When selecting a new or different alarm keypad to resell to your customers, what factors are most important to your installers and your customers?

Among SDM’s subscribers, ease of use and straightforward features are firm requirements when choosing a new keypad model to resell.

“Keep it simple for your customer to use it,” says one dealer.

“Make sure it has a large enough display so it’s easy to read, and that the buttons are big enough to use,” says Greg Cholka, owner of Walworth County Security Alarms, LLC, Mukwonago, Wis. Dealers are divided on the type of display they think is easiest to use. Some suggest that alpha (liquid crystal) display keypads are easier if the system has more than eight zones. Others insist that zone indicators (LEDs) are easier for viewing zone status, especially from a distance and even for systems with up to 64 zones.

Compatibility is a crucial selection factor – meaning, the ability of the keypad to work with already-installed alarm panels. When staying with the same manufacturer, ask about backward-compatibility of the new keypad you are considering.

When it comes to particular features to be found on a new keypad, SDM asked its readers for their opinions through an online survey conducted in late January. Survey respondents indicated that their most preferred keypad features are remote programmability, false alarm reduction features, and large size keys.

“Having to press an ‘off’ button after pressing a four-digit code creates many false alarms,” says Jerry Saxon, president of Emergency Systems LLC, Florence, Ky., showing his unease with keypad-related false alarms. “Keypads should be designed to disarm if a valid code is pressed during the 30-sec. entry delay – without having to press an ‘off’ button.”

Worth noting is that dealers and integrators consider these keypad features significantly more important than high-end features.

Technology rules over price when it comes to the factors that would make SDM’s subscribers select a new or different alarm keypad to sell, but considering dealers’ proclivity for function over form, the new technology probably would only be acceptable if it delivered new benefits related to installation efficiency and simpler operation.

Through an online survey of SDM’s subscribers, dealers shared their preferences and opinions on the topic of selecting a new keypad model to resell to customers. The survey is intended to gather purchasing information from your peers in the field.

Simplicity Reigns with Keypad Purchases

SDM asked its subscribers: When selecting a new or different alarm keypad to resell to your customers, which one factor is most important to you?

Easy for your customer to use 39%

Ability of keypad to work with already installed alarm panels 30%

Reliability of keypad 9%

Manufactured by same vendor from which you already buy 9%

Ease of service 4%

Ability of keypad to control functions/systems other than alarm 4%

Offers high-end features/functions 4%

Source: SDM Web Survey on Keypads, January 2004