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ElSec Ltd

Risco Agility 3 Alarm Review On the beginning of 2013 we introduced new Risco Agility 3 alarm panel with the video verification. Agility 3 is available to users in UK and it’s impossible to resist taking a closer look at the wireless alarm panel with the bonus of home automation and video verification. Risco, which is the manufacturer, has put plenty of thought into Agility 3 and the company’s engineers have come up with a solution that’s easy to install and easy to use while offering the alarm industry’s gold standard for intrusion detection, visual verification. In fact, Risco Agility 3 is the first affordable domestic alarm panel that does visual verification. Interesting to me is the fact that Risco’s corporate self-awareness highlights 4 key areas of business – integration, integrated visual verification, access control, and intrusion. As I ran through the demo of Agility 3, I couldn’t help feeling all these areas were represented in this single domestic alarm product. Agility 3 has alarms, integrated video verification, integration of home automation via I/O and X-10 modules. Access control, you ask? Well – not exactly – but the proximity – enabled keypad does allow arming and disarming of the system by presentation of proximity tag to keypad. And little jewels of functionality like this are strewn throughout the system. In terms of specifications, Agility has 32 wireless zones, 8 of which can be wireless PIR cameras, as well as supporting up to 3 bi-directional wireless LCD & LED keypads, one for each of the 3 possible partitions. There’s also bi-directional audio, 32 user codes, as well as a 250-event log. There are also cool modules like PERS, and there’s a wireless home automation module with 4 wired zones and 4 outputs, which includes an X-10 transmitter. Sensors – well – these include all the intrusion wireless sensors Risco makes from internal PIRs to external multi-technology sensors, as well as safety detectors that include smoke, gas, CO and flood detection units. Support for wireless sensors is backwards compatible, too. Meanwhile, panel communication options include any combination of PSTN, IP and GSM/GPRS. First up there’s the panel housing which contains the control board, battery and communication modules. Once I get it into my hands I find the housing relatively heavy and this is mostly thanks to the weight of the large 3.2 Amp battery as well as the heft of the polished polycarb bodywork. Risco-Agility-3-Control-Panel The housing has some telltale LEDs located on the face, including an LED ‘tick’ icon which allows installers to check system status at a glance. If the icon is green, woohoo, if it’s red, then there’s a problem. Connections to the panel itself are simple as can be. There’s power through the usual plug pack and there’s RJ-45, allowing the panel to clamber onto a network via a local router so as to gain access to the Web for management and alarm reporting. The keypad comes out next and powered up is blue backlit. It’s a nice looking interface in shiny white poly with a 3-line LCD display. Cool too, the keypad can be removed from its bracket and installers or users can tote it around for convenience of operation and programming. Risco-Agility-3-Keypad The standard Risco Agility 3 panel comes with keypad, two PIR cameras, door contact, outdoor sounder and dummy box and a pair of proximity tags. I’m impressed with the remotes. I have a habit of judging tech by its ancillaries and these remotes have great size and hand feel. They’re a wee bit bigger than normal but are still compact. The plastic is light charcoal yet has a ferrous glint to it that’s distinctly upmarket. Risco-Agility-3-Keyfob As if to prove their beauty is more than micron-deep, the wireless fobs not only manage the security system but can also be used to drive a remote I/O module and handle cool stuff like lights and air conditioning. These fobs can also drive the system wirelessly (up to 8 keyfobs can be assigned to a single system) or you can enter a PIN into the keypad. Everything I get my hands on is well made with no nasty gaps, bulging seals or rough cut-offs that might suggest poor quality manufacture. Same as LightSYS and all the rest of Risco’s gear, Agility 3 is manufactured in Israel and quality control there is obviously tight. Risco’s warranty is 24 months, which is on the better side of industry standard. Nothing compares to Agility 3 when it comes to visual verification – in part because there’s very little competition in this area. In fact, Agility 3 is the first domestic and small commercial alarm system that sends images direct to the end user. Given the fact the new Agility system owns this part of the market, it’s worth spending a bit of time getting a handle on just what the visual verification component of the system actually is. For