Personal and home security is the number one reason people buy smart home products. Keeping you and your family safe is worth the investment into smart locks, doorbells, cameras, and sensors. But how to get started?
There are two ways to go about outfitting your home with a smart home security system – either buy the products direct and install them yourself, or hire a service like Vivint to install and monitor the devices for you. We cover DIY solutions all the time for thing like cameras, doorbells, and door locks all the time, so I created this guide to look into Vivint’s offering so you can see if they’re right for your home.
What is Vivint?
Vivint is a home security company that focuses on smart home solutions. What this means is that everything that they install for you can be connected to your smart phone. Vivint offers home monitoring with their subscription, but with smart home products installed in your home, you can see at a glance who has entered your home, which entrances are open/ closed, and best of all, you don’t have to do any of the DIY work of installing it yourself.
Why You Need Vivint
Smart home tech has gotten very user friendly, and I personally love to do all the handy work for installing everything myself. But for some who don’t have the time or inclination to get their power tools out and for those who would rather spend their Saturday mornings with their family or out playing golf, then Vivint is the solution for you. With full service installation and monitoring, you don’t have to go through the hassle of shopping for each product (many of our staff have dozens of products in their homes). Also, making sure each product you buy plays well together in the same ecosystem is difficult and time consuming. Going with Vivint makes sure that everything works well together.
Installation & Ease of Use
Using Vivint is really smart home made easy. They have full service installation for all the devices in your home, 1-on-1 consultations to help you and your family learn how to use everything, and 24-7 monitoring and customer service in case you need anything along the way. For those that want a plug and play solution, there’s nothing easier than going with Vivint.
The flip-side of going with a full service solution like Vivint is that it is not cheap. The individual products are on par with what you can get on the market, but they do charge installation and monitoring fees. The good thing is that you can build a solution within a given budget pretty easily. If you have a smaller home or just want a few simple upgrades, you can scale it based on how much you want to spend. If you have a huge home and want the full package, installation could be a fairly expensive add-on. Compared to a DIY solution, of course it’s more, but you get the peace of mind knowing it’s done right, and you don’t have to spend dozens of hours setting everything up.
Everything You Need to Know About Vivint
Here’s everything you need to know when considering Vivint to change your home into a smart home.
1. Overview – Total Home Security
At the core of Vivint are three offerings – the smart home products, their professional installation services, and their 24-7 monitoring and help. Buying products, installing them yourself, and monitoring from your smart phone are all things that you can absolutely do yourself. I actually advocate that people set up their own smart home solutions if they have the time and inclination. However, there are many advantages to going with Vivint.
The main reasons to go with Vivint are time, expertise, and peace of mind. Vivint understands home security and home automation because they install these things every single day. They can outfit your home with cameras, locks, sensors, and other home automation goodies in less time than it would take you to put together a proper shopping list. Also, you’ll know that these things work together and will be installed correctly.
Beyond your personal home, installing a Vivint system for your AirBnB rental may be a good idea. With home automation set up, you can give electronic keys that are only good during their rental period and can see through the doorbell exactly how many people are coming into your home. The peace of mind of not having to worry about having a tenant lose or copy a physical key, or have them invite more people than promised, is worth a lot.
2. Components – Everything Working For You
Not much that Vivint provides is unique on the market – but they have everything you need, and it all works together. Here’s what most of the products they provide do.
Being able to see who is at your door from anywhere in the world has huge benefits. Many times, would-be-burglars stalk a house by ringing the doorbell at odd times at night or during the day to see if anyone is home. Whether you’re at work or on vacation, you can answer your door as if you were inside. You’ll also have video that you can save as evidence in case a break-in does occur.
Smart Locks and Garage Door Openers
You’re out on vacation – did you lock the door and close the garage? You can read my story of getting a text from my neighbor about my garage being open while I was at the beach. With a smart lock and door opener, you can get alerts if your doors are open for more than 10 minutes. You can also let in family and home helpers like babysitters by giving them personal and time-restricted keys.
Indoor and Outdoor Cameras
Cameras are the most traditional products for home security. With smart cameras, you can check in on your home any time via your smart phone. Vivint does offer some unique features that are more difficult to configure in DIY solutions. For example, their Ping Camera allows for one-touch calling so you can use it as a video chat service, and Vivint also offers a DVR that allows you to record video locally.
Home Automation and More
Security products sold by Vivint also include sensors and control panels. They also offer other home automation products like smart thermostats that can save you energy, personal assistants that are just fun and convenient to have, and smart lights that can be fun but also enhance security by scheduling light to come on when you’re away.
3. Pro Installation – DIY vs. Vivint
For many like myself, pulling out the toolbox and installing smart home tech is fun. Most new tech has no electrical wiring involved besides batteries or a simple plug. However, sometimes you do need to pull out a drill and stud finder.
I also like to read through the manuals of everything that I’m buying and spend time thoroughly making my home ecosystem work just right. Many people, rightly-so, find this a bit of a burden to entry though, and want everything to work right out of the box and have it explained simply.
Vivint seems to do a good job in installing everything, but more importantly, explaining everything. For those that just want their system to work, and particularly for those with homes with lots of new products, having someone spend time with you and your family can be very valuable and time-saving.
4. Service – Is it worth it?
Vivint offers home monitoring and 24-7 help. This could be valuable to people who want zero hassle, and want the peace of mind that someone else is monitoring their home as well.
My personal preference is to monitor my house myself, as I’m not entirely comfortable with cameras in my house being monitored by other people. At the least, I would definitely keep cameras out of the bedrooms (and bathrooms!).
A great benefit I can see though is the ability for Vivint to call the police if your home is broken into while you’re away on vacation and are not monitoring your phone. I often turn my smart phone notifications to silent while at work or turn my phone off while traveling overseas. In these situations, the service would be very nice to have for peace of mind.
As a long time smart home advocate and someone with security products in my home, I absolutely recommend having at least a few of the basic home security products in your home. What Vivint does is take this and make it incredibly easy.
Everything Vivint does is completely custom, so it’s impossible to say how much it will take to outfit your home, but they are always eager to quote potential customers who email them.