Aug 07

Alarm.com LogoAfter reviewing the multitude of comments on my original review of alarm.com and realizing I had totally forgotten to write the next review, I thought I’d throw together something real quick for anyone still interested in what I have to say.

The truth is my family has been very happy with the alarm.com system we have installed.  It has been reliable and operational for at least 8 months now with hardly any problems at all. We have a huge system with all the bells and whistles, lots and lots of sensors (motion, door, audio glass break, surface break, screen, water, smoke, CO, et cetera) in both wired and wireless formats.  From what I can see, everything seems to work flawlessly.

There have been a few accidental alarm triggers caused by us and the company is quick to call.  Also, the text message/email functionality is very quick (so I know what’s going on).  Typically, my cell phone will alert my via text message that an alarm is “pending” and I will receive that message before the alarm has actually gone off.  Kinda cool to know in real time what’s going on.

The web site history is nice as well to check up on the house while on vacation.  (also nice to be able to disarm the system remotely for a friend to come in and water the plants without having to give them an access code)

The cellular paging aspect is rock solid.  Not once have we ever had a problem in that regard.

The one area that was mildly disappointing was the x10 functionality with the lights; but that’s mostly because of limitations in my house rather than the alarm system itself.  Basically, because the house is split on several different “circuits”, only the outlets and switches that are on the same “branch” as the alarm panel work properly.  I understand there are x10 solutions to this problem; but I haven’t looked into it too much at this point (I’ve just been too busy).

Overall though, I still like alarm.com and would use them again if I had it do all over again.

If you have any specific questions, I can try to answer them within a week or so… so just leave a comment!

23 Responses to “Alarm.com – Updated Review”

  1. Alarm.com Security System Review: The Best Available? | The Weber Report Says:

    [...] Please read my new review everyone – it’s been a while since I wrote this.  addthis_url = [...]

  2. Alan Says:

    Hi Dustin,

    Thanks for the update. Very good, just like the first.

    Your first review is the main reason I looked into Alarm.com further and ultimately became a customer, so thanks!

    I have been a Frontpoint Security and Alarm.com customer for about 7 months now, and I echo your great sentiment about the service. It is bar-none the absolute best technology platform I have seen in this space, especially at anywhere near the same price-point. And I honestly have never experienced better service anywhere than I have at Frontpoint Security.

    And, it should be noted that I am not affiliated with (other than being a regular customer, paying regular rates) nor am I being compensated in any way for saying these things by either company.

    I have written a few other reviews around the internet, so I won’t rehash anything here… just wanted to pop my head in and say thanks for the reviews, and making me aware of this great technology platform.

    Best regards,
    Alan

  3. NV Says:

    When you log into the alarm.com portal is it a secure link, like https?

    Please respond on this review blog.

  4. Doug Says:

    NV

    I happened to investigate frontpoint’s website and although this is just a screen shot the browser has an https link. I am not a customer with alarm.com or frontpoint yet but I am looking to switch from ADT.

    (hope this link is not in violation, I just wanted to show the image with https)
    http://www.frontpointsecurity.com./control/online-control

    My only concern is comment made on the previous blog entry about false alarms and fines issued by the police. Were his problems a result of the authorized front company he used or alarm.com ?

  5. Brian Says:

    NV,

    When you log into the portal it forces https. Once logged in, if you try to change the url to http manually it’ll redirect back to https.

  6. Argus Says:

    How does alarm.com protect against signal jamming? One of the bloggers said he can make one for $20, but commercial jammers are in the hundreds. Has anything been done to negate jamming and ensure that the signal can be sent?

  7. Jason Says:

    Dustin,

    I am in the process of figuring out which alarm company to go with. There are so many companies that offer almost the same offer but Im not sure who to go with.

    There is a local company that I am considering. I have met the owner and he seems like a great guy and very trustworthy.

    Can you give me an idea of how much I should pay for initial equipment. I only have 3 doors and 7 windows. I want the wireless door and window and 1 smoke alarm.

    I got several quotes and they are all around $1100

    thanks,
    Jason

  8. Chris Carber Says:

    Monday, ADT is going to finish a late night install that was stopped because no one told me about the 75% penalty charge if you switch before 3 years. I was specifically told by rep it was one year.