a start, you don’t get video clips with Agility. Instead you get snapshots, one pre-alarm and 4 post-alarm. The eyeWave PIR camera responsible for video duties incorporates a QVGA (quarter VGA) board camera with 320 x 240 pixels and an 85-degree field of view. Neat, there’s an IR flash that pulses on detection giving the camera the ability to capture images in total darkness with a depth of field of 10m (the PIR component offers wide angle detection up to 12m). Something else that’s thoughtful is that images are stored locally on the camera until they are entirely transmitted to the panel. The eyeWave PIR camera is available in both wide-angle and pet-immune versions. Risco-Agility-3-Camera-PIR Visual verification is driven by a GPRS or IP unit built into the control panel that transmits images to Risco’s secure cloud server. From here images can be passed on to users via the Smartphone app and to monitoring stations including 1 pre-alarm image and up to 7 post-alarm event images. The system sends an alarm message and 3 snap shots at intervals after an alarm event, with the intervals programmable between 0.5-2 seconds. If users want to check images from the cameras during the day to see if kids are home, for instance, they can just jump onto a camera via a smart app that runs on mobile phones and tablets or web browsers. The app lets authorised users management alarm systems remotely, as well as viewing real time images from PIR cameras or checking up on alarm activations. Risco-Agility-Mobile-App While the Risco Cloud is proprietary, it’s free of charge so there are no hurdles or odd complexities to navigate here. Yet at the same time, installers can supply panels with SIM cards already registered and up-sell users to advanced services that generate RMR as part of monitoring services. Important for visual and intrusion alarm functions, Agility’s wireless is dual core, and there are 2 channels, each with its own antenna. One of these channels handles control and diagnostics, while the other takes care of visual transmission. Part of the thinking behind this division of responsibility is quicker response times for visual transmission but perhaps of more importance given the modest file sizes of the snap shots taken by the PIR cameras, is extending battery life as well as anti-collision between wireless devices. Separating visual and alarm management allows the PIR cameras’ optical assembly to go to sleep when the system is disarmed, which is important in battery-powered wireless sensors. Other features of the 2-way wireless include a technique to reduce signal contention between devices, synchronised communication and encryption of signals to improve security. Like keypads, system keyfobs can also report system status and receive request confirmation. The 2-way wireless supporting the remaining 24 alarm detection sensors is 433MHz FM with an output of about 10mW and Agility 3 supports all Risco’s wireless sensors – indoor PIR, outdoor multi technology detectors, flood, smoke, CO detectors and more. The breadth and quality of Risco’s sensors is a great strength of the product, in my opinion, and they’re priced pretty well, considering the quality. While this is an all-wireless system there is the ability to port in a 4-input wireless I/O module allowing the integration of existing wired alarm sensors. In such a case an old alarm panel would be removed and key zones terminated to the remote I/O module which would then report zone status to the Agility 3 panel via wireless. The I/O module also has an X-10 adaptor so you can do incorporate extensive home automation as well. Management of automation is mirrored through the management app where there’s ability to toggle I/Os for home automation. There are full logs so you can see who armed the system and when. And as you scroll through events, anything with a camera icon next to it is an alarm activation with associated captured images. Given Agility 3 is all about visual verification, what are the images like? Well they’re surprisingly good given they’re 320 x 240 pixels. You get decent colour in daytime and good monochrome in the dark thanks to that clever IR support. We view the images on an iPhone5 and they’re quite clear – small, as you’d expect – but definitely very useful. Risco-Agility-Mobile.-App There’s no pinch/spread zooming or rotation with these images but what you get is what’s important. These scenes are fine for general identification of known individuals and they would give a good idea of the appearance of an unknown intruder. You can clearly see details like clothing colour and hair colour. Overall viewing angle is good, too – you’re not peering through a keyhole. I think it’s the way of the future and Agility 3 is a reflection of that future. And because it’s new, smart alarm users are going to find it an excellent way to spice up their home features.

