ADT Pulse Cost and Review: How Does Pulse Really Work?

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Revised with Updated Information

The online chatter continues over ADT’s Pulse product, so I did a “deep dive” on some of the more confusing aspects of the three service offerings: “Select,” “Advantage,” and “Premier.” Put aside ADT’s absolute and bewildering online silence on equipment and service pricing – it turns out that just peeling back the layers to understand the different Pulse service levels is a full-time job. The latest tip-off was a grid on the ADT Pulse web site, which shows a GSM cellular radio included with only the “lowest” service level – the least expensive one. That seemed weird, and triggered a flurry of research, resulting in my own comparison grid, based on my interpretation of the information. Comments and explanations follow the grid. Note: the grid below is NOT the grid from the ADT web site, but my own interpretation!

Pulse “Select”

This “lowest” service level includes Honeywell alarm equipment and a basic GSM cellular radio made by ADT to provide wireless monitoring (which is good!) and a smattering of interactive services. At least that is what the company’s grid says! I’m a huge fan of cellular monitoring as the only safe method, and when it comes to interactive services, consumers are hungry for them. Unfortunately, the interactive services at this level don’t hold a candle to ADT’s higher service level features, or to what other established providers have offered for years: companies like Alarm.com, who wrote the book on interactive monitoring (and they’ve already processed well over two billion signals). The Select level of Pulse is expensive for what it provides ($47.99). Want video or home management capability? Move on to the next Pulse levels!

Pulse “Advantage”

Now it gets interesting. We change from Honeywell to GE Security equipment (which is good!), but the ADT grid no longer shows the GSM radio as being included in the package. It just happens that the  primary path for your alarm system to contact the monitoring center is over a vulnerable regular phone line (which most of us are getting rid of!) or a GSM cellular radio. I was glad to learn that it’s not broadband monitoring, since that can leave you exposed to power outages, internet failure, and intruders cutting your cable (which is happening more and more). And now it appears that ADT may be including the cellular radio in this (more expensive) package: although they must think it’s acceptable to depend on a vulnerable POTS line (“Plain Old Telephone Service”) to protect your home and family. Hello, wire cutters…  originally it seemed you had the option to pay extra up front for a cellular radio and extra each month for cellular monitoring, but the web site has never spelled that out. And why make people guess?

But here’s another important point – only the actual alarm signals to the monitoring center use the POTS line or the GSM radio. All the interactive features are forced to use your broadband connection. That’s right, though it’s hard to believe: for $49.99 per month, if you lose your internet connection (or lose power at your home), you lose all those cool interactive remote services. ADT does save money, however! The best home security systems (like Alarm.com) provide interactive features over the cellular link that is not impacted by internet outages, since it relies on the alarm system’s built-in 24 hour battery, which covers the great majority of power outages. In my opinion, ADT really did not think this one through. You do pick up home management at the Advantage level, but you had better pray that your power and broadband link stay up. Oh, and by the way, you can find better services for less money.

Pulse “Premier”

Premier has the same inherent weaknesses as the Advantage level: same primary dependence for alarm signals could be a POTS line, although the best alarm companies are always using a cellular radio – and whether POTS or cellular, this channel only communicates basic alarm signals. You do pick up video services at this level, which is a nice feature. However, now you’re paying $57.99 a month, and a simple internet outage or line cut reduces you to a rudimentary level of service that some alarm companies sell for $25 or less per month. Ouch!

And remember, even at this highest level, you don’t get the important Crash & Smash protection that you should expect for this price. Even with Premier Pulse service, the intruder who breaks in can disable your alarm system before it can communicate to the monitoring center. No call to you to verify the alarm – and no call to the police. Smart crooks know this, so it’s happening more and more. In my book, another big miss.

When it comes to Crash & Smash, there’s only one technology that is virtually undefeatable, and it was developed and patented by Alarm.com, the leader in interactive alarm monitoring. And as the leader in wireless, interactive home security, FrontPoint has it. We’ll keep checking the Pulse – but it seems this patient should remain under observation!

Comments (136)

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  1. Scott

    I have sat here and read a large majority of the posts. And there seems to be a large amount of negativity towards both ADT and Front Point. I did look at both systems in conjunction with the Z-Wave devices that came in my new home.
    1.) Front Point linked up with my Thermostat ADT did not
    2.) Front Point also linked up with my Front Door Lock and ADT did not
    3.) Front Point was able to use my Lighting Controls and ADT could not
    4.) Neither ADT or Front Point could use the Video Cameras provided by my builder
    So from the stand point of cost effective in a lot of cases it will be more cost effective to use Front Point if you have the need or desire to use home automation as they seem to be able to use more of the elements that are provided by builders today. If I had choose to go with ADT for which I had been a customer for many years I would have to have spent a very large sum of money replacing things in my home to get the services as wanted. ADT just seems a little behind in the Z-Wave arena. And for all of the services provided Front Point was a little less expensive per month versus ADT Pulse. Now for both ADT and Front Point you need to work on the Nexia Camera thing, my builder provided two with my home and I cant use with either system, and would prefer not spend another few hundred dollars to get the video working. Just a thought.

  2. Katie Coronado

    The WORST customer service experience. This company not only DOES NOT CARE about their customers, but they CHARGE HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS whenever they can to rip off the customer. I have been trying to get tech. support for a broken alarm system and it took 2 weeks to get someone to come to my home. Finally they CANCELLED on the day they were coming. After I threatened with letters to corporate with I did anyhow, they miraculously sent out a tech they said did us a FAVOR. Now, we have to pay more than $500 plus labor to fix a box and radio.
    DO NOT trust ADT- that’s our experience and hope it can help others. Thank you.

  3. Ashley Galloway

    Thank you! Your article clarified a lot of crucial points about ADT’s system that the technicians & customer service conveniently fail to mention.

  4. Mary

    Peter: Thanks for all of the information. I have had ADT security for more years than I can remember. I have had the PULSE services for a little more than a year. Prior to this time, I did not really need to call customer service. I recently have had to call customer service to find out how to reset everything due to power outages. Since early this morning, and more than numerous 8 to 20 minute phone calls, I still don’t know what to do. Patched a number of times to different people who asked me the same question, “What is the number associated with the account?” Everyone of them asked me to repeat; it didn’t matter how slow I said the number. There is no information on their site or manual on how to reset the system after power failure. The last person I spoke to after 20 minutes said a technician was not available, I would need to call back, although each time I was told I would be transferred to someone who could handle my call. REALLY! When I called and asked if I could schedule a technician, I was told it would be in excess of $125. So I am ready to end this pulse service and not sure how long it will take me. Customer Service, Really?

  5. Noel

    You are clearly providing biased information using guesswork rather than providing clarity based on fact. ADT doesn’t even offer “Select”, “Advantage”, or “Premier” any longer as the packages have been simplified for clarity’s sake.

    All traditional services are included with ADT’s Pulse which includes cell monitoring, life safety monitoring (fire, carbon, low temp, flood), an extended warranty, and burglary monitoring of course. Implying that the GE ITI system is superior to ADT’s Honeywell offering is also flat-out wrong. The ITI system is mid-grade at best especially when self-installed.

  6. Andy

    Adt does not use broadband for communication to its monitoring stations. They use a land line or cell radio. They only use the broadband to connect the pulse to the alarm. There for in the broadband goes down the alarm will still communicate to adts monitoring stations via land line or cell radio. Think of pulse and the alarm as two diff systems. They are just tied together threw broadband. The pulse side is just the Internet side which allows you to disarm arm etc. but has nothing to do with communicating to adt.no diff then your DVr for cameras being hooked into your broadband. The broadband goes down you lose camera feed but does not affect the alarm system it self as far as dialing out.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Andy – Thanks for your comment. If you read my post carefully, you’ll see that we are in total agreement: ADT does not use broadband for communicating the alarm signal to the monitoring center – and that’s a good thing. Other companies do use broadband for alarm monitoring: Comcast, for instance, actually defaults to the broadband connection, and only uses a cellular link as a backup. My problem with Pulse is that ADT uses the broadband connection for everything else, meaning all the cool interactive services. So, if you lose power in the home, and don’t have a battery backup on your router or modem, you lose all the cool stuff (remote connectivity, notifications, mobile apps, home automation, etc.). In other words, you won’t even know that you lost power! And as for losing the broadband connection, you would be very surprised by how often that happens over the course of a day – to say nothing of a bad guy cutting that internet connection. In that case, will your alarm system’s basic functionality still be in place, sure, but then why are you paying all that extra?

      The most robust and reliable interactive services use the cellular connection – that’s what FrontPoint does. Thanks again.

  7. Happy pulse customer

    I just wanted to clear up somthing that you posted that is incorrect about the ADT pulse lite and pulse premier. The monthly monitoring includes the the cellular monitoring in the price NO INCREASE IN MONTHLY WHEN YOU ADD THE CELLULAR RADIO. Also the you posted about smash and grab the pulse select is a stand alone self contain unit so you would be correct that if it is destroyed before a signal is sent that it is no good. But the pulse lite and premier has a seperate comtrol panel that located (hidden) in a seperate area from the key pad which would be almost impossible to smash or grab before a signal is sent. Please do your due diligence before posting.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Happy Pulse Customer – we appreciate your input here. It certainly would be nice if ADT did a better job of being transparent about what exactly you do get with Pulse. But ADT has somewhat improved their “grid” on the Pulse web site, to give a little more information than they have in the past. Yes, it appears that cellular monitoring is included at no additional charge: however, this point is offset (in my opinion) by the fact that with the lowest level of Pulse (which is by far the most popular level), the carbon monoxide monitoring and water/low temperature monitoring are listed as “optional” – and that means, in my book, they ADT charges extra for these services. Why? They do not cost any more to monitor! At FrontPoint, we don’t care what kind of sensors you buy from us – we monitor them all for the same price. Amazing…

      As for Smash & Crash protection – if you think that a burglar with half a brain (and that means most of them!) doesn’t know where to look for an alarm control panel, I need to set you straight. If there is a basement, it’s almost always there – and if if no basement, it’s invariably in a first floor utility closet. ADT’s installers are trained for efficiency – can’t really blame them – so there is generally not a lot of imagination used in placing equipment. ADT is not alone in this regard, by the way – it’s the same thing that most traditional alarm companies do. I just expect more of ADT, as the largest US alarm company – and one of the most expensive. Thanks again.

  8. John

    Peter,

    How do your customers test glassbreak detectors after they are installed? Do you send a simulator out with the detector? ADT technicians test all of them to make sure they are placed for proper coverage. Or are they just supposed to hope it works? I’m working with one of your potential customers right now and the solution he has come up won’t work.

    He wants to put glassbreak detectors in hallways where there could be closed doors between the detector and the windows. He also wants to place one where a header between rooms would impede the sound being picked up.

    Is that recommended by your company? How do you know someone else won’t make that mistake without having a trained professional survey the site? If the glassbreak detector didn’t work where he installed it how would the Crash and Smash feature keep someone from disabling the system?

    Also, ADT offers a 6-Month Money Back Guarantee, $500 Theft Guarantee and relocation guarantee? Does Frontpoint?

    From what I have read Frontpoint also has limited hours for technical support. Is that still the case?

    Thank you in advance for your response.

    John

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, John (Doe!), for your comment. You actually pose a great question – and one that we are happy to answer. I actually have a lot of experience with the subject – not only becasue I have been working with glassbreak sensors for over 20 years, but also because both of my old companies were purchased by Tyco (ADT’s former parent), and I actually spent two years at Tyco with a significant amount of interaction with ADT technical staff. In the first place, you may not be aware of the sensor we use, which has an indicator light to register when the sensor hears “noise” (not just breaking glass, but noise in general). That way the homeowner knows that the sensor is “alive” and registering. Secondly, we provide careful instruction (printed and provided with the sensors, and on our web site, including an instructional video) that tells customers exactly how the sensor works, and just where to place them. The general rule, by the way, is true line of sight, with a range of 20 feet – there is actually not much in the way of rocket science here.

      What you describe relative to this customer is clearly not in keeping with the instructions that we give – and we make that abundantly clear with the information we provide. And if he were to pose the question to one of our highly trained Customer Service professionals, they would tell him the same thing – that the application he wants is not going to work. It does not take a technician in the home to support a good installation, as we know from years of experience and a very large (and growing) base of very satisfied customers.

      As for your other points – Crash & Smash has nothing to do with the operation of a glassbreak sensor: the former is an interactive monitoring feature that we offer (and ADT does not, and can not) that provides a fail-safe system. If you want a full explanation of how it works, there is a good one on the FrontPoint web site. As for ADT’s six month money-back guarantee, that is only to make the system work, which is clearly an issue from time to time, or ADT would not need to offer it. There are plenty of reviews and complaints on line that speak to the variable quality of ADT’s technical staff. It’s not really a 6 month guarantee, since if a customer does not like your service, or the fact that it’s hard to get issues resolved, or even reach a decision maker, they are stuck – after only three days. We offer a full 30-day risk free trail period to set up the system, make sure the customer loves the system, AND loves us, then during that time they can return the system for every penny they paid: we even pay the shipping back to us. It does not happen often. Since FrontPoint systems work, the theft protection has been a non-issue – but ADT clearly needs to offer these things to entice customers. FrontPoint also has 24 hour support as requested – round the clock, 24/7. And as for relocation, our customers move their systems at will, for free – and they do not have to restart their contract, as they do with ADT. We are all over that one.