    ANY INPUT ABOUT ADT, PROBLEMS, PRICE (I’M GETTING $35/MO AND THEY PUT IN 5 DOORS, 14 WINDOWS WIRELESS (DOORS INCLUDE IF SOMEONE PUNCHES THROUGH DOOR TO GET TO LOCK, ALARM WILL SOUND WHEN PUNCH THROUGH IS ATTEMPTED, WHICH I AM TOLD IS AN UPGRADE-B.S.? Anyway, they’ll be here on the 20th, please HELP!! btw, all the xtras about $400 in 2 payments. Remember, 3, no 5 including sliding glass doors, and 4 windows, all wireless. Is this a deal at $35/mo (about 38.50 with all taxes).

  9. Dustin Weber Says:

    @ Alan: No problem man!

    @ Argus: alarm.com allows redundant connections via your internet connection, so that should resolve the signal jamming issue — if there was ever an issue there. No alarm system is perfect, all you can do is hedge your bets and try to do the best you can.

    @ Jason: For an installed wireless system, I think that price is pretty fair… but it’s hard to say what that includes without more details.

    @ Chris Carber: Sorry, I was too late on this, but I’m not sure I would have been able to help anyways. That is one heckuva complicated question!

  10. Steve Says:

    Dustin,

    Can you say how much the monthly fee is for alarm.com?

    And do you know how much extra it is for the 3rd party monitoring, or is that included in the alarm.com fee?

    Thanks,
    Steve

  11. Daniel Says:

    Dustin,

    With Alarm.com no longer selling to non commercial consumers, did they transfer your account to a middle man like Front Point Security?

  12. Daniel Says:

    Dustin,

    I’m curious if you’re still serviced under alarm.com or did they move on to middle man after they no longer serve no commercial customers. The reason why I ask, is the customer service you receive is based on the middle man.

    Also, are there any developer APIs to interact with any of the notification preferences.

    Thanks,
    Daniel

  13. James Says:

    I must echo the sentiments of Alan on Front Point security. I have been a customer of theirs for about 1 year and the system is easy to install and flawless. I have only VoIP in my home and I didnt trust my provider – also reading about (and confirming with them via the online chat) about the alarm-pending notification is awesome. I like knowing that even if my panel is destroyed before the time-out period expires, emergancy personnel will be notified. The operations center has always been amazing – I never really spent time on hold to report a false alarm (maybe a few minutes max – but this is alarm.com, not frontpoint). Great system for the do-it-yourselfer and security minded.

  14. Josh Says:

    Dustin,

    I am curious also- you stated: “and the company is quick to call” -is that alarm.com or a 3rd party?

    Thanks,
    Josh

  15. Steve Nutt Says:

    I’ve heard that alarm.com have introduced an IP camera facility into their service. This is the way most in the security industry thinks everything is heading and alarm.com have been one of the first to react – as usual. You don’t secure a domain name like alarm.com by beating around the bush ;-)

  16. Jiveometer Redlining Says:

    Dustin’s passion, comments, and then lack of response make me question his credibility. Heck, it’s Dustin’s own blog site and he won’t respond (???).

    No direct cost comparisons, great repeating of “redundant links are more secure”, and little or no detailed follow-up on questions.

    Sorry Dustin, but you have pegged my jive meter with your attempted “impartial, just the facts based on my experience” blog. alarm.com “may” be the best, but you do not appear to be credible.

  17. Leslie Says:

    I was trying to decide between alarm.com (via Frontpoint security) and ADT. ADT’s prices were lower, both for the equipment and for the monthly service, but I ultimately went with Alarm.com because I wanted the automation. I am very happy that I did.

    If I don’t remember whether I armed the device or not I only need open the app and see. For those that are confused about whether alarm.com provides the service or whether it is the middleman I offer this:

    I ordered the system via Frontpoint security and installed it myself– the install is remarkably easy seeing as everything is wireless. When I have talked with the alarm company I have talked exclusively with Frontpoint Security (not alarm.com). I ordered most of my merchandise through Frontpoint but also found a deal on extra window sensors via e-bay. When I activated my security system the frontpoint technician showed me how to “learn” the additional sensors which is quite easy. I can login to my account through Frontpointsecurity.com or through alarm.com and it takes me to the same basic control screen.

    I also purchased a camera that I have had difficulty adding to the system– I spoke with a frontpoint security person for about 45 minutes on saturday and we determined that the problem was not with my router or internet so it must be a defective product– they are sending me a new camera (this, I was told, was a first).

