ADT Pulse vs. ADT Command and Control: What’s the Difference?

Thanks to Command and Control, ADT sees the 3G sunset as an upgrade opportunity, rather than a 3G-replacement burden. Here’s how the platform differs from Pulse.

ADT Pulse vs. ADT Command and Control: What’s the Difference?

Jacob Menke of Zions Security reviews new ADT Command and Control, noting user-replaceable cellular radios and RF sensors with 4x range.

Last week, ADT announced it would be replacing its Pulse platform, launched back in 2010, with the new ADT Command and Control. The “Command” portion is the alarm and automation panel, while “Control” is the platform and app.

Powered by Icontrol, Pulse garnered some 2.6 million subscribers, or roughly 40% of all ADT residential alarm customers. Its replacement, ADT Command and Control, is powered by Alarm.com.

The transition to Alarm.com didn’t really make the news, but it’s important. Alarm.com acquired Icontrol in 2017, and ADT agreed to move its SHaaS business to the new provider for at least five years.

At some point, Alarm.com would have to abandon the original Icontrol platform powering 2.6 million Pulse systems. But what would the transition look like? A flip-of-the-switch to convert existing ADT customers to the Alarm.com engine? Or a wholesale move to new hardware and system-wide architecture optimized for Alarm.com?

The two companies chose the latter approach with ADT Command — a new security and automation system built from the ground up to exploit Alarm.com’s existing platform and technological roadmap.

That means Alarm.com must now maintain the original Icontrol platform to support existing Pulse subscribers for some time, while launching and nurturing a new platform for all new ADT Command customers.

Some 6,000 ADT Command systems have been installed already in select regions, but ADT plans to roll out the new solution nationwide by the end of the month. The panels are manufactured by Resideo, formerly Honeywell.

New ADT Command Is ‘Dream’ Panel

ADT has never really offered an all-in-one panel that looks and operates like those of its competitors.

For several years, 2Gig, Qolsys, Interlogix, Honeywell (now Resideo) and others have offered self-contained systems featuring a full-fledged security system with home automation capabilities, back-up battery, cellular and network radios, siren and touchscreen interface in a single box to be slapped on a wall by the front door.

Meanwhile, ADT Pulse initially comprised an Internet gateway added to a standard security system, with an optional touchscreen interface for monitoring and control. Today, the architecture is still employed with compatible alarm panels from Honeywell and DSC.

Eventually, ADT launched a self-contained panel called Total Security, which offered the fundamentals, but no touchscreen interface. Importantly, it was ADT’s first offering with IP-based alarm communications (with cellular back-up).

Now ADT follows the herd with a touchscreen-enabled self-contained system. Significantly, ADT Command is ADT’s first panel with dual-path IP/cellular communications, enabling the product to use the fastest communications method for any given alarm. ADT Pulse has never supported IP-based alarm communications, only cellular and POTS (plain old telephone service).

“Honestly, it [ADT Command] is almost the panel that dealers have always dreamed of,” says Jacob Menke, founder of Utah-based Zions Security, an ADT authorized dealer.

VIDEO: Zions’ Jacob Menke reviews ADT Command and Control

He tells SSI sister publication CE Pro his company is “glad to finally have an ADT option that can almost compete” with modern-day alternatives.

In a blog post, Menke likens ADT Command to Qolsys IQ Panel 2 and Honeywell Lyric, both of which Zions offers to its clients.

Menke appreciates a few hardware features of ADT Command, like a front-facing camera on the touchscreen, which can snap photos of the user when a system is disarmed, maybe not at launch but eventually. (Was it actually the daughter … or her boyfriend?) The panel supports more sensors than previously, with two-way encryption to boot. It offers and supports more secondary keypads, as well.

About the Author

Contact:

Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration.

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One response to “ADT Pulse vs. ADT Command and Control: What’s the Difference?”

  1. Nate says:

    Unlike pulse, command program is not programmed to communicate door locks with sensors through. Please visit this concern and update lock type devices with sensor communications to locks just like you have sensor communications with light type devices through automation rule setup.

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