LiveWatch’s signature control panel is the Quolsys IQ. Quolsys, a former Silicon Valley startup, manufactures and distributes a GE and Z-Wave compatible, touch screen alarm panel for home security companies. LiveWatch provides the Simon XT with their low-priced kit. However, only the IQ panel allows smartphone integration and management along with Z-Wave integration with the sensor array and cameras. You can manage up to 58 zones with the IQ.
The IQ has just about any technological feature that a home security user could desire. In addition to five radios, the panel has a buialt-in camera and a built-in speaker and microphone. The camera will take a photo of anyone attempting to disarm or destroy the console and send it to the monitoring panel and the homeowner by text or email.
The microphone and speaker not only allows audio notification of the various system status conditions, but it also allows direct contact by the home or business owner with the monitoring station.
There is an option to connect it to your existing home Wi-Fi for direct management and internet portal access bypassing the cellular. Learn how this console integrates with the entire system in our LiveWatch security review.
The panel weighs about two pounds and the board with the back plate is about 1.5″ thick. The entire unit measures 8.5″ x 1.5″ with a 7″ LCD screen in the middle, microphone at the bottom left by the emergency button, and built-in camera centered above the LCD display. The console uses 110/240 – 50/60Hz AC power with a Lithium-ion battery backup.
When you take the back plate off, inside you will find, in addition to the hard drive, three miniaturized radios: image sensor, cellular and Z-Wave. There is also a tamper switch along the battery, speaker and microphone. There are two speakers: one for the two-way voice and one for the siren. The built-in siren meets the Security Industry Association (SIA), Underwriters Laboratory (UL) 1023 standard. There is also an SD card slot in the left rear for managing software and photos.
Home Screen Design
The home screen has three large icons: touch arming, weather, and camera. Below these are three smaller images: status, home control, and apps. The third and final row of icons at the bottom has settings, help and “contact us” apps.
There is also a panic button and a “return to home screen” button at the very bottom of the panel.
By pressing and holding the “return to home screen” button for thirty seconds, you reboot the system; sometimes necessary if the display freezes, or there seems to be a software glitch.
The arming icon, a padlock, is color coded. The opening setting is green for unarmed (padlock open). A yellow lock means the system is not ready for use yet and red means all sensors and armed.
Once you touch the arming icon, you are taken to a screen with the following touchscreen options:
- Arm Stay
- Arm Away
- Quick Exit
- Bypass Sensors
- Exit Delay
- Exit Sounds
Touching the weather icon will give you a four-day forecast and the current hi/lo temperatures and any anticipated precipitation.
The Camera Icon
You can view or disarm (deactivate) the camera, see the photos that were taken, or access any other cameras connected to the system by pressing this icon.
The status app gives you access to four categories of management:
- Current System Status
- System Alerts
- Alarm Events
- System History
The home control icon takes you directly to the Z-Wave components you have linked to the system. The default groupings are lights, locks and thermostat.
Pressing the apps icon reveals a photo frame and sound settings, bilingual toggle and safety settings access.
The settings take you to the test functions. It also is where you must go for installation of the panel and any additional components purchased, to view general system settings, and for necessary information about the console.
The help icon has a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and video tutorials option.
“Contact Us” lets LiveWatch or the monitoring station send you messages. It also has all the direct contact information for LiveWatch.
If someone sent you a message, a little red circle would appear in the upper right corner of this app on the home screen.
Like many high-tech products, the panel can do so much that it takes some time to get used to how to use and access all the features. You will probably need to try out various settings and practice with the different icons and apps until you determine the best use for your individual needs.
You can program multiple alerts that notify you in various ways. For example, if someone disarms the system while you are away, you can have an SMS or email sent to your smartphone. You can configure the panel, using smart home appliance options, to shut off a device if, for example, a leak was detected by a water sensor.
The security settings likely need the most attention from the user. You add, delete, name and reconfigure names and zones here. By pressing the settings and installation, you come to the security settings screen.
There are six touchscreen icons on this screen:
- Auto Learn Sensor
This icon is the quickest way to add a sensor to your system. You press it, edit the name and it connects to the panel.
- Add Sensor
You can manually add a sensor by inputting all the device information. For example, for a freeze sensor, you would input the type, location and other device information asked for by the prompt.
- Edit Sensor
Here you can change existing sensor information, such as a name or location.
- Delete Sensor
This will remove a sensor from the grid.
- Sensor Status
This site displays your entire sensor array, including all detectors and smart home appliances.
- Sensor Group
You can see all the groupings you have configured, such as all first floor sensors or all smart home devices, here.
The fixed-focus camera has low resolution, .3-megapixel. It will take a photo of anyone trying to remove or destroy the panel and send it to you and the monitoring station. You can also program it to photograph and SMS or Email you a photo of whoever disarms the system at any time. This includes users with valid access codes.
All the images have a date stamp. You can access a log of the photos at any time through your smartphone, online portal or at the console.
LiveWatch will automatically update the software as necessary through the cellular connection. You can also update it using Wi-Fi or with an SD card.
There are several steps involved in new installations. You will need a Phillip head screwdriver to remove the back plate. After attaching the backplate to the wall, there is a handy strap on the back that lets you hand the panel to the back plate while you perform the rest of the installation steps.
You must connect the power supply to the panel, red-to-red and black-to-black. To complete the setup, you connect the battery, attach the panel to the back plate and power up the unit.
If you need to move the panel, the user’s manual warns you to make sure you have enough battery life left so that the unit has power during the move. If the battery is dead, and you unplug the unit, you risk losing all the setup connections and memory.
Pressing and settings icon lets you test each of five components.
- Wi-Fi Test
- Sensor Test
- Cellular Test
- Image Sensor Test
- Z-Wave Test
You test the Wi-Fi by pressing “run” and the system will take a few seconds and indicate either pass or fail. If it fails, using the same settings icon you access “Touch System Settings” (a small robotic figure) and then the Wi-Fi icon. There, the system displays all available networks, and you can choose another one or re-enter a passcode if necessary, then test the connection again.
Each sensor connected to the panel will be displayed. Touching one will initiate the test.
The cellular test will show the strength of the cell signal among the components, panel, and monitoring station. You must activate your system’s mobile service through the online portal first, and then you can test it.
Image Sensor Test
Each camera linked to the panel will show on the screen, along with the type, latest firmware, and location. There will be a PIR icon (Passive Infrared) that can determine if the low-light PIR works correctly. The icon called “Installer Peek-in” lets the monitoring station “peek” at the camera you test and determine if they are receiving an image.
The Z-Wave test works the same as a sensor test. You press “run” for each smart appliance component to determine its operating status.
The Quolsys console has an enormous number of features and capabilities. The panel is one of the most advanced consoles on the market. The learning curve is a bit steep. It will take time and patience to learn how to access and use all the management controls. Once you do, you will likely find it an excellent tool that enables you to get the most out of your LiveWatch home security system.
Most LiveWatch customers will probably choose this panel instead of the Simon XT. Otherwise, if you wish to use your smartphone to manage your system or add a camera or smart home appliance later, you will have to purchase it separately. The units retail for around $350 each.