms. An external siren can be a way to get your best first response - your neighbours. Don't accept false alarms - modern equipment should not false alarm. If it does it needs fixing or there is an environmental factor that is causing it.

Crow alarms have great programmable features allowing access control, scheduling, basic automation features and interfacing with other automation. (The PTSN dialler has some incompatibility with radionet) 
DSC alarms have telephone voice menu control, intercom capability and interface easily with control4 automation.
Some Bosch panels have access control and great flexibility in programming.
Micron have inexpensive alarms and their larger panels have good programming flexibility.
Paradox - great range.
Inner Range - commercial alarms very flexible and inbuilt automation features - interfaces with cbus and other brands of automation.
Tecom - commercial alarms very flexible and inbuilt automation features
Ness - interfaces with cbus automation.

Alternatively use an IP convertor or IP panel with GSM backup.

For monitoring use an independent monitoring station or bureau monitoring service. Alarm Watch, Contact Security, Countrywide Monitoring are monitoring stations that generally only receive and act on the alarm signals and contact you or a security company of your choosing to respond. There is no interest for them to dispatch a guard unnecessarily because they have no financial gain from that. They are also quite likely to report back to the homeowner if the guard takes an unnecessarily long time to respond.

Most insurance companies provide discounts for a monitored alarm.

The advantage of external monitoring is that if you are not contactable - you know that someone will respond. It means that your house is not left unsecured after a burglary, flooding or left to burn in case of a fire. Even if a guard arrives some time after the event(most burglaries last 2-5 minutes)  - your house doesn't get left for further opportunistic theft.

Cameras capable of remote viewing are ideal for quick verification of alarm events. Some IP cameras / DVRs can be connected to an alarm and be triggered by the alarm to send snapshots to your phone. This can act as a dual alert (alarms calls monitoring station and camera alerts your phone). I often use the cameras to keep an eye on our pets or see what is going on outside.

In twenty years of monitoring of my home I have only had two incidents of crime and three incidents of a guard sent to a false activation. Once when I was out of town and my wife pressed the panic button due to a potential intruder outside the house - resulting in prompt guard and police attendance. Another time it was a confirmed burglary. 

What is peace of mind worth ?
Monitoring isn't for non or regular events. It is for that one rare event where you need an extreme response. Like insurance.



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Wannabe Geek


  # 1346209 17-Jul-2015 13:02
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wasabi2k:
eaglealm: I can confirm the Arrowhead panel would be a good choice, its RF option allows you to learn a wide range of wireless sensors so you wouldn't have to replace everything.

Their IP options allow for Smart Phone access and control and allow for monitoring as well as calling you direct.  If using their standard IP module you will have to ensure battery backed up power of the Fibre interface or the Router if ADSL.  Otherwise for greater security use their GSMIP module...

If you have not done alarms before then there is a lot you would have to learn, also you need to be electrically registered to replace the controller or at least get a sparky to do the mains connection.

What part of NZ are you in?  



Auckland - not at all interested in installing it myself - just interested in what options there are so I can talk to the security companies with some level of knowledge/ask the right questions.


Questions to ask:

1. Is the new panel compatible with my existing wireless sensors?
2. If there is a power cut will the monitoring still work?
3. Will you issue an electrical CoC for the new panel installation (a requirement for insurance purposes)
4. What warranty is on the equipment supplied (Don't accept less than three years for the electronics)
5. How long have you been in business, references?
6. What smart phone access is included?
7. Where is the equipment manufactured (avoid chinese)

I am in Auckland as well and am happy to quote you for this...





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