      It’s good that you are loyal to ADT and the old-school business model that built the largest alarm company in the US. Unfortunately for ADT, times are changing, and ADT has been slow to evolve. At the same time, ADT’s service level has suffered – to the point that ADT now loses one in six customers a year. Just look at the growth curve of the company: once you factor out the Brink’s purchase, ADT has been growing at only 1% – 2% per year, becasue so many customers are leaving out the back door for better technology and better service – and to avoid those annoying but regular ADT price increases on monthly fees. We actually like competing against ADT – and have a lot of respect for what they have built over more than a century. But there are other approaches to home security – and some are even better than what ADT has to offer. FrontPoint is just one example, but a very good one.

  9. Chris

    Why not build a company on your own merits and letting positive feedback speak for itself vs bashing the biggest competitor by share out there?

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Chris – thanks for your comment. We try to be as informative as possible so that people can make an objective decision for themselves. Transparency means a lot when you are trying to build trust – especially in this industry. It’s a shame that you need to read our review to learn things that ADT won’t tell you themselves on their web site, but that is their decision. Perhaps it’s worth noting that ADT has only achieved a 4% penetration rate for Pulse within their customer base, and they have been at this for a couple of years now – that’s a source of disappointment for them. If I were running ADT – not that I would ever want to, mind you – I would be working very hard to increase the adoption of Pulse in the existing ADT customer base. One huge benefit would be to lower attrition, since customer who use interactive services hang around longer. Attrition remains one of ADT’s biggest challenges: they currently report annual attrition at 13.8%, which is well above the industry average. Clearly bigger does not mean better – but you are right, the reviews make that abundantly clear.

      Thanks again.

  10. James

    How many monitoring stations does your company have?

    • Peter M. Rogers

      James – Thanks for your great question. We work with Rapid Response, one of the best monitoring companies in the US. Every FrontPoint account is monitored there, and has been since our inception. There are many monitoring centers that charge less, but Rapid’s quality is worth the extra that we pay to use them. Our customers are worth it!

      Rapid has two fully operational monitoring centers, and by the end of this year with have a third. On this topic, you may enjoy this recent post from the FrontPoint blog that talks about what’s important in monitoring. It’s not just about how many centers, as you will learn: other attributes can be more important. Thanks again.

      http://blog.frontpointsecurity.com/2013/03/20/whos-monitoring-your-alarm-system-247/

  11. Chase

    I work for ADT , Pulse is a great value, a great thing to have along with your alarm. Great investment for your family. And very user friendly. Very proud of protecting you!

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Chase – Thanks for your comment. Glad you are happy with Pulse – ADT has a tremendous amount of its future riding on the success of Pulse. To date, after a couple of years selling Pulse, ADT has only achieved a 4% penetration rate in their existing customer base… not great. Apparently it’s hard getting folks to change over to Pulse, and one big reason is pricing: Pulse is expensive, both for the equipment, and also for the monthly fees. Then there is the fact that ADT was very late to the game, and another platform (the Alarm.com platform that FrontPoint sells) has established the top position for robust and reliable interactive features. For one thing, Alarm.com has Crash & Smash protection, which Pulse cannot offer, since Alarm.com holds the patent. Then there is also ADT’s habit of increasing people’s monthly fees on a regular basis – one of the biggest reasons that ADT has higher cancellation rates than the rest of the industry, when they should be lower. I hope you are successfully selling Pulse to more customers – but the more research people do about technology, pricing, and service levels, the better FrontPoint looks. Thanks again.

      • Teresa

        Peter-I can appreciate your comments. It is extremely hard to compete against ADT in the market because it is a name you can trust. This goes a very long way. I’m uncertain where you gather your data from or do you just say whatever you think sounds good for you or bad for ADT. Your data is so false it’s funny. Any way the version of PULSE that is self contained is the lowest level which is called Pulse Select. Everything else above this consist of hard wired control panels. Cell communication can be added to all these packages at no additional cost per month. In the Pulse Select it is included because that is how the alarm communicates. Do you really really believe a company like ADT would just offer self contained control panels? ADT built the alarm industry and will continue to be several steps ahead of the competition because they don’t cut corners. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.
        For those who are hearing about 2GIG service just imagine streaming video on a 2G cell phone. That is basically the speed of your video footage.

        • Peter M. Rogers

          Teresa – Thanks for your comment. After over twenty years in the alarm industry, I can tell you that it’s not that hard to compete against ADT – as almost any of the 13,000 US alarm companies will tell you! And I have additional insight, having worked at Tyco (ADT’s former parent) buying companies to merge into ADT. Customer cancellations always went up in these situations: after ADT bought my old company, Alarmguard, cancellations spiked to 30% in the first year, primarily for poor service from ADT. As for ADT being a name many people trust, I do agree with that: the ADT brand is well known, if for no other reason than because they have been around so long. But with annual customer attrition reported by the company at close to 14% (and even higher than that if based on number of subscribers), it’s become very hard for ADT to grow: most of the new accounts they create simply go to replace the ones they lose – roughly one out of every six customers, every year. Why is the ADT cancellation rate above the industry average? Lots of reasons: regular rate increases without any improvement in features or functions, poor customer service, and increased competition from smaller, nimbler companies – like FrontPoint.

          As for the information provided on Pulse, it’s all accurate – although you can’t get the information from ADT on their web site, sadly. These days people want complete transparency, and do not appreciate a business model where they have to put up with someone coming to their home to make a presentation. People just don’t have the time or patience, and would rather get the information they need and want on-line, so they can shop and compare competing offers, and check out the reviews. The fact that as of today Pulse only has a 4% adoption rate among ADT’s own customers should tell you something – perhaps even ADT subscribers don’t understand it, or don’t think it’s such a great deal. Sometimes you don’t get what you pay for…

          As for the details on Pulse, you are correct in that cellular monitoring of alarm signals is available with all three levels of service. However, all the Pulse interactive features require an Internet connection, which is just as vulnerable (if not more so) when compared to a phone line. That means when you lose power in the home, or lose the Internet connection, you lose ALL the interactive features – not a good choice of platform. With FrontPoint’s Alarm.com technology, the only feature using the Internet is the video service: everything else uses the more robust and more reliable cellular connection. I am not sure why you thought our video used the cell connection, but you may want to do more research on our offering. Yes, it costs us more to use the better cellular connection for interactive services (other than video), but it’s better for the homeowner, which is what we care about. Also, Pulse does not offer Crash & Smash protection – this is a patented technology, and ADT cannot provide it.

          Lastly, ADT was years late to the advanced technology game, because FrontPoint has provided interactive services since 2007, when we started. ADT is not ahead – they are behind, except when it comes to customer loyalty, and in that ADT is unfortunately in worse shape than the rest of the industry. Thanks again.

  12. home business

    Thanks for finally writing about >ADT Pulse Cost and Review:
    How Does Pulse Really Work? | Home Security Blog <Loved it!

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Our pleasure, and thanks for your comment.

    • Teresa

      Peter you are so bitter towards ADT. Sounds like you need to focus on your own business instead of attacking ADT. You crack me up :) . I’m sure your slander may help you get some new business against ADT. All I know is my interaction with them from the beginning has been great! You would have been out the door of my home immediately with your use car salesman attitude. Thanks!

      • Peter M. Rogers

        Teresa, thanks for your additional comment. We are happy for you that you have had a good experience with ADT – one would hope that with over 6 million customers, ADT would generate its share of positive reviews. I am not sure how you derive a sense of bitterness in my comments – as I have mentioned before, we actually like competing against ADT, and we especially like the advertising dollars they spend educating consumers about the kinds of services that FrontPoint sells for less and supports better. And it’s exactly because we do focus so well and so much on our business that we have grown so quickly – with such an excellent reputation. I’ll admit that we do wish that all our competitors cared as much about their customers as much as we do, since that would be better for the overall reputation of the alarm industry, but outstanding service is simply not a priority for every company. That’s more a function of disappointment than bitterness. Frankly, if ADT were doing the job they should be, they would not be losing one out of every six customers a year…

        By the way, “slander” is often confused with “libel,” and both are strong words indeed. The former is normally oral, while the latter usually refers to something that is written (and would be the correct term in this case, if it were an accurate assessment): it is quite a stretch to construe libel in anything I have written about ADT. For background, here the link below provides a good explanation of the difference between libel and slander. Thanks again.

        http://defamation.laws.com/defamation-laws/libel-vs-slander

  13. Harrison

    If you expect your alarm system to have defaults monthly at 2AM CST and expect the alarm company to monthly send someone to your door and say there is nothing they can do, ADT is the alarm company for you. Every month our alarm system from ADT starts showing defaults at 2AM CST waking everyone up. ADT customer supports indicates we must deal with this as part of their great service. I have three other homes and use other alarm companies for service and never have this middle of the night wake up call. All joking aside, ADT is the worst, buy a system from Radio Shack and install it yourself if you would like a good night sleep.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Harrison, for sharing your experiences with ADT. I wish (for your sake) they were happier experiences. It happens that before co-founding FrontPoint I worked at two large and successful alarm companies, both of which were acquired by ADT. I feel your pain, believe me, and can tell you that a big reason for ADT cancellations – which are above the industry average – are caused in part by poor service. In the case of one of mu former employers, Alarmguard, ADT managed to lose 30% of the customers they acquired in the first year – which was triple the cancellation rate that we had. Amazing… but true.

      As for self-installed systems, they really do have many advantages – but we prefer a monitored alarm system, like FrontPoint!

    • Chase

      ADT is a great company, most of the time it’s user error! Not saying that things can happen with sensors an etc! I’ve been a employee of Brinks, Broadveiw an now ADT! 5 1/2 years in the business an most of the time it’s just user errors, or not understanding the zones, an etc. radio shack alarm systems an do it your self are not the way! My friend learned that the hard way, when they cleared his house out!!!!! Now he has ADT an is Happy! Don’t listen to negative feed back. ADT here to protect you, don’t give up. ADT is truly there. If there’s any questions. Call ADT. They be more then willing to help. Have a great day

      • Peter M. Rogers

        Chase – Thanks for your second comment. I am re-posting my reply to your first comment here, since it’s equally applicable in this case.

        Glad you are happy with Pulse – ADT has a tremendous amount of its future riding on the success of Pulse. To date, after a couple of years selling Pulse, ADT has only achieved a 4% penetration rate in their existing customer base… not great. Apparently it’s hard getting folks to change over to Pulse, and one big reason is pricing: Pulse is expensive, both for the equipment, and also for the monthly fees. Then there is the fact that ADT was very late to the game, and another platform (the Alarm.com platform that FrontPoint sells) has established the top position for robust and reliable interactive features. For one thing, Alarm.com has Crash & Smash protection, which Pulse cannot offer, since Alarm.com holds the patent. Then there is also ADT’s habit of increasing people’s monthly fees on a regular basis – one of the biggest reasons that ADT has higher cancellation rates than the rest of the industry, when they should be lower. I hope you are successfully selling Pulse to more customers – but the more research people do about technology, pricing, and service levels, the better FrontPoint looks. Thanks again.

  14. Jashuh

    This is just standard ADT service which has continued since day one, nothing too shocking here! This is how ADT does it business now and always will – how do you think the pay for that continued 24 hour commercials which run. They have always milked the buyers to death, pay here, pay there. Pay everywhere and for every little thing that they offer..

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Jashuh, for your comment. It is sad that ADT continues to underwhelm with poor service, but one should expect them to deliver when it comes to responsiveness as a basic value. Like thousands of other alarm companies, we enjoy competing against ADT, since it’s not that hard to provide a higher level of satisfaction than they do much of the time. They are going to have to start delivering on their potential if they want to bring their cancellation rate under control – currently they are losing between one in six and one in seven customers every year, much of it for a combination of poor service/price increases/competitive pressure. At the same time, we do wish the largest US alarm company had a better reputation, since it would make the overall industry look better if they did. Some people just think we are all the same – whereas nothing could be further from the truth.

      Thanks again.

  15. Bryan baugh

    Does your company install this system or does the consumer install it? I would love to watch my 80 year old grandmother put a security system in! I would bet she will be real safe. I read that you can place this unit ( simon XT) on a table top. Im sure thats super secure! What if an intruder comes thru a window that is not monitored and than disables it the keypad that way. The smash and grab would not apply in that situation. The reason you pay more with ADT is because you have a professional to install it for you. And yes , ADT dealers are a little bit on the shady side. ( 100% agreed) .

