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Smart Phone Apps for a DIY Security System?

Home Forums Home Security Security Systems Smart Phone Apps for a DIY Security System?

This topic contains 6 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  a Security Professional 7 years, 3 months ago.

  • Author
  • #1417 Reply

    Keith Jaxson

    I have recently put in a home security system that I installed by myself. It was pretty easy to do, which in and of itself kind of surprised me, since I never thought of myself as very handy. Anyway, now I am thinking that there must be a way to kind of monitor the system on my own (yes it is connected to a monitoring company that is not what I mean). I would like to find out if anyone out there knows some of the best apps for smart phones that could allow me to actually look at my home cameras or otherwise control the system while I am away. What are the best smart phone apps for a DIY security system?

  • #1422 Reply


    Technology today can enable a lot of really cool functions and applications. To my mind, one of the most interesting and exciting areas is that of remote applications, especially through a phone. What you are basically asking which cell phone applications will allow you the ability to view and possibly even control at least some aspects of your security system. For many people, the ability to take their phone and see exactly what is going on in their home at any moment is a great benefit of this new technology. Just imagine how much more secure you would feel if you were away on a business trip, yet you could simply pull out your phone and see exactly what your spouse and kids are up to.

    There are a number of different apps that can make this possible. Most of the home security system monitoring in this country is controlled by a business called alarm.com. They have some really cool apps that can allow homeowners a number of different functions. These apps also span most of the major smart phone platforms, including the iPhone, Android and even Blackberry. You will be able to see what is happening from every different camera view, and even what is going on outside the home (provided you have some type of camera or sensors set up outside).

    Another interesting application is called Live Cams HD. This is basically a way to take webcams and convert them into actual working home security cameras. Then, set up the app and you will be able to see exactly what each of these webcams are showing at the moment. If you also want the ability to monitor all of your security cameras in real time an app like Tiny DVR might do the trick.

    If you prefer something a little more casual, than maybe check out an app called Digital Home Angel Mobile. This app just simply uses the phone line and cameras to help you do your own monitoring.

    These next few options are apps designed more for working with webcams, but I imagine some of them might be applicable to actual cameras and really beneficial. WebCam Monitor even supports IP cameras and can control pan and tilt functions. Ugolog is an online monitoring system that is easy to use and supports multiple cameras.

  • #1423 Reply

    a Security Professional

    Smart Phone Interactive apps to control your home security system are mostly dependant on the make, model and manufacturer of your alarm control panel.  Your security cameras must also have the ability to be connected to, and viewed over, the internet.

    Without knowing your specifics, I can still provide you with some general information.

    There are interactive service options to fit different budgets and/or security needs.

    One choice is the affordable and versatile internet Broadband Alarm Transceiver (BAT) module which is manufactured by ipDatatel and works with certain GE, DSC, Honeywell, Ademco and First Alert alarm control panels.

    The ipDatatel BAT module connects your alarm panel to the internet for communication purposes and therefore you do not require a land-line telephone at your home (saves money for homeowners who only keep a home telephone line for their alarm panel).  If the internet connection is cut, missing or disabled, you’ll receive a Smart Phone notification after 5 minutes letting you know that the BAT module is not communicating with ipDatatel’s processing center.

    As an alarm professional, I especially appreciate the fact that the BAT requires that you MUST enter an access code on your cell phone each time that you wish to disarm your alarm system.  This is much more secure than a one-touch disarm button which any thief can use to disable your home alarm system once they grab your cell phone.

    The ipDatatel BAT allows for self-monitoring by the client only, or alarm signals can also be transmitted to any monitoring station of your choice.  The BAT is only available for purchase and service through alarm companies and authorized dealers.

    There is a yearly fee for the self-monitoring option that will allow you to obtain interactive services.  You will pay an additional fee to ALSO be monitored by a central station 24/7 around the clock.

    The central station monitoring option is absolutely necessary (and recommended) to obtain the maximum discounts on your home insurance policy.

