When telephones won't do
As communication methods change for individuals, they are also changing for security alarms. Traditional phone lines that have been the mainstay of systems are disppearing from homes as cellular communications and Voice over IP take their place.
Even when telephone lines are used, alarm system creators are looking for ways to provide the necessary back-up communications.
Bill Lyon, president of Visonic, said newer generations of its PowerMax security and home management systems, will feature a GSM, or cellular communications, module. "GMS has become important in Europe because it is more reliable than phones; it's a back up to phones," explained Lyon. "Our customers see a percentage of businesses that want 100 percent assured phone connection."
Lyon said the GSM module will deliver a data stream "in every protocol a central station would receive."
Al Lizza, director of marketing for Honeywell Security and Custom Electronics, said more customers are using phone systems "other than standard copper." While security systems in the past have relied upon the phone, many are switching to other alternative methods.
The important step is to have two methods of communication, said Lizza. For those homes still having phone service, phone is the primary method of communications and radio is the backup. "Or we could do the Internet primary and radio secondary," he said.
The primary means with a traditional phone line and cellular behind that is the method employed by ADT, explained Tim McKinney, vice president of residential sales.
"We're at a point where we would recommend cellular as a means of communication over a connection over cable," he said, though he acknowledged that VoIP "continues to escalate."