To answer the question in the title, a lot, apparently.
I’ve been reading a good bit about the new home automation systems and all of the security features that they have too. If you believe the marketing, some of them look really nice. The Staples Connect system that I highlighted recently is one of them. I definitely see the value in having an alert if someone breaks into your house, but it would also be nice to know that somebody is watching the house when you aren’t available.
But MAN, a lot of these alarm companies are really proud of their products. Take Vivint home security for example, the initial equipment installation is advertised $100 which gets subsidized with higher monthly costs. In that respect, it’s a lot like a cell phone contract. I’m not sure how the initial installation cost goes up when you add equipment because I didn’t bother to call them.
Then, depending on how much equipment you get, you can have a three and a half year contract, paying $55 per month. I used this security system cost calculator, and it says that the Vivint system will cost $3400 over 5 years. Ouch! And, I would certainly like to think that the system would last longer than 5 years.
I wonder how big the discount is after your initial contract period is over. I would be surprised if it is very good at all.
All that is just to have somebody sitting in a call center and waiting for a notification from my security system. Then, they may try to call 2-3 phone numbers to get in touch with me before they call the police anyway. I’m just not sure that’s worth paying for when I’m normally around anyway. I figure, the call may as well go to me first. And, I’ll save a lot on costs using a “do it yourself” security system since most of them don’t have any monthly fees. You can compare costs and features here. So, you’re only out of a few hundred bucks to initially purchase the system.
That’s an easy call for me, and I’ll still sleep well at night knowing that I have a system to alert me if someone breaks in. I like the looks of Scout. You get security and the potential for automation too.