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A Brief History Of Vivint
Vivint was founded 20 years ago in Utah by co-founders Keith Nellesen and Todd Pedersen. At the time, it was called APX Alarm Security Solutions and it only offered security systems and installations. It didn't offer monitoring services until 2006. In 2011, APX rebranded to Vivint.
Over the course of 20 years, Vivint has made some notable innovations in the tech industry. For instance, in the same year of its rebranding, Vivint launched Vivint Solar, a standalone company that sells, installs, and maintains solar energy solutions. Vivint also got a lot of praise for the Vivint SkyControl smart home hub that it offered alongside its monitoring services. It was the first control panel to offer two-way voice calls between users and monitoring centers. Vivint was also one of the first alarm companies to incorporate smart home features into its security systems.
What Makes Vivint Different
Unlike most alarm companies that offer security systems from third-party manufacturers, Vivint sells its own products. This allows the company to make innovations of their own. For instance, while companies such as Link Interactive still rely on the technology offered by their partner manufacturers, Vivint stays ahead of the curve by offering a Vivint SkyControl control panel.
Another thing that makes Vivint stand out is its no-contract monitoring option. If you buy the equipment upfront, you have the option to sign a month-to-month contract wherein you can cancel anytime. Other alarm companies will still require you to sign a contract even if you buy the equipment upfront. However, take note that without monitoring services, you'll lose your rights to use the Vivint Smart Home app to self-monitor your security system. Head to Vivint's Deals & Promotions to learn more about Vivint's monitoring terms.
Finally, Vivint was the first alarm company to offer two-way talk via the control panel. Instead of calling your phone during an emergency, they can check on you using your control panel instead.
Vivint Equipment Overview
Vivint Smart Hub
Vivint offers a wide range of security and smart home equipment, but the most important of all is the Vivint Smart Hub. The Smart Hub is a control panel designed to communicate with the monitoring center using Wi-Fi and cellular signal as backup. Any possible risks detected by the sensors are sent to the Smart Hub and then forwarded to the monitoring center. The Smart Hub also has a touchscreen interface that can be useful for controlling your security system and smart home devices.
Vivint was the first alarm company to offer two-way talk via its control panel. If an emergency occurs, the monitoring center can call not just your phone but also your control panel. If you happen to be close to the Smart Hub, you can speak to the agent directly. If not, they can listen in to gather clues whether there's a real emergency or just a false alarm. For example, if they hear your smoke alarms, they can immediately send the fire department to your house.
The Smart Hub is a vital component, so it's important that it stays on no matter what happens. During power outages, the Smart Hub switches to backup battery power. It stays on until power is restored or until the battery runs out.
The Smart Hub must be placed in a central location, preferably near your front door for easy arming and disarming as you come and go. If you want a way to control and monitor your security system in places other than your front door, you can purchase Vivint Glance. Glance is a table-top tablet that has features similar to the Smart Hub. It can arm or disarm your security system, control smart home products, and even stream security camera videos. It also offers two-way talk with security cameras and video doorbells. If someone's at your door, for example, you can speak to them using Vivint Glance.
Vivint believes that it takes more than just a few sensors to really secure your home, which is why it offers smart security products alongside its security sensors.
Vivint offers motion sensors, door/window sensors, and glass break sensors for detecting forced entry. If they detect a possible intrusion, they will notify you and the monitoring center.
Vivint also recommends adding security equipment that proactively makes your home less pervious to break-ins. Smart locks and garage door controllers are prime examples. These devices can be controlled with your smartphone, so you can lock your front door and garage door even if you're miles away. You can also automate the feature. For example, you can set a geofence radius around your house so that everytime you leave the area, your doors will automatically lock.
Finally, Vivint recommends adding security cameras, which you can use to visually monitor your house wherever you are or as evidence in case your house is broken into. Vivint currently offers a doorbell camera, an indoor camera, and an outdoor camera.
It's worth noting that Vivint just launched a revamped outdoor camera, the Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro. Unlike outdoor cameras usually offered by alarm companies, Outdoor Camera Pro is full of smart features. Most notably, it uses an artificial intelligence to determine real threats. It offers Smart Sentry that sends useful notifications based on human behavior. A person standing across the street, for example, it won't send an alert. However, if the same person lurks for too long, it will let you know. It also features a red warning light that flashes when there's a potential threat and a warning tone that sounds along with the warning light.
24/7 Continuous Recording
If you do add cameras, Vivint also offers a 24/7 continuous cloud recording feature for a low monthly cost. If you add this service, four cameras of your choosing will record continuously so you can playback every second of every day. Recordings last in the cloud for 30 days.
Vivint Key Features
Like any alarm company, Vivint offers 24/7 professional monitoring. Your system is linked to a monitoring center that responds to all alerts by calling to check on you and sending help if necessary.
Cellular + Broadband Monitoring
In order to send alerts to the monitoring center, the Smart Hub requires a reliable communication method. Primarily, it uses your cellular signal. It's the most reliable communication method for security systems as there are no wires to cut and cellular signal is less prone to disruptions. In addition, the Smart Hub uses Wi-Fi to communicate with smart home devices and cameras.
Through the Vivint Smart Home app, Vivint lets its customers control and monitor their security and smart home systems. It also lets users stream security camera videos and watch recorded clips. The best part about the app is that you don't need to be home to use it. It talks to your system over the internet, so as long as your phone is connected to Wi-Fi or 4G, you can access your security and smart home system wherever you may be.
Smart Home Automation
One thing that makes Vivint stand out is its heavy focus on home automation. Its control panel, the Smart Hub, is designed as an all-in-one smart home controller where you can access your smart lights, locks, thermostats, and appliances using an intuitive touchscreen interface.
To make its smart home system even smarter, Vivint partnered with several third-party smart home brands and integrated their products with the Vivint system. These brands include Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Nest, and Philips Hue.
Vivint Car Guard
Vivint has moved outside the smart home and now offers Vivint Car Guard. Car Guard is a security system for cars that ties into the home security system. It's plugs into your car's OBD II and informs you of potential car break-ins or problems within your car's system.
Awards & Recognitions
Over the course of Vivint's 20 years of service, it has amassed a number awards and recognition from reputable associations. Here are some of them:
- Ranked 22nd among the list of 50 Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company
- J.D. Power 2017 Highest in Customer Satisfaction With Home Security Systems
- Forbes: America's Best Employers for Diversity
- IoT Breakthrough Product Of The Year (Vivint Car Guard)
- The Monitoring Association's Monitoring Center of the Year (2017)
- Utah Business Forty Under 40 Honoree
Unfortunately, Vivint also has some negative reviews from consumer review sites. The Better Business Bureau, for example, gave Vivint a C- rating. Customer reviews for Vivint for the same website also averages a 1.5/5 star rating.
On the brighter side, Vivint customer appreciate its customer-friendly policies, such as its moving policies, cancellation policy for seniors and military families, and its option for no-contract monitoring. You can learn more about Vivint's policies by reading our full Vivint review.