You've probably never heard of a company called 2GIG Technologies, but they are really starting to make a name for themselves in the network-accessible home security system arena. 2GIG has developed what I consider to be the iPhone of home security systems. The Go!Control panel is one of the most intuitive, feature-packed, well designed home security systems that I have ever dealt with.
After a break-in we had last year, I was on the hunt for a security system that I could install myself. I had previously had an "old school" system and was not impressed with the unit or the service provider. This time around I thought I would get my DiY on and install one myself.
I looked at several of the systems currently on the market but they didn't seem very DiY-friendly, requiring the installer to enter a lot of archaic codes for setting the main unit up and registering the sensors. I was becoming frustrated in my search until I stumbled upon the 2GIG Go!Control wireless security system. It immediately caught my eye because it didn't have a standard numeric keypad, but had a bright LCD touchscreen instead.
I visited the 2GIG website to learn more about the system and reviewed its features. This thing was loaded: The Go!Control system featured:
- Wireless sensors (no running cables)
- Alarm service via cell service and/or land line (bad guys can't cut your cell connection)
- Home automation control of Z-wave thermostats, light switches, and door locks (if you choose these options and pay the associated fees to the alarm service provider)
- Arming, disarming, and sensor notification via iPhone / Android / Blackberry / Secure Web Site (with paid interactive service plan)
- Arming and disarming via wireless keyfob (similar to how you unlock a car with a remote)
- Smoke / Fire / Flood alarm relay capability (with purchase of optional sensors)
- Built-in speakerphone for talking with the alarm service provider (optional service)
Everything sounded great, the only thing I was worried about was how much was this thing going to cost. Much to my surprise, I found it for $460 at the Home Security Store. This site caters to do-it-yourselfers who want professional-grade alarm systems but don't want to pay crazy high installation prices or get locked into multi-year service contracts.
The basic kit comes with 3 wireless door / window contact sensors, a motion sensor, a keyfob for arming and disarming the system, the main control panel itself, a power adapter and battery, and a cellular card that installs into the control panel. You must choose which cell-provider you prefer when purchasing the unit which determines what type of cell radio is installed. I recommend choosing the provider that you know has the best signal reception at your house. Your alarm cell service cost is built into your monthly alarm service fee depending on which provider and service package you choose.
The documentation provided by 2GIG (and many other alarm systems) are geared towards professional installers, but I was still able to understand everything that was needed to get things running. The only issue I had was that the system didn't include a user manual and had only an install guide, This was remedied by visiting their website and downloading the user guide.
One other problem was that no power cable is included with the system. Again, I guess they figure that professional installers will have a spool of cable with them that they will cut to the proper length required. It still would have been nice if they would have included a 10 foot length of cable so that they might have saved me a trip to my local Radio Shack.
The install itself took a couple of hours, and was fairly straightforward. Registering the wireless sensors was very easy.
I waited for a few days before I chose a service provider. I opted for the security service that was advertised on The Home Security Store's website which was an alarm relay service powered by Alarm.com. I opted for the advanced interactive service that permitted remote arming / disarming via my iPhone and also provided some advanced notification features that allow me to be alerted via text / e-mail / push notifications when the alarm is tripped or when certain sensors that I choose are triggered. For instance every time our driveway gate is opened during my regular work hours I get a text stating that it was open. It doesn't set the alarm off or call the police (although I could have it do that). It just notifies me that someone is messing with my gate.
The alarm service which is powered by Alarm.com can also integrate with my DiY Wireless Security Camera System (for a fee) allowing me to see video of alarm-related events (if I opt to pay the extra cost).
The touchscreen experience is much more intuitive than the old school keypads offered by other security system providers. In addition to the touchscreen, the system also features a large fire/emergency buttons in the event that you are too panicked to fiddle with the touch screen. It also features a home button that takes you back to the main menu similar to the home button on an iPhone.
The system features voice responses for just about every event, such as opening a door. You can build your own custom voice responses by stringing together words found in the built-in word bank. For example, I have a back door and a back yard door and I was able to name them appropriately since all of those words were available from the built-in voice bank. The voice bank is somewhat limited though as I was not able to find the word "gate" and had to substitute another word in its place.
I have had absolutely no problems with this system so far and am eager to enable some of the advanced features such as the z-wave lighting, thermostat, and door lock control.
The system is highly expandable. You can easily add other sensors such as smoke/fire and glass break sensors at any time by simply purchasing the sensors and following the enrollment process. I added a second keyfob and a couple of extra door contacts.
If your looking to increase your perimeter security for your home or business you should definitely take a look at the 2GIG Go!Control Wireless Home Security System.