Origin of a drastically false assumption about actual alarm system status?
July 10, 2007 10:55 AM Subscribe
Where does the idea come from that an alarm company can actually tell whether the system actually is
posted by Quarter Pincher to Technology (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've worked for an alarm system monitoring company for 6 years. In all my experience, there's only been one single system (that 98% of customers do NOT have) that a dispatcher can actually go into right that moment and determine whether the system is armed or not. Very very few people have this system, yet it is "common knowledge" that alarm companies are able to do this, despite being absolutely untrue. Where does the idea come from that alarm companies can tell? Movies?
On all the rest of the systems, the status is only determined by the signals the central station has received in the past even if that was moments ago. There is no way to actually tell if the system is actually armed right this second. If there is a severed connection, such as a clipped phone line (with no radio-based backup)(among thousands of other possibilities), the system very well could be disarmed and we simply wouldn't know. The fact that an alarm company says "the system is armed" is purely a guess providing for an absurd number of assumptions such as the phones being in proper order, etc.
We've had so many cases of people simply failing to hang up their phone properly that prevented the alarm signal from reaching us (because it couldn't dial out), that when we tell them "it isn't armed" they go back to check to discover that it really is armed (and thus get mad at us), we've had to resort to "we show it is not armed" or "the building may not be armed."
Every time we explain why we only "show" that it isn't armed or why it "may not" be, it's like they're brand new every time, and to a lot of people we have to explain it multiple times, as if the "we actually know" assumption is the automatic default.
Or is this simply not the case at other alarm company central stations?