Take Your 2GIG Experience to the Cutting Edge of Alarm Panel Technology: The 2GIG EDGE Panel
A couple of years ago, 2GIG came out with their eSeries alarm panels, which brought a critical update to the older GoControl models. The GC2 and 3 became the GC2e and 3e. The eSeries panels brought huge security updates with the ability to add encrypted sensors. The panels were also updated in a few other ways, including the newer Z-Wave Plus protocol and other cosmetic details. But for the most part, the GC2e and 3e were identical to their predecessors. 2GIG installers hoping for a more modern panel were left waiting in the wings. But that all changes today! Introducing the next step in the 2GIG alarm panel evolution. A panel so advanced and high-tech that 2GIG may have reached the edge of alarm panel technology.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the EDGE.
Okay, all dramatics aside, this is a great panel with a lot of new bells and whistles. It has a completely different design, a new user interface, and a ton of really cool features that make this the kind of upgrade a lot of people were looking for back when the eSeries came out. There is some cutting edge technology built into this panel, which we’ll take a look at as we dig a little bit deeper into this review.
First, it has a built-in camera that lets you unlock your alarm panel with your face using edge AI facial recognition. Keeping everything on the panel and out of the cloud means your personal data is safe and secure. The camera also takes pictures anytime the alarm panel is disarmed so you always have those records on hand.
This panel has the ability to pull in camera streams from your Alarm.com cameras. It’s also ONVIF compatible, meaning you can pull in camera streams from virtually any ONVIF-compatible IP camera. If you add a doorbell camera to your panel, you can also answer the doorbell and talk to your visitors right through the panel’s interface.
The EDGE has an advanced quad-core processor that gives it much more power than other panels have had in the past. It works faster, the screen is brighter, the audio is louder and more crisp. It’s all-around more responsive.
And yes, we do offer complementary premium branding on all 2GIG EDGE panels. Be sure to select this option when you check out and we'll print your logo in high-quality, full color ink directly on the bottom of your panel free of charge.
So are all these features worth upgrading yours and your customers' panels to the 2GIG EDGE? That’s a question we’ll return to at the end of this post. But for now, I’ll leave it at this: it totally depends on what you’re upgrading from and what your personal preferences are. This panel has a lot of strengths, making it a great addition to your product line and an upgrade that many of your customers will be happy with.
The EDGE panel is the first of its kind. It’s not an upgrade to the GoControl panels. At least not in the same way that the GC3 was an upgrade to the GC2. The EDGE really is in a category on its own. But since most people reading this blog post are going to be interested in how these panels compare to the GC2e and the GC3e, we’re going to start our review by looking at the similarities and differences.
GoControl and the EDGE: What Hasn’t Changed?
The GC2e and 3e brought in a new type of sensor technology: the eSeries encrypted sensors. At the same time, these panels were backwards compatible with older, non-encrypted 2GIG sensors. The sensor technology in the 2GIG EDGE has not changed. That means it’s still compatible with the eSeries encrypted sensors and with older non-encrypted 2GIG sensors. What does this mean for you?
If you’re an alarm dealer already selling 2GIG eSeries products, there’s nothing new you really need to carry except for the 2GIG EDGE primary and secondary panels. Everything else—the door sensors, the motion detectors, the life safety detectors—is the same as before.
This is also helpful if you’re going to be upgrading older 2GIG systems with the new EDGE panel. Takeovers are going to be a breeze, since you can essentially swap out the panel and call it good.
The panel setup is also virtually the same as the GC3e. It’s a little bit faster and a better experience in general, thanks to that quad-core processor, but for the most part nothing has changed here. If you’re used to installing 2GIG alarm panels, there’s not going to be any kind of a learning curve. You’ll be able to pick up the EDGE and install it moving through the same menu system that you’ve come to know and love. Well, at least that you’ve come to know.
The user interface is updated, but it’s definitely recognizable. It’s easy to navigate both for you and for your customers. It’s clean and organized, which has been a strength of 2GIG alarm panels from the beginning. As is to be expected, that hasn’t changed with the EDGE.
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GoControl and the EDGE: What’s New?
So what exactly has changed? I’ve already given you a brief overview of some of the major features of the EDGE, but now let’s dig into those a little deeper.
Edge Artificial Intelligence Facial Recognition
Probably the biggest update moving from the GoControl panels to the EDGE is the analytics capabilities. In fact, this is how the panel got its name, since it uses edge artificial intelligence algorithms to recognize faces. What is edge AI? It’s simply onboard AI analytics performed right there at the alarm panel. Contrast this with other Internet of Things devices which send data through the network to a remote server and perform AI analytics off in the cloud.
The idea here is security. Since the EDGE panel performs all analytics at the panel, there is no data being sent anywhere. Pictures of your face aren’t floating around in cyberspace. When you delete a user, their information is deleted immediately. There’s no trace of forgotten user data sitting on someone else’s computer.
