Can My Alarm Company Listen In With Two-Way Voice?

Two-way voice home alarm monitoring means that in the event of a home alarm signal, the home is connected to a central station where the monitoring operator can listen inside the home and voice threaten the intruder out through a two-way voice speaker. This connection provides a verified response, as the operator has instant information on what is truly occurring inside the home.

The big concern for the homeowner though is if the home alarm company can listen to the home when the alarm hasn’t already been triggered. Can this happen?

The answer is no. With live two-way voice monitoring, the connection is only established after the home alarm’s been triggered. If the alarm transmission hasn’t been launched then there is absolutely no way the central station rep can listen into the home. The technology doesn’t allow it, and doing so would be illegal.

Certain companies that don’t offer two-way voice monitoring will say that companies that do can indeed listen inside the home when the alarm hasn’t been triggered, which is a blatant lie. They do this to try to sway the customer to devalue live two-way voice monitoring.

Fear not, companies that have live two-way voice monitoring like AlarmForce, CPI, ADT and Rogers Smart Home Monitoring can only hear what is occurring inside your home after your alarm is triggered – which is where the value of live two-way voice monitoring lies. If your alarm has not been triggered then you have absolutely nothing to worry about, nobody has the ability to listen in on your home.

So, Think Protection when researching home alarms and understand that with live two-way voice monitoring you get a great form of monitoring that provides a verified alarm response.

Simplisafe: Quick Review and Update On New Equipment

Simplisafe, a self-install home security company based in Boston, just announced increased offerings in regards to the peripherals they sell on their website. These new motion detectors, glass breaks and also a new app available on your smartphone where a Simplisafe user can be notified of events that have occurred in the home.

Techcrunch wrote about the new peripherals here: http://techcrunch.com/2014/03/13/simplisafe-adds-new-sensors-services-to-their-diy-home-security-system/

Simplisafe sells their product direct to users through the internet or over the phone and then sends it through the mail for the user to install themselves. Packages range from $229 to $540 for the system (each package has increased equipment).

Simplisafe operates through a cellular connection between their unit and the Simplisafe central station. The systems do not have two-way voice or a dual backup network through digital phone lines or the internet.

Monitoring rates range from $14.99 for their basic monitoring to $24.99 for multiple features, which include Simplisafe’s app which allows you to remotely turn on and off the system and “secret alerts” – a gimmick where you place a sensor somewhere in your home for text alerts that someone has done an activity (such as opening a medicine cabinet, etc).

Simplisafe does not require a contract, which differs from other home alarm companies in the self-install space, such as Protect America, Frontpoint, and Lifeshield.

Simplisafe is a good option for a DIY self-install home alarm system, far lower in price than other self-install home alarms, however, the fact they do not offer live two-way voice is a detriment. Perhaps they will at some point, however currently they only offer traditional monitoring.

The other knock on Simplisafe is the high upfront cost of the system. The quality of the hardware is on par with others in the space, however, the upfront cost seems higher than it should be. Perhaps the company wants to limit their risk since they don’t require a contract between them and the customer.

Regardless, Simplisafe is a better value than most companies in the self-install space, and definitely a far better value than traditional home alarm systems, which require an installer, contract, and high monthly fees.

If a Simplisafe customer cancels their monitoring and wants to switch to another company, can another company monitor a Simplisafe system? I’m not sure. This is definitely something potential Simplisafe customers should be asking before they sign up for a system.

Think protection when buying or leasing a home security system. Make an informed decision and remember to spend your money wisely.

 

Why Do Home Alarm Companies Charge Such High Prices?

Alarm companies charge varying upfront rates and monthly charges for their services. These can range anywhere from $99 upfront to hundreds of dollars and then monthly rates can range from $20/month to over $60/month. When looking at these amounts, we have to ask ourselves, why do alarm companies charge such high prices for their equipment and services?

The answer is simple – because they can.

The home security market is elastic. An alarm company will typically charge as much as they can, while remaining to acquire new customers. If the customer will pay the amount, then the company will charge it. Once the business volume is established, the company becomes locked into those prices.

AlarmForce charges $25/month for two-way voice security, CPI is around $30/month, ADT’s prices range from $29.99/month to $40/month for two-way voice protection and Vivint’s packages can from $49.99/month to as high as $70/month.

ADT and Protectron have dealers, so the pricing on their monthly monitoring ranges. AlarmForce, Frontpoint, Protect America, CPI, Ackerman, Bay Alarm and Vivint do not, so it’s more of a fixed price depending on features and equipment.

Prices range based on amount of equipment, type of monitoring, if home automation features are included, and the company’s feeling on what the market will pay for service. Supply and demand is a constant amongst the industry – however, different companies have differing views on what truly equals the best value for their customers.

Beyond that, alarm companies understand that it’s always easier to raise prices than lower them. When prices are raised, the company benefits but the customer loses out. Typically, most home alarm companies have it written into their contracts that they reserve the right to raise the monthly monitoring rates at anytime. And they do.

It’s hard for an alarm company to lower their monthly monitoring prices due to the negative effect it would have on the bottom line. If you already have 5,000 customers and you lowered your monthly monitoring prices by a $1 for new customers, then old customers would want the discount as well, or they’d cancel their contracts. Once the discount is given, then suddenly the alarm company is now down $5000 per month. The rebound effect is huge, which is why it’s almost never done.

So in summary, the main reason why home security companies charge the high amounts they do per month is because the market allows it. If prospective home alarm shoppers stopped going with these high priced home alarm solutions, like ADT and Vivint, then they’d be forced to charge less. Plus if another alarm company came into the market offering a lower cost solution for protection, customers would think of going elsewhere.

The alarm market dictates how much the companies can charge.