Comcast is not having an easy time breaking into the home alarm market. For those of us who are dedicated, long-time security industry professionals, it’s a bit of déjà vu all over again – we have seen cable and telecom companies enter (and leave) our sector of the economy before. What these companies don’t seem to grasp is that peace of mind really is a different proposition: just because you have an Internet “pipe” into a consumer’s home, that doesn’t mean they will rush to sign up for your latest offering… especially when you are not doing a terribly good job with your current services. And now the stakes are much higher: protecting people’s homes and families.
Does it Actually Work?
It would be one thing if the problem were only poor service: after all, some of the biggest names in the alarm business are known for providing lackluster service to their customers, and you can see it in their cancellation rates. ADT, for example, loses about one out of every six customers every year. But with the “new entrants,” as we call them, the challenges run deeper, all the way to technology that simply does not work or is not well supported. Here’s a great example – a comment posted this past December on a previous entry of the FrontPoint blog.
I had Xfinity Home installed about a month ago……two weeks into it, we had a power outage, and the router reset. I called the tech, as he asked me to at the time of installation, twice, and got no response. I spent 3 hours on the phone with Comcast getting passed from office to office, before I was given the home security department. There is no option from the main menu to go there, which seems surprising. They set up a time for a technician…..and he showed up, never rang the bell, scared my kids, and spouted some stupid rule when my 6’0”, 240lb. son could not come up with identification – and left. I called and spent another 2+ hours on the phone trying to get the tech back….but the dispatch center was “non-responsive.”
More of the Same
Same thing happened tonight….I got an assurance from a field agent that the tech would come at a certain time….I prepared to be available, getting coverage at work, only to hear that he showed up 2 hours early, walked around my back yard…and then left. All I want is the instructions to reconfigure my router, which I am sure is the problem.
A Vote of No Confidence
I get a lot of “I understand,” but they will not credit my account for the time that the system has not worked, and it looks like cancelling will be an expensive and time consuming chore. I got sucked in by the promise that Comcast has changed, but except for their internet…..Whether you call it Comcast or Xfinity, it just does not seem to be very good.
As a reminder, most of these new entrants (including Comcast) use the Internet for transmitting a majority of their signals from the home, which is why they are referred to as “IP-enabled.” And as regular readers of this blog know, the best home security systems rely on a safer and more robust cellular connection – not just for alarm monitoring, but for interactive services as well.
But wait – there’s more! All you need to do is log onto the Comcast user forum to find more revealing stories about the XFINITY Home offering – and how it’s not meeting customer expectations. Here is a tale similar to the one above, straight from a Comcast home alarm customer posting on their forum.
So – I like many others got the Home Security – I paid $500 for installation – got the cameras, thermostat, sensors and all the bells and whistles. 1st Major flaw….since I work from home as a Computer engineer and connect to over 180 sites through VPN – Home Security Router does not like this – after 5 different engineers coming to the house all knowing what the problem was but not able to fix it, I had a manager confirm it is a known problem at the moment and my workaround – get a brand new 2nd line to work…..So I did.
2nd Problem, every 3-4 weeks – we are out – come home and hey presto…on the touchscreen, we get “Your account has been disabled” – call Comcast – “We don’t see a problem” “You are fully Paid” “We don’t see a problem” – they send an engineer out…Engineer sees the problem, 1hr on the phone…get it fixed….repeat every month….
Why am I even venting – you have to be a scientist to be able to even talk to anybody with intelligence in support – each time they think you have an Internet problem and tell you to rest things….. I have sent emails – tried talking to a supervisor – in fact the other day one woman said – “We don’t see a problem, and if you cancel, you have to pay for 2 years of service – so your call.”
Of course, the alarm industry has already taken the position that the cable and telco companies face big challenges: there are already serious concerns about the level of service delivery and customer satisfaction these new entrants are capable of providing. And as for Comcast, it is facing questions on whether its technology platform even works consistently, and if the company’s employees understand and can support these new features.
As a “real” alarm company that is focused on protecting homes and families, FrontPoint welcomes the increased consumer awareness of interactive monitoring services and home automation that new entrants like Comcast bring to the general public – exactly the advanced features that FrontPoint has offered since our inception in 2007. We also expect that the more people research their options, the more they’ll choose FrontPoint. As the leader in wireless home security, we specialize in the best protection: that’s why we’re the #1 ranked alarm company in the US. FrontPoint systems are safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat. And, unlike the case with some of our wannabe competitors, you’ll be thrilled with our service.