If you’re looking at having a security system professionally installed, you’ve likely heard the terms security system installer, systems integrator, and systems monitor or monitoring company. All three refer to professional security companies that will help keep you and your home or business safe. But’s what the difference between the three? And how do they work together to do this? Keep reading to learn more.
Security System Installer
A security system installer is a professional security installation company that installs security systems, burglar alarms and CCTV surveillance systems – and that’s pretty much it. They are professionals with the knowledge and know-how to assess your property, determine how many cameras or alarms you need, how to install wiring properly, etc, and then install them, using the latest in security technology.
But that’s about the extent to which a security system installer will go. Further security needs, such as finding and installing compatible systems, video and alarm that work together, or monitoring, will not be part of their service.
So What Do System Integrators Do?
Security System Integrators, on the other hand, specialize in creating entire, integrated security systems consisting of burglar alarms, video surveillance cameras, and access control systems, ensuring compatibility between components.
Some security system integrators specialize in merely putting together pre-established systems of compatible components, as designed by security technology companies, without designing their own. Most system integrators, however, are your one-stop shop for security needs, creating customized systems solutions and installation designs that consider your needs, security risks, your property’s physical demands and specifications, compatible cameras and alarm systems, wiring and installation requirements, and even budgetary restraints.
System integrators will often modify or customize products and technologies to fit the security solution they’ve engineered, providing the latest in security technologies and products to ensure best performance. They will also usually complete full-service maintenance and upgrades over the security system’s lifespan. When new components, cameras or alarms need to be upgraded or installed, system integrators will ensure each part is compatible, fits into the overall system, and complete any custom-engineering required for full compatibility.
As security system integrators will likely be performing maintenance and active upgrades and modifications of a large security or access control system over time, it’s in their best interests to provide customers with a custom-engineered and quality design-build solution that addresses all their security needs, is futureproof, and can be easily upgraded.
What About Monitoring Companies?
Alarm monitoring companies, or monitors, do not install security systems, but do offer a service that neither system installers nor integrators offer: active, 24/7 remote monitoring of your security alarm or video surveillance system.
When a breach is detected – either via door or window sensors, motion detector, or specialized temperature or smoke detector – the alarm system control panel sends an alarm signal (either via wireless or via landline) to the external monitoring company, where monitoring staff is on duty around-the-clock to respond in real time. The monitoring company will first attempt to reach out to you or an emergency contact to confirm if it’s a real emergency or a false alarm.
If the event is confirmed, or if you do not respond, the monitoring company will dispatch either the authorities or security personnel to respond to the incident. Video monitoring works the same way; monitoring professionals watch your video surveillance feeds for suspicious behavior and incidents. In real time. if anything occurs, they verify the emergency and dispatch emergency responders, just as with alarm monitoring. The most secure systems and providers combine both alarm and video monitoring for comprehensive, around-the-clock protection.
Which Service Is Right For You?
The best way to look at these three types of security professionals is to see them as providing different but complementary services, depending on your individual needs.
If you just need a basic, but professional, security or video system installed, and don’t need ongoing upgrades, a system installer will get the job done quickly. If you need a large-scale, comprehensive system consisting of CCTV, burglar alarms and access control all integrated and working together in one system, and envision regular upgrades and modifications, a system integrator will be able to design and build a customized solution for you and provide continual service.
It’s almost like the difference between having a handyman install a new kitchen, or having a professional designer and contractor redo the whole kitchen.
And whichever one fits your needs, you will likely want to be serviced by a monitoring company, who will provide 24/7 monitoring and be able to respond to emergencies and incidents in real-time – ensuring you or your business is safe and secure at all times.