Old vs New

Before you invest hundred of dollars on a security alarm, it is important to understand your needs and budget in order to tailor a system to provide deterrence to potential intruders as well as providing a piece of mind for you and your loved ones.

In general, your standard commercial monitoring and neighbourhood monitoring system composed of the following components:

  1. Sensors – are detectors that the system monitors and send messaged when a sensor is triggered. A quality sensor can improve the effectiveness your system. Examples of sensors are contact/magnetic contact switch for doors and windows, motion, glass break, beam, thermostat, humidity, wind CO2, CO, etc.

  2. Siren – aid in deterring intruders from further action. Extremely loud audio is generated an arm system’s sensor is triggered.

  3. Access Control Panel – heart and soul of the system. All connection with sensors, CCTV, and monitoring happens here.

  4. HMI/Touchpad – user communicates with control panel via a Graphical User Interface device such as a tablet, mobile phone, HMI.

  5. Camera/CCTV – surveillance cameras are used for remote/ onsite monitoring. The option is available for real-time mobile application streaming.

  6. Panic/Distress Alert – immediate response by emergency personnel is required whenever monitoring centre receive this alert.

  7. Monitoring Centre – Access Control Panel sends alert to Commercial Monitoring Centres (CMC) or Neighbourhood Monitoring Centres (NMC).

For some of us, there is a sense that the tradition Commercial Monitoring Centres are gorging us by charging for every trivial service that was once offered for free. However, charging for trivial services is how CMC are better able to provide you with quality services. With all the improvements CMC have made, the alert ‘response time’ can be discouraging at times.  In addition to alert response time, home ‘appearance time’ for most CMC is paradise to home intruders.  CMC actions to an alert are as follow:

  • Alert response time is the time it takes for CMC to contact primary residence from the moment an alert is triggered.  Whereas, home appearance time is the time it takes for CMC to arrive at the alert’s location.

  • Whenever an activated system sensor is triggered, the system waits for a specified time to expire, usually 30 – 45 seconds, before notifying CMC if the system hasn’t been deactivated.

  • Upon receiving this alert, the CMC first attempts to contact the resident’s primary or secondary phone number. If contact failed or CMC received the incorrect passcode, proper personnel will be notified for further actions. The time taken for further action depend a variety of factors. But is your family safety and/or valuables worth risking because of CMC arbitrary appearance-time?

Neighbourhood Monitoring Centre function similar to CMC with the following exception:

  • NMC doesn’t communicate via the archaic telephone line to send alerts, it sends alert wirelessly and via Internet. Upon power-up, CMC system automatically form a wireless self-healing mesh network with other homes within the neighbourhood.

  • If a system hasn’t been deactivated within a user-specified time, an Bindalert message is broadcast to every neighbour within its network.

  • Broadcast messages are sent to every home within the wireless modem radius, usually a 3km wide radius. There can be a maximum of 65535 homes within a network that is capable of receiving this wireless message. Imagine the possibilities of having thousands of vigilant eyes protecting your neighbourhood.

  • A NMC system is capable of functioning like a standard CMC.

Pros & Cons in choosing a Monitoring Centre







Monitoring Fees

Very competitive





Depend on monitoring centre location

Maybe extremely long


Depends on your neighbourhood

Device Cost

Additional Cost

False alarm can drastically increase monthly fee



The security of your family, yourself, and material possession can become extremely costly if your system frequently generates a false alarm. For Commercial Monitoring Centre false alarms are today’s version of the “the boy who cried wolf”. With precision sensors and proper sensor location, a false alarm can be minimized – if not prevented. CMC guarantee 24 hours, 7 days per week monitoring. Whereas, NMC has thousands of vigilant neighbours only a stone through away to monitor their neighbourhood which can be considered a better deterrent to potential criminals.

In conclusion, monitoring centres have evolved over time but the same principle remains constant – homeowner’s paying companies to provide a false sense of guarantee security. Is this guarantee security only provide a false sense of security because CMC proximity from the invaded home can be extremely large? Or does relying on hundreds of neighbours to provide a secure community a foolish dream?