Alarm System Equipment

Proprietary Security System Equipment

Proprietary sounds like a dirty scheme, doesn’t it? Basically, the equipment manufacturer took measures to limit what parts work on their system and/or the people that can service their product. Vehicles are a great example. You’re not going to put a Ford F150’s headlight bulb in a Subaru Forrester. Proprietary equipment is also prevalent in the security system industry.

Low Proprietary vs. High Proprietary

There are diverse levels of proprietary in the security world. There is some equipment out there with relatively low proprietary. An example is analog cameras. If you have an analog camera system, you can connect just about any brand’s analog camera to an analog DVR. This has gotten a bit trickier with recent developments in analog cameras (Learn about HD Cameras). You could call up any security installer in the area and they would at least be able to replace an analog camera.

Then there is equipment with extremely high proprietary in both the product and those that can work on it. A good example is most Simplex fire alarm systems. If you elected to have a Simplex fire system installed or inherited one, you can only call Simplex to service their equipment. Likely there will not be a fire or security professional in the area that can service the equipment.

Proprietary security system equipment has advantages and disadvantages to the end-user. It does have more advantages to the security installer and manufacturer, the biggest being it helps them stay in business. It is not fun when you find out your security professional is going out of business. All end-users should be looking at the brands & equipment the security professionals offer. Choose what works best for you, and your security installer should be helping you with that. Here are some things to consider with proprietary security equipment:


  1. Better support & service

    Security System Training
    A trained professional is likely to be a better installer.

    You should get better support & service with an installer that had to be trained on installing the equipment. Also, the more time a manufacturer took to develop, build, & train on their products can help ensure a positive experience for the end-user. They are in the business of selling and making money. They do have to keep dealers and end-users happy.

  2. Stronger security

    All security dealers should be “locking” the programming of the alarm & fire panels. Locking the panel keeps out those who know “default” programming codes getting in and changing programming on your system. Now if your dealer didn’t “lock” the panel, that doesn’t mean somebody can disarm your security system with programming codes. But there is a way to get you, especially a business. They could come in during a time you are disarmed. Then, enter into programming with the default code and delete that back-door zone. It is unlikely you would notice it was deleted. Then they have a free pass into your property that night after you armed.

  3. Less headaches finding a good installer

    If you already like the security equipment brand but haven’t found an installer, you shouldn’t have much problems finding one. And depending on the level of proprietary, you could find multiple installers and have them bid against each other. Pricing should be very similar, but you can then determine who will serve you best. There are also less headaches for architects and corporate purchasers. They can spec in proprietary equipment which prevent every single security installer and Joe Shmo trying to bid the job.


Security System Price
Proprietary Systems often cost more – Is it worth paying for something that took time to develop?
  1. Likely higher costs the higher the proprietary

    End-users must choose if a brand that is proprietary is worth it. Like mentioned earlier, proprietary equipment typically comes with better trained installers. Be wary of the very high proprietary systems, especially if their bid is very low. There are companies with proprietary equipment that will bid low to entice you in, then after installed they can charge however they like.

  2. Fewer installers to choose from

    Depending on the area you are in, you could be limited to how many installers are authorized to work on the equipment. Some proprietary manufacturers will make exclusive guarantees to certain installers that they will not authorize other dealers in the area. Be sure to do your homework and don’t be afraid to ask if other dealers in the area can work on the equipment.

  3. You’re stuck with a certain manufacturer

    Just like buying a car, you don’t want a “lemon” security system. Maybe it just doesn’t fit your needs or is too complicated for you. The higher the proprietary, the harder your exit strategy might be.

Just like buying a vehicle, take your time and find the right security professional and the equipment they use. Ask questions and do some of your own research on the brands they are offering. Security systems might be complex but due diligence often leads to better decisions. Lastly, many security systems are meant to last, so make sure you find something that fits your needs. FoxCrest Security can help you make this important decision. Call us at (240) 422-8369 or Contact Us

I am the proud owner of FoxCrest Security, a security installation company formed in 2016. Hard work, countless hours, and being supported by some truly amazing people got me here. I am blessed to be able to serve the many home-owners and businesses in the Frederick & Hagerstown areas.