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Simplisafe review page 4 Awesomeness

Simple setup

 

Mine was missing the instructions in the box, it happens with every company and I don’t see complaints on the forums about it. Even so, I was able to get it all running in a few hours with some components. No tools, no running wires. If you can put a sticker on a piece of paper you are highly qualified to do the initial install. Then while those sit for a few months you can research the use of a Phillips screwdriver if you aren’t familiar. I joke because I have seen some posts like on ar15.com where people say things like they don’t think they can install it.  You will not have 20 sensors up in an hour but it isn’t bad. It took my wife and I a few hours of just talking about where it would be ok to put the things so they look alright. Once the placement is decided on and you double check your own strategy you have some work to do. The 3m strips are ok, but the first thing through my head when my motion sensor went off due to equipment failure was “damn 3m strip must have come unglued.” The odds of someone getting in to that basement room past the door sensors and other motion sensors is low. I figured it would be the glue falling off. I have had one motion sensor fall off the wall when home. I got a new strip and put it up. Since then I have decided the placement is ok and I have started to screw them in with the provided screws. They work great and it is worth the effort.

I went through the story there to illustrate an important process I think Simplisafe got right. You can use the 3m command strips to make sure you want your equipment where it is BEFORE it is screwed in. ADT installers come, decide where it goes and you are stuck with it or doing some drywall repair on your own after you pay them to move it. I give Simplisafe an A for installation.

Price

Most Americans are not like me. I pay cash, and carry no debt. I see investments in equipment and recurring costs in the Total Cost of Ownership way. The Simplisafe TCO is the best of any system I have looked at. Comcast, ADT, and a few local companies. If you list the services you want from Simplisafe then make sure you get a quote to duplicate every service you will pay an extraordinary amount extra per month to another provider. Simpliesafe does cost more up front from looking at ads. Once the ADT man bilks you into all the extras you need Simplisafe install is cheaper. With Simplisafe you will save a ton of money, you won’t get locked in to a contract for years. ADT will lock you in with a buyout clause that makes you pay for the whole term of service if you want to bail early. That isn’t really that evil, you are covering some of the install cost and parts by committing. If you don’t read the contract that is on you. If you are looking at another service, you owe it to yourself to read the whole contract before you sign anything.

The end result with a security system is simple. Does it alert you to a problem? Would another do the exact same thing? If so, which is cheaper? I can’t find one cheaper. Better with more polish is out there but you are making a lot more money than I am if you want to afford it. There are many layers to a security system, an alarm is only one. You should be supplementing the alarm with practice first, lights, proper doors and locks, a safe place to hide and weapons if you are comfortable and have training. Nobody should have just an alarm system, or just a 12 gauge. Most people live in a place where you already pay for backup. So plan for the time the alarm goes off till you get backup. How will you buy that time and what equipment do you need to make that happen?

Customer Service

My last call was great, you could tell she wasn’t on a timer to keep the average call time down. Simplisafe has strong customer support skills that are rare these days. It is very easy for me to set up reports from my phone server to show all the stats about each rep and play back calls for years. Some managers abuse the hell out of these reports. These managers focus on goals like average call time instead of customer satisfaction and loyalty. Simplisafe is not like that. The rep was honest and addressed strange questions from me the best she could. I really hope simplisafe does not give in to the temptation to track down my case and figure out who it was because I am complaining in this review about corporate structure and communication after that call. It isn’t her fault, it is a management and company direction issue. She did an amazing job of being transparent and genuine.

Keypads

The keypads are pretty good. They tell you if a sensor is down. You can move them and they aren’t the brains of the system. It is actually fairly uncommon for a modern security system to have the brain in the keypad. My ADT brain is a really dumb board that lives in a server room with 3 factor authentication and hardened walls. Nobody is going to defeat my adt or simplisafe system by bashing a keypad.

Web interface

This is the best part compared to my ADT system. I have to telnet in to the ADT box with a serial cable to program in new users. We handle sensitive data so every user must have a unique code according to the laws governing our data at work. ADT really makes me angry every time I have to do this. I suspect they have a better system but our rep insists they don’t have one.

The simplisafe interface shows me:

  • System status -home away etc
  • Alert status – is the alarm triggered
  • Current home temp
  • Fire alarm, Carbon monoxide and water sensor status
  • a log file of sensor trips

I can customize:

  • 4 user names and pins (plus one master pin)
  • A duress pin- hostage code so you put this in if someone is forcing you to disarm. Practice practice practice. You wont be able to do it if you don’t. Same with the password for when they call. I test my wife every few weeks.
  • You can turn off the voice pompts, door chim, siren
  • customize volume, entery and exit delay
  • You can tell a sensor to just send an email/sms. This is really fun. We have a few door sensors on cabinets and drawers so we can laugh after people leave and see if they are snoopers at a party.
  • Who gets email/text messages
  • 3 addresses for each of those. So when we go on vacation we add the person watching the house. That has been really nice.
  • Secondary contacts if we are unavailable/dealing with an emergency

Phone app= awesome

It is rare to find an app like this from a smaller company for Windows phone but I have it. Also works on my android and ipad. Same features as the web interface, I have set my alarm from a mountain when I forgot. If you think you forgot you can check the status and set it from a ski lift.

Water sensor, CO, Smoke and freeze

Carbon Monoxide and smoke are nice to have. I love the freeze sensor. We know plenty of people who were away for a icemaker incident or apipe freezing only to return with a disaster on their hands. We are slowly working up to a flood sensor under every sink. We have them next to the water main, near fish tanks, washer dryer and water lines that lead outside. I love the freeze sensor. Had to say that again. Damage here is expensive when your furnace dies or pipes freeze. For me, the freeze and flood sensors are worth every penny of the $25 per month.

Next – feature requests

setup

awesomeness

feature requests

Corruption in the industry

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