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Bryan – Thanks for your comment. You would be surprised if you ever ordered a FrontPoint system at just how easy it is to set it up – but if you are genuinely interested, I suggest you at least take a look at some of the user-friendly videos on our web site to check out the process. We have seniors setting up systems all the time, and we have found them to be entirely capable of asking for a little help if needed! And remember, we remotely confirm tat all the sensors are working with the customer before the system goes on line with the monitoring center. As for placing the control panel, it can go wherever the consumer wants it. Plenty of our customers do mount it on the wall, but it’s not required, the way most panels are. And since so many of our customers (over 90%) use the interactive services to arm and disarm their system, they are seldom using the keypad on the control panel, which means they can place the control panel out of plain sight (which we recommend anyway in our setup instructions). Of course, traditional alarm companies have not gotten there with the interactive services yet, so your concerns would be especially relevant for them – if they had Crash & Smash protection, which they don’t… The reason you pay more for ADT is because they choose to charge more, and they have to support a huge organization, and a ton of advertising – to say nothing of demanding shareholders, now that they are a standalone public company. I guess a great question to ask is why ADT has an annual cancellation rate of nearly 14% if they are that good, and that cost-effective for what they offer. It seems that the one in seven ADT customers that leaves each year might not agree with your assessment. Thanks again.

      • RickvW

        Bryan Baugh, that may be one of the dumber comments so far: my 80 year old mother…
        Yes, she probably needs someone to clear the gutters too.

        Frontpoint rocks. It’s efficient, modern, affordable and high tech. Nothing like your 80 year old mom’s ADT.

        I am happy as a pup with my frontpoint and it was less than 1.5 hrs to install 3 camera’s, 3 motion sensors and 4 door sensors.

        [Minor Edits – ad hominem remarks]

        • Peter M. Rogers

          Rick – thanks so much for leaping ton our defense, and sharing your FrontPoint experience. That’s the kind of customer loyalty we appreciate, and we’ll do our best to keep earning it. And as for how easy it is to setup a FrontPoint system? Just read all the reviews… we have the only truly plug & play system in the alarm industry, and the fact that you can add to it at any time, or even move it with you, just adds to the advantages of all the interactive services. Thanks again!

  16. Jonathan

    I’m on the fence between FrontPoint and ADT, but leaning towards FrontPoint because of ADT’s reputation for overcharging and horrendous customer service. Having said that, you guys don’t do yourself a service by being unfair in your description of competitors. ADT seems like a ripoff to me, but at least their expensive systems offer TWO forms of communication. Cell jammers exist, and sometimes people live in locations with only one cell tower. Anybody with a cell phone knows that cell service is NOT 100% reliable. If I’m protecting my wife and kids, I’d like to have more than one option for the alarm signals to take. Neither phone or cell is perfect, but at least the two together increases your odds.

    Also, it’s unfair to ding ADT for lack of crash and smash. They put the brains of their system in a hidden and locked box, probably in your basement. Breaking an ADT pulse panel does NOT, as far as I can tell, disable the alarm. Contrast this to single panel solutions like FP where smash and crash is absolutely required because of how easy it is to find the transmitter.

    ANyway, I still may go with FP, but I’d feel better about the company if you were more critical of your own technology and worked harder to improve it and spent less time taking slanted shots at competitors.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Jonathan – Thanks very much for your thoughtful comment. We are compared to ADT with increasing frequency, as more people do their online research and check out the reviews for both companies. When it comes to services, there appears to be little comparison:ADT’s reviews on that topic so speak for themselves, as do ours. As for the communication path for ADT systems, it helps to look back a bit on how they have provided (and priced) their services. Long after ADT recognized the benefits and advantages of cellular monitoring, they and their substantial network of roughly 450 authorized ADT Dealers continued to focus on telephone line monitoring as a default: we refer to this as “POTS,” which stands for “Plan Old Telephone Service.” You may be aware that AT&T is already petitioning the FCC for permission to decommission their POTS network of traditional hard copper phone lines across the US.All the old ADT systems that use a phone line only (and there still are millions of them) will be out of luck. So what does that leave? Cellular and Internet – and Internet is just as vulnerable to a $3 pair of wire cutters as POTS. In fact, Internet is even worse than POTS,because Internet service is not as reliable as hard copper, and a power outage can take out your modem or router, so your alarm system would not be able to communicate. In other words, the safest and most reliable monitoring path for home security is cellular – and that is what FrontPoint offers in every system we have ever sold – the only US alarm company to do so. As for cell jammers, I have been at this for over twenty years, and I have never heard of a burglar using a jammer to successfully defeat a home alarm system – possible, but so unlikely as to be almost a moot point. What is much more likely is a burglar with that $3 pair of wire cutters, going after all the wires they can find. And, while ADT has charged extra for the cellular radio and for monthly cellular monitoring ($44.99 for years), FrontPoint charges only $34.99 for basic cellular monitoring – but only a very small percentage of our customers choose that, since they can get FrontPoint’s interactive monitoring for only $42.99 – less than ADT has been charging for basic cell monitoring. And as for ADT systems using a separate enclosure to make them less susceptible to Crash and Smash, I suggest you confirm that all ADT branches are doing that all the time, and that the ADT dealers who create roughly half of ADT’s new accounts every month are doing so as well. I think you will find out that such is not the case. Thanks again.

  17. Dryoung

    Well I too fell for the ADT Pulse and am this morning wondering how in the world ADT got to be the largest in the business because their service sucks! The poor woman who called me to respond to my website inquiry was abolutely worthless and when pressed stated “i’m only doing my job” comment…beautiful! I will run from ADT! Their service and website information are equal to what my 8-yr old could put together!

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks for weighing in on ADT here. Since ADT was spun off from Tyco on October 1 and became an independent public company for the first time, there has been a lot of increased scrutiny on Pulse as the centerpiece of ADT’s strategy to achieve some real growth. After you back out the Brink’s/Broadview acquisition, ADT has only been growing at 1% or 2% per year – largely because they have such high cancellation rates (13.5%, or one out every seven customers per year!). And a big reason why people leave ADT is over service complaints – ADT just can’t seem to figure that one out. And when the lackluster approach to the customer starts to creep from service into sales, then it’s bad news for the company. Oddly enough their stock price is doing well, despite what I consider some ominous warning signs. You are also right about the lack of transparency about Pulse on the ADT web site: it’s impossible even after all this time to find out what the equipment costs, or the monthly service fees. We think people want (and deserve) more transparency these days, which is why there is so much shopping on line, and why reviews have become so important. Thanks again for your comment.

  18. Macky Manniss

    I have been an ADT customer for three years now. I have the basic service but I was interested in upgrading to Pulse. Believe me they make it VERY difficult to do so. Thank goodness because that gave me the time to do the research I should have done before even calling ADT in the first place. As a result I can tell you I will be cancelling my ADT basic service and going with one of the many other BETTER options out there for Video / Remote Alarm services. In fact one of the consumer research magazines publish an article a few months back that compares the new video based systems and one of the major complaints that got ADT rated at the BOTTOM of the pack was the fact that they do not offer Smash and Grab protection and they are the MOST EXPENSIVE for what you get and you don’t even own the equipment after a long lease. For example I have paid over 50 dollars a month for three years and I will own virtually none of the equipment after I call them to come and get their garbage the He double tooth picks out of my house. Heck even Time Warner Cables new Intelligent Home video system is cheaper and more reliable then Pulse. What a Joke ADT would be if they were not criminally incompetent. I mean really their garage has gotten people killed!

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Macky – thanks for your comment. Another sad tale of ADT not living up to expectations… We are seeing more of these in a variety of online review sites, and here as well. It’s too bad that it’s so hard for folks to learn all they want about Pulse in advance, but the ADT website is not much help: there’s no explanation of how the monitoring really works, what the equipment or monthly service level prices are, or disclosure of the fact that ALL the interactive services (except alarm signal transmission) rely on the broadband (Internet) connection. There’s a big difference when you compare Pulse to the Alarm.com platform that FrontPoint uses, because with FrontPoint, EVERYTHING (except video) uses the safer and more reliable cellular link. That means alarm monitoring, remote control of the alarm system, text and email notifications and event history, and even the home automation services are all independent of the more vulnerable Internet connection. You therefore don’t have to worry about your Internet service going up and down, or someone cutting your Internet connection (which burglars are doing more often), or losing all your interactive services when you lose power in the home.

      While I am not directly familiar with the Time Warner offering, I believe it too is based on iControl, which is the same platform as ADT’s Pulse – and therefore would have all the same downsides and vulnerabilities as Pulse.

      Thanks again, and best of luck in your search. Of course, we are here if you want to take a hard look at FrontPoint. You won’t find the same services for less, or better service anywhere. Just read our reviews!

  19. Avinash Gupta

    In june 2012 I called ADT in response to an email I received from ADT. I discussed the system and they told me someone will call me and comedown to my house. They did and after installation I saw the paper work which had a different name and I was told that they are the authorized dealer for ADT. I signed the contract for two years
    Recently I found out about that ADT Pulse and I called to upgrade. Now I am told that I can not upgrade for a year because the system was not installed by ADT.
    Why this practice I called ADT, contract is with ADT but no upgrade????

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Avinash – Thanks for your comment. You have experienced one of the more notable ADT “Gotcha” scenarios, this involving the ADT Authorized Dealer program. These Dealers are actually totally separate companies. Under the ADT name, they do the marketing, sales, and installation to “create” you as a customer. Then they “sell” you to ADT for a big check, and ADT takes over the monitoring, billing, and service. For the longest time the ADT Dealers were not even allowed to sell Pulse at all. Now they are finally allowed to sell it, but it’s not an easy process: a salesperson has to go to the home and make an in-person presentation to explain why the equipment and services cost what they do (you can’t find any of this important information out on the ADT web site). Since some ADT Dealers sell alarm systems only by phone, that can be a problem. You would think that any company would try to make it as easy as possible for you to spend more money and upgrade to higher-end services, but not ADT. This is just one more reason why people get cranky at them – some of their policies just don’t seem customer friendly. Nowadays people want transparency and common sense, which is why many are looking beyond ADT to more affordable and more customer-oriented alternatives – like FrontPoint! Thanks again.

  20. Daniel

    ADT has the worst service possible. I waited a month to get my security system fixed. They said they would be here between 11-1 pm, I waited and no one showed. I Have been on the phone with them for hours with nothing resolved. I am sooo upset and dissapointed. I have had multiple problems with them in the past about my system. There prices are outrages. It runs between 40-60 dollars per month depending on the type of alarm systme you get and it cost thousands for installment. I wish I never would of gotten set up with them in the first place.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Daniel – Thanks for weighing in here. Once again, it saddens me to hear that a customer of any alarm company (even ADT, our largest competitor) is not satisfied with the service that is offered. We know they charge more for equipment than we do, and more for the services they provide. We also know a lot about the platform they chose for interactive services, and feel strongly that ours is better. The fact is, ADT has a powerful brand, and it appears that they are more interested in attracting new customers than they are in keeping the ones they already have. For alarm companies, there are only two really important performance criteria: how much does it cost to create a new customer, and what is the rate at which your customers are leaving you? On the latter point, ADT is in a bit of a pickle – they recently reported their annual cancellation rate at over 13%, up from last year. That means they have to replace about one out of every seven customers each year, and one of the main reasons for that appears to be poor service. If only they would get their act together, they could improve that metric significantly. We only lose customers at a fraction of that rate – but then again, we try to treat every customer like the only customer we have, and it shows in our reviews. Thanks again for your comment, and I hope the situation improves for you.

  21. Mark

    ADT Pulse is the biggest mistake I ever made. I paided a lot of money for a system that was suppose to let me monitor my home when away. It was installed almost a month ago and has not worked yet. But they are still collecting their 57.99 dollars a month. First date they installed they forgot the cameras, then second date (a week later) they installed the cameras but they did not work. Two weeks later they brought lamp switches but did not now anything about fixing the cameras (which was a day after I had surgery). I got upset so they scheduled the service department to come out four days later. He gets here and works on the system for two and one half hours and can’t get it to work and lets me know who installed it did it wrong and I was missing the cellguard ( which I paided extra for), the cameras still don’t work. I have paided 1499 dollars for a system that does not work with no date on when it might work and stuck with a two year contract I can not get out of. Please stay away for them is is a ripoff.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Mark – Thanks for your comment, and I am very sorry to hear of your frustration and disappointment with “the other alarm company” out there. I’ve read a number of these stories, and the problem is often a function of the underlying structure of the Pulse product: it’s primarily Internet-based, so the tremendous variability of people’s routers, in combination with technicians who are still trying to master the products and services, has created many problems. It’s a shame, really, since ADT already is behind on technology and service reputation. But they sure beat the heck out of us when it comes to TV advertising!

