Best Home Security Technology?
Reviewed by: Kyle Wood
They are becoming one of the biggest automation and home alarm companies in the U.S. They currently provide service to well over one million customers and even won best product in 2015 by PC Magazine. Right off the bat, a major downside to their service is it requires you to sign a minimum 48 to 60 month contract. This is a very long contract but it does provide some excellent monitoring which starts at $53.99/mo. This contract length is much longer than the industry standard of 24 to 36 months. The monthly fee is also quite a bit more expensive than the industry average of $29.99 a month but the super high-tech smart home devices can certainly help justify these prices. Let’s review more about their services and features below.
There are already plenty of reviews on the web for this company but we are going to take a more in-depth, closer look at the features and plans. Vivint home security is making their mission as an alarm company to seperate itself from the competition by focusing mainly on home automation technology. If that is one of your main concerns you may be able to justify the above average price point. If you are not entirely interested in the automated smart home aspect I do not recommend their more basic plans as you can find similar plans for cheaper from other companies. Check out a comparison of all the best home alarm companies before making your choice. Ok, enough of that, let’s learn more about this company
They are a privately owned residential company which was bought out by the Blackstone Group in late 2012. In addition to providing safety services, they also offer plans to help families conserve energy. Their mission is to help families live intelligently by offering home automation and safety systems.
Although they are a relatively new name, they are not a new company. In 2011, the name was taken over by APX Alarm Security Solutions. APX changed their name to Vivint when the company decided to expand into a wider range of products and services. The company actually originally began operations back in 1997 and after only one year they partnered with Goldman Sachs. Through a bunch of private investments, they began to grow bigger and bigger. In total, they currently monitor about 1 million homes.
Vivint Solar and Sky?
Their vast smart home features include the ability to control your lighting, your house temperature, and even some appliances through the system. This functionality can also be accomplished through a web portal or on a mobile device with their app. Easily schedule your tasks such as turning lights on or off at particular times to make it appear as if the house is occupied. The ability to set an event-triggered action where lighting, appliances, surveillance cameras, and other alarm equipment responds to certain actions.
They have made it a priority to provide innovative and new emerging technologies. In addition to smart automation, they offer energy efficiency and is making an effort to be one the largest roof-top solar panel providers in the U.S. In addition to the commonly offered alarm devices, they have other interesting projects such as Vivint Sky & Solar, which lets you know if you forgot to lock your door when leaving the house. Another cool feature is that this can be linked to Amazon’s Echo to create an environment that is not only secure, but also smart. All these projects help you conserve energy by adjusting temperatures, turning lights off, and more using simple voice commands. They also boasts a unique doorbell camera that lets you see and talk to anyone who comes to your front door.
Space Monkey 1TB Storage
Space Monkey is a cloud storage drive that holds a whopping 1 TB of data storage, the equivalent to about a quarter of a million photos. Photos and videos are automatically recorded and backed up to your device with the service. The data can be accessed at any time from any Windows, Mac, iOS or Android device. It does cost extra, but for some it is worth the $10/month.
Cellular connections are the best, period. It leaves no holes in your walls or difficult installation with hard to reach cables running behind your walls. Having a cellular monitoring system is the safest because with systems that use Wi-Fi or landline’s have the ability to lose power or having your wires cut. Vivint security systems have completely integrated with cellular monitoring and does not offer other methods.
If you take into consideration that this is a cellular system that includes great interactive app access and home automation, you will soon realize that the service is actually priced quite fairly. The company does not provide any cheaper options.
Vivint App Review
Control your system remotely using the free iOS and Android apps, or from a PC using the Web interface. The app has thousand’s of reviews with the average being above 4 out of 5 stars. The mobile app will show you how many doors and windows are currently open and which doors are currently unlocked. It also features a main button for arming and disarming your service and buttons for locking and unlocking your doors. Access the thermostat page to view the current temperature in your house, turn the AC on or off, set vacation modes, and even create heating and cooling schedules.
The main security camera screen let’s you view live video from each surveillance camera and view clips from recorded events like motion detection or the doorbell. Another nifty feature is the On/Off icon which takes you to a screen where you are able to turn outlets and light switches on or off. Have lights turn on and off at specific times or when an event is triggered, and have your doors lock or unlock automatically at a specific time. The outdoor cameras will record video when that alarm is triggered. You don’t get as much control with the Web interface as you do with the mobile app.
Vivint Sky performed awesome as a home automation system. It never failed to lock or unlock doors, and the thermostat followed all my schedules without a hiccup. With Sky you get a full-blown alarm system that is constantly being watched, and a comprehensive smart home solution that can be controlled from anywhere. You definitely can save a ton of money in subscription fees with a DIY home alarm system like SimpliSafe, but that means you are in charge of the installation, maintenance, and monitoring.
New customers can take advantage of receiving the entire system (which is worth $1500) for free by signing the 60-month contract at $60.99/month. This includes the SkyControl touchscreen and 7 different alarm devices that are fully customizable based on your needs.
