Surveillance System – Monitored Vs. Unmonitored With A Quick Comparison

Surveillance System


Surveillance system can be roughly categorized into two groups – monitored and unmonitored. We’ll be exploring the differences between these two. To help you determine which type offers the best solution for your security needs.

Knowing the difference can have a huge impact on how well your security system is set up. Whether it’s a construction site security, residential surveillance system, or business security system. For instance, a dormant construction site can make do with an unmonitored system without any major risks, but a highly engaged site needs a tighter arrangement due to the heightened level of activity.

Here’s all you need to know to pick between the two types of systems.

What is an Unmonitored Video Surveillance System?

As the name suggests, an unmonitored surveillance system doesn’t have a designated watcher, but it can still do a good job of detecting, deterring, and resolving crimes. It’s a relatively passive system, set up to alert people when a crime is happening or has already happened.

It can still be actively monitored from time to time in what’s known as a self-monitored system, set up to route the live video feed to your cell phone for you to monitor at your convenience. Completely unmonitored systems are left unchecked for most if not all of the time, set up just to record events.

However, unmonitored systems usually comprises video cameras, alarms and strobe light, motion detectors, etc, connected together to alert people around of an imminent crime and deter criminals. They can send out notifications, ring the alarms and set off the strobe lights once a crime is detected.

What is a Monitored Video Surveillance System?

On the other hand, a monitored surveillance system has someone designated be on the lookout. There isn’t much of a difference between it components and those of an unmonitored system – they can use the same cameras, alarm systems, strobe lights etc. The main difference is just the pair of eyes constantly on the lookout. It’s a proactive system with someone always looking out for any potential signs of danger.

In most cases, monitored systems are watched over by experts at a live monitoring station. And once any issue is detected, a quick, effective response follows. Someone is always there to act on the alerts, compared to unmonitored alarms that can keep blowing for quite a while without any intervention if the homeowners are away.

The monitoring experts have emergency services on the quick dial and coordinate responses more efficiently.

Monitored Vs. Unmonitored Surveillance System: What are the Differences?

We’ve established the basics on each type of system. Now, let’s look deeper into what they each offer in multiple criteria.

Level of Personal Involvement

If you’re a huge fan of DIY systems, then you might find the idea of an unmonitored or self-monitored system more appealing. You don’t have to worry about privacy issues from third parties coming into your business or home, and you enjoy the adventure of taking on your building’s security by yourself.

On the other hand, you can have a monitored system set up and run without ever having to lift a finger.

The Cost Factor

One of the major areas of difference between the two types of systems is cost. With an unmonitored system, the only costs you’ll probably face are from purchasing and installing the system’s components and monthly subscriptions for software like A.I detectors and digital footage storage.

But in addition to those costs, monitored systems also come with the cost of hiring surveillance experts to keep watch over it. But it’s still more cost-effective compared to security guards. And some monitoring services offer cost-saving measures like free professional installations and maintenance.

The Safety Factor

One of the major advantages of monitored over unmonitored systems is the comprehensive coverage. While unmonitored systems are set up to alert homeowners about specific events like trespassing and break-ins, a monitored system checks for any form of danger on the property, from fires to water damages, imminent slip and falls, etc.

Response Time

Security syetem

Monitoring experts can move heaven and earth to respond to a threat on a site, whereas an unmonitored system can keep sending out notifications and blowing alarms aimlessly until the criminals commit the crime and flee into the night. With a monitored system, someone is always on hand to coordinate a quick and effective response.

And for the most part, alerts and alarms are set off only after crimes like a smash-and-grab have happened already. Monitoring experts, on the other hand can spot when a crime is about to happen and stop it dead in its tracks.

The Convenience of Running the System

With an unmonitored system, the onus of responding to security breaches rests on the homeowners. After receiving the notifications, it’s all up to you to do something about the danger. Monitored systems, on the other hand, may not even send you alerts. You have someone making all the calls and coordinating the response efforts on your behalf, even without your knowledge.

False Alarms

False alarms are one of reasons behind delayed responses from emergency services. They may need to ensure that there’s a real threat before dispatching resources to the scene. With a monitored system, a reliable expert verifies the existence of the threat before the emergency services are called in. As such, emergency services usually respond more quickly to calls from monitoring centers compared to alerts from unmonitored systems.

Wrapping Up: Which Type of Video Surveillance System is Right for You?

Unmonitored systems are less costly and they can excite that sense of adventure in you. Monitored systems will cost you more, but deliver air-tight monitoring round the clock for your home or business. And by detecting and deterring crimes more effectively, monitored systems can save you tons of time and money down the line.

Whatever your security needs and budgets are, you can always get cutting-edge recommendations from surveillance experts at Aclarity. We’ll help you determine which type of system is right for you and also provide tips to help you make the most of your system.

We’re always happy to hear from you. Book your free consultation today.

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