Vivint – Can Home Automation Wipe Away the Past?

Our Rating 2.0

If you are looking for information on Vivint’s older plans and pricing you are in the right place but if you want the latest and greatest Vivint Security Review head over here as this review is no longer updated. We’ve created a new article that will be kept up-to-date.

You can contact Vivint for additional questions and comments by calling 855-716-7834 or visiting their site.

Vivint has a past. In a former life Vivint was known as APX Alarm Systems but they’ve dumped their former life for a new life. Their new brand is fresh and clean with a heavy focus on whole home automation. Vivint is for the homeowner that doesn’t mind paying more so long as they don’t have to lift a finger. If that sounds like you read on…

Vivint Smart Home Security

The “Smart Home Security” package is $53.99 per month with a 42 month contract requirement.  They also charge a $99.99 activation fee.   The base package is notably more expensive than other market competitors but it includes more.  Smart Home includes non-emergency alerts, smart phone control, 24/7 professional monitoring (U.L. Approved), motion detection, severe weather alerts, Vivint Live Communication, and a touchscreen panel.  The panel deserves an article of its own. It is the most impressive panel that I’ve seen. The SkyControl panel includes battery backup and a module that allows it to communicate with Vivint even if a bad guy cuts power to your home. According to Vivint,

“The SkyControl panel provides a more secure solution by operating on its own private Wi-Fi network, with a firewall independent of the homeowner’s network. All communication is fully protected with industry-leading encryption technology. The SkyControl panel also relies on cellular technology to ensure the system is always available in the event of W-iFi disruptions.”

Vivint Sky

The SkyControl Panel – Photo by Vivint

Vivint Live Communication

All packages include Vivint Live Communication. Vivint Live turns the included touchscreen panel into a two-way communication tool between you and the monitoring center. If your alarm is triggered a Vivint agent will call out to you from the panel.  If you do not respond to the call they are trained to listen through the panel. They listen for footsteps, cabinets opening, or other signals before calling the police on your behalf.

The home security package includes a touchscreen panel, 3 door/window sensors, 1 motion detector, and 1 key FOB.

You can also add optional equipment for an additional fee like a smoke detector, CO detector, glass break detector, and/or medical pendant.

Vivint Smart Energy Package

Vivint calls their middle package “Smart Energy”.  The Smart Energy Package includes 1 touchscreen panel, 1 smart thermostat, 1 small appliance control, 12 energy saving light bulbs, 3 door-window sensors, 1 motion detector, and 1 key fob.

Like the smart home package, Smart Energy includes Vivint Live Communication, Non-Emergency Alerts, Mobile App Control, and 24/7 UL Listed Security Monitoring. It also includes temperature control and lighting control. This package starts at $59.99 per month.

Vivint Smart Control

While the energy package will help you control things like lights and the temp; the Smart Control package is what you need to control locks and to implement full home automation. The “Smart Control package” comes with a touchscreen panel, a video camera, an electronic door lock, a smart thermostat, small appliance control, 12 energy saving light bulbs, 3 door/window sensors, 1 motion detector, and a key fob. For an additional fee you can add a smoke detector, CO detector, glass break detector, and/or a medical pendant.

Vivint Live is also included in the Smart Control package as is lock automation, event notifications, severe weather alerts, mobile app control, 24-7 UL Listed monitoring, temp control, lighting control, and Vivint Surveillance (video surveillance). With Vivint’s video surveillance you can view live footage or saved video clips from your smartphone, PC, tablet, or through your panel. How? The SkyControl touchscreen panel has a built-in hard drive so you can choose to view live footage from your panel or from a personal device.

This premium package starts at $69.99 per month.

Vivint Mobile App Information

Vivint Sky Mobile App Vivint has two different Apps. For their legacy app they have partnered with Alarm.com. Alarm.com has one of the highest rated mobile apps in the industry. On Google Play Alarm.com has over 9000 reviews with an average rating of 4.5 stars.  On Apple’s iTunes the app is currently rated 4 stars. The app requires Android 2.1 or up. If you are an iOS user you will need to make sure you are running iOS 6.0 or later. The app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and is optimized for the iPhone 5. If you are using Vivint Sky, you will need the new Vivint Sky Mobile App. This app requires iOS 7.0 or later and Android 2.3.3 or up. Both apps are currently rated 4 stars.

Vivint Sky, Home Automation

Vivint’s Z-Wave backed home automation is called Vivint Sky. This is a new offer they launched June 2014 when they revamped all of their packages to include some form of home automation. Vivint Sky can automate everything from lights to locks to temperatures.

However, Vivint Sky isn’t just home automation. Vivint Sky is also a hub that can learn your habits. For example, let’s say that you leave the house everyday at 7am and forget to turn off your hall lamp. Vivint Sky can recognize this habit and suggest that you allow it to create a rule to turn off your hall lamp at 7am.

Vivint Sky home automation features can be controlled using an Android, iPhone, laptop, tablet, or a PC.

Additional Equipment From Vivint

Environmental Monitoring Hardware

Vivint offers a smart thermostat, a smoke detector, flood/freeze sensors, and a carbon monoxide detector.

Panels and Home Automation Hardware

Vivint offers customers the option to buy a small appliance and light control module.

They also offer the Go! Control Touch Screen Panel, key fobs, panic pendants, the Sky Control Touch Screen Panel, and door locks.

Sensors

Vivint has traditional door/window sensors, motion detectors, a glass break detector, tilt sensor, and recessed door sensors. The tilt sensor in many ways is Vivint’s answer to the garage door sensor. It can monitor garages or any door that tilts or rolls up.

Video Surveillance Hardware

Vivint currently offers one video camera option. The camera is called the ADC-V510. It is a wireless camera but comes with an ethernet port if you prefer. The max resolution on their video surveillance system is 640×480. It’s an extremely basic camera that cannot pan, tilt, or zoom.

A Summary of Things to Think About

  • They have a 10 second average response time on their panel.
  • They use Z-Wave Home Automation Technology
  • Vivint has higher than average monthly fees, longer than average contract terms, and a 3 day return policy.
  • My sales guy told me that if I moved they would move me for free but Vivint’s website states that I can only move for free if  “I’ve been with Vivint for more than one year and I sign a new home security contract with the same terms as the original contract.”
  • Vivin requires professional installation which does include drilling.  On average their installations take 2-3 hours.
  • Vivint does have several alerts caused by government action.  You can read about the action and the results on www.bbb.org.
  • They have a pretty sour online reputation and it may be too late to fix it with competitors offering amazing technology at lower prices.

Total Score? 52% which is a 2 Gem Rating