ADT Pulse Reviews – Is the Cost of ADT Pulse Worth It?

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I’m still watching Pulse emerge as a technology platform, so that ADT can finally migrate into today’s technology, and Pulse has certainly been a hot topic on the search engines. Now that the product is more widely available and is actually being installed and used, there are also more reviews coming in. One review site I found looks fairly objective – and you have to be careful with some review sites. As one might expect with any set of opinions, they are mixed. The site I particularly like specializes in “app” reviews for web phones, so I did some digging there for recent posts on Pulse. You may be interested in the results, and can check them out yourself. Here’s one recent entry on the Pulse product:

The app still needs some work. The idea of the system is great, I really like being able to check things from my iPhone when away. But with the most recent update, anytime i click on an individual station to check activity on that station the app crashes. It happens every single time and it happens on every station i tried in the app. I can arm and disarm the system from my phone which i guess is the most critical part. But hopefully it will get fixed soon…

As is true with most of these sites, you do have to wade through some “pumping” by company sales reps, and focus on the detailed pros and cons offered by what appear to be real users. It’s usually not hard to tell the difference, and specificity matters.

App needs to be re-worked. The internet, even from the iphone, works fine to lock and unlock the alarm. The app is spotty. Also, with the redesign, the iphone telephone key pad would be nice. Finally, in order for the pulse to work, ADT needs your personal security code or the alarm can’t be set using the pulse system. The customer is left to depend on ADT employee honesty. I agree with the reviewer who said that the high rating come from employees. The app and service does not work most of the time.

This was a new site for me, so I also took the time to check out reviews of Alarm.com’s app that works on the iPhone. Droid and Blackberry. The overallAlarm.com  rating, I’m happy to report, was much more positive than for Pulse. Here is a telling review from July of 2009, long before ADT’s Pulse was announced:

Just got rid of ADT because they laughed when I suggested you should be able to control your system from an iPhone – silly me for not knowing about Alarm.com sooner. Just installed my own system in under an hour, activated and was able to control it via my iPhone soon after. Great app -it just works as expected.

And lastly, here is a great review that we wish we could have written – but we didn’t:

Such dinosaurs as ADT and Brinks have nothing on Alarm.com / Frontpoint Security. This iPhone app just proves it. From my phone I can disarm or arm or check every status of my home sensors. Just try and see what’s going on at home with your ADT or Brinks alarm. It’s simply not possible. I couldn’t be happier with Alarm.com and Frontpoint Security.

I could share more rave reviews on Alarm.com and FrontPoint, but that last one speaks volumes. Now that ADT is trying to catch up with advanced features, the comparison between alarm companies and products should be based on the following:

  • What can the system do – and how well does it work?
  • How much does it cost (equipment and monthly service fee)?
  • How well does the company support it?
  • Important: does the system offer “Crash & Smash” protection?

Once these questions are answered, we think your choice for peace of mind is clear. At FrontPoint, we believe the jury is still out on Pulse. In fairness to ADT, it just hasn’t been that long since the product became widely available, and they clearly have some kinks to work out. As a company that has been on the forefront of wireless, interactive home security since 2007, we are obviously believers in the potential of these new technologies for protecting and monitoring your home. And we know that people are hungry for next generation features. Just check the reviews!

Comments (10)

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  1. RickJ

    I have been using ADT Pulse for nearly a year now and I certainly like the convenience of having control and monitoring at my finger tips. However, about one month ago, I installed the latest version of the mobile app (4.2.0.3147) and it has been a complete disappointment. Every time, I repeat, “Every time” I try to sign in, my first attempt fails due to incorrect password. And, I am 100% certain my entry is correct. Secondly, the app periodically freezes before the menu appears. I reported both issues to ADT Customer Service and their response has been “there’s no known or previous report of these problems”. I mean come on, how ignorant do they really think people are these days. It only took one quick and simple google search and I found many reporting the very same problems. I’ve been in the computer services business for many many years and, in my opinion, the most disappointing experiences is always when service organizations become so arrogant that they fail to realize the simple honest truth would be the better response. Seems to me the better answer would be they are aware of the problem and they are currently working on a solution. Otherwise, more and more users will continue to experience a disappointing app performance and therefore will become less confident in ADT services. I know I have.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Rick – Thanks so much for posting here. Yeah, those interactive services really are cool, aren’t they? We’ve been at this for over five years now (with Alarm.com’s platform), and as a result we probably know as much about selling and supporting these services as anyone in the alarm industry. ADT was late to the game, but at least they made it in time to play! Now they have made a big splash with Pulse, and that there are lots of new and existing customers who are putting it through its paces – not all of them with great results, as you mention.