      I am also surprised at the cost of these Pulse systems. We find in head-to-head price comparisons that our technology (which actually works better) costs between half and two thirds what an ADT system costs – and our monthly service charges are less.

      Again, sorry that your experience with them has not been a good one = and thanks for sharing.

  22. Brian M (Strech)

    I don’t understand why there are some many people trying to slam Peter for his comments. I took a two week research before I decided on front point. I even called ADP many times until I was passed onto there monitoring station to have some of my monitoring questions answered. THey actually confirmed to me that the triggered event is held with in the control panel. There solution to me was I could have the ADP tech change the time to a lower time so if I didn’t make it to the panel in time it would report faster to their monitoring stations.

    If anyone here that is slamming Peter did a little bit of research which includes calling ADP many many many times until you get who you want you would know how their monitoring really works. Trust me I got frustrated many times because I kept getting redirected to there sales techs.

    Here is a couple of links showing some settlements ADP setlled for. They don’t actually admit their system was to blame but if it wasn’t why would they settler for a unknown amount.

    http://www.startribune.com/local/east/130919303.html
    LInes cut and 2400 dollars spent on the system

    http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2011/09/30/murder-victim%E2%80%99s-family-settles-with-adt-security/

    http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/ADT-Security-settles-Contra-Costa-suit-over-fees-2892086.php

    Do your search on the patent and you will see that alarm.com actually does hold this patent. I called many alarm compaines before I choice front point and non of there customer service came close to the customer server that frointpoint security has.

    Do a little home testing when you get your system. If the sensor says it detects broken glass test it. Must Lowes or home depot will give you there old cut glass they can’t use. Put it in a bucket and see if it works. I have also called and had frontpoint put my system in a test mode so I could Arm it and set it off and he told me on the phone if he detected it.

    FYI for all you military members out there frontpoint security has the same type of customer service that USAA has. I hope some day in the future USAA will recommend frontpoint security

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Brian – Thanks so much for your excellent comment – and your great research on the topic. What really struck me about your position was that you combined two important issues: (1) ADT does not offer Crash & Smash protection, because they cannot do so – it’s a patent held by Alarm.com, and offered in every FrontPoint system with interactive services, and (2) it’s remarkably challenging to get the same level of service (and satisfaction) from ADT that you get from FrontPoint – they just don’t seem to care about their existing customers as much as they do about creating new ones. No wonder they report a cancellation rate of 13.2% per year, which is higher than the average for the entire US alarm industry.

      And on a personal level, I really appreciate that you have my back on this one, as a result of your thoughtful and informed approach to these important topics. After all, we’re talking about protecting people’s lives and property here, and peace of mind that you expect when you are paying good money for a system. Just goes to show that bigger does not necessarily mean better, in the case of ADT. Thanks again!

  23. joe faria

    could you expand on the vulnerable point with an intruder smash grab …..

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Joe – Yes, and thanks for the question. Our interactive monitoring partner is Alarm.com, a separate company that wrote the book on advanced monitoring services over ten years ago. They patented a special feature called “Pending Alarm” that is now more commonly referred to as “Crash & Smash” in the world of home alarms.

      Part of the genesis of this feature is that most of the systems being installed in homes today are self-contained control panels, as opposed to having a separate “box” in the basement. Today’s standard alarm control panel contains the circuitry, a siren, a keypad or touchscreen, and a backup battery. In the case of FrontPoint, we use GE Security equipment, so each system actually has a 24 hour battery (vs. the normal 4-hour battery used by ADT and others). FrontPoint also builds the Alarm.com digital cellular radio into every system we sell, so that no phone line is required. Too many systems being installed by other companies still rely on a vulnerable traditional phone or internet connection – cellular is definitely safer.

      Crash & Smash protection is based on the fact that Alarm.com’s interactive services communicate everything happening in the home: when the system is armed, when doors open and motion sensors are activated, etc. Therefore, Alarm.com knows when the system is armed, and subsequently when a door is opened. If they system is not disarmed, or if an intrusion signal is not received, Alarm.com assumes that the system was somehow compromised, and treats the “silence” like an intrusion. That way, even if the intruder disables the system before it sends out the alarm signal, the monitoring center will still process an intrusion alarm, and dispatch the police if they cannot reach you.

      This Crash & Smash technology is unique and patented – only Alarm.com has it, and FrontPoint is proud to include Crash & Smash protection with our Interactive and Ultimate levels of monitoring. This is what makes a FrontPoint system with Alarm.com interactive services virtually undefeatable. Please3 feel free to call us, and any of our Security Consultants will happily take the time to explain this feature and more to you in detail. We love an educated consumer! And thanks again for your question.

  24. Tim

    As a service tech that has installed and serviced both Pulse, and Alarm.com’s interactive automation equipment, I would have to go with Pulse. Two reasons: First, Alarm.com’s cellular control is slow to respond to commands (sometimes not 2-5 minutes depending on cell traffic). Although pulse is dependent on a broadband connection for interactive services, when it works, it works well. Second, Alarm.com’s cellular control is hinky at best, constantly dropping signal, and the antenna is too flimsy.

    Yes, Alarm.com cam out with their version first, but it took them a while to work the bugs out. ADT worked out the bugs FIRST, then released it to the public.

    Both services in fact use the same lighting and thermostat controls (made by GE), and both services have video and security control via remote access. One difference, ADT supports their own services themselves, with 24hr tech support, no third party.

    As far as POTS vs CB, Alarm.com’s control better have atleast three bars, or its not sending any notifications. Not all customers live in areas with reliable cellular signal. Yes I always push for CB, but if a cust has a 20yr old system that works great, but runs on 4/1, your not able to put a CB on it.

    And one last thing, the Simon XT panel, although a good wireless panel, could never compete with the Concord 4, or the Vista series. There is something to be said for running a wire.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Tim – Thanks for your comment, and I’d like to respond to the points you made. It’s rare that we get someone with your level of experience weighing on on these topics, so this is a great opportunity to address these issues – and make all of us smarter. FrontPoint has a strong preference for informed consumers – that is why we put so much information on our web site, and why we call our sales representatives “Security Consultants.” One of the biggest problems we have with Pulse is that the ADT web site gives so little information about how it works, what it costs, and what to expect: you have to ask for an ADT rep to come to your home to get the real hard questions answered, and not everyone has time for that.

      On the cell commands, it does depend on cell traffic The average is certainly less than the times you state, but in some (rare) situations it can take that long. At the same time, the communication with the systems is less vulnerable to external disruptions (cell traffic is more robust and reliable than internet traffic, and is not dependent on power to the home). As a general statement, we are not big fans of broadband for home security applications, which is another reason why we like Alarm.com: their platform limits the use of broadband to video services only. Remember, it’s just as easy to cut an Internet connection as it is to cut a phone line, and this happens more and more: at that point, with Pulse you are left with only basic alarm service, assuming you opted for the cellular connection. And in this regard ADT is better than Comcast (which uses the same iControl platform as ADT Pulse) – because Comcast actually defaults to Internet communication even for the monitoring.

      As for being “hinky” or having bugs, we are not aware of them. Alarm.com is using three well-established networks: AT&T and T Mobile for GSM, and (more recently) Verizon for CDMA. FrontPoint has used Alarm.com in every system we have ever sold since our inception inn 2007, and our experience is that Alarm is the most stable and robust interactive monitoring platform you can find. I see program alerts on a regular basis for Honeywell’s network, and also for the Telular network (two of the more popular alternatives – but never for Alarm.com. I also see regular complaints about Pulse – in terms of continuing router issues in homes, software updates not working, and general dissatisfaction with the level of service and support. The same would apply to the Alarm.com antenna – just not an issue, and we support these systems in very large numbers throughout the US and Canada.

      As for support of the services, ADT’s Pulse is based on the same iControl platform as Comcast XFINITY and also Cox. Alarm.com provides its platform to homeowners through a network of approved dealers across the US and Canada, of which FrontPoint is one of the largest. One could argue that ADT is also a third party. In fact, FrontPoint specializes in Alarm.com’s interactive services to a greater degree than ADT supports Pulse, and you can reach one of our technicians 24 x 7, if needed. So, there is not really any difference there, other than a widely perceived lack of responsiveness and expertise on the part of ADT. Just check out their reviews, and then check out ours. It’s our opinion that Alarm.com is the superior platform, and that we are the superior service provider, and we are clearly joined by many others in that belief.

      As for the bars needed, it’s our experience that only one bar is required. Remember, these are just micro bursts of data, and not a full duplex voice conversation. It’s very rare that we find a customer where the Alarm.com system does not work – and adding Verizon’s CDMA coverage is only going to improve the situation. When someone orders from us, we provide the radio with the system that gives them the best coverage: AT&T, T Mobile, or Verizon.

      And as for the wireless vs. hard-wired issue, there is no question that hard-wired systems work: they have clearly stood the test of time. That being said, this divergence of views is increasingly becoming an “old school” vs. current trend debate. Systems that combine hard-wired and wireless sensors (usually referred to as “hybrid” technology, and I bet you have installed many of them) have been around for a long time – so clearly wireless works as well. Some folks in the industry just cannot let the hard wired technology go, even though most of the sensors being sold today for home are wireless. Wireless sensors are easier to install, easier to move, easier to add, and much easier to troubleshoot, and you never have to worry about a lazy technician placing more than one sensor on a zone in existing construction installation (the “daisy chain” effect). The new wireless sensors are so small, and have batteries that last so long, that the choice is now much easier to make in their favor. And lastly, the trend is definitely toward systems that can be set up by the end user – allowing the homeowner to add to the system at will, and even move the entire system. That’s how FrontPoint operates, and is just one more reason why our customer cancellation rate is a fraction of ADT’s.

      Thanks again for your comment.

  25. Jeff

    I would have to question your “20 years” in the industry to miss such a simple concept of alarm signal transmitting. I have been in the industry about the same amount of time, worked for different alarm companies in leadership roles as well as product trainer for some of the major equipment companies.
    I do call into question the knowledge that you claim to have. Alarms send signals over phone, cell, or internet. ADT using phone and/or cell, no internet. There are SEVERAL other companies that use internet, like an Alarmnet-i device, but that is easy to defeat.

    YET, heres the kicker… your company uses a Simon system, which is SUPER easy to defeat by taking it off the wall, removing the battery, or even easier, just hit it and break the keypad. I noticed you’re not using Concord, Caddix, etc systems also made by GE. Whys that?

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Jeff – thanks for this additional comment. I’ll repost part of my reply to your other comment.

      Please go back and look at the grid in the blog: it clearly states that Pulse uses a phone line or cellular connection for primary or secondary monitoring connections with all three levels of Pulse. We know that, and the blog makes it clear, so I’m not sure what you are referring to. In fact, that is an advantage of Pulse over the Comcast Xfinity platform, since Comcast uses the same back end as Pulse (iControl), but has an Internet default for alarm monitoring. Comcast only reverts to the cell connection if the Internet is down. That being said, it’s amazing to me how for the money ADT charges for the Pulse equipment and services, that they would even allow the alarm signal to go over a vulnerable traditional phone line. Also amazing is that it’s so hard to learn any of this directly from ADT – without having one of their people come to your house. Whatever happened to transparency?! People want to know how things work, and it should not be up to me or anyone else to explain it for ADT! Nothing in my blog is fabricated, as you’ll see when you read it again.

      Also, with all due respect, it appears that you are not familiar with our patented “Crash & Smash” protection, developed by Alarm.com, our technology partner. I suggest you read up on it, if you have that much background in the industry, since it was designed to prevent exactly what you say will happen. The technology transmits a signal when the system is armed and another when a door is opened: if there is no disarm or intrusion signal, then it’s treated as an intrusion. That means disabling the panel does not prevent a dispatch. There are about a million Alarm.com-enabled systems installed in the US, so this is certainly something you should be aware of! ADT’s system does not have this, and they can’t – it’s patented. So, I beg to differ on several fronts: we are actually better on an apple-to-apple comparison. We use better technology, we charge less, and we offer much better service. Just read our reviews vs. ADT and you’ll see a stark difference – not in favor of ADT. Don’t take my word for it – just check around. Thanks again.

      • Jonathan

        Peter, what about the case where the intruder is able to smash the system before the data is transmitted. You, yourself, already admitted that in some rare cases, it can take a minute or two for the signal to make it on the cell network if the cell signal is low or there is a lot of network traffic. It seems that there’s no way around the fact that having the panel do the talking on the network is a vulnerability, as opposed to systems where the panel and base station are separate.

