Small Business Security: Protection 1 vs. VivintBy - 01/07/2015
From global corporations to small companies to local mom groups, every business entity today should be allotting part of their budget to a security system to protect their business.
As business owners it can be difficult to wrap your head around all the latest offerings while wearing so many other hats. While there are several options on the market ranging from self monitored systems to professional systems, Protection 1 Security Solutions and Vivint remain two of the most popular choices for small businesses that want 24/7 protection.
Who Are They and What Do They Charge?
Protection 1 offers security packages and monitoring services to businesses across America. They were listed on Forbes’ list of top trustworthy companies and are second to ADT in terms of size and customer base. The company provides broadband monitoring and landline-based alarm monitoring in addition to cellular/GSM monitoring via one of their 5 UL Certified monitoring stations.
Vivint, formally referred to as APX Alarm Security Solutions before it was revamped in 2011, is also one of the largest security companies in North America. Similar to Protection 1, Vivint offers property security and monitoring services to a large number of businesses.
Vivint is certainly not the most cost friendly security company on the market today. Although you can customize your system to meet your budget, everything starts with the basic package. It is offered under a 3 year contract with an activation fee of $99 and a monthly monitoring fee of $53.99. The basic package comes with one touch screen panel, a single motion detector, three door/window sensors, a key fob and a Vivint yard sign. Also, though the entry price is higher, Vivint comes with a lot out of the gate. They offer all subscribers premium features like the ability to check-in on things from a cell phone and energy management.
Protection 1’s basic package is truly basic by comparison but also about half the cost. Packages start at $24.99 for landline monitoring with a three-year contract. The company does suggest that business customers contact them directly to discuss their security requirements and the overall cost. They may not charge an activation fee but they do charge for installation, so either way you should expect to pay an additional $99, which increases up to $199 for a Smart Control Package. The Smart Control Package would be more comparable to Vivint’s as it includes a touchscreen control panel, a motion detector, three wireless door/window contact sensors, a keychain remote, three window decals and a yard sign.
While it may seem more affordable, the basic package offered by Protection 1 does have its shortcomings. For instance it does not give you access to the mobile app or allow you to set up text and email alerts for when there is an emergency. Video surveillance and alarm monitoring, which may be crucial to the safety of your business, are only available after entering a three-year contract starting at $34.99 per month and may go up to $41.99. With Vivint you receive wireless technology and remote access via their mobile app with every package at no additional charge.
Another reason why you should be wary of Protection 1’s low prices if the fact that they do not offer full replacement warranty for faulty equipment. Vivint covers all equipment under a lifetime warranty while you are under contract as most companies do today but unfortunately, Protection 1 seems to falter in this area. Sure, their equipment comes under a warranty but the warranty only covers a discount for all repairs and faulty equipment; in addition, the warranty does come with an added cost.
We’ve already discussed what is included in the basic packages for Protection 1 and Vivint. Protection 1 supports DIY systems but prioritizes with professional installation for their business customers. Vivint has chosen a clearer path when it comes to monitoring. A professional technician is appointed to install all systems and they rely solely on cellular signal transmission. The main advantage of cellular transmission is that you do not need a landline. If you run a small business in a temporary location, this might offer serious cost savings, especially if you only use landlines for alarm monitoring. Protection 1 offers both cellular and landline monitoring, but cellular monitoring comes at a greater cost and is not included in the basic package monthly fee.
Both companies provide businesses with a vast array of security features from its arsenal, ranging from traditional products to cutting-edge wireless devices from manufacturers such as GE and Honeywell. Each system is controlled via a 2GIG touchscreen control panel that is equipped to manage several devices installed on the premises, ranging from environmental monitors to intrusion detectors.
From these highly intuitive user-friendly control panels, users can navigate the systems easily – controlling their security along with other built-in automation capabilities. Both companies give you the option to save on your business expenses by automating lights, thermostat, appliances, door locks and monitoring your business remotely with video surveillance. Video surveillance monitoring will come at an added price since it’s not included in the base packages. Monitoring for both companies covers employee medical emergencies, protection from theft, fire, smoke and other perils that your employees deserve to be protected from.
Protection 1 and Vivint allow for remote access with their respective mobile apps. Protection 1 has recently abandoned their eSecure app, a decision welcomed by most customers considering the app had many faults even after version 2.0 was released. The company has decided to leave the app to Alarm.com, longstanding veterans in the automation industry. Alarm.com features some of the highest rated apps that are compatible with, iOS devices, Androids and Blackberry. The app can be used to arm and disarm the system, set email or text message alerts to be sent upon intrusion and view live video feed.
Vivint’s mobile app is also compatible with iOS devices, Androids and Blackberry devices. It allows you to watch and record videos, arm or disarm your system and control Z-Wave compatible appliances and ZigBee to a lesser extent. Protection 1 also allows you to integrate Z-Wave products to your system.
One stand out feature of Protection 1 and its access system is its web-hosted access control features powered by Alarm.com. It allows for internet based monitoring, meaning you can control your entire building using the internet. With this feature, relevant personnel can access management controls conveniently and view all information stored in the secure hosting center. Hence, you do not have to worry about confidential information being stolen.
Customer service plays a major role in a company’s reputation today. Vivint and Protection 1 offer 24/7 monitoring, claiming to provide fast response to customers in need of emergency service. In terms of customer service, Protection 1 offers live chat on their website and voice communication with professionals over direct lines. Their website also features a wealth of information and there is a FAQ section with tutorials to assist customers. Same day assistance is provided to customers in need of onsite visit. Customers are informed about who to expect and when to expect them.
Vivint also offers a great online FAQ and you can reach their support agents over their direct line but they do not offer live chat from their website. We were unable to gather information from their website on whether or not they provide same day assistance but based on customers reviews, technicians generally arrive on the same day.
Both companies can be reached from their individual emails for support but if your business is in need of immediate assistance, there are options. For example, Protection 1 offers a two-way voice system that gives you an intercom, which connects you directly to the home monitoring system. This precludes the need for you to call the monitoring station, saving valuable time. If there is an intruder, the intercom automatically activates, allowing you to speak directly to operators. Vivint also allows for two-way voice call over GSM.
The warranty option for Protection 1 and Vivint covers a time frame of 36 months or typically the life of service. In the event of relocation, Vivint will move your system if the equipment is worth more than $60 but suggests you install a new system if it is worth less. However, in order to do so you must be a customer for one or more years. To find out more about the cancellation penalty visit their site or give them a call.
Protection 1 offers up to $150 towards installation to customers who decide to relocate their business or upgrade their system through the SecureMove® program. Although most businesses will not end up relocating this could be an advantage for small businesses without a permanent address.
Another plus for Protection 1 is that they are BBB accredited with an A+ rating. Vivint is not accredited by the BBB and carries an F rating. This may be because the company experienced several negative criticisms, reviews and complaints prior to its revamp in 2011. The company was also involved in a lawsuit. Despite their 1800 closed complaints the company remains optimistic, stating that they should not be ruled out. Their rebranding and reform efforts seem to resonate with their clients. With a few minor adjustments, the company could change their services from acceptable to fantastic.
Both companies have tremendous potential but there is a winner….
We recommend Protection 1 over Vivint. They have a higher customer service record and options that scale from small to large. We also like that they offer flexible monitoring choices and packages. You can learn more on their site by clicking here.