      We know that no alarm company is perfect (and that includes FrontPoint) – especially when you are developing and implementing new technologies, there are things that happen. Even Apple screws up now and then! But what we believe really matters, especially for a service provider that is offering peace of mind, is that it’s extremely important to be as transparent as possible, while being responsive to your customers. Unfortunately, ADT is not known for either of those attributes, which may be a good example of how bigger does not always mean better. We pride ourselves on our reviews, which are about the best you can find online for any alarm company, and we hope we are never at the point where we are too big to get it right, or to care about our reputation. Company size, after all, should be an advantage, and not an excuse. I know too much about how ADT treats its existing customers, since they bought the two large companies where I previously worked (SecurityLink and Alarmguard). Or, ask a former Brink’s customer how it’s going these days – Brink’s was legendary for great service, then ADT bought them… it’s easy to find those complaints on line.

      We hope your issues get your resolved, and that you regain the peace of mind and level of security you had, and deserve. Since you are an educated user, you already know what to say, and how to keep at it until everything works. Best wishes to you, and thanks again.

    • Michael Rott

      I recently purchased a new home and was asking a friend of mine how he likes his ADT Pulse system. He said “let me show you”. I watched on his computer how he can view four camera stations at the same time which cover different areas of his home. I thought that’s pretty cool and exactly what I am interested in. Then after a minute or two, each camera either lost its signal, or was no longer transmitting in real time…big…big problem. Do you know whether ADT has fixed this issue? Thanks!

      • Peter M. Rogers

        Michael – Thanks for your comment here. From the many comments I have read on Pulse (here and elsewhere), you have put your finger on a recurrent problem: the technology does not always function as it should. And when it does not work, it can be time-consuming and frustrating to get ADT back out to fix the problem. Inconsistent and sometimes poor service is a major factor behind ADT’s above-average cancellation rate: they lose about one of every six customers a year, for a variety of reasons. No wonder they spend all those advertising dollars attracting new customers – they need to! That also explains why ADT only grew by .6 % in the last reporting period – all the new customers are necessary to replace the ones who are leaving. Her’s a representative post from ADT’s Facebook page, earlier this month:

        Waiting on a service call tech supposed to be there today.1-3.Thanks ADT for the battery blowing up in my Pulse system melting the inside of the keypad. Yet my issue is not warranted as an emergency.. HOW NICE…. Hopefully the tech will be here in the 12 minutes like he is scheduled.

  2. Chuck

    Remember, Peter’s perception is one to sell you his company. He has great points but they are always steering you back to his product. Front Point. I do not believe GE is the best product available. I believe Honeywell is the leader in this area. All based on opinion though….Make sure you feel comfortable with what you invest in. Because when you need it, it better work.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Chuck – Thanks very much for your comment. You are right in the observation that I have a pro-FrontPoint viewpoint. After many years in the alarm industry, many of them dealing with the assessment and selection of products and services, I can tell you that FrontPoint made the best choice in the combination of GE Security equipment (now owned by United Technologies by the way) with Alarm.com’s interactive cellular monitoring and home automation services. We actually spoke to Honeywell at the time we launched our company, and they were significantly behind the GE/Alarm.com platform. Honeywell has made strides to catch up, but one potential limitation is Honeywell’s apparent preference to build everything (including services) in-house, vs. partnering when it makes sense (as GE did with Alarm.com). I view this difference in approach as being based in corporate culture and strategy. And, we are all entitled to our opinions on this topic: with over 13,000 alarm companies in the US, there are countless die hard proponents of GE, Honeywell, and several other equipment makers.

