The plethora of information regarding alarm panel integration

I think we have reached bounce back on this one. :slight_smile: There is SO much out there that it’s simply impossible to go through it all or even find it all, much less sort out what’s what.

That being said, I’m going to selfishly ask some questions that maybe some folks can answer…

I’m trying to set up my dad’s DSC (1832) and integrate it with SmartThings (which I just bought him for Christmas). I want both the panel and ST to be functional so that steered me toward Envisalink. In honesty, I didn’t even know about AlarmDecoder until wading through some more info. :slight_smile:

So…first question is this - can anyone tell me what the difference in AlarmDecoder and using Envisalink with one of the various alarm server implementations is? (@kevin_nutech - I know you’re the man on AlarmDecoder, so hopefully you can help educate me!). In the end, it seems those two approaches end up with the same stuff (hardware+pi+server). Specifically, what capabilities does one have that the other doesn’t?

As AlarmDecoder seems to be sort of an “all inclusive” package, along the envisalink path, there appear to be about 400 branches of the alarm server. Can anyone help me understand which one I would want and why? (for running on a raspberry pi)

And, I guess last, I think both will provide some alerts beyond that of smartthings but if it does, what are these alerts reliant upon? For example, if the pi fails, do I just lose the ST integration or do I lose everything? I’d like to have it so that I would still get an alert for an alarm (akin to “monitoring”) if the pi fails (dependent of course upon power/internet connectivity to everything else).

So thanks in advance everyone - and I apologize if this seems redundant to some.

I have no experience with the Envisalink, but can provide clarity on the Alarm Decoder. The Alarm Decoder is basically a device that acts as another keypad in your alarm system. This means the Alarm will continue to operate independently of SmartThings, however the keypad messages and alarm panel status is available for integration with SmartThings.

Nutech/Alarm Decoder does sell an “all-in-one” network appliance that includes all the components and software to integrate it with ST:

The AlarmDecoder has a lot of advanced functionality that the Envisalink does not - this does not apply to most people.

Other than that, the power is in the software. A complete self-monitored capable solution is offered by the alarmdecoder including being able to make phone calls through twilio on events, can’t say that about envisalink

Up to you. I’m no longer an employee related to alarmdecoder, I’m just a user - but knowing what I know about alarmdecoder, I would pick it every time over the Envisalink.

Can you tell me more about what advanced functionality it has that Envisalink does not? I couldn’t really find much on the respective websites.

One basic question - do either of these (with additional software at least) allow you to program the panel?

The AlarmDecoder gives you ability to program the panel as you would any other keypad - not sure about Envisalink. The AlarmDecoder also has software addons so you can download your programming and upload your programming with Compass for Ademco/Honeywell. DSC all keypad screens are available for programming.

The AlarmDecoder allows you to emulate zones, zone expanders, relay modules, long range radio modules.

The AlarmDecoder allows you to integrate events into anything that can take a GET or POST request

The AlarmDecoder can SMS or Call a phone on events

The AlarmDecoder comes with open source software so you can extend/use it as you want

I’m sure there’s more that’s not off the top of my head.

All while still being able to be monitored by a monitoring company, of course.

1 Like

So can anyone answer exactly what the alarmserver brings to the table besides smartthings integration?

Not sure - the alarmdecoder network appliance and provided web application brings smartthings integration as well as plethoras of other features as mentioned above - in my opinion, it is definitely the more robust solution.