PROVO, Utah— Vivint today launched a proprietary smart hub called Vivint Sky, which will allow users to control lights, thermostat, door locks, high-definition security cameras and other devices throughout the home, all from a smartphone, laptop or tablet.
According to TechHive, two key components distinguish Vivint Sky from Vivint’s existing 2GIG home-control system: The new offering comes with an all-new control panel, and there’s a new cloud-based monitoring system that runs on Vivint’s servers. Vivint contracts with Alarm.com to manage its existing home-control service.
Vivint CEO Todd Pedersen told TechHive that Vivint Sky will track a homeowner’s activity patterns using its motion, door, and window sensors; lighting and small-appliance modules; smart thermostat and door locks; and other devices installed inside your home. A wall-mounted control panel collects this data and uploads it to Vivint’s servers.
Algorithms running on those servers analyze all this data and then send the customer suggestions as to how they can improve the home’s security and energy efficiency. Here’s an example of how it works: If your alarm system is turned on and your heater or air conditioner are running, but none of the sensors in the home detect activity that would indicate that anyone is home, Vivint Sky will presume that you’re heating or cooling an empty house. It will send a message to your smartphone suggesting you use Vivint’s app to adjust the temperature accordingly.
Over time, the system will come to recognize patterns of activity. If you’re typically away from home from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., for instance, it might suggest a program for your thermostat so that you’re heating or cooling your home only when someone is typically inside it. The Nest smart thermostat performs in similar fashion, but Vivint’s system can tie all your home systems together and make similar recommendations for your lights should go on and off, and when to arm your alarm system, writes TechHive’s Michael Brown. It can also alert you when there’s activity inside your home when you didn’t expect anyone to be there, and lots more.
Install Vivint’s app on your smartphone, and geo-fencing technology will evaluate your physical location, so that it can turn your exterior lights on moments before you arrive in your driveway. Forget to arm your alarm system when you leave, and the system will send you a text message to let you know your home is unprotected—if the sensors inside the house don’t detect movement indicating someone is still there, that is.
The SkyControl panel is equipped with a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen, and it has a hard-drive-based DVR to store video clips recorded by the system’s surveillance cameras. You can watch live streams from those cameras or watch recorded video clips right on the panel. You can also stream live or recorded video to a smartphone, tablet or PC.
The panel is equipped with a GSM module, so it can communicate with Vivint’s servers even if a burglar cuts the power to your home (the panel runs on AC power, with a battery backup). The Vivint Sky system provides two-way voice communication between the SkyControl panel and Vivint’s central office, so you can talk to a dispatcher in the event of an emergency. If a burglar or fire alarm is triggered, a dispatcher will try to reach via the control panel before calling first responders. This reduces the chance of false alarms.
Vivint Sky will be available in four service tiers, with a one-time activation fee starting at $99 and a service fee ranging from $54 to $70 per month, according to TechHive. Minimum contracts are a long 60 months, but the various packages all include installation, the control panel, all the other hardware most homes will need, and smartphone and tablet apps. Additional sensors, key fobs, electronic door locks, cameras, lighting controls, and other components can be purchased separately.