    I would say that if someone is comfortable with setting up a small home network they will be adept at setting up their alarm system. It is slightly pricier, unfortunately, but if you like the automation it is worth the price (no more racing to the keypad with bags of groceries in hand**). I also like having water sensors that will detect if my hot water heater starts leaking and fire alarms. I only hope they add more home automation functionality– I would love to be able to turn down my thermostat or ensure that lights are turned off remotely.

    ** Worth noting that iPhone automation is not instantaneous. It can take a good 90 seconds for the signal to get from the iPhone to the alarm to turn it on/off.

  18. Dustin Weber Says:

    Hey guys, everything is still smooth for us with alarm.com. I haven’t had any problems, issues, or concerns. That’s a testament to them I suppose. The iphone app and their new web interface are both completely awesome.

    @ Josh: It is a 3rd party, but it’s consistent and quick. The police have been to my house once for real and they arrived within 3 minutes. Coincidence or not, that’s plenty good in my book.

    @ Steve Nutt: The camera service is also excellent – I’ve tried it with good success. I will be writing an extended/new review of the service soon.

    @ Jiveometer Redlining: Sorry, I have a life. You don’t have to take my word for it; I was just excited about alarm.com when I found them.

    @ Leslie: All great points. I will try to address these items in my next review.

  19. Potential Customer Says:

    Dustin, can you tell me what kind of control panel you installed that accepted both wired and wireless. Could you provide that information?

  20. Andrew Says:

    I have also had the system for 1.5 years you may email me at v6turbo at gmail if you have any questions.

    they ARE working on automation !!! its in Betta right now, I tried to be a beta tester but by the time i seen the email all the slots had filled up, lights and ac/heat control first then other stuff later :(

    @ dustin
    you need a phase converter for the X10 to work in your hole house, the automation coming out IS NOT X10 it is much better !!

    i do use X10 to have my garage door open from my keyfob, that means no openers in my car for someone to steal or clone :)

    i have the garage door programmed to the * (star) button on the keyfobe works great :)

  21. Steve Says:

    I have been with Alarm.com for about a year now and have been very happy with their customer and technical support. Like Dustin, I researched extensively for about 4 months and have spoken with ADT, Brinks and other local security companies. I came across safemart.com and configured my own system. Through my own “Q&A”, this is what I’d recommend:

    1. GSM (cell-bakcup) is the more reliable way to communicate with the central office.

    2. Set your alarm to have no entry delay and invest in a couple of key fobs. My house was burglarized prior to the installation of this alarm and I wanted to make breaking in as hard as I can for the burglars. I lock my security unit in a closet so I never use the keypad. When I enter or exit the house, I use my keyfob, which arms the alarm INSTANTLY! Usually there’s a 15 – 30 second delay from the time you set the alarm or when you open your door, but the key fob will arm your system without any delays.

    3. Invest in a battery back-up (UPS-like) system. The original backup battery that came with my system was suppose to last 24 hours on its own power. However, 6 months or so later, I noticed the battery started to hold much less charge than 24 hours, more like 10 minutes. I called alarm.com and they promptly sent me a new battery at NO CHARGE! I replaced the battery and it seems to be holding the charge, but only time will tell.

    4. Regularly test your system. Set off your alarm at random times to see what the central office’s response time is like. When they call you, just give them your code (make sure not to give them your distress code) and apology for the “mistake”. They’re very cool about it but will make sure you are who you are.

    When I signed up with Alarm.com, I had a rebate from safemart.com because I purchased the system from them, and I pre-paid for the whole year so my monthly break down was around $18 per month. Keep in mind, this is also including a couple of free months, rebate and prepaid. However, it is for GSM monitoring with web controls via their https site.

    All in all, I am very satisfied with alarm.com and safemart.com. I’d highly recommend both vendors!

  22. Let's be clear Says:

    Many people have posted excitement about the system because Alarm.com SEEMS to have modernized an archaic & opaque market dominated by fear-inspiring ADT/Brinks/P1′s. Unfortunately, Alarm.com & Frontpoint have not yet brought the price transparency we seek in this on-demand world.

    Can someone, anyone, please list out prices that you paid both for equipment and monthly service?

    BTW – Shout outs to both Dustin for the forum and Jiveometer Redline for calling it like it is.

  23. Let's be clear Says:

    Strike that – a little more clicking and everything was revealed on Frontline’s page…wow, good stuff. Still annoying that the non-security “empower” stuff is not coming through, but encouraging to see the full monty on Frontline’s pages. Safemart.com seems to have much of the same stuff…but packaged incoherently unless you are an aspiring enthusiast…

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