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The basic plan is free, gives you control over your system and sends alerts to your smartphone when the alarm goes off. The premium plan $9. 99/month expands the basic plan controls and adds video storage. The professional monitoring plan $14. 95/month adds cellular backup and links your home to a certified monitoring station that can send emergency responders to your home. This professional monitoring plan is the cheapest among the systems we tested, tied with SimpliSafe.

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”One thing many in the industry do caution about, however, is not to let the medium swallow the message. “There are a lot of things the industry is starting to focus on as enhancement to the core offerings; but it is important not to get caught up in buzzwords or even the technology itself, but what it enables the customer to do,” says Greg Blackett, senior product manager, Tyco Security Products, Toronto, Canada. “It is still very early days. The end goal is to enhance the existing products and make them more intelligent and help the customer reduce false alarms and bring their total security experience to the next level. But Inder Reddy, Honeywell Security and Fire, says there are actually two schools of thought on where monitoring may be headed. “Some customers have absolutely said ‘We want to leverage our expertise so we are going to get out of the monitoring business and focus on customer service. ’ But as software becomes more and more the way to do things, you could make the case that SaaS types of services are much more scalable and you don’t need to be so large to have economies of scale. For the moment it seems that a lot of active central stations are looking to outsource to wholesale and reapply that cash to grow their RMR business. ”Pam Petrow, Vector Security, also senses change in the wind. “Consumers’ willingness to take on responsibility for some aspects of monitoring will continue to change the industry. Whether it is a DIY with 100 percent self monitoring, or some subset of events the customer self monitors, this will impact the next evolution of monitoring.