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How to Select the Best Barn Alarm for Your Operation

June 15, 2022

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Michael Hansen


Most traditional barn alarms like Agri-Alert, Sensaphone, Farm Alarm, and others are tied to one unreliable landline or cell carrier that’s provided by the owner separately. If the connection fails, all barns lose communication.

Miles of Barn Alarm Wires
Barn Alarm Wires

For old barn alarms, the Gateway and sensors must be connected using miles of wiring and require a certified electrician to install the system at your site. One small wiring break or malfunction brings down the entire system.

Traditional barn alarms also do not have self-testing capabilities to alert you if they lose connectivity. With the 3G network officially out of service, most traditional barn alarms are unable to silence touchtone acknowledgments – and cannot send out alarm calls altogether.

By not having a reliable connection, traditional barn alarms ultimately fall short in providing real-time visibility into the conditions of your barn and the data you need to forecast your production decisions. Most alarm notifications are sent via phone call only and to a limited number of people. Alarm calls provide vague information, such as the zone number from where the alarm was triggered, and little specificity on the issue.

Users cannot view temperature, humidity, water flow, power, feed, and other critical functions inside your barn through a mobile app. Instead, you can only call into the alarm system to receive automated reports on the current conditions inside the barn.

Traditional barn alarms also do not provide graphs of historical data or sensor readings, which makes it impossible to ever have the full picture into the conditions of your barn or identify trends or patterns in temperature, water consumption, feed intake, and other key measures critical to the success of your operation. Most modern alarms automatically store system data in the cloud that can be shared securely however you choose.

Selecting the Best Full-Potential Alarm

While modern alarms have a clear advantage over traditional alarms, understanding the most important features that go into creating a full-potential alarm can help you separate good alarms from the very best.

Selecting the right full-potential alarm requires taking a hard look at how each one provides connectivity, a reliable monitoring system, and realtime visibility into your operation.

Alarm System Connectivity

Reliable connectivity is the foundation of the best full-potential alarm. BarnTalk is the only wireless barn alarm with certified multi-carrier connectivity built into the system, ensuring you always have a backup connection, and never have to rely on only one lifeline to your barn.

Barn Alarm Connectivity Comparison Table

On the other hand, most other modern alarms only have agreements with one carrier or require the grower to set up their own plan, making it a more unreliable system and incompatible with sites located in rural areas. BarnTalk works where your phone doesn’t by using multi-carrier connectivity and sending small data packets to the cloud.

With most modern alarms, sensor readings may only be refreshed after several minutes, or even a full hour. BarnTalk completes a self-test more frequently than most other modern alarms. Every two minutes, the BarnTalk command center calls out to each Gateway in the field. The Gateway simply responds back to confirm its still online. If no response is received, an alarm is triggered. We refer to this regular call-response routine as the HeartBeat.

Wireless Capabilities

With many modern alarm systems, sensors are not wireless and they must be drilled into the ceiling or wall in your barn, or magnetically attached. BarnTalk allows you to freely hang sensors anywhere in your building, and they do not need to be drilled into the ceiling or wall.

The sensors for most modern alarm systems must be manually paired or wired to the Gateway. A certified electrician or specialist must come on-site to install the system, and it can take several hours or longer for the installation.

Conversely, BarnTalk works straight out of the box, and the system can be installed on your own in only 30 minutes.

BarnTalk Temp Sensor

Real-Time Visibility

Some modern alarm systems may require on-site WiFi or Ethernet connection to view barn conditions remotely, and sensor readings may not always be refreshed in real time. With BarnTalk, you do not need onsite internet to view the conditions of your barn remotely, and sensor readings are constantly refreshed in real–time.

In addition, alarm notifications for most modern alarm systems are sent via email or through a call center operator instead of a text message or push notification. With BarnTalk, you can customize alarm notification delivery between push notifications, texts, and calls. Alarm notifications can be sent to an unlimited number of people, and you can decide who needs to receive them.

BarnTalk, The Full-Potential Barn Alarm

BarnTalk is the next generation, wireless smart barn alarm that provides pork and poultry producers with reliable connectivity, a reliable monitoring system, and real-time visibility and data into their operation 24/7. It’s the easiest-to-use tech you’ll ever put in your barn, and affordable enough for your entire operation.

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