ElSec Ltd
242 Ellison Road
London
London
SW16 5DJ
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Risco Agility 3 Alarm Review On the beginning of 2013 we introduced new Risco Agility 3 alarm panel with the video verification. Agility 3 is available to users in UK and it’s impossible to resist taking a closer look at the wireless alarm panel with the bonus of home automation and video verification. Risco, which is the manufacturer, has put plenty of thought into Agility 3 and the company’s engineers have come up with a solution that’s easy to install and easy to use while offering the alarm industry’s gold standard for intrusion detection, visual verification. In fact, Risco Agility 3 is the first affordable domestic alarm panel that does visual verification. Interesting to me is the fact that Risco’s corporate self-awareness highlights 4 key areas of business – integration, integrated visual verification, access control, and intrusion. As I ran through the demo of Agility 3, I couldn’t help feeling all these areas were represented in this single domestic alarm product. Agility 3 has alarms, integrated video verification, integration of home automation via I/O and X-10 modules. Access control, you ask? Well – not exactly – but the proximity – enabled keypad does allow arming and disarming of the system by presentation of proximity tag to keypad. And little jewels of functionality like this are strewn throughout the system. In terms of specifications, Agility has 32 wireless zones, 8 of which can be wireless PIR cameras, as well as supporting up to 3 bi-directional wireless LCD & LED keypads, one for each of the 3 possible partitions. There’s also bi-directional audio, 32 user codes, as well as a 250-event log. There are also cool modules like PERS, and there’s a wireless home automation module with 4 wired zones and 4 outputs, which includes an X-10 transmitter. Sensors – well – these include all the intrusion wireless sensors Risco makes from internal PIRs to external multi-technology sensors, as well as safety detectors that include smoke, gas, CO and flood detection units. Support for wireless sensors is backwards compatible, too. Meanwhile, panel communication options include any combination of PSTN, IP and GSM/GPRS. First up there’s the panel housing which contains the control board, battery and communication modules. Once I get it into my hands I find the housing relatively heavy and this is mostly thanks to the weight of the large 3.2 Amp battery as well as the heft of the polished polycarb bodywork. Risco-Agility-3-Control-Panel The housing has some telltale LEDs located on the face, including an LED ‘tick’ icon which allows installers to check system status at a glance. If the icon is green, woohoo, if it’s red, then there’s a problem. Connections to the panel itself are simple as can be. There’s power through the usual plug pack and there’s RJ-45, allowing the panel to clamber onto a network via a local router so as to gain access to the Web for management and alarm reporting. The keypad comes out next and powered up is blue backlit. It’s a nice looking interface in shiny white poly with a 3-line LCD display. Cool too, the keypad can be removed from its bracket and installers or users can tote it around for convenience of operation and programming. Risco-Agility-3-Keypad The standard Risco Agility 3 panel comes with keypad, two PIR cameras, door contact, outdoor sounder and dummy box and a pair of proximity tags. I’m impressed with the remotes. I have a habit of judging tech by its ancillaries and these remotes have great size and hand feel. They’re a wee bit bigger than normal but are still compact. The plastic is light charcoal yet has a ferrous glint to it that’s distinctly upmarket. Risco-Agility-3-Keyfob As if to prove their beauty is more than micron-deep, the wireless fobs not only manage the security system but can also be used to drive a remote I/O module and handle cool stuff like lights and air conditioning. These fobs can also drive the system wirelessly (up to 8 keyfobs can be assigned to a single system) or you can enter a PIN into the keypad. Everything I get my hands on is well made with no nasty gaps, bulging seals or rough cut-offs that might suggest poor quality manufacture. Same as LightSYS and all the rest of Risco’s gear, Agility 3 is manufactured in Israel and quality control there is obviously tight. Risco’s warranty is 24 months, which is on the better side of industry standard. Nothing compares to Agility 3 when it comes to visual verification – in part because there’s very little competition in this area. In fact, Agility 3 is the first domestic and small commercial alarm system that sends images direct to the end user. Given the fact the new Agility system owns this part of the market, it’s worth spending a bit of time getting a handle on just what the visual verification component of the