My Review of Vera's Central Monitoring Service

I decided to give Vera’s new Central Monitoring a try. I have three alarm systems on various buildings on my property so I thought I might be able to combine the monitoring and save some money. Here is my experience with the new service:

One the positive side, the central monitoring service is very quick to respond. Within seconds of tripping a zone I received a phone call from the central monitoring service. I feel that if you can make use of this service they will be very quick to notify police of a problem. Unfortunately, the central monitoring service only receives a “General Buglery Alarm.” So it seems like they will not be able to tell you – or police – which door/window/etc is actually breached.

Now the bad. The service lets you choose whether it is active in each of the four “Modes” - home, away, etc. When it is active, ANY alarm type sensors you have that are armed and then tripped will notify the central monitoring station. So, if you are in NIGHT mode, and have the Central Monitoring set to be active at night, then trip a motion sensor on your front porch you use to control lighting, it will notify central monitoring.

Why is this bad? First off, if you like to have your alarm active even when you are home, you have to make sure all of your sensors are “disarmed.” Personally, I use several of my sensors to notify me of different events. i.e. My flood sensors notify me if they are tripped. My well pump sensor notifies me if my well is on. This system forces you to either turn off central monitoring while in home mode or use a work around for each of the notifications – which is a pain.

Even if the above situation does not effect you, think about this. What if you have a house cleaner that would like to enter your home, disarm your alarm, and proceed to work while the house stays in away mode? You can’t do it. The moment they open your front door central monitoring is notified. What about a child that does not have a phone and does not have the ability to set the mode to Home before opening the door? Nope. Personally, my wife does not like to change the mode before she enters the house. She enters, disarms the alarm, then switches the mode to Home. Can’t do it.

I spoke with technical support to see if there was something I was missing and they informed me that you must put the controller in home mode before entering the home. The service is in beta and hopefully Vera will make some changes to it to make it more useful. There are a few situation where I see the service could work but they would be very few.

I would like to know the thoughts of anyone else that has tried the service.

I could be wrong bc I’ve only dealt with UI7 for 2 days before i downgraded but from UI5, you don’t need a sensor armed to turn on a light. Def true with PLEG. You sound like your getting pretty integrated, why use house modes at all? Or have them change automatically, ping your wifes cell phone. If it were me I think I would create a virtual device to trigger the monitoring service, have PLEG monitor all your “armed sensors” and send you a message with a 45 sec delay or something so you can act if its something trivial.

Granted not PnP but very doable. Hope this spurs some ideas.