You don’t need to worry about whether you are advanced or tech-savvy enough to install the system. One of the professional installers will come to your residence and do it for you. Be prepared for the possibility of up-selling seeing as how the installers are paid on a commission basis. If the extra equipment they suggest is important to you, then go for it. Just be cautious and when you’re not sure whether you need it or not, you probably don’t. You can always add additional equipment later once you have used the system and are well versed in it’s operations. If you prefer more flexibility with how and where your alarm system is installed, check out other popular system like Frontpoint and Protect America.
Be sure you take the time to understand contract expectations and lengths before officially signing. You must remember that home alarm equipment is usually very expensive, so anytime you are offered a free system, expect the contracts to be lengthy.
Vivint products use wireless equipment and allows you customize your alarm system to include as many or as few devices and features as you see fit. For invasion protection, it may come with outdoor or indoor surveillance cameras, door and window sensors, motion sensors, smart automation controls and of course the app to control everything. With such a vast variety of high-tech devices and sensors, they can help you create the perfect alarm system for your house.
Home Automation Equipment
With a qualifying credit score, they will provide you a state of the art home automation system for $199 (unless you sign a 60-month contract), which is on par with most other smart automation packages. This system is a combination of alarm and safety needs plus extra high-tech equipment that allows the customer to monitor all aspects of the house, such as doors, thermostats and lighting. You can even get the new doorbell camera.
- 1 touch-screen control panel
- 1 surveillance camera
- 1 electronic door lock
- 1 smart thermostat
- 1 appliance controller
- 12 energy-efficient bulbs
- 3 door and window sensors
- 1 motion detector
- 1 key fob
- Remote temperature control
- Energy reduction
- Weather alerts
- Wireless communication
- Free app
Through Vivint’s security system you can control almost all features of your house remotely. Doors, thermostat, surveillance and lighting. The app is free, which is nice since many companies charge extra for that. Also, it provides non-emergency alerts like severe weather warnings and information on malfunctioning devices. This offer is essentially a combination of the alarm package and the energy savings package with the added features of remote control from anywhere.
Services and Plans Cost
It’s still the one of the biggest first-world problems: Internet that starts out fast and affordable and then, without warning, your service slows down and the costs go up. They are on a mission to offer the best Broadband Internet service for the absolute best price, and promising it will never go up. You can finally have Internet with the fastest speeds, a low price, and their award-winning customer service and help.
Starter Package – $39.99
- 24/7 Monitoring
- 5 Points of Alarm Equipment for Free
- Remote access and control
- Touchscreen SkyControl Panel App
Smart Protect – $49.99
- 24/7 Monitoring
- 7 Points of Alarm Devices for Free
- Remote access and control
- Touchscreen App with Vivint SkyControl Panel
- Lower activation fee
Smart Control – $60.99
- 24/7 Monitoring
- 9 Point Alarm System free
- Remote access and home automation control
- Touchscreen SkyControl Main panel
- 1 or more smart home services
- Space Monkey Storage
- Lower Activation fee
The systems are installed by professional technicians who do all the mounting and construction work in your house. However, when moving, they recommend reinstalling your whole system in the event that you have over $500 worth of equipment. Things like the length of time you’ve been a customer, can also result in additional fees when you move. If it likely that you will move before the terms of your contract end, a DIY home alarm system may be a better fit. When you sign a contract with them, you are stuck for 48 to 60 months and there is no option to cancel other than paying the balance that is left in full.
As far as customer service is concerned, they definitely hold their own. It has a ton of online information and tutorials to educate yourself. If you have any issues contact Vivint’s customer service through email, phone or even live chat. If your job has you moving every couple of years, they do offer relocation services to make it possible to bring your home alarm monitoring service with you, wherever you go. The equipment is covered by an awesome lifetime warranty the whole time you are under contract.
Vivint wireless is a nationwide provider with many good aspects:
- The alarm owner will an alert if a disconnection with the central monitoring station occurs
- Wireless devices
- Easy to relocate with their service
- Home automation optionsare among the best
- Lifetime equipment warranty
- Easy to use and understand app
- Focus is energy efficiency
- Cellular monitoring comes standard
- Two-way voice between you and the monitoring center
- Nifty doorbell camera
They also have a few less desirable aspects:
- Aggressive sales approach. They might even show up randomly
- B- rating with the Better Business Bureau
- High upfront costs due to required professional installation (Unless 60-month contract)
- Mediocre customer service reputation
- Monthly monitoring is expensive
- Longest contracts in the industry
- Too expensive if you don’t need smart automation
They are a extremely innovative alarm company with impressive smart automation features and a huge emphasis on high-quality devices and equipment. With it’s strong financial backing they are on their way to becoming a major player in the industry. The integration with Amazon Echo is promising. In the future this could be a game changer for not only this company but the entire industry. Until more feedback on this integration is available I can’t hype it up too much. They have great customer reviews and the feedback is mostly positive.
If you’re looking for THE cutting-edge alarm system and home automation technology, they have everything you need. Sleek looking equipment with useful features that allow you to control every single aspect of your service remotely using its well-rated mobile app. You won’t be disappointed in the technology, that’s for sure.