Semi-Off Topic: State Of The Union On Burglar Alarm Panels?

Can anyone give me a good “State of the Union” on Burglar alarm panels? Specifically for residential and small business applications. I guess what I’m looking for are opinions of where each of the major players stand (with their primary products) in the “spectrum” of quality and ease of installation.

I’m a bit out of the loop in that I'm almost exclusively on the video side of things. Correct me if I’m wrong, but we’d pretty much start with the old school Vista panels for the entry level “get the job done” kind of thing… then work our way up to what… maybe to DSG? I’m not sure where the middle ground is, then we start to get into the color touch screen panels with zwave lock / lighting control and home automation stuff.

Recently I’ve suddenly seen a lot of these 2Gig panels popping up with the color touch screen, particularly aimed at residential. Elk is always at the show with interesting looking stuff that has a lot of automation mixed in, but they seem very expensive.

It looks like trend is all going wireless, particularly for new installs. I’m seeing some zWave devices (motion sensors, contacts, etc.), but also mostly non-zwave wireless devices (some that are somehow “universal” to different panels, and some that are not).

And somewhere along the way, Alarm.com comes into play with the home automation connectivity stuff and IP video… (though I'm not entirely clear on why alarm.com is needed) but it looks like alarm.com only plays nice with their proprietary cameras… do any of them integrate directly with Milestone, Exacq, etc?

I guess I’m trying to get a sense of who is doing what in the industry, what is flashy but pointless, what is junk and what is actually good new stuff.

This seemed like a good place to ask, with a lot of the professionals here that cross over into that space.

Opinions?

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