Glossary of Terms


As your advocate in security, Vector Security is here to help you make informed security decisions. Following are some commonly used terms you may come across while researching your security options.

2G, 3G Network
2G refers to the second generation (and 3G, the third generation) wireless telephone technology used by cellular providers. Because it is older technology, 2G is being replaced by 3G technology and will be shut down completely by December 31, 2016.

Abort Delay (Siren going off doesn't mean signal is at CS)
It can take up to 30 seconds after an alarm sounds for the signal to be sent to the Central Station. During this time, if an alarm panel is reset, it is possible that the Central Station will not receive the alarm.

Access Control
A type of security system that restricts access to authorized users at certain times. Different access levels can be granted to different users.

Alarm Event
An event triggered by an alarm system that alerts the control panel that some type of emergency has occurred. The control panel then sends signals to the Monitoring Center, where operators can dispatch the appropriate help.

Alarm Monitoring
A service provided by a Monitoring Center, in which a security system is connected 24/7 to a Monitoring Center operator.

Alarm Security System
A device for signaling an emergency. Signals are usually audible and/or visual.

Alarm Verification
The means of verifying that an actual intrusion has taken place.

The act of turning your security system on, so that it is ready to detect an alarm event.

Arm (Away)
Arming the system when you are leaving the home. This mode will activate all zones and all sensors, including both perimeter sensors and interior zones such as your interior motion sensors.

Arm (Stay)
Arming the system when you are staying in the home. Armed Stay will only activate your perimeter sensors such as door and window sensors and glass break detectors. Motion detectors will not be active in this mode so that you can walk around the home without tripping an alarm.

Battery Back-up Protection
A battery back up is protection placed in or around your security control panel. The battery back up keeps your security safety alarm system online in case of an electrical failure.

Cellular Alarm Monitoring
A type of alarm communication path that uses the digital cellular network to send an alarm signal from the control panel to the Monitoring Center. The benefits of cellular monitoring are that no phone line is needed and there is no chance of a criminal cutting your alarm communication line as it is a wireless cellular signal. Cellular monitoring is one of the most reliable ways to monitor a security system.

Central Station (or Monitoring Center)
An agency that receives alarms from customers' security systems and requests the dispatch of fire, police or medical authorities, based on the type of emergency.

A cloud is essentially a third-party operated data center that offers online storage of data that can be accessed at any time using an Internet connection.

Cloud-hosted video
A video surveillance system whereby recorded footage is stored in the “cloud” rather than on a DVR. Cloud storage allows for access to the recorded footage anywhere, anytime from a Web-enabled device. See also “Cloud.”

Cloud computing
Storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer's hard drive. See also “Cloud.”

Cloud hosted access control
An access control solution whereby the software needed is hosted in the cloud. Because the solution is Web-based, software updates and IT maintenance occur automatically. See also “Cloud.”

Control Panel
A panel that receives transmissions from alarm sensors and communicates data to the Monitoring Center.

Any alarm device that can be connected to a security system to provide notification of an alarm event to the control panel. Door/window contacts, motion detectors, glass break detectors, and smoke detectors are some of the most common detectors found on a security system.

The act of turning your security system off, so that it will no longer detect an alarm event.

The act of calling in an alarm event to the proper authorities. Monitoring Center operators are the ones typically doing the dispatch.

DVR (Digital Video Recorder)
A device that receives and records images from video cameras, allowing the footage to be viewed from a monitor, computer or smart device.

Electronic Verification
If the alarm panel is reset with the proper panel disarm code after an alarm is tripped, an operator will make a courtesy call to the premise phone number listed on the account. If there is an answer at the number, the operator will ensure everything is okay and will ask for the verbal password for the account. If there is no answer, the proper disarm will be used as electronic verification that everything is okay and no dispatch will be made. This helps reduce unnecessary false dispatches.

Energy Management
Solutions that allow users to control their lights and thermostats (or other appliances) from a Web-enabled device. By being able to turn these items on and off remotely, users can better manage their energy consumption.

See “Alarm Event.”

False Alarm
An emergency alarm, such as a fire or burglar alarm, that is set off unnecessarily and triggers a response from local fire department of law enforcement. False alarms waste public resources as emergency responders spend time and money responding to an incident that is not a real emergency.

Fire Alarm
A signal transmitted by heat, fire or smoke detectors to the Monitoring Center to alert the fire department.

An automated security solution that allows you to set perimeters around your home and alerts you to any event you specify that occurs when those perimeters are crossed.

Glassbreak Detectors
An electronic device that detects frequencies that accompany the breaking of glass.

Heat Detectors
Heat detectors can determine changes in temperature in your house or building. Heat Detectors can be a standalone fire alarm safety system or can work in conjunction with other safety security systems.

Home Automation
A cloud-based service that allows the customer to control lights, locks and thermostats inside their home from their computer or smart device.

Image Sensor
A device that allows for visual verification of alarms. Usually consists of a motion sensor that triggers a video recording and an alarm to the Monitoring Center if motion is detected.

Line Seizure
Alarm systems that communicate through telephone lines are designed to take over the line when an alarm is activated. This will disconnect anyone on the phone and will also prevent any incoming or outgoing calls to be made on the line the alarm system communicates on until the alarm is fully transmitted to the central station.

Monitoring Center
See “Central Station.”

Motion Sensors
Devices that register changes of state in interior or exterior spaces. Motion sensors are highly effective in intrusion detection.

Notifications (to phone)
Electronic alerts (email and/or text messages) that are sent to your smartphone when an event you specify is triggered.

Panic Button
A device that when pressed, causes an alarm event regardless of whether or not the security system is armed or unarmed.

A personal code that you enter into your alarm system via the control panel to arm and disarm your system. You should always keep your passcode confidential.

PERS (Personal Emergency Response System)
A device worn around your neck or wrist containing a button that when pushed connects you to a Monitoring Center operator that can summon medical help for you.

Radio Backup
Technology that allows for the installation of a radio alarm backup system without telephone lines. These cellular backup support systems may also be added to your present alarm protection system as a back-up which sends alarm signals by radio to the central surveillance monitoring station.

Security System
See “Alarm Security System.”

A sensor is a device that detects a change, such as the opening of a window or door, which triggers an event to the control panel and an ultimate alarm to the Monitoring Center.

Smart Device
An electronic device, such as a phone or tablet, that is generally connected to other devices or networks via different protocols such as Bluetooth, WiFi, cellular networks, etc., that can operate to some extent interactively and autonomously.

Smoke Detector
An electronic device that senses the presence of smoke and sends a smoke alarm signal to the control panel.

Two-Way Voice
A control panel feature that allows the Monitoring Center to listen in and talk to the homeowner when an alarm signal is received.

Video Surveillance
A type of security that uses a digital video recorder (DVR) as well as security cameras to monitor a location. Video footage is stored on the DVR and can be retrieved. Most video surveillance systems give the user the ability to look in live to their property over an active Internet connection allowing them to monitor the site from anywhere.

Wireless Communication cellular backup support systems See “Cellular Alarm Monitoring..”

Wireless Security System
A security system that uses no wires. Each alarm device reports back to the control panel using a radio frequency wireless signal. See also “Cellular Alarm Monitoring.”

Z-Wave is wireless technology that makes regular household products like lights, door locks and thermostats "smart.” Z-Wave products "talk" to each other wirelessly and securely and can be accessed and controlled on your computer, smartphone or tablet.

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