VIENNA, Va. — Coming on the heels of extreme tornado activity in the Midwest and elsewhere, Alarm.com releases Severe Weather Alerts, which warns customers of looming inclement weather in the area.
The new service allows Alarm.com customers to receive real-time weather warnings issued by the National Weather Service (NWS), says Alarm.com Vice President of Marketing Jay Kenny. “We monitor the NWS alerts, and then we proactively receive those alerts,” he tells SSI. “We then have the ability to push out a notification to people in the affected regions.”
The company integrates the alerts into Interlogix and 2GIG control panels. In the event of potential catastrophic weather, the control panel will first chirp to catch the attention of the homeowners. Then, the device will display a message on the panel, warning clients to evacuate their homes, Kenny says.
“The reason we went through the panel is that it’s really going to impact the home,” he says. “The real benefit of notification is if you’re in the home, you know to get out. It’s giving you an extra five minutes to get ready, not a number of hours. We thought that would be the most impactful way to send the message to where it made the most sense instead of sending text and E-mail alerts.”
Alarm.com launched a pilot program with Vivint (formerly APX Alarm) in the first week of May. The testing period took place during the recent tornado activity in the Midwest.
“We really wanted to launch Severe Weather Alerts for not only tornadoes, but hurricanes and severe thunderstorms all across the boards,” Vivint Director of Media Relations Megan Herrick tells SSI. “We felt that in terms of the most severe weather that people face yearly, the most devastating ones can be tornadoes, so we felt it would be the perfect weather alert to start with in terms of saving lives. Our customers love having it.”
Jim Schneider, a Vivint customer based in Pittsburg, Kan., says the new technology gave his family more time to get to safety. “It must have been more than five minutes from the time my Vivint system warned me of the tornado and when the neighborhood sirens went off,” he said in a press release. “That’s five minutes my neighbors in Joplin [Mo.] wished they had.”
Since the tornadoes are so recent, Herrick says she doesn’t have the hard numbers to show how much the system has helped business. However, she notes that customers are sharing their experiences with others in the area.
“The word-of-mouth about having the extra type of security has made a difference in areas where we’re offering the service,” she says. “I think when you find out that your neighbor has a system like this, and you know it can actually save your life, it’s an added benefit.”
Alarm.com now offers the weather alerts platform to more than 2,000 of its dealers throughout North America, says Kenny.
Ashley Willis is associate editor for SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION. She can be reached at (310) 533-2419.