ADT’s Pulse platform represents a significant effort to catch up by adding advanced features to ADT’s home alarm services. Yes, ADT is late to the game with alarm technology that does more, and yes, they charge a pretty penny above what other next-gen alarm companies ask for both equipment and monthly services. But the biggest miss of the Pulse offering is that fact that it lacks a critical element of protection – a feature that ADT has actually never had – and that’s Crash and Smash protection. For a quick primer, read this prior post on Crash and Smash that lays out the details. As far as I can tell, it’s just as easy for a burglar to defeat a new ADT system with Pulse as it ever was. I am reminded of a lengthy complaint I recently read, where one of their customers experienced a break in, and the alarm system was defeated.
ADT installed a security system in my apartment in Chicago. During the instillation, the ADT tech installed the “Safewatch Quickconnect” control panel next to my back door. The proximity to the door concerned me, so I asked if the police would be alerted if someone pulled the panel off the wall – the tech assured me they would be.
Over 20-plus years in the alarm industry I have heard this question repeatedly. And while the technology exists to provide this level of protection even when an intruder disables the control panel, ADT has never offered it – even with Pulse.
What Really Happened
On Friday February 13, 2009 I came home from work and found that someone had broken into my apartment. It was trashed, and the thieves stole several valuable items. The intruders ripped my Safewatch Quickconnect ADT alarm from the wall and smashed it into little pieces on the floor. Contrary to ADT’s assertion, the police were not notified when the control box was ripped from the wall.
There is only one alarm technology that provides “Crash and Smash” protection: this highest level of security was patented years ago by Alarm.com, the technology company that wrote the book on safer and smarter protection, combining cellular monitoring with advanced interactive features. In fact, if imitation really is the most sincere form of flattery, then Alarm.com should look at the ADT Pulse platform and feel mighty proud.
The Painful Truth
I called ADT that night and was given the run-around with regards to my questions regarding why the police were not contacted when the thieves tampered with the box. I called back the next day because I was still confused as to why the alarm failed to work. Unbelievably, the representative told me that the ADT tech lied to me. She said that if the alarm goes off (which it would have in my apartment given that the thieves kicked the door in), but is ripped from the wall before the expiration of the allotted time for the owner to punch in the code, it is the same as if the owner disarmed the alarm. i. e, pulling the control box of the wall DOES NOT notify the police.
Insult to Injury
ADT said that the best it could do was to reinstall the same alarm. I wanted an alarm that would work if an intruder came in and ripped it off the wall, as I had been promised mine would. The representative told me that if I wanted that feature, I would need to upgrade to a more expensive system. I asked that given the circumstances (that ADT itself acknowledged that it lied to me) if I could get the upgrade, but pay the same monthly amount. The representative said no, and that I would need to pay more money and then, almost apologetically, stated “I know the product doesn’t work if ripped off the wall and you know it doesn’t work, but our millions of customers don’t know that.”
This is really important: the truth is that even with the upgrade to more expensive equipment and monthly services, the ADT system still lacks the patented Alarm.com technology to communicate an alarm event if the control panel is disabled before it can contact the monitoring center. And this still appears to be the case, even with ADT’s Pulse.
Why Alarm.com is Better
With Alarm.com’s interactive services, every event is communicated, including the intruder opening the door. When your system is in the “Armed” mode and a door opens, that door opening is immediately transmitted. If there is no follow-up signal from the control panel (system disarm, or intrusion), the monitoring center is instructed to call the police, even though the control panel was destroyed before it could send an intrusion signal. Now that’s peace of mind – and the highest level of security you can get.
FrontPoint is proud to partner with Alarm.com. In fact, FrontPoint is the only alarm company in the US that has installed Alarm.com technology in every system we sell. We are also the only US alarm company to use safer cellular monitoring in 100% of our systems – from day one. No wonder FrontPoint is ranked the #1 US alarm company for wireless, interactive home security. FrontPoint and Alarm.com: an undefeatable combination.