        • Peter M. Rogers

          Jonathan – Excellent question, and thanks for the opportunity to explain in more detail why a FrontPoint system with Interactive (or Ultimate) Monitoring, including Alarm.com’s patented “Crash & Smash” protection, is the safest system you can get. First, let’s assume that with true interactive services, the system is communicating everything that is happening in the home. That means when you leave and arm the system, Alarm.com receives the “System Armed” signal, so the fact that the system is armed is now known outside the home. Then remember that each time a door with a sensor opens (or closes), an additional activity signal is sent to Alarm.com – even when the system is not armed. These are the standard types of activities that are also communicated by text or email to you with a good interactive system. For instance, I get an email on my iPhone each time a door opens in my house, and it tells me which door, so I can can keep track of comings and goings remotely. In the case of Crash & Smash, imagine that Alarm.com knows that your system is armed (they would) – and then imagine that a door opens: they will know that right away, long before an intruder can smash the system control panel. What is unique about Alarm.com is that when they receive a door opening signal on an armed system, they place the system in a “pending alarm” status. That means they are actively looking for a disarm signal, or an intrusion signal (once the system has gone through the entry delay and dialer delay). But here is the patented feature: if Alarm.com gets neither a disarm or an intrusion signal, they “assume” the system has been compromised (destroyed), and treat it like an intrusion event. The possibility of the intruder opening the door and getting to the panel to destroy it before Alarm.com knows the door opened is essentially non-existent. And that is why we say that a FrontPoint system with Interactive or Ultimate monitoring is virtually impossible to defeat. Thanks again!

          • Jonathan

            You didn’t really address my question, though, which was if the cell network is loaded and it takes a couple of minutes for the panel to tell alarm.com that the door was opened, doesn’t that give the intruder a coupe of minutes to find the panel (easy with your system) and break it? I understand that may be a terribly rare event, but I’d like to know how rare. Do you have any data on typical times you guys have measured?

          • Peter M. Rogers

            Jonathan – Another good question. Alarm.com actually already thought of that! Let’s consider the scenario you describe, where it may take a little extra time for the signal of the door opening to reach Alarm.com. It will get there, regardless of whether anything happens to the panel, becasue the signal was transmitted when the door opened, and is then “in transit.” But there is no situation I can envision (or Alarm.com, since we asked them) where the signal would actually be delayed in leaving your home – and it’s only a faint possibility that the signal would be delayed in reaching Alarm.com in more than a few seconds. We do not measure the times from transit to receipt, but I believe if this were an issue of any real significance, we (and Alarm.com) would be aware of it. They have been at this for ten years, and we have been at it for five…So yes, a delayed receipt could happen, but should have no impact on the Crash & Smash functionality or level of protection in your home. And there is more… With well over one million systems in place, and over eight billion signals processed, Alarm.com has never experienced a situation where a delay in signal receipt has resulted in Crash & Smash protection functioning improperly. Alarm.com services are also widely sold in conjunction with the Interlogix/GE Security Concord series of alarm control panels, which also have a separate enclosure such as the ADT system you describe. What I find especially interesting is that Alarm.com is aware of numerous situations where the burglar did in fact attempt to compromise the “separate component” arrangement you describe. Remember, there are enough burglars out there who know what they are doing, and they know that the “metal can” with the system brains is usually in the basement or a first floor utility closet – and while the metal enclosure may slow them down, it certainly does not stop them. Thanks again.

  26. John

    Peter M. Rogers, is completely wrong. I have ADT pulse at home and I don’t have a telephone line. Also the ADT system is no wired to internet. I have the system installed for more than a Year and it working fine.

    We had couple of false alarms ( my mistake) and cops showed up in 5 mins ( Fremont CA)

    Peter M. Rogers, You are completely misleading the public.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      John – If you reread the post, you will see that I never say you are required to have a phone line: the Pulse system uses either a phone line or a GSM radio for alarm event monitoring. What’s remarkable is that ADT requires you to spend as much on equipment and on monitoring as you do with Pulse, and still allows the use of a traditional (and vulnerable) phone line. Of course they do offer cellular monitoring as an option, but even with that choice you are still limited by having your interactive services carried over the Internet – just as vulnerable as a phone line, if not more so. Power outages, Internet glitches, and even a burglar with a $3 pair of wire cutters can interrupt those interactive services. And to set the record straight, if you have interactive services with Pulse, you must have an Internet connection, no matter what they told you. FrontPoint uses Alarm.com, where most of the interactive services are carried over the safer and more robust cellular connection that is included with every FrontPoint system. As for the system working when there is a false alarm, that is good news: after all, that is what you are paying for. Thanks for your comment.

  27. John

    This is most helpful. I am considering a position in the industry as my new career. (My department was let go after twenty year in Jan.) I find it valuable to see the pros and cons. If anyone can offer any insights to help me as a residential sales rep please let me know. Thanks again for the indepth information.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Good luck to you, John. Make sure you go to work for a company that is transparent in their marketing, takes a consultative sale approach, and is known for world-class service. I’m afraid it’s a short list, but they are out there. This is a great industry and a great place to build a career, if you are fortunate enough to work for the right company.

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    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks – glad you enjoyed it.

  29. Mike S

    Alright, email me the questionairre for the door, window, and patio slider counts & I’ll let you do a quote.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Mike – Thanks for your additional comment. I’ll have one of our most senior Security Consultants contact you at the email your provided. We appreciate your interest, and hope to welcome you as another happy FrontPoint customer.

  30. Mike S

    1) What is the scanning pattern for the PIR units – is it a lobe, a quarter circle, or what? Can they be corner mounted in a room 45 degrees to each wall, or do they have to be flat-mounted on a single wall?
    2) I added up the cost of a system; control panel, sensors, a cam, remote, touch screen, key fob – it came to $1063 list. ADT has a $99.95 special; why would I want the FrontPoint system vs a no-frills ADT system?
    Mike S.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Hello, Mike-

      1) More of a lobe, and the corner is the best place to mount it. In fact, on the installation tips on our web site, it tells you exactly that – the corner give you optimum coverage.
      2) Make surer you are netting out the discount for a three year agreement, which takes $300 right off the top. The bigger the system, the more you save with FrontPoint. We are happy to help you determine the best level of protection for your home and situation, and we are very good asking the right questions – and not overselling. That’s part of what separates us from the other companies. We can also sell you the same $99.00 no-frill systems, although with us you get the GSM radio included, better service (as the reviews indicate), and less expensive monitoring at any level of service than ADT (we have 3 levels). We also offer 1, 2, and 3 year contract terms, although a shorter contract increases the upfront price. And if you buy the no-frills system from us and want to add to it later, it costs much less: a door for us is $32.99, vs. $75 or more from them, our motions and smokes are $64.99 each, vs. $150-$200, etc. I could go on and on here, about additional FrontPoint benefits like Crash & Smash (we have it and ADT does not) – but you should probably spend some time with one of our Security Consultants to work through all the details. Above all, please make sure you are comparing apples to apples.

  31. Mike S

    Thanks for very detailed response. I borrowed an Ademco Vista manual from a friend who has a Honeywell alarm so I can see all of the alarm commands and what it is capable of. The FrontPoint webside has quick install guides, etc. Is there an online link to a PDF manual so I can compare them?

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Mike – My pleasure. You can probably find an installation guide for the GE Simon XT on-line, although our process is 100% plug and play. We program all the sensors into the control panel, and it’s 100% wireless: both the sensor communication, and the alarm communication (the way the control panel communicates to the monitoring center). If you want to use the cameras, they do need a broadband connection, but we’ve even made that easy. It’s actually quite rare that one of our subscribers needs to access the XT manual, since we provide all the remote support to let you do pretty much anything you want (as long as the XT can do it). We really good at this – as the reviews on FrontPoint will tell you.

  32. Mike S

    Newbie, trying to compare the Honeywell Ademco Vista-10P to the Frontpoint system. What is the business relationship between Alarm.com, FrontPoint, and GE Security?

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Mike – thanks for your smart question. Here’s the short story. Alarm.com was a separate division of MicroStrategy, and operated almost as a separate company, since their products and services were very different from MicroStrategy’s core business. Alarm.com had developed the first “real” cellular monitoring and remote control platform in the alarm industry, and they teamed up with GE Security so that the Alarm.com services could be integrated into a major alarm equipment platform. Honeywell insisted on developing it’s own platform for interactive monitoring in-house, which is called Total Connect: the general perception in the industry is that Total Connect has been playing catch-up to Alarm.com for years. Alarm.com was sold by MicroStrategy, and is now a successful standalone business with almost a million subscribers, but those subscribers must obtain Alarm.com services through an authorized dealer, such as FrontPoint. FrontPoint is one of many alarm companies using both GE Security equipment and the Alarm.com services: we resell them to our subscribers, the end-users. Where FrontPoint differs is that we use Alarm.com technology in every system we sell, and all our systems use safer cellular monitoring. We also specialize in the Alarm.com interactive services, more so than other alarm companies, and our excellent support has earned us rave reviews all across the US and Canada. Hope that helps, and thanks again for asking.

  33. Josh

    Please stop mentioning that ADT Pulse is monitored over broadband. This is simply not true. I’m all for a competitive market but let’s get our facts right. The system is monitored over: a) traditional or digital landline, b) GSM cellular communicator or, c) a combination of the two (highly recommended). We do not recommend broadband for the same reason most other companies don’t: it is not as reliable as GPRS/GSM or landlines. Thank you.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Josh – Thanks for your comment. I have revised my post – both my version of the Pulse grid and the accompanying text – text to reflect the updated information. Frankly, it’s a good news/bad news situation for ADT. As my revised post says, it is pretty remarkable that ADT would allow a customer to purchase this expensive system and service plan and still place all their faith on a vulnerable POTS line (plain old telephone service) or equally vulnerable VoIP line for the essential alarm signal traffic to the monitoring center. And what does cost if you want cellular instead? One can only assume it’s an up-charge for the GSM radio, as well as for the cellular monitoring, but the web site does not make this clear. And it does not change the fact that all the interactive services are broadband-reliant, unlike Alarm.com, which sends only video over the broadband connection. Interactive services (remote arm/disarm, history, notifications, home automation) should be GSM-based for the greatest reliability. You made that reliability point yourself…

      Thanks again – like you, we want accuracy and transparency. The shame is that the Pulse side provides so little of the latter.

  34. Dave

    Hi Peter
    Just bought a new property built from the ground up, It came with an alarm system, I wont mention the name. I was given a free installation and two years of free monitoring. Needless to say after reading (and I emphasize READING) the information on front point. I chose them. I am giving up $1600 in free alarm equipment and monitoring to pay for what I truly believe is a good alarm system. This should tell the people on this blog somethin. Front Point may not have the pretty screens but it WORKS!!! A lot of people get caught up in advertisement and tv commercials. I just had a new daughter which has become the most important possesion in my life. The safety of my family is everything.
    The front point consultants were very knowledgable and informative. The one thing I like about them was there was no upselling. I asked for accessories based on my old alarm system, but the Front Point people guided me to only the things that I needed. which came out to be less than the other company. Every time I call they answer the phone and help me with anything i call about.
    great company!!!
    Peter thanks for all of your hard work and research…Some people just wont believe until a bad situation happens.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Dave – Thanks very much, from all of us here at FrontPoint, and congratulations on the arrival of your daughter. You are right – nothing like having something precious to protect to focus your mind on reliable home security.

      I am very glad to hear our Security Consultants (and we call them that for a reason) were good to work with. We pride ourselves on that, as much as we do on the excellent support you mentioned. And it all comes out in the reviews, which are (we think) the best indicator of what an alarm company is REALLY like. After all, you are buying a relationship and a bond of trust, not just a box of equipment.

      And yes, we do work hard – but we also have the best customers in the alarm industry, which makes it fun and rewarding to get up every morning and go to work, helping to protect homes and families.

      Thanks again.

    • Jim

      Spoken by ANOTHER employee of FrontPoint!!! Nice try…

      • Peter M. Rogers

        Jim – If you are referring to the comment by Alan, he is not (and never has been) a FrontPoint employee: he is a long-time, loyal, and remarkably well informed FrontPoint customer, and he has posted on numerous sites. If you spend a little time looking at FrontPoint reviews (which are uniformly great, by the way!), you can even find his invitation to call him or email him. He happens to live in California, and we only have one office – in Virginia. I can understand why it is tempting to assume (and even claim in your comment) that anyone who prefers FrontPoint to ADT must be an employee of the former – sorry, just not the facts. But thanks anyway, as always.

  35. Sam

    It’s really sad that all you can do is put down the largest security company in the industry just to promote your lame company. Quit critizing and come up with your own system and promote it! Your just jealous!!

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Sam – Thanks for all these comments – I mean that. My posts are designed to inform and draw clear distinctions where they existing, so that people shopping for peace of mind and convenience through a combination of home security and home automation can reach their own conclusions on which products, services, and companies should be part of he decision-making process. If it happens that ADT does not fare well in this process, at least in my my own informed opinion, then so be it: people are free to obtain whatever information they can, from whatever sources are available. Sadly, ADT is nowhere near as transparent or informative as they could be, which is sad, considering their size and longevity.

