Sight And Sounds

980 David Road, Suite G, Burlingame CA 94010

17035 Calle Trevino, Unit 1, San Diego, CA 92127











Sight And Sounds Newsletter

September, 2010: Security Systems

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Previous newsletters, Going Green, Title 24 Solutions, Garage Door Automation, and IP Video Technology, all discussed how various security-related devices, such as relays, contacts, motion sensors, and IP cameras integrate with smart home technology to provide savings, code requirement solutions, everyday conveniences, and safety benefits. Since the early 1990’s, security-related products have played a key role in the successful growth of Sight And Sounds. Now, due to the increasing demand for security-related technology, Sight And Sounds has become a licensed alarm company.

Security products are regulated by the state, and in order to purchase and resell security systems, an alarm company operator must show a history in the field, pass background checks, and complete a licensing exam with the California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS).

Over the years, it has been increasingly popular to connect the home’s control system with the alarm system. At first, the benefits were to provide simple lighting solutions, such as a motion sensor triggering hallway lights during the night. In these instances, the job would require communication with the alarm company in order to gain access to their system, along with information regarding contacts and motion detectors.

Today, alarm systems manufacturers are offering IP modules that allow their panels to communicate directly with Control4 and AMX systems over the local network. This means that any alarm-related function from the alarm panel can be seen by the customer’s control system. Likewise, functions from the control system can communicate with the alarm. In essence, the “pairing” of security and integration/control has grown to the point where they are one-in-the-same, seamlessly operating together.

Additionally, security has moved into the digital age. With the advent of IP technology, customers can receive a host of monitoring services on their personal devices, such as Blackberry, Android, IPhone, and IPad. Homeowners can receive emails and images from their systems remotely, which provides a deeper, more effective use of their integrated system, gaining substantial lifestyle and security improvements.

Nowadays, it is common for many families and individuals to be away from their homes for extended periods of time. Work, school, afternoon sports, errands, and travel have become increasingly part of the American way of life. It is customary for children and family members to enter and leave the house at various times of day while Mom and Dad are away. IP monitoring services send emails based on each family member’s whereabouts. Parents can receive instant notification when a specific child has returned from school, as well as monitoring related events within the home’s integration system, such as television usage, pool/spa usage, and other rule-related actions. With IP camera monitoring, homeowners can also see the home, whether from triggered events or from direct access.

Monitoring services also provide monthly email reports to show dates and times when alarm systems were activated and deactivated by specific users. If customers require modification, such as changing unique codes for family members and service professionals, programming can be performed offsite. Alarm system monitoring is a critical communication point between the homeowner, family members, service industry, and authorities.

Private alarm company operators normally subscribe to large central station monitoring services; these are large call centers which are manned 24-hours, 365-days a year. The Central Station Alarm Association, CSAA, is the industry’s main trade association, which promotes and certifies best practices. Within the CSAA’s standards program exists an elevated level of performance, Five Diamond Certification.  The CSAA states in its website:

The Five Diamond Program is a balanced certification program providing a differentiation in the marketplace with five points of excellence:

  1. Commitment to random inspections and quality criteria standards by a nationally recognized testing laboratory such as UL or FM.

  2. Commitment to the highest levels of customer service.

  3. Commitment to ongoing job-related education and testing by having 100% of its central station operators certified using the CSAA online training series.

  4. Commitment to raising the industry standards through CSAA membership and participation in its activities.

  5. Commitment to reducing false dispatches.

The CSAA's "Five Diamond 100% Operator Certified Central Station" designation is granted to those central stations who:

  1. Have 100% of its central station operators certified by the CSAA Central Station Operator Level I Online course.

  2. Further pledge to continue all future certifications through the CSAA.

  3. Satisfy all the requirements of the five points of excellence.

  4. Companies achieving and maintaining their Five Diamond Certification are committed to serving the public through the professional development and standardization of training for all their central station operators. 

  5. Certification, and its annual renewal, demonstrate a commitment of the Five Diamond Central Station to the continual upgrade in the performance levels of the central station operators who are the first line of defense in private sector emergency response.

In order to provide the highest-level of performance, we spent considerable time to evaluate the western region’s list of Five Diamond Central Stations. From this premiere list, the “best-of-the-best” was chosen. Our integration relationship with the alarm system obligates us to offer the highest level of performance from monitoring services. Nothing short of excellence is acceptable.

Most importantly, the cost of the monthly service should be competitive and provide the best value.

Our Monthly Rate is $29, which includes:

  1. Standard phone-based monitoring for legacy systems or IP monitoring for modern systems.

  2. “Fully-Supervised” alarm panel communication.

  3. Open and close reports sent via email at no additional charge.

  4. Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Timer Test Signals, with Failed Tests sent via email at no additional charge.

Additional Premium Services Available:

  1. Cell-Based GSM communications for redundant monitoring or distant locations (additional costs are based on cell time usage).

  2. Video Monitoring Services with dedicated Video Recorder (additional costs are based on camera quantities).

  3. E-Care Monitoring (included with the Video Monitoring Service).

  4. 2-Way Voice Communication from Panel to Central Station (additional costs are based on per-minute usage).

  5. Honeywell TotalConnect.


Our Alarm System Hardware comes with two quality brands, Honeywell and Sequel, which both have IP communication modules for Control4 and AMX. 

Honeywell is the most popularly-used security system in the industry. Honeywell offers TotalConnect thorough our Monitoring Services, which integrates alarm functions with various mobile devices and online web portal. Additionally, Control4 has a well-designed user interface within the 2.0 environment to monitor and control Honeywell systems within the home or away via 4Sight Service. Honeywell systems run on both wired and wireless sensors.

Sequel Technologies offers a cost-effective solution that provides much of the benefits of Honeywell, supporting wired and wireless sensors, at a competitive price. Sequel panels also operate as their own web portal, allowing users to view and control their systems from a standard internet browser.


The modern digital era is about communication and information. Including “Smart Security” with “Smart Homes” combines a synergetic value that is greater than the sum of the two subsystems. From family members, to pets, to coworkers, to vacation homes, nobody is ever at one place at all times. Plugging security into the IP environment and associated control system simply makes sense. Take advantage of the technology.


We look forward to hearing from you. Here are our contact links:


Northern California Showroom
980 David Road, Suite G
Burlingame, CA 94010
650.697.7081 Phone
650.697.7089 Global Fax
Southern California Showroom
17035 Calle Trevino, Unit 1
San Diego, CA 92127
858.676.9646 Phone


Copyright 2009, All Rights Reserved, Sight And Sounds


Synergetic Communication

With IP communication, a security system provides more options monitor your home environment. (click image to view brochure)


Access from Home or Away

This screen shot shows Control4's 4Sight Service running on OS 2.0, viewing cameras remotely. (click image to view Control4 4Sight Demo)


Quality Monitoring Services

The CSAA is the industry association for monitoring service providers. Only a select few are rated "Five Diamond Certified." (click image to view CSAA website)

Blackberry, Android, and IPhones

Now, Control4 owners can access security and view camera images via Blackberry, Android, and IPhone. (click image to view TotalConnect)


Built-In Web Access

Sequel technologies offers the ability to log into the security system to check status and arm remotely via web portal. (click image to view Sequel Brochure)


Kwikset Locksets

Status of the door open/closed state can be sent to mobile device, letting you know when your loved ones are safe at home. (click image to view product information)




Lighting is still a key element of integrating security sensors with the control system. (click image to view product information)



IP Camera Technology is Mobile

IP cameras allow for homeowners to check in on their home environment. Now, It's possible to view via mobile devices. (click image to view a TotalConnect demo)