system actually is. For a start, you don’t get video clips with Agility. Instead you get snapshots, one pre-alarm and 4 post-alarm. The eyeWave PIR camera responsible for video duties incorporates a QVGA (quarter VGA) board camera with 320 x 240 pixels and an 85-degree field of view. Neat, there’s an IR flash that pulses on detection giving the camera the ability to capture images in total darkness with a depth of field of 10m (the PIR component offers wide angle detection up to 12m). Something else that’s thoughtful is that images are stored locally on the camera until they are entirely transmitted to the panel. The eyeWave PIR camera is available in both wide-angle and pet-immune versions. Risco-Agility-3-Camera-PIR Visual verification is driven by a GPRS or IP unit built into the control panel that transmits images to Risco’s secure cloud server. From here images can be passed on to users via the Smartphone app and to monitoring stations including 1 pre-alarm image and up to 7 post-alarm event images. The system sends an alarm message and 3 snap shots at intervals after an alarm event, with the intervals programmable between 0.5-2 seconds. If users want to check images from the cameras during the day to see if kids are home, for instance, they can just jump onto a camera via a smart app that runs on mobile phones and tablets or web browsers. The app lets authorised users management alarm systems remotely, as well as viewing real time images from PIR cameras or checking up on alarm activations. Risco-Agility-Mobile-App While the Risco Cloud is proprietary, it’s free of charge so there are no hurdles or odd complexities to navigate here. Yet at the same time, installers can supply panels with SIM cards already registered and up-sell users to advanced services that generate RMR as part of monitoring services. Important for visual and intrusion alarm functions, Agility’s wireless is dual core, and there are 2 channels, each with its own antenna. One of these channels handles control and diagnostics, while the other takes care of visual transmission. Part of the thinking behind this division of responsibility is quicker response times for visual transmission but perhaps of more importance given the modest file sizes of the snap shots taken by the PIR cameras, is extending battery life as well as anti-collision between wireless devices. Separating visual and alarm management allows the PIR cameras’ optical assembly to go to sleep when the system is disarmed, which is important in battery-powered wireless sensors. Other features of the 2-way wireless include a technique to reduce signal contention between devices, synchronised communication and encryption of signals to improve security. Like keypads, system keyfobs can also report system status and receive request confirmation. The 2-way wireless supporting the remaining 24 alarm detection sensors is 433MHz FM with an output of about 10mW and Agility 3 supports all Risco’s wireless sensors – indoor PIR, outdoor multi technology detectors, flood, smoke, CO detectors and more. The breadth and quality of Risco’s sensors is a great strength of the product, in my opinion, and they’re priced pretty well, considering the quality. While this is an all-wireless system there is the ability to port in a 4-input wireless I/O module allowing the integration of existing wired alarm sensors. In such a case an old alarm panel would be removed and key zones terminated to the remote I/O module which would then report zone status to the Agility 3 panel via wireless. The I/O module also has an X-10 adaptor so you can do incorporate extensive home automation as well. Management of automation is mirrored through the management app where there’s ability to toggle I/Os for home automation. There are full logs so you can see who armed the system and when. And as you scroll through events, anything with a camera icon next to it is an alarm activation with associated captured images. Given Agility 3 is all about visual verification, what are the images like? Well they’re surprisingly good given they’re 320 x 240 pixels. You get decent colour in daytime and good monochrome in the dark thanks to that clever IR support. We view the images on an iPhone5 and they’re quite clear – small, as you’d expect – but definitely very useful. Risco-Agility-Mobile.-App There’s no pinch/spread zooming or rotation with these images but what you get is what’s important. These scenes are fine for general identification of known individuals and they would give a good idea of the appearance of an unknown intruder. You can clearly see details like clothing colour and hair colour. Overall viewing angle is good, too – you’re not peering through a keyhole. I think it’s the way of the future and Agility 3 is a reflection of that future. And because it’s new, smart alarm users are going to find it an excellent way to spice up their home features.