How This Dealer Uses an Alarm Communicator to Meld Security & the Smart Home

Smith Thompson Home Security utilizes Telguard’s TG-1 Express for LTE and 3G/4G panel signal transmissions, as well as setting up customers with the HC Flex smartphone app for automation and security controls.

Residential technology integrators are often looking to make inroads in home security, with the enticement of offering potentially lucrative recurring revenue associated with such systems. Security dealers, on the other hand, continue to try and figure out the formula for successfully extending their reach into more smart home services to enhance their value in current and prospective customers’ eyes.

Could an alarm communicator be one of the key devices that helps link those worlds?

It’s certainly aided Texas-based dealer Smith Thompson Home Security, which offers both security and automation services to an account base of nearly 200,000 residences and small businesses.

One of the company’s hallmarks is a $16.95/month (alarm-only) no contract, wireless monitoring rate that’s stayed the same for 40 years, as Smith Thompson owns and operates its own UL-Listed monitoring center out of Dallas.

But while the firm’s alarm monitoring rate may be “stuck” in the ’70s, it’s also delivering modern smart home conveniences—at a $29.95/month rate for home automation, also no contract—that include integrated doorbell control, thermostats, lighting, locks, monitoring, indoor/outdoor surveillance cameras and, perhaps most important these days, full smartphone interface controls.

Having Telguard among its brands and implementing the Atlanta-based manufacturer’s versatile TG-1 Express residential cellular alarm communicator ensures Smith Thompson’s systems reliably communicate signals from a variety of new and legacy alarm panels. It’s been a win-win for both integrator and customers.

Easy Upgrades Make ‘Big Impact on Our Service’

“There’s a large segment of customers that I think gets forgotten,” notes Ryan Thompson, vice president of sales, whose father, Mark Thompson, co-founded the company with Jim Smith back in 1978.

“[They] just want to use their existing systems … and the TG-1 allows us to upgrade those systems without having to change the whole system out for them, and that enables them to have a smartphone [app]—the HC Flex—and upgrade what they have. So it’s made a big impact on our service, for sure.”

Indeed, Telguard bills the TG-1 as “Your Perfect Takeover Toolkit” thanks to its ability to bring interactive services to legacy (and modern) panels via HC Flex, or HomeControl Flex, and the associated smartphone app.

Plus increasing integrations allow dealers to package more offerings, for instance, if they want to scale into Telguard’s FlexHub’s Z-Wave controller, add Amazon Alexa voice control, real-time video via Arlo cameras and more.

“Whenever we install a TG-1, we do set up the HC Flex app for the customer,” Thompson adds. “We’ve experimented with several in the industry, and it’s a solid app—it’s very reliable.”

The alarm communicator also allows Smith Thompson to address the needs of customers on different communication platforms, as it not only supports 3G/4G but in terms of LTE networks is compatible with both Verizon and AT&T. Thompson explains that in vast Texas, that lets homeowners who are on either dominant network in their particular area enjoy all the security and automation benefits without compromise.

“We believe that if you treat the customer right you don’t have to force them into staying with you, they stay with you because they like you,” says Thompson. “We live off the saying, ‘Get them with price, keep them with service.'”

Click on the video above to hear more from Thompson about the company, installation flexibility, how it approached the 2G sunset and more.

This article first appeared on SSI sister publication CE Pro.

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About the Author


Arlen Schweiger is editor-in-chief of SSI's sister publication, CE Pro. He was SSI's managing editor from August 2018 to June 2023.

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