Many systems offer the 2way voice capability, and there is much discussion over whether it slows down response times, or increases it.
IMO if your panel supports the feature, then you should have it. If your CS does not support it, then tell them to start supporting it, or go with a different Central Station Monitoring Company that does. Your life, lives of your loved ones may well depend on it one day.
How 2way voice works, and why you should have it:
No phone line /conventional telephone service is required, and there are no lines to be cut. How many times have you had to feverishly hunt for that cell phone? Do you have time when your child has stopped breathing, or is in seizure , or your husband is in cardiac arrest? Or if violence is occurring in your home due to a home invasion?
It has been my experience that CS is either listening over 2way/talking over 2way within a short period of time following an alarm/emergency activation.
Two-way voice response is the most important part of any security system, and will result in faster, more efficient security service for you.
When a digital alarm is triggered the system sends a signal to the central station. When received at the central station the operator will call your home/business, ringing the phone 4 times (approx 15 or more seconds), and if the phone goes unanswered they will then try to contact you or someone else on your call list to ask if all is well. Then, and only then will they contact the authorities to alert them of an intrusion. Minutes have gone by before the authorities are alerted. The police know that 99 times out of 100 a digital alarm signal is a false alarm. They will place this call as a low priority. At that point your digital alarm system is probably the only thing the crooks have not looted. What if there was a medical emergency and you couldn't answer the phone? What if you were being held hostage? Who would know?
Two Way Voice-
Two-Way Voice is the difference between life and death. This alarm system feature helps the monitoring station determine your emergency and gives the authorities a VERIFIED emergency. This, in turn, bumps you up to a PRIORITY ONE dispatch. This means you are at the top of the list for the police, fire or ambulance.
When an alarm goes off in your home, the monitoring station listens in and asks if you are ok. If you are, you tell them your passcode and let them know, it was an error, and that everything is all right. If not… you give them your verbal duress passcode, or you tell them the emergency and they will dispatch the appropriate authorities.
The monitoring station can also hear noises, like breaking glass or drawers being opened and determine if there is a burglary in progress. They can hear screaming or distress calls from inside the home. Even grunting or groaning can be heard over the speaker.
When the monitoring station notifies authorities, they tell them they have a VERIFIED Emergency. From that point on, the authorities treat your emergency as a Priority One. This means they are coming immediately, at the fastest speed possible. It also means that another emergency is not going to supersede yours.
Without 2-Way Voice the authorities give your "emergency" a Priority Four rating. The monitoring station has already spent several minutes calling phone numbers on your list, attempting to determine if you are actually having an emergency. When the police are finally called, the only thing they know for certain, is that an alarm has gone off at your address. At that point they will head to your home. Hopefully another call doesn’t come in with a higher priority number than four. If it does, your help is being re-routed to that emergency.
Also, more and more jurisdictions are adopting polices to not respond at all to unverified alarms. It is wise to check with your local police, 911 to find out what their policy is for responding to unverified home security system alarms.