      The fact is that a number of competing alarm companies have left ADT in the dust when it comes to technology, service levels, and customer satisfaction. FrontPoint is certainly one of those companies, as you can tell from our reviews, and the services we have been providing since our inception. We are 100% cellular, for example, and almost all our systems utilize interactive monitoring, which ADT adopted late and not terribly well. So, as for your suggestion to “come up with your own system,” we have done exactly that – an people love it, and us. Thanks again, but it seems you need to learn more about what has put FrontPoint on the map, and why we have the highest customer retention and customer loyalty of any alarm company in the US.

  36. Ginette

    Hi. I already paid the whole year with ADT because I pay every year. Do you know how much is the price for Pulse? Thank you

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Hi, Ginette, and thanks for your question. What you pay per month depends on a few variables. In the first place, ADT Pulse has three levels of service, depending on how much your system can do. For the most advanced level, my understanding is that you will pay $57.99 a year, and it goes down from there. You may also be required to pay additional for cellular monitoring, which is definitely safer – and cellular is the only kind of monitoring that FrontPoint provides. Thanks again – and good luck. You may have to have someone from ADT come to your home to get the real answers: annoying, but I understand that is the case, especially for the more advanced services. Many people wish they were more transparent!

      • Jim

        Peter you continue to throw around the “transparent” word like you are the gospel on truth and not just a glorified salesman for another alarm company. So you are saying it is better for a consumer to “phone in ” their security needs to protect their family and their investment, than to have a professional come “into” their home and evaluate their personal needs. It is “annoying” (to use your words) that you proclaim to be “believable” in assessing their needs by “never” meeting them face to face just because the “new wave” in internet selling is the only way to satisfy the customer. To the point, since that is the ONLY way you do business, perhaps it’s more that you can’t handle the face to face scrutiny of the customer on the “real” differences in the industry!

        • Peter M. Rogers

          Jim – thanks for all these comments: you really are providing me with a great opportunity to address some of the questions people might have about FrontPoint, and by answering these in detail I can hopefully put any misconceptions to rest.

          If your claim is that every alarm sales person who comes to the door is a professional, I would respectfully request that you check any number of news articles, on-line reviews, or blogs covering the alarm industry that will show just how far off the mark that claim may be. Heck, some of these “salespeople” are actually burglars casing the house! others are pushy, misinformed, or downright deceptive. And the turnover is remarkably high. Then throw in the fact that more and more people just don’t want a stranger in their home – salesperson, installer, or repair technician. Times are changing.

          Are there good, trained, professional sales people in the industry? Absolutely. But is the alarm industry now the domain of countless hucksters knocking on doors and looking for high commissions, while employing pressure tactics and deceptive (even fraudulent) sales techniques? You betcha! Look at the lawsuits, fines, and other government actions taken by many of these companies. Why even ADT just paid a fine to the State of California of almost $1 million over a contract issue – ironically, because the ADT contract was not sufficiently transparent!

          That is just one more reason why so many people are looking for information on-line: great reviews, comprehensive information about how alarm technology works, and what it costs, and more. And frankly, with over twenty years in this industry, I know what is involved in protecting a home – the traditional alarm company environment you favor is the environment I came from. It is not rocket science to design a home alarm system, but it does take patience, understanding, and knowledge – all traits that our trained, professional security consultants have in abundance. What they don’t do is apply pressure, which is one more reason why FrontPoint has the best reviews in the industry, and the lowest cancellation rate. We don’t claim that the way we provide peace of mind is the only way – but it has become increasingly viable and popular, since more people are looking for safer, smarter, simpler, and more affordable peace of mind. Frankly, when it comes to higher risk for a company, I think that operating in the realm of on-line reviews is tougher than the face-to-face market: one bad in-person experience may result in a person telling a few friends and neighbors, but one bad on-line review can have widespread repercussions. In other words, I’d say the scrutiny is tougher doing what we do – we put ourselves on the line in a very public forum thousands of times a day, and we had better deliver. The good news for us is that when it comes to our web site, our consultative selling approach, and our world-class service, on top of best-in-class technology, we more than measure up. Thanks again.

    • Ali

      It’s $99 installation, whatever local permit fee’s your municipality requires, and $49.99 a month which includes police, medical, fire, full warranty, and cellguard if you don’t have a landline.

      • Peter M. Rogers

        Thanks, Ali, for weighing in here. Not sure which level you are talking about, and whether any of the interactive services that are becoming so popular these days are included in the price you quote. I suspect not, since the price for equipment is usually much higher if you include the “iHub” in your pulse system – that is the piece of necessary hardware that handles all of the interactive services. Tow big issue remain for Pulse: they put ALL the interactive services over the Internet (inherently less stable or reliable than cell communication) and no Crash & Smash protection. Throw in the sometimes questionable levels of customer support and satisfaction, and it’s easy to see why so many people want an alternative to ADT, especially when it comes to advanced services. Thanks again.

  37. Ren

    Technology changes so fast. Hope you continue to upgrade your system because ADT has is about to launch a massive upgrade.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks very much for your comment. Happily, our systems rely on the technology developed by the company that wrote the book on interactive monitoring: Alarm.com, in conjunction with equipment by GE Security. ADT has been playing catch-up for years, and we’ll be very surprised if they ever match the Alarm.com technology for reliability or features. And we know that ADT cannot match FrontPoint when it comes to service level, affordability, or the simplicity of being able to install your own system on your own time. Plus, ADT totally missed on the important Crash & Smash feature. That’s why we say FrontPoint systems are safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat. Thanks again – we are ready!

  38. Adam

    1st thing I saw on you digging is that you mentioned primary means of communication is cellular & broadband if there is a phone line. Both these statements are FALSE. Only if you donor have home phone service is the GSM cellular coverage primary. If you have traditional phone service or approved voice over ip this is the systems primary means of communication, ALWAYS. On pulse advantage and premier the internet is used to transmit data over itself for video, arming, disarming, turning lights on/off, sending the end user emails, etc. It is not used to transmit alarms at this time. In the future it will because each home will have its on ip address and in the event communication is lost with the montioring center a trouble would indicate loss of communication and the owner will be notified immediately, making this more reliable than ever. As of now it still uses traditional phone lines for primary and GSM as its backup.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Adam – I have received comments from others on this topic, and will be looking further into the technical details. It was remarkably difficult to obtain information on PULSE when the log was originally posted – not only on-line from ADT, but even from ADT on the phone: nobody could really explain how it worked, at least for the average consumer. By the way, assuming what you state is true, then all of the “cool” interactive features are reliant on the broadband connection, leaving only the alarm signals to travel via a physical phone line (or VoIP connection), or a cellular connection. That means if you lose power to your home router or modem, or if you lose your internet connection (not that uncommon), then you lose the interactive features – possibly just when you want them! Remember, it’s just as easy to cut an internet connection as it is a phone line. That’s why the safest and most reliable systems use the cellular connection for everything except video. Again, thanks for your comment.

  39. chris

    You slam ADT during most of your blog here, yet Front Point Security is an authorized ADT Dealer. Am I wrong ?

    Whether you are or not, you’re correct on slamming ADT.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Chris – Thanks for your comment. While it’s not my intention to “slam” the other alarm companies (ADT included), I do make a point of shining a bright light on our competitors and the differences in their approaches when compared to how I believe every alarm companies would operate. The point of comparison may be service level, technology, transparency, affordability, or some other matter, but in each case I try to be objective and factual.

      And speaking of facts, FrontPoint has no connection to ADT whatsoever. Both of the large alarm companies where I previously worked were acquired by ADT (SecurityLink and Alarmguard), and after Alarmguard was absorbed by ADT I even worked at Tyco, ADT’s parent, focusing on alarm company mergers and acquisitions. But FrontPoint and ADT are about as far apart as you can get in this industry, in many respects! FrontPoint is a proud GE Security Authorized Dealer, and one of Alarm.com’s largest nationwide dealers – but we have nothing to do with ADT. Thanks again for giving me the opportunity to clarify that point.

  40. Victor Botticchio

    My company has been in the security industry since 1982. home automation was around over 20 years ago. Video using dial up, turning on/off heat in cottages, turning off lights. we installed these products over 20 years ago (only cost was long distance). using regular telephone lines. Turning on and off was never a problem, if the thermostat failed, the pipes froze, the cottage flooded. The insurance company will ask if the thermostat was installed by a licensed heating/A.C. company. (Could be a Lawsuit)
    We just give our customers the best alarm monitoring money can buy today. Video over internet is free.
    Just connect the DVR recorder to your internet and click, you can view your home cameras at the office for free.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Victor. Yes, the systems you describe were available, but were seldom used. And now with phone lines going away at an alarming rate (please excuse the pun), the only safe and reliable way for an alarm system to communicate is over the cellular link. Throw in the fact that burglars are cutting phone and internet lines left and right, and it’s easy to see why the industry is headed to words cellular, which is toward FrontPoint, the only alarm company in the US that has provided 100% digital cellular monitoring from day one, in addition to interactive services. And most people do not want to purchase a DVR – that is why motion activated video clips stored security off-site (in addition to real time viewing) is the preferred method these days. But thanks for the historical perspective!

  41. dc

    you gotta be kidding me people. This entire blog was high-jacked for purposes of pointing out the flaws and direction to Alarm.com and Front point and to gain email addresses. What a joke.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, DC, for your comment. While it might not be readily evident from reading a single FrontPoint blog entry, this blog is one of the most widely read in the alarm industry. The topics I cover vary widely, and include alarm technology, legislation, industry news, how things work, crime spotlights, stupid burglars, home automation, and tips on protecting the home and family from intrusion, fire, and environmental issues: in other words, a full range of issues. The blog has been running for over a year, with over 300 separate posts. ADT is covered from time to time, as are other alarm companies, including their products, services, and business models. The post you refer to has been widely circulated, but is only one example of the helpful, accurate, and useful information available here. Thanks again.

  42. Jerry

    Funny, I can’t find any prices on your website. How much is your system? I did however see an option to install the alarm myself. Am I working under your license? How does this self installation work? It is pretty sad when a website is created, with very vague explanations of how systems work, solely to bash another company which only makes you look worse. I have no allegiance to anyone, but your weak attempt at making people think you know everything only makes you look bad.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Jerry – Thanks for your comment. I certainly apologize if you had difficulty in finding prices on our web site. The truth is, FrontPoint’s is the most informative web site we have seen in the alarm industry, not only concerning the prices of our products and services, but also how they work. If you want to know the cost of any product we sell, just click on that product: control panel, sensors, or accessories. You can also click on the “Shop Now” icon and select any package for starters – and then you can customize the system to your heart’s content. And remember, you add any devices at any time, once the system is installed, and even move it with you. You can get a FrontPoint system for as little as $99.95, with no hidden fees, no shipping, and a 30-day risk-free trial period. You don’t ever have to talk to one of our trained and professional Security Consultants if you don’t want to – but most people do call us, and enjoy the opportunity to get a full explanation on anything we sell and support. We’re actually known for being transparent and informative (just read the great reviews on lots of sites) – but if we did not meet your expectations, again, our apologies. If you want to see a different approach, try extracting information from ADT’s Pulse site about what anything costs, or the nuts and bolts of how it works. Then try calling them, and getting prices over the phone: you may be disappointed, since the only way to get a full quote is to have someone visit your home. As for licensing, that’s a great question. We sell a completely wireless system, fully programmed and customized for your home. And while we are fully licensed in every jurisdiction and state where it’s required, you don’t need to be: it’s called the “homeowner exemption” that allows you do do much more complex and challenging tasks than setting up a FrontPoint system. Lastly I don’t know everything about the alarm industry: I keep learning all the time, especially from our customers. But you don’t have to take my word for any of this: just check out FrontPoint’s reviews (vs. the other companies) and it should be clear why we have the lowest attrition and best customer loyalty in the alarm industry. Thanks again.

  43. Andrew james

    Huh, I rent and my landlord said no, all but 2 on my block have Vivint.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Andrew – You are not alone if your landlord said now, since most alarm system require running wires, and in many case, a telephone connection (additional wiring) – so much for the state of the alarm industry. FrontPoint does work with renters all across the US, and we have never seen a landlord say no to a FrontPoint system, since we are 100% wireless. In fact, many rental property owners purchase a FrontPoint system to provide to their tenants – it just makes sense. As for the other company you named, I suggest you spend some time checking them out at the BBB and other review sites – and read some of my posts on door knockers. Companies known for fines, penalties, alarm licensing violations, government actions, and fraudulent sales tactics are not good for the alarm industry – and consumers should think twice about engaging with a door knocking alarm company.

      • Wil

        The BBB is an unreliable source to seeing as they themselves are under fire for fraud. Every alarm company has the few unreputable salesman that unfortunately stain the name of many companies. I would check out the JD Powers, Consumer Digest, and other reputable companies that rate and put vivint under the microscope. Those are more reliable than the BBB. Vivint also works with renters and the system is 100% wireless.