    Moving up a notch, there are cellular communicators (such as those mentioned on this site as being offered by FrontPoint and other alarm companies) transmitting to Alarm.com that can provide Interactive services using a limited number of alarm panel manufacturers.  The cellular communicator is a more secure (and therefore more expensive) alarm signal transmission option than the internet BAT module, since there are no exterior wires or cables outside the home which can be cut to stop transmission of alarm signals.

    While cellular is one of the highest levels of alarm monitoring, a lot of homeowners with a lower budget find that their security needs are adequately met with the less expensive internet BAT module which provides a 5 minute notification of a cut cable line (as well as providing interactive services on your Smart Phone).

    There are universal alarm panel modules designed to provide interactive services, either through broadband internet or cellular, that are starting to surface on the market.

    These universal modules will work with the majority of existing alarm panels and will provide basic interactive services such as the ability to arm and disarm your security system remotely.  You will also receive notifications concerning trouble conditions and who disarmed your alarm.

    The universal modules will NOT allow more complicated operations, such as bypassing a zone, since they don’t “connect or communicate directly into the alarm processor” the way a dedicated module made for a specific alarm control panel does.

    If your alarm system is being monitored by a professional alarm company (as you claim), then you could start by asking them for more information about your particular alarm panel and which devices would connect to it to provide you with interactive alarm services.

    If your particular alarm panel does not yet offer its own decidated interactive add-on equipment, you may opt to go with a universal module and then use an additional, seperate and independant app to look at your cameras (provided, of course, that they are compatible with internet viewing).

    Or, you may have to change your alarm panel, keypad(s), zone expander module(s) and any wireless device(s) to a supported alarm panel that can obtain FULL interactive features.

    Any hard-wired alarm contacts, hard-wired motion detectors, etc. that you have on your existing alarm panel can be used with ANY alarm panel, if you are forced to change your alarm panel.

  • #1418 Reply


    What can you tell me about the Ademco Home Security System? I currently have this in my home with Honeywell hardware?

    Is Ademco Home security a good home security system, I have never heard of the system before?

    Thanks, Joe

  • #1419 Reply

    a Security Professional

    Hi Joe,

    Your question of "Is Ademco/Honeywell a good home security system?" allows me to explain a common misconception of home alarms: It's NOT ONLY the PRODUCT that makes the BIG difference in home security.

    HOW and WHERE that the alarm system's most vital components have been installed, the LACK of enough alarm detection equipment (over what is supplied in a "basic starter kit") and if the homeowners properly understand the different ways of HOW and WHEN to use the alarm system is what really counts in order to have a good home security system!

    Ademco/Honeywell products are amongst the most well-known and recognized in the securiy industry, so I'm surprised that you've never heard of them. Ademco has some great security equipment and they also have a crappy self-contained "alarm system" called the LYNX that you should avoid like the plague.

    Without knowing exactly which specific Ademco model of alarm panel that you have, how many sensors and contacts that you have throughout your house or how (and where) that the equipment was physically installed in your home, I cannot tell you if you have "a good alarm system" or not.

    On the bright side: You don't have proprietary or out-dated alarm equipment that no one can service. The Ademco alarm equipment that you presently own can be "corrected" if necessary to provide you with a great home alarm system. Any professional alarm installer in your area is able to provide service and upgrades for your Ademco/Honeywell equipment, as well as add-ons that will connect the alarm panel to the internet so that you can obtain interactive alarm services.

    For advice on how an alarm system should be properly conceived and installed, please refer to my article: https://www.asecurelife.com/best-home-security-system

  • #1420 Reply

    DIY Guy

    Most people looking to do what you are… monitoring and controlling your system from your smartphone use the EVL-3 module from EyezOn. It is inexpensive, easy to install and has no monthly fees or service charges. It works with iPhones, Androids, Windows phones, Blackberry 

    I've had mine for over a year and it does everything they say. Has an active community and constantly is updated with new features.

  • #1421 Reply


    This EVL-3 Product is only compatible with hardwired Honeywell Vista & DSC PowerSeries alarm systems.

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