Alarm Reporting Formats / Contact ID Overview

By Ari Erenthal, Published on Jan 12, 2017

Alarm reporting formats are methods for communicating complicated information quickly, using plain old telephone service. It is still the main method used by burglar and fire alarm manufacturers to send signals to central station monitoring services.

In this post, we review:

  • The background of alarm reporting formats
  • The options for these formats
  • How Contact ID works
  • Event codes and subcodes
  • How alarm reporting formats make alarms intelligent
  • Examples of using various subcodes for responses / plans

Background ** ***** ********* *******

** **** ***, ******* ID ** *** **** widely **** ***** ********* format. **** ********** ***** generically ** *** **** of ***** ********* ****** as "******* **". ***** common ******* ****** ****** *** ********, *********** formats **** ** ***** IIe *** ***** *****, DMP, *** ***, *** pulse ******* **** ** 4x2, *** *** ***** variants.

******* ** *** ********** developed ** ****** (***** acquired *** ***** ***** by *********)****-**-****.**. ** ****, *********** ******** *************** ******* **, **** Ademco, **** ********:

(******* **) ** ********* by *** ******** ******** Association (*** ) ** a ** ***** ******** industry ********. ** ** intended ** ********** ******* compatibility *** ******************, ** reduce ***************** ******* ************* and **********, *** ** assist ********** ** ********* the ****** ******** ** fulfill ***** ********** *****.

How ******* ** *****

*** ***** ***** ***** a ************* ***** ****** to *********** *** *******. When *** ******** ** the ******* ******* ***** up, *** ******* ******* computer ***** ****************. **** *** ***** sends * ***** ******* in****(*******, *** *** ***** formats **** ** ***), followed ** *********** ****** **** *** message *** *** ********* during ************. *** ******** sends **** ***** *** ********* *** *** ***** know **** *** ******* was ******** *** ** stop ************. **** ** shown ** *** *****:

*** ******** ********** *** DTMF ***** ** * string *******************. *** ******** **** decodes ***** ****** *** sends *** *********** ** an ********'* ******, ***** with *** **********'* ******** information. *** ******** **** decides **** ** ** with *** ***********. *** entire *******, **** **** the ***** ******* ** needs ** **** ******** to *** *********** ******** on *** ****** ** an ********, ***** ******* ten *******. ***** ****, the **** ******* ***** scaled *****.

*** ***** ***** * 13 ***** ******* ** the ******* *******. ****** into ***** ** ****** is * ********** ****** of ***********.

**** ** **** * message ***** ****, ***** on ********* ******* **:

*** ******* ** ***** reporting ******* ** ** send ** **** *********** about *** ******* ** a ***** *** ********* manner. *********, *** **** does ******* ** **** the **** ******, *** it ***** *********** ***** what **** ** **** it **.

Event *****

******* ** ****** *** a ***** ****** ** event *****. ******* *******:

  • ******* ******
  • **** ******
  • ***** ******
  • ******* ******
  • ** **** *** ******** Zone (*** ************* ******* such ** ************ ******** or ***** **** *********)
  • ****** ******* (*** ******* with *** ***** ******)
  • ****/*****
  • ****** ******* **** (**** as **** ****** ****** and ******* **** ******)
  • **** *********
  • ***** ***

**** ** ***** ***** codes *** * ****** of ********. *** *******, a ***** **** *** be ********** ******* ***** ****(**** ***), ** **** the ******** *** **** the ****** ********** **** an ***** ********** ** attempting ** **** *** help ******* ********** *** attention. * **** **** can ******* ******* *** signal ** ****** **** a ***** ******** (**** 110), * **** ******** (code ***), * **** (code ***), ** * pull ******* (**** ***).

***** ** ** ******* of *** ******** *** burglar ****** ** ******* ID:

Intelligent *****

******* ******** ** * problem ****** * **** to ********* * ******** plan, ******** ****'** ******* of *** **********. **** subscriber ***** ********* ***** for ******* ******* ********* numbers - **** ** common. **** ****** ********* people ** ** ******. Different ***** ** ******* can ******* ********* *********. For *******, *** ******** can ******* **** ** alarm ****** (**** ***) from * ******* **** should **** *** ****** but **** * ******* signal (**** ***) **** the **** **** ****** call ******** ***********.

******** ***** *** ** even **** ********. *** example, * *********** *** specify * ******* ****** from * ************ **** (code ***) ***** * maintenance ****** *** * department ******* ** ******, so **** *** **** is ***** ******* **** the **** ****** ** goes ***.

******* ** ***** ***** more *******. **** *** closing ******* (**** ***) allow ***** ** ***** what **** ***** ********* arrive *** *****. ** users ****** ***** ******** crews ****** ***** *****, they *** ** **** that ***** ***** **** get **** ** ********* times (**** ***). **** users **** **** ******* notification. ****** **** ****** reports **** ** *****, fax, ** ****.

**** ******* ****** ***** for ****/***** *******, ******** another ******* ****** *** commercial *********.

***** ********* ***** ** easier ** **** ** top ** ********. **** central ******** *** ****** dealers ** ************ *******. Being ***** ** ******* signals **** ***** *** dealer ** **** * good **** ** **** kind ** ******** ***** and **** **** **** need ** ** ****. If *** **** ** paying *** * *********** contract, *** ****** *** use **** ********* ** schedule * ******* **** quickly *** ***********. *** the ***** *** *** always ** ******** **** if ************ *** *** set ** ** *******.

***** ********* ***** ** easier ** ****** ************** *******. ** *** ******* station **** ********, *****, closes, *** **** ******, the ****** **** ** able ** ********* ***** code *** **** ** access *** ****** ***** hours ** ***** **** turned *** *** ***** on *** ****** * burglar ***** ** ***.

Comments (6)

I cannot wait for technology to uplift the alarm industry. Although we have phone apps and cloud based solutions it is not enough to kill off this dinosaur. Yes I can see the beauty of the old days as they will be forever logged in my mental museum of archaic security methodologies.

"Alexa, when will you get off your butt and secure my home/business with IoT already?"

Agreed, UD1! I started a discussion on this topic the other day.

I hate CID, we almost never use it. We are either using Bosch formates or DMP formates. I prefer DMP as it goes to a DMP reciever and we dont need to program zones at the central station because it pushes full data to the receiver similar to CID but it tends to be more reliable. I do however love to takeover panels using CID because we can do it with a simple takeover cellular radio.

I'd be interested to know more about the issues with alarm reporting over VoIP lines. Are certain formats more resilient? What physically causes the issues?

Basically, DTMF relies on a precise reproduction of a series of tones. VoIP lines can compress the signal in order to save bandwidth, causing the central station to be unable to decode the signal, or can cut off the beginning or end of the phone call, causing the handshake or the checksum to be missed. 

Here's a good explanation of exactly how pulsed dialing (for formats such as 4x1) and DTMF dialing (for formats such as Contact ID or the various Bosch formats) works.

Still useful when remote sites can not be connected through LAN/WAN because there is no network or the IT policy restricts even a VPN connection.

GSM communicators can send CID in SMS, and a GSM modem with receiver software can translate CID to an event in central monitoring system  like Genetec SC or anything else. 

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