        • Peter M. Rogers

          Wil – Thanks for your comment. I would not rank the BBB as an unreliable source, although I agree they are not perfect. But, they are probably the best source out there on a comparative basis for looking at one company vs. another. For one thing, they do a good job of tracking complaints and resolutions, and you cannot “buy” your way out of a bad review. Lord knows some people have tried – to no avail. As for your reference to “the few unreputable salesman” that you think every alarm company has, I strongly disagree. I have personal knowledge of dozens of alarm companies where the tactics used by door knockers in general would not be tolerated: false crime statistics, poaching accounts from other alarm companies, hurried installs, pressure to sign, etc. The list goes on and on, and the fact is there is too much money to be made by these young people in a few short months – it’s just not possible to control the behavior, no matter how hard the company may try, when the very culture and business model are predicated on speed and volume. The simple fact that customers have to sign on the spot (no time for due diligence) and the alarm is installed immediately speaks volumes about why door knocking is held in such low regard. As for the other review sites, JD Powers is not subject to consumer comments (if it were, that would be bad for door knockers), and neither is the other site you mention. Reviews real complaints are very powerful, which is why BBB, Yelp, and other sites are so widely used. They are just more credible, as imperfect as they may be.

      • CJL

        I have to agree with Peter here about Vivint. They were formally APEX and multiple state Attorney General’s offices sued them and won for deceptive trade practices, bait and switch and more. Know the facts on this company. There main way to screw a customer over was to stop there auto-draft payment for no reason then several months later send you a letter demanding 5k for buy out of contract since you didn’t pay your bill. The contract states if auto-draft does not go through its the customers responsibility not the companies even if the company for a unknown reason stopped auto-drafting the payment without notification. I do realize that Peter is a advocate for his product but I personally know several people who APEX screwed over with these tactics.

        • Peter M. Rogers

          Thanks, CJL, for weighing in here. I have posted numerous times about the door knockers, and find that many of our current of potential customers have experienced the no-so-gentle approach of door-to-door alarm sales by one of these companies.Vivint is only one of them, and others are worse, if fines, lawsuits, and government actions are any indication. But there are those in the alarm industry who wonder if this door-knocking business model is one whose days are possibly numbered: there are just too many attractive alternatives where the approach is transparent, and you don’t have to put up with high pressure tactics, deception, or fraud. Thanks again for sharing here.

  44. Andrew james

    How do u rate the 2 gig home automation system? It has 2 way voice over gsm cell primary.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Andrew – Thanks for the question. As a growing nationwide provider of next-generation technology, we make a point of staying on top of the latest technology in communications, interactive features, and yes – alarm control panels. From our perspective, the 2GIG control panel has a lot of nice features. The are a young company, and it will be interesting to watch them mature and develop as they bring out (and then support) subsequent revisions of their equipment – that is one true test of an equipment provider.We chose the GE Security product line for many reasons, including their full integration with Alarm.com for safer cellular monitoring and interactive services. GE Security (now owned by United Technologies) also has the best track record in our industry for innovation, support, quality, and value over the years. It happens that the 2GIG products also work with Alarm.com, which shows the wisdom of 2GIG in choice of partners.

      The 2GIG panel is used primarily by one of the “door knocker” programs (a company whose sales tactics I have posted about several times). From the consumer’s perspective, it’s important to choose not only the control panel, but also the company company that will explain and support the equipment with clarity, transparency, and integrity. That’s why lots of people choose FrontPoint – our reputation is excellent in all these regards.

  45. Sean

    I have the Pulse Premiere and I do not have broadband, my system to primary-cellular. I do not have a phone line in my home.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Sean – thanks for the comment. As explained to me by several reputable sources, the Advantage and Premier levels of Pulse both require the “iHub” device as the central communication point in your system – and the iHub (as the name implies) is an Internet communication device. It’s true that you do not need a phone line in your house – but the interactive functions of your system (remote control, notifications, light and thermostat control if you have them, plus video) are all transported via the Internet – and not over a cellular link. If you were to state that you don’t even have a broadband connection in your home, and still have the the Premier level of Pulse, then THAT would be a surprise to me – and to many others! At FrontPoint we are convinced that the cellular link is the safest – and is also the most reliable path for the interactive services (except for video, which really does need to ride on the broadband connection). In your case, the cellular radio is only a backup device for “raw” alarm signals, and carries none of the interactive traffic. By the way, you should seriously consider putting a battery backup on your iHub and your router or cable modem – something you don’t need to do with a FrontPoint system. Thanks again.

      • Jim

        Peter, as a means of comparision “ADT vs FrontPoint”, the most important part of ANY security system is the monitoring center, to this “POINT” ADT is the industry Standard in this category. ADT has 8 monitoring centers that can respond to “every “alarm event”.The customer has an assigned monitoring center with 7 “back-up” centers viewing the same alert. NO “Alarm” company in the world has matched this level of redundancy, hence the fact ADT is the industry standard. By the way, how many monitoring centers does FrontPoint have???

        • Peter M. Rogers

          Jim, I’m not sure if you are an ADT employee, or an unusually informed customer, but either way, you should know that it’s extremely rare for a monitoring center to fail, or even to commit a serious error. The monitoring service is important, but when you look at complaints about alarm companies, it’s rarely about the monitoring: everyone assumes (correctly) that the monitoring center will do its job. Complaints more likely involve bad sales practices, horrible customer services, lousy support, etc. People also want advanced features, simplicity, and affordability – common topics that are addressed in the many review sites you can find that cover alarm companies. Is monitorionmg important? Absolutely. But is that a significant point of differentiation for alarm companies? Absolutley not.

          You should also be aware that it’s not the number of monitoring centers, but how good each one is. You may know that the highest bar in the alarm industry is approval by the NYFD to monitor commercial fire alarm systems in the five boroughs of New York City. Only a handful of monitoring centers in the US have that approval, and ours (Rapid Response) is one of them. I know these issues very well, since Rapid achieved this approval around the same time (almost twenty years ago) as my old company, Alarmguard, also earned it. By the way, after ADT purchased Alarmguard in 1999, they lost 30% of our previously happy customers (and we had over 100,000) in one year, mostly for service issues. But back to the NYFD: it took us about two years to go through the monitoring center process, and we had to be UL listed and Factory Mutual approved just to apply to the NYFD. And as we like to tell FrontPoint customers today , if it’s good enough for the NYFD, it’s good enough for us. You can believe that the NYFD would never approve a monitoring center unless it was incredibly redundant, robust, and ready for anything.

          • Ali

            Peter:

            How many operators does FrontPoint have, and don’t dodge the question- Also, how many customers does Front Point have? You basically just gave the run around on that last guys question… The amount of monitoring centers and operators is what makes or breaks the response time… If Front Point has 20 operators monitoring 300,000 customers and 1,000 alarms go off in a minute, 20 alarms get answered and 980 will get put on hold and wait…

            I also feel like you should have done a lot more research before bad mouthing a company. I find it tactless when I read slander on a “competitors” website and the credibility factor just isn’t there. I sell alarm systems and I personally would never trash talk another company to get business, it just looks bad.

          • Peter M. Rogers

            Ali – Thanks for these comments – we appreciate all of them. As for monitoring, we use Rapid Response Monitoring, arguably the best monitoring provider in the US. They are UL listed, Factory Mutual approved, and are one of only a handful of monitoring centers allowed to monitor commercial fire alarm system in the City of New York (ADT is also so approved). We leave the staffing to Rapid Response, and they have never let us down. These days many alarm companies (even large ones) do not monitor their own accounts – they leave it to the experts. And as for research, we do plenty. It gets frustrating when a company (and ADT is not alone in this) are not willing to tell you exactly what you will pay for equipment or monthly fees on the web site. We do that, because we consider transparency an integral part of building trust with our customers – and our prospective customers.

            Thanks again.

  46. Peter M. Rogers

    Thanks, Alan – We were very surprised once we got hold of the facts and began to grasp the implications for the Pulse levels of security – to say nothing of the peace of mind that people want and deserve. Some folks are satisfied just buying a name – but we have found increasingly that customers are doing their research, checking on-line reviews, and getting the facts. We are all about transparency, so the informed approach appeals strongly to us.

    Thanks again – keep those comments coming!

  47. Alan

    Wow, LOVE this info deep dive Peter! (and have a new term to use)

    It is crazy, that at those prices, ADT still decided to go the EL CHEAPO route of using broadband for their primary communications channel. So once again, this supposed leader (by size only, apparently) makes the wrong trade-off between providing better security to their customers vs even higher short-term profits to their shareholders. Many public companies have a real problem with this type of short term thinking.

    Come on ADT, do you really take all your customers and potential customers the fool? The Internet is here, information is free-flowing, and there are better values for better security out there. Oh, and your equipment is also usually more expensive and we still own virtually none of it at the end of the long lease.

    And importantly ADT, you don’t have, and probably never will due to patents, the smash-n-grab type of protection that Alarm.com owns. Given this, you’d think ADT would at least try to be very competitive in every way they could, but alas, we’re not see that. ADT seems to be stuck in incremental progress mode in an era of exponential change. Not a good harbinger of their future financial results unless they pick up their game and take this challenge to their fundamental business model a little more seriously.

    In case you can’t tell, it irritates me that THIS is their response AFTER ALL THIS TIME. The technology and pricing is also insulting to their customer’s intelligence. Thus the tone of this post.

    Yes, please do continue to observe this patient, Peter! I can’t think of a better doctor.

    • Jeff Spatz

      Its too bad your info is wrong.. The system uses the phone and the cell for Pulse and not broadband. I did some searching and found that quickly, its too bad you posted the wrong info to promote your own service.

      • Peter M. Rogers

        Jeff – Thanks very much for your comment. If you read my posts carefully (and there have been several on Pulse, so I know that is asking a lot), you will see the details. There are three levels of Pulse: the lowest level (“Select”) is based on cellular radio, and includes some basic interactive services, almost as good as what Alarm.com offers in its interactive suite. The two higher levels (“Advantage” and “Premier”) use a broadband connection as the primary communication channel, which is why the system schematic for these Pulse levels shows the inclusion of the “iHub” device. There is a basic cellular radio in the Advantage and Premier offerings, but only as a backup – and only for basic intrusion signaling. In other words, when you lose internet connectivity (much more likely than losing cellular coverage), you lose all the cool interactive features – at least with Advantage and Premier. This loss also happens when you lose power – unless you have a battery backup on the iHub as well as on your broadband router or modem – and very few people take those precautions.

        Again, thanks for your comment. If you have any specific information to support your statement (such as a link to a website) that you can share, I am happy to reconsider the information I have provided.

        • Jim

          HOLD THE PHONE!!!! Jeff, it is factually incorrect, your statement that “The two higher levels (“Advantage” and “Premier”) use a broadband connection as the primary communication channel, which is why the system schematic for these Pulse levels shows the inclusion of the “iHub” device.” Communication is done completely by either the phone line or cellular means… the phone line (if used) can be the” primary” and CG (cell-guard) as back-up, however, CG can be used as “primary” in both cases if desired by the customer as the communication source. The broadband connection, (via iHub) at all levels, is solely used as the “notifier” to the customer as instructed by the setup of the pulse activity and monitoring portal. The notifier reports to the customer, via email or text, any activity the customer has instructed the activated “contacts” to report. No matter the level, communication to the monitoring center and hence the authorities, remains through the phone line or CG provided, NOT the iHub.

          • Peter M. Rogers

            Jim – Please refer to the revised content of the post, which already addressed this issue. While the ADT Pulse web site is still remarkably (and inexplicably) obscure as to how the actual monitoring really works, we now know that the broadband connection is used for everything except the alarm signaling. Sadly, that is not the most reliable or robust solution: other platforms (Alarm.com among them) only push video over the broadband connection, and use the safer and more reliable cellular connection for notifications, home automation control, arming/disarming, etc. ADT chose a solution that is cheaper for ADT, not necessarily better for the homeowner seeking peace of mind. ADT also totally missed on the Crash & Smash protection, patented by Alarm.com. In other words, ADT Pulse is on the wrong platform. But thanks for your comment.

          • Nick

            I know honeywell is coming out with a crash and smash product as well here in the next few months! I imagine ADT will figure out a way to have their own system that sends a preemptive signal to the station once the delayed entry way is breached so if someone rips it off the wall, an alarm signal is sent.

            Time will tell but other players in the field are right there or well past Alarm.com with pricing, useability and interface I would say.

          • Peter M. Rogers

            Nick – I think if the other providers had a solution it would already be out. After all, Honeywell has been at this for almost five years, so it’s not as if Crash & Smash protection is a new concept. The fact is, the technology was patented by Alarm.com – which is why you don’t see anyone else doing it, even thought it is often discussed. Perhaps some smart company thinks they have a way to bypass the patent, but I would not want to be on the receiving end of that patent infringement suit.

