Why Qolsys IQ Panel Is a Smart Choice for the Smart Home

Is the Qolsys IQ Panel the best possible solution for your installation jobs? Security industry expert Robert D. Grossman answers in SSI’s Bench Test.

In fact, the touchscreen itself was the only area of contention in terms of construction. We understand that is essentially a graphical keypad, and the control icons are large enough for any size finger, but it’s hard not to compare it to a tablet or cellphone.

There is no multitouch (only one point of screen contact registers at a time), and we’re OK with that, but registration of touches on the resistive screen was inconsistent, especially for a woman with fingernails.

Sensitivity could stand to be kicked up a notch, and vertical off-axis viewing wasn’t great from above. If you have to mount this panel for people of varying height to operate, mount it higher rather than lower as smaller icons can disappear when viewed from above.

Features

As we alluded to earlier, this is the Swiss Army Knife of alarm panels. It includes all of the features that you would expect from a residential or small business alarm panel, including supervised wired and wireless contacts, a variety of sensors, and integration with a wide variety of other devices.

Coupled with the mobile/Web interface and advanced programming features offered by the Alarm.com Web site, applications are limited only by your imagination. If you are inside for the night and lock the front door manually, the system can lock the back door, arm itself in “stay” mode, turn on a nightlight, and lower the thermostat, all automatically.

A water leak in your utility room can shut off the water, sound an alarm, alert you via SMS and E-mail, turn the light on in the utility room, and send you a picture to allow you to assess the damage. You can then open the front door remotely to let the plumber in if he gets there before you do. He can’t find your house? Flash the front porch light from your phone.

There are also a lot of intuitive features in the panel itself. A centrally located icon gives you an up-to-date extended weather forecast with the push of a button. There’s a button that shuts off the touchscreen for 30 seconds, allowing you to clean it without driving the system crazy.

When setting the alarm to “away” mode, the 60-second countdown timer is visible on the screen and a robotic female voice counts down the last 10 seconds. That same robotic voice also says the names of the various zones, even if you custom name them. It did very well with things like, “Window by Terri’s desk open,” but try as I might I could not get it to correctly pronounce, “Idiot dog.”

I particularly liked the camera built into the bezel, which can be configured to take a picture of the person disarming the panel, whether a valid code is entered or not. If your teen-age daughter is giving the alarm passcode to her friends, you’ll know it by simply pressing the Camera button on the home screen and selecting the “Disarm Photos” log.

There’s also a log of alarm photos that can come from the camera or other sensors, and every image is annotated with the time, date and the name of the event that caused it.

The process for software updates is impressive as well. The unit can be updated manually, automatically or at the initiation of the installing dealer. During the test period, I success-fully updated my panel twice via Wi-Fi, although I could have used the SD card as well. One update changed the graphical user interface completely, providing a more modern look and incorporating a number of enhancements.

Setup

Physical installation of the IQ Panel is simple and straightforward, with plenty of installer-friendly features. The back plate can be mounted on a wall and there’s an integrated hanging strap that secures the panel during installation.

A terminal on the back provides connection for two separate supervised alarm loops (normally open contacts), a DC power supply and a hardware piezo siren. If multiple sirens are needed, or the siren you want to use requires more than 120mA, a relay can be used to drive external devices. Beyond that all other connections are wireless.

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About the Author

Contact:

Bob Grossman has held positions in all areas of the security industry — giving him plenty of opportunity to learn from his mistakes! Bob has authored articles for SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION and other publications and has spoken at numerous industry events both internationally and in the United States. Currently the founder and president of R. Grossman and Associates, a consulting firm, he divides his time between project-based work for large integrated systems and product consulting for a variety of cutting-edge manufacturers. For more information, visit www.tech-answers.com.

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