So how does the facial recognition work in practice? Well if you’ve ever used face recognition to unlock your mobile phone, it’s pretty much the same process. When you go to add a new user to your alarm panel, you can enable facial recognition, which will analyze their face from three different angles. Once their face is analyzed, they can now use their face to unlock the alarm panel. They don’t have to have a phone with them and they don’t have to type in a user code. All they have to do is just look at the alarm panel.
I will say the process isn’t “touchless” as is claimed by some of the marketing materials you may have read. You do have to click the “Disarm” button in order to bring up facial recognition. Once you do that, it’s still not as fast as unlocking your mobile phone. You have to look straight at the camera and turn your head slowly in both directions in order for it to register your face and disarm the alarm. This isn’t a complaint by any means; the AI analytics are incredibly accurate and safe. I personally don’t care if it takes a few extra seconds to register. I’m just trying to manage your expectations here.
The facial recognition edge AI features in this panel are much more about security and accuracy than they are about speed and convenience. Anyone can walk in your home and type in a code. It’s easy for someone to steal your phone and disarm your alarm with Bluetooth. Breaking into your home and tricking the panel’s facial recognition algorithm is going to be much harder to do.
Touchless Disarming via Bluetooth
So the facial recognition feature is not a touchless method of disarming your alarm panel. But you can still set up touchless disarming with your phone’s Bluetooth. This is a really cool feature that you don’t get with the 2GIG GoControl panels.
Once you connect your phone to this panel, you can unlock the panel instantly just by arriving home with your phone in your pocket. When you get within the Bluetooth range of your EDGE panel, it will automatically disarm. You can just walk into your home and carry on with your day without having to worry about the alarm at all.
The obvious drawback with this is the fact that , like we mentioned in the previous section, someone can take your phone and easily get into your home.
Camera Live Feed Access
Another addition to the EDGE panel is the ability to view security camera feeds right from your panel. You can do this via any Alarm.com camera associated with your account or even any ONVIF-compatible security camera. That means our H-Series, R-Series, and Uniview cameras can all be accessed here. With the dual microphones on the panel, you can even interact with your cameras and answer your doorbell cameras.
Alarm panels aren’t just about managing your alarms anymore. These panels are much more for managing pretty much everything in your home. The ability to access security cameras from the panel is just another convenient way to manage even more devices from one control panel.
Another major design improvement of the EDGE panel that you won’t find on the GC2e or 3e is the incredible quad-core processor. This 1.6Ghz quad-core processor gives this panel a ton of power to out-perform many other similar alarm panels. This processor is the reason why this panel can do so much. It’s how the panel is able to perform a variety of edge analytics on-site. This processor also boosts pretty much everything. The screen is brighter and snappier. The audio is louder and crisper, with two front-firing speakers instead of one. The audio input is boosted as well, with a dual microphone for cancelling echo and improving audio quality all-around. This panel is much more responsive, much faster, and feels much more intuitive than the GoControl models that came before.
So… Should You Upgrade to the EDGE Panel?
The question is a tricky one, simply because the EDGE Panel isn’t meant to be an update to the GoControl panels. It’s something new entirely. But here is our best answer.
If your customers are still using the GC2 or the GC3, then yes. You should absolutely upgrade your customer’s alarm panel so that they can take advantage of safer encrypted technology. This would be a great opportunity for you to replace their older systems with the newer technology of the EDGE panel. Not only does this offer compatibility with standard 2GIG sensors and eSeries encrypted sensors, it also gives your customers a ton of other new features and updates.
If your customers are using the GC2e or the GC3e, then it’s totally up to you and your customers. In many ways, the EDGE is a large update that brings a lot of new functionality to your customers that they’ve not been able to experience with the 2e or the 3e. Some customers may want to have their panels swapped out with the new EDGE simply because they want to take advantage of edge facial recognition analytics, or Bluetooth touchless disarming. On the other hand, you may have customers who aren’t interested enough in these features to justify upgrading their panels.
In summary, the EDGE panel offers a lot of new bells and whistles. There is more advanced and more powerful technology. There’s a lot more you can do with the EDGE that you can’t do with other alarm panels. But if your customers choose to stick with the GC3e, they’re really not missing out on any critical features. They’ll miss out on some of the quality of life updates, but the core functionality of the EDGE really isn’t all that different from the GoControl panels.
Alarm panel technology has come a long way even in just the past few years. 2GIG’s newest EDGE alarm panel is a great response to this growth. On the one hand, it integrates newer technology into its panel, like the newest Z-Wave protocols, Bluetooth connectivity, integrated cell cards, and security camera streaming. But on the other hand, it also pushes the industry forward with new technologies like edge artificial intelligence, facial recognition technology, and ONVIF compatibility. Again 2GIG has proven that they are leaders in this industry. And with the 2GIG EDGE in your product lineup, your business will be on that leading edge as well. The panel is going to make a lot of your customers happy. It’s going to look great in your showroom. It’s going to present you with a lot of opportunities for upsells and new customers. Is it something that all your customers need to switch to right away? No. But it is an excellent panel with a lot of features that will satisfy your yearning for new 2GIG equipment.
What do you think about this alarm panel? Let us know in the comments below how you’ll be incorporating the EDGE panel into your business.