5 Things That Make Scout DifferentBy - 12/29/2015
What’s the big deal when it comes to finding a home security system that meets your needs? After all, there are only a million and one options, and new monitoring hardware is being released monthly. The big deal is that it’s tough. It’s tough because some companies force things like contracts, others don’t always do what they say they will do, and because things are constantly changing in the technology world. When I first wrote about Scout, they were ready to let you choose between monitoring and self-monitoring. They allowed customers to pick what they wanted and they could do so with or without a monthly fee. Things have changed.
What’s Changed with Scout in 2016
Scout has announced that they will start charging for many services they once offered for free. Things that previously set them apart from SimpliSafe have been yanked and replaced by fee based plans.
In an email to current customers, Scout shared that new customers will be required to purchase one of their updated monitoring plans in order to “unlock features”. This change does not impact existing customers, but is a major bummer for those who are not currently Scout owners. The following features are now reserved for those who pay:
- Push notifications via iPhone and Android apps
- Text message notifications*
- Email notifications
- Phone call notifications
- Scout web dashboard and mobile apps
- Cellular backup*
- 24/7 UL-certified professional monitoring (Always On+ only)*
- Police dispatch capability (Always On+ only)*
- Integration with Amazon Echo, Google Nest, IFTTT and more
*These features have always been fee-based.
With that said, there is now very little that sets Scout apart from other home security companies. Below is the original article about Scout which was written one year ago by Carlos Benjamin.
One: Easy Installation
Scout is a home security system built upon the premise that you should be able to customize your system to your own needs. This means that you get to build a security and alarm system that is catered specifically to your home and tailored to your scheduling needs. The ease of installation ensures that you don’t need to be technical to get your system up and running. You can install it and begin monitoring in minutes.
Two: Mobile Control
*This feature is now fee-based*
Instant mobile monitoring with the Scout Alarm app ensures you always have access to monitor your home, no matter where you are. There are two versions of the app, including one for iOS and one for Android, with the option to voice-control devices using Google Now. The app allows users to view notifications based upon events and provides the ability to remotely arm and disarm the system as well as customize modes.
Mobile app access is cool, but Scout knows that sometimes you need a little more reassurance beyond being able to control and monitor the system yourself.
For $9.99 a month, Scout owners can purchase an “Always On” monitoring plan. This fee activates the 3G chip that is embedded in the hub. If your internet fails, the system will stay connected using a cellular signal. If the power goes out, the hub includes battery backup. Redundancy means you stay protected. While 3G activation requires a fee, battery backup is a free feature for all Scout owners.
Four: Optional Professional Monitoring
Scout Alarm offers a professional monitoring service for additional reassurance and security. Worried about the cost of professional home monitoring packages? Scout Alarm works hard to make sure that their professional monitoring service is affordable for home owners and renters.
So how affordable is Scout’s professional monitoring service? The most comprehensive professional alarm monitoring service available is $19.99 per month and is called “Always On +”. This plan offers 24/7 professional monitoring of your system through a UL Certified monitoring center. In fact, they use the same monitoring center as SimpliSafe.
The monitoring service provides verification of incidents, as well as police dispatch on the home owner or renter’s behalf. Unlike multiple other home security system options, Scout stands apart because of their “no contract” feature which allows users to pay month to month, and cancel at any time. Bonus! If you pay for an entire year of service upfront, you can receive a 10% discount – an additional $25 savings.
Five: Home Automation
*This feature is now fee-based*
The final difference for Scout is the potential for home automation. Scout works off of Zigbee. Right now, they do not have any home automation devices that work with the system directly, but they plan to add compatible devices in the future. The good news is that you can connect Scout to other home automation devices through IFTTT and the Works With Nest program. IFTTT acts as a middleman. It’s a free app that connects devices and applications in a formula called “If This Then That”. For example, let’s say that you want to get a phone call every time your Scout Alarm goes off. Through IFTTT, you can set this up. You can also connect popular home automation platforms like WeMo and SmartThings. Works With Nest allows Scout to interact with Nest devices like the Nest thermostat and the Nest smoke alarm. Finally, you can connect your system to Amazon Echo for in-home voice control.
Scout is Different – At Least It Used To Be
But is Scout really that different when compared to every other alarm and home security technology company out there? It was. But it’s not anymore. Scout still offers enough to be a leader, but not enough to be the leader, and they’ve certainly opened the door for competitors.
Scout is still unique, thanks to their optional no-contract professional monitoring service. In addition to offering their customers the opportunity to customize their home alarm system, Scout understands that the no pressure, no contract approach is what customers want from an alarm company.
To get started with Scout you must first purchase the hardware. During the hardware setup you will be asked if you want to add service or not. If you choose not to add service, you can always add a monitoring plan through your account at a later date.
12/16/2015 Updated to add Google Now functionality.
12/29/2015 Updated to reflect new monthly fee pricing structure.