Anyway while he was gone I discovered:
- VIVINT is actually a major US alarm company (was APX) that is currently making a big push into the NZ and Australian markets.
- They have a lot of bad rep overseas but mainly from people getting stung trying to get out of their contracts.
- We must be one of the first suburbs as I haven't found a single mention of these guys on any NZ forum.
- Their gear is pretty good, rebranded 2GIG hardware and supports z-wave and other off the shelf alarm/home automation products allowing me to expand without being locked into proprietory equipment.
He actually came at a good time as I was frustrated by my garage door remotes dying, outdated alarm system, longing for a internet visible alarm system and also ambitions of getting into home automation.
So anyway to cut to the chase he came back and I ended up signing up. Installers came an hour later and was all up and running that evening. The way I see it the equipment is worth the $2500 so I am just paying it off over 3.5 years with the monitoring thrown in for free. Yes I could have bought the equipment 2nd hand off ebay for $800 and set it up myself with no monitoring but with 2 kids now I value my spare time and can't really justify the endless nights tinkering away satisfying my inner gadget geek anymore or tweaking things when they break.
OK what it does do:
- All wireless
- Builtin GSM modem for communication back to Central Monitoring station (doesn't use local home wifi/broadband except for IP cams).
- Pretty Touch screen panel which talks
- Ipad/Iphone/Android App
- Web browser interface. Uses Alarm.com back end (best out there)
- Other than the typical alarm sensor stuff, Package also comes with 2 of either IP HD cameras and/or powered deadlocks with keypad entry.
- The usual fire/police/ambo alerts and callback you'd expect with a monitored system.
- Awesome logging/notification options.
As a Home Security System it seems top notch.
What it doesn't do:
The home automation side seems rather limited. Yes you can hook up other z-wave devices and set scenes but you have a very limited selection of triggers and logic which are all alarm based. While I can make it do multiple things with the push of a button, I can't make it smart enough to turn on a light when I walk into a room (trip a motion sensor).
So yeah in summary a great monitored alarm system that is also trying to be a home automation system. While the HA is adequate enough to cater to the needs of 90% of the people out there, the DIY geeks will soon find its limitations. A shame really as it has great potential. The HA shortcomings look to be entirely software based due to lack of options provided by the control panel and website GUI. I'm hoping this could be addressed in further firmware updates. I guess if there is enough interest in this thread we might be able to put some pressure on them to resolve these issues since VIVINT has obviously invested a lot in this NZ/AU push and it is early in the play (oh yeah every single person I dealt with from door salesman to installers to NZ office staff have all been American).
However if you have limited time, want an instant solution that always works, pleases the wife and gets you well and truely started in HA, and you have some spare cash in your gadget fund (I didn't really need that 60" Smart TV yet anyway) then this could be for you.
Those of you that want a little more control, customization and hackability you might want to do more research and weigh up the whats vs the what nots.
Shameless plug: I'd love to push it to it's limits to see what it could do so if anyone else is interested and has a few spare z-wave devices lying around I'd be glad offer my system for testing:). Ohh also if you are interested in getting one and found this useful, want more info let me know because I'll get a $50 referrer fee! (Moderators plz don't ban me and feel free to edit out if I'm bad).