Understanding Alarm Panels

I’m learning about setting up HA to work as an alarm system. I’ve followed the HA tutorial on setting up an alarm panel entity and it seems to work fine.

I’m trying to understand exactly what the “panel” is, though. From what I can tell, the “panel” is just a manually-created entity that allows for arming/disarming, and various scenes/automations are based on that… So, based on the status of the “Panel,” I can do whatever I want (call the cops, send a text message, sound a siren, etc.).

So, it’s just an Entity, and doesn’t necessarily have any functions, in and of itself, other than arming/disarming.

Are there any benefits to going with some other type of alarm panel, be they hardware or software?

Correct. It’s pretty basic. I suggest you have a look at this:

Graphical management of sensors and alerts and much more.

On the Hardware front, some people prefer a dedicated purpose-built security panel. There’s various ways to do it and get full functionality in HA. In my case I have a DSC PowerSeries panel so I use an EyezOn - EnvisaLink™ EVL-4EZR Security Module For DSC/Honeywell Panels and the Envisalink - Home Assistant (home-assistant.io) integration… Full two-way LAN communication with the security system.

(All your zones are belonging to us…) :wink:

Thanks for the input!

There’s a good possibility I’ll be selling the house in the next couple of years. My idea was to build a setup that can be converted into something “regular people-friendly” to leave behind for the buyers/next owners. My existing Honeywell panel (which came with the house) does support Z-Wave with an Add-On., so when I move I can leave this behind with working Z-Wave sensors, and just take my HA instance with me.

Is there a list of some Z-Wave and HA-friendly panels to consider?