            As for anyone equaling or bypassing Alarm.com, the alarm industry in general (and over a million homeowners) seems to disagree: Alarm.com is the most widely used and most highly regarded of the interactive monitoring platforms – and they keep finding ways to stay ahead of the competition. The didn’t just write the book: they keep coming out with best-selling sequels!

          • Jose

            Peter – Again you’re wrong the ADT Pulse system still uses the Cellular and/or telephone line to send any signals to the monitoring station if a sensor is triggered. The IHUB you mentioned is only used for the ‘interactive’ services – remote arm/disarm, lighting, video, and thermostat control. In regards, to the Crash & Smash protection this is nothing new. ADT uses a seperate Control Unit (the brain of the system) to control the system. So, if someone pulls out the keypad like those sold by dealers it will then disable the entire system from communicating to the monitoring centers. This is not what ADT uses. Your reviews/comparisons do not have merit since we all know that you have some sort of affiliation going on with Alarm.com. You’re not only being one-sided but rather your sending your visitors to the vendors that are paying you for sending visitors to their site.

          • Peter M. Rogers

            Jose – Thanks for you comments. If you read my post carefully, you will see that you and I agree for the most past: ADT does in fact use either a phone line or a cellular link for the alarm traffic – although why they still would even consider using a vulnerable phone line for alarm transmission is beyond me. The best providers are defaulting to cellular, and don’t even offer a phone line option. And you are right, ADT is pushing ALL the interactive services over the iHub and the broadband connection. That’s part of the problem, in my opinion, since any disruption of your broadband connection (intentional or otherwise) means you lose all the cool stuff you are paying extra for. The best platforms (like Alarm.com, which FrontPoint uses) use the cellular link for as much of the interactive services as possible: remote arm/disarm, even notification, free mobile apps, and even the home automation features for control of lights, locks, and thermostats. With Alarm.com, only the video travels over broadband, and all the other services (including alarm signal transmission) use the safer, more robust, and more reliable cellular link. That’s the way it should be. Of course, you won’t learn any of this on the ADT web site – which is another of my complaints.

            Crash and Smash protection is a patented technology, and only Alarm.com has it. No other service provider can make that claim,including ADT. And remember, most of the alarm systems being installed in the US today use a self-contained control panel, which is much more vulnerable without Crash & Smash. It may be that ADT Pulse system are less susceptible to Crash & Smash issues, but if so, that just makes the hardware more expensive – and certainly means that it’s a system you could not set up yourself, add to easily, or move with you. These are all very popular features of the FrontPoint system.

            As for our relationship with Alarm.com, we are just one of hundreds of smart alarm companies (perhaps over a thousand by now) that use their services: we don’t own them, they don’t own us, and neither of us receives anything for recommending the other. The only people who pay us are FrontPoint customers – who, by any objective measure, are the happiest alarm customers you can find.

        • Jeff

          The Pulse systems hat use the “higher levels” use a phone or cellular method to send signals, and an internet connect for access to the lighting and climate and video.
          If your internet connection is down/cut/ or not working, you lose the ability to control the alarm (via iHub) remotely, BUT the alarm still works just fine using the phone or cell. It is against ADT policy (which is why its not done) to send signals over an internet connection to the alarm monitoring location since it is easy to cut.

          You work for a competitor of ADT, which is why the blog, however get the facts straight before you blog. Simple info.

          Shows that your company cannot compete on an apple-to-apple type of system/service, so you have to fabricate the information to be “better”

          • Peter M. Rogers

            Jeff – thanks for your comment. Please go back and look at the grid in the blog: it clearly states that Pulse uses a phone line or cellular connection for primary or secondary monitoring connections with all three levels of Pulse. We know that, and the blog makes it clear, so I’m not sure what you are referring to. In fact, that is an advantage of Pulse over the Comcast Xfinity platform, since Comcast uses the same back end as Pulse (iControl), but has an Internet default for alarm monitoring. Comcast only reverts to the cell connection if the Internet is down. That being said, it’s amazing to me how for the money ADT charges for the Pulse equipment and services, that they would even allow the alarm signal to go over a vulnerable traditional phone line. Also amazing is that it’s so hard to learn any of this directly from ADT – without having one of their people come to your house. Whatever happened to transparency?! People want to know how things work, and it should not be up to me or anyone else to explain it for ADT! Nothing in my blog is fabricated, as you’ll see when you read it again.

            Also, with all due respect, it appears that you are not familiar with our patented “Crash & Smash” protection, developed by Alarm.com, our technology partner. ADT’s system does not have this, and they can’t – it’s patented. So, I beg to differ on several fronts: we are actually better on an apple-to-apple comparison. We use better technology, we charge less, and we offer much better service. Just read our reviews vs. ADT and you’ll see a stark difference – not in favor of ADT. Don’t take my word for it – just check around. Thanks again.

      • Truth

        Still wrong- all Pulse packages are connected to POTS (plain old telephone service) just like every other alarm system out there has been for 30+ years. And all Pulse Packages either come with Cellular or can be upgraded to cellular for Primary or Secondary Alarm Signal transmission. Instead of reading the marketing material try picking up an installation manual. ADT will not install a system without a POTS phone line, authorized VOIP, or cellular communicator. Broadband is only utilized for interactive services not critical to alarm responses. Sorry your info is just inacurrate- been there- installed that…But I commend you on the passive agressive smashmouth marketing. Most folks see thru it though.
        For those of you shopping- there are many good local companies out there providing Alarm Services. But remember when shopping, believe half of what you read and none of what you hear. Take the time to meet your representative from any company you are considering, if they won’t come to your house for an esitmate, where will they be on the service call 2 years down the road. I don’t care what you are buying- at the end of the day it’s your money. Place it where you feel it is best served and where you feel you’ll get the best return on investment based on your personal experience with their people. You will pay for your alarm for a lifetime, on average you will only “need” it 1 time every 20 years. Make sure whomever you choose to work with, will be there the 1 day you need it. And on that 1 day, a few extra bucks here or there will be chump change in contrast to you or your family’s lives and most precious possessions. Bloggers always have the ‘best way’ to spend your money, it’s what they get paid to do.
        Sincerely,
        Tech, Sales, Manager over 12 years in the industry.

        • Peter M. Rogers

          Thanks, Stacy. It’s always good to hear from folks who are in the alarm industry. I have revised the post to reflect the information about how the system sends signals to the monitoring center. Too bad the ADT site is still so misleading and/or confusing, even as of today. It’s good that they do not use broadband for alarm signals, but still using POTS for systems that cost over $1,000 and up to $57.99 per month? Amazing! That also does not alter the fact they are pushing ALL their interactive services (not just video) over the broadband connection: less reliable, we think, which is why we only use the broadband connection for video. After all, it’s just as easy to cut a broadband connection as it is a phone line. Plus, ISP’s are not the most reliable folks around, and homes do lose power. We know it costs us more to do what we do, but we think GSM is where to put as much as you can for the highest level of reliable connectivity.

          As for needing your system only once every 20 years, that may have been true in the days before interactive services (and may actually overlook the constant benefit of fire and carbon monoxide monitoring). But today, people rely on these interactive services that we specialize in every day: to control a thermostat, open a door, see when people are coming or going, etc. That is one reason the alarm services market is growing: these system just do a lot more than they used to. As difficult as it may be for the traditional alarm operators to get their arms around a full programmed interactive system that is easily installed by the end user, remotely supported, with wireless sensors and GSM monitoring, we aleatory know it’s a viable choice. Otherwise, it would be difficult to explain our growth – or our excellent reputation. Our customer cancellation rate is the lowest we are aware of in the alarm industry, a fraction the size of ADT’s – for several very good reasons. For starters, how about safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat?

    • Arby

      When our Brinks switched to ADT we immediately cancelled the service. Our business was ADT vand our home was Brinks. If our home alarm ever went off, police were there immediately and you had better have answers. At our business I has accidently set off the alarm and at times no one showed up. On one occasion a rent a Cop came by in an unmarked beat up pickup.

      • Peter M. Rogers

        Richard – Sorry to hear of your poor experience with “that other alarm company.” I can tell you from long experience that Brink’s had remarkably good customer service and support, and were consistently rated very highly. They also had customer cancellation rates lower than the industry average to show for their efforts. Many of us long-time industry observers were concerned about what would happen when ADT purchased Brink’s, and your story is similar to many I have read. Thanks for your comment, and be safe.

    • Sean

      Ok so when somebody writes such a bias review based on personal opinions go ahead and listen. Now I have pulse services and it is by far the best service I have received yet. I have my own personal website where I change my thermostat change lighting, automated cameras designed to keep my home monitored. Seriously if you want a cheap system go with another company but if you want things to be done right the first time go with a company that knows what they are doing(136 years in business). I love pulse and take it from someone that has the service. On top of that how much do you pay in cell phone service a month? Adt offers to monitor your home and give your own personal website that monitors your home for $58 a month.
      Think about it!

      • Peter M. Rogers

        Sean – Thanks very much for your comment. There are actually many alarm companies offering the services you describe, so ADT is not alone, and is actually behind in this regard: other companies (like FrontPoint) have been offering interactive services for some time. Also, I think you may need to do a little more homework on comparative offers, since with other alarm service providers (including FrontPoint) there is no additional charge for the cellular connection – it’s included in the monthly service fee from the alarm company. These are not opinions, but facts.

        I’m glad you have Pulse and like it: frankly, I would rather see more people sign up for advanced interactive alarm services, even if it means more business for our competitors. What it’s important to understand, however, is that with Pulse, you pay more for the equipment and more for the monthly services – and the service you are getting with Pulse is just not as good. With Alarm.com technology (what FrontPoint services are based on), all the interactive services except video run over the safer and more reliable cellular link. That’s good for our customers. Also, only the Alarm.com platform offers the patented “Crash & Smash” protection, which I have written about many times. ADT does not offer it: they cannot, since Alarm.com has it patented.

        So, for less money up front, and only $49.99, FrontPoint actually offers a superior product and service, when compared to ADT Pulse. Sorry if you still think this is a biased perspective, but I consider it the plain, unvarnished truth!

        • Jim

          Again HOLD THE PHONE, Jeff….”I think you may need to do a little more homework on comparative offers, since with other alarm service providers (including FrontPoint) there is no additional charge for the cellular connection – it’s included in the monthly service fee from the alarm company. These are not opinions, but facts.” The fact if the customer chooses cellular connection it does not change the monthly rate. It is included at no additional charge at all levels of Pulse. The only change is in the installation(except at the base level) of the device, and THIS is the same at FrontPoint.

          • Peter M. Rogers

            Jim – Thanks again for these comments, they definitely can add some clarity to what is a confusing platform offer by ADT. It’s virtually impossible to learn about what the hardware costs, or what the monthly service costs, or how Pulse works, without having someone come to your home. The harsh reality of today’s shopping environment (which ADT does not seem to have grasped yet) is that people want to do their homework, make the comparisons, and even reach a decision without having to take the time and trouble of an in-home visit. After all, there is little rocket science here – at least there should not be! If ADT includes the cellular monitoring in every system, and in the monthly charge, where does it say that? Or do you have to wait for someone to come to your home to tell you that? If so, that is a very “old school” approach – and runs counter to the very nature of the advances in technology that are finally reaching into the alarm industry – even to ADT! Thanks again.

    • Banks

      Its because it’s about the almighty dollar not the customers…most big business are….they want the new uneducated customer to see advertisement and go buy.

      • Peter M. Rogers

        Thanks, Banks. While pretty much every business I know has profitability included as part of the business plan, there are other things to think about – like your reputation, and how easy you are to do business with. I’d rather stay smaller and do a better job, personally. Of course, it’s easy for us to say that: we won’t be catching ADT in volume any time soon! But we already think we’re a better alarm company, for a variety of reasons. Thanks again.

    • Edwin Slott

      We had the ADT Pulse “installed” 3 weeks ago. We still can’t get video on the our computer as described in the company web site. They claim to need only 500 kbps and I have cable with 22 Mkps. In addition you have to have their encoder.
      I went to Radio Shack and bought a Dlink camera for $150 and had it up and running on my cell phone (which ADT claims you can do) in 45 minutes. So three weeks v. 45 minutes?
      Don’t get the Pulse. Its not worth it.

      • Peter M. Rogers

        Edwin – thanks for your comment here. I’m hearing and reading more and more negative reports from Pulse customers. It seems that since the Pulse platform relies on the broadband connection and the iHub “brains” of the system for almost everything (except the most basic alarm signaling function), there are lots of things that can and do go wrong. Homeowners have lots of different kinds of routers, which is one culprit, and it gets very frustrating when ADT is trying to troubleshoot a problem on your time. In fact, that is one of the things people like most about FrontPoint’s technology: almost everything goes over the simpler and more reliable cellular link, and there is no encoder required. Plus, we are never in your home: our systems are true “plug & play” marvels that people set up easily themselves, with our assistance over the phone as required. Time have changed – for the better. But don’t tell ADT that! Thanks again.

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