      However, I must make one important point of clarification. When I represent FrontPoint as a better choice for the home alarm customer, I am not only representing GE Security equipment with Alarm.com’s services as our “product.” To us, our product includes everything about the FrontPoint business model, because all those advantages will benefit our customers. That means our transparent marketing, where you can learn as much as you want on-line about pricing and functionality, the consultative no-pressure way we advise prospective customers, our world-class support, our affordable pricing of products and services, and even the fact that our systems are designed to be easily set up by the homeowner. Throw in the fact that we are the only 100% cellular alarm company in the US since inception, plus our remarkably good on-line reputation, and you can see why we have the lowest cancellation rate in the alarm industry, with exponential growth. All those elements make up our “product” – it’s about much more than just GE vs. Honeywell. But today, I still like GE better! Thanks again for your comment.

  3. Ali

    I see there is no mention of LifeShield Security (www.lifeshield.com)? IMO – They are much more advanced than Frontpoint and ADT put together (just maybe not as well known). The technology is awesome: and Droid, iPhone and iPad apps work amazingly well. You can do a lot more than just turn on and off the system remotely – and the monitoring is so much less expensive than the others too.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks for your comment. We are certainly aware of LifeShield (formerly Ingrid), and think they have an interesting product. Like FrontPoint, LifeShield offers a system that can be set up by the end user. Unfortunately, despite a lot of money invested in building their company (and spent on advertising), LifeShield has not gained a lot of traction with consumers. There are many differences in the two companies’ products and services: we know this because we maintain a comprehensive database comparing FrontPoint to all our competitors. Without going into too much detail, here are a few of the differences. (1) Every FrontPoint system includes safer and more reliable GSM monitoring out of the box, and FrontPoint is the only alarm company in the US to take that approach since we sold our first system. LifeShield took a long time to add cellular monitoring, and you have to pay for extra equipment (and an extra monthly charge). (2) FrontPoint uses wireless GE Security equipment, the most reliable in the business. While the technology is constantly improved, the basic elements (like sensor communication) have been proven to be the best in millions of homes across the US. This also means that you can switch to another company that supports GE equipment if you are not happy, and your equipment will still work. LifeShield uses proprietary equipment: it’s less proven, and your are stuck with LifeShield unless you want to buy a new system. (3) FrontPoint’s interactive monitoring is powered by Alarm.com, the recognized leader in this field. At the heart of Alarm.com’s technology is their patented “Crash and “Smash” protection, making our system virtually undefeatable, and this feature is patented and not offered by any other alarm company. FrontPoint’s partnership with Alarm.com also means you can get intrusion, fire, and environmental monitoring, video services, and even home automation using Z-Wave for control of lights, locks, and thermostats. No other alarm company offers the comprehensive services that FrontPoint offers for comparable prices. (4) When FrontPoint says “Easy set up,” we mean it. Our systems are truly “plug and play” out of the box, fully programmed and ready to set up in about half an hour.With LifeShield you have to put each sensor together (adding the battery), program each sensor to the control unit, and perform other steps that make it a much less user-friendly experience. (5) With FrontPoint, you own your equipment on day one. With LifeShield, you “lease” the equipment unless you renew your contract. We think it’s better when you own it right off the bat. Now, that is just a sampler of FrontPoint advantages. I could actually provide a lot more, but hopefully this is sufficient. And perhaps most important, just look at the overwhelmingly positive reviews you can find on FrontPoint: we have the highest customer loyalty (and highest customer retention) of any US alarm company – for many good reasons. Thanks again.

  4. Robert Deng

    Contrary to those views, I found it very useful and definitely worth the price. Thanks ADT!

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks for your comment, Robert. We understand that ADT may be the right solution for some people. There can also be comfort in “buying the brand,” as was the case for purchasing IBM products years ago, even after they lost their edge to smaller, more nimble competitors. The important thing is that you got what you wanted, and felt it was worth the cost – both upfront, and ongoing. Good for you – and thanks again for your comment. One last question I would pose: did you ask ADT about why they do not offer Crash & Smash protection? That’s still a major shortcoming of the Pulse product.

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