NextAlarm, the innovative home and office alarm company that works over the internet and is popular among many VoIP users, is changing the way the security industry works.
The company today began offering free alarm monitoring to anyone in the US and Canada who signs up. The catch? When an alarm event is triggered, the customer is notified only by email, and it’s up to the customer to decide whether to call police or fire authorities.
According to Alex Elliot, NextAlarm CEO, the company will monetize the new service by presenting advertisements on the web pages used by its customers to configure and monitor the service.
“Eliminating the intervention by call center personnel significantly reduces our costs,” Elliot said. “It’s not a true replacement for our standard dispatch service, but it is a good alternative for many.”
NextAlarm’s standard service, which uses a modified Linksys analog telephone adaptor to communicate alarm events to a central dispatch center using the internet protocol costs $11.95 a month. The service has been pitched, primarily, as a method for providing home and office alarm systems where no PSTN telephone lines, the transport used by the bulk of alarm companies, exists.
Now the company is moving rapidly to take advantage of the innovation made possible by using the internet and expand its user base far beyond the VoIP crowd.
“I’ve been in this business for 28 years, and one of the complaints I hear most often is that alarm service companies contact the authorities, such as the police when the system has been violated, if the customer is not reachable by phone,” Elliot said. “With this plan, it leaves the decision as to whether to contact the police in the customer’s hands.”
Elliot pointed out that, in many areas around North America, alarm company customers are saddled with “large bills from their municipalities as a result of excessive false alarm contacts” with local police and fire officials.
“By giving the customer the choice about when the authorities are dispatched,” Elliot said, “the risk of false alarm bills is minimized.”
NextAlarm’s free plan includes up to three detailed messages sent to a single email address per day in the case of an alarm event. After the first three, email messages will not include details about the alarm zone that has been triggered, nor any user information.
An alarm event includes shattered glass, a broken in door or arming and disarming the system. NextAlarm also offers a “latch key” provision, that, for example, allows parents to monitor the comings and goings of their children.
“You set an alarm event for, say 3:15, when your son or daughter should be home from school,” Elliot said. “If the alarm is not disarmed by 3:15, an email is sent to the parents.”
The company is also offering a premium plan, at $5 a month, that allows email to be sent to an unlimited number of accounts, provides more detailed information in the case of an alarm event, and allows for an unlimited number of events per day.
Both NextAlarm’s free and premium plans allow for an unlimited number of alarm zones on the customer premise. The company sells complete alarm kits both through it’s web site and the Voxilla Store.