Managing your home security system on your smartphone or by using an online portal makes it easy and simple to capitalize on all the high-tech capabilities today’s alarm systems. Frontpoint is no different from almost all security companies in the 21rst century. They offer remote control options along with traditional, panel-only handling for the cheaper plans. You can manage a Frontpoint home security system remotely if you choose the Interactive or Ultimate Plan. Frontpoint’s online customer portal will let you configure and manage the features of any of the three packages from any PC or laptop too.
For smartphone management, Frontpoint uses the alarm.com mobile app. Alarm.com offers an app compatible with iPhone, Android or Blackberry for system control.
The online portal and smartphone app lets you do everything that the control panel does. You can input data, change programming and directly control the system remotely. Most users will find learning to do so easy. Frontpoint provides written, video, chat, and phone support to help you get the most out of your system.
The alarm.com mobile app works mostly in the same manner no matter what smartphone platform you use. The home screen varies slightly in color and layout, but all the same tabs appear on the opening screen for the iPhone, Android or Blackberry app.
The mobile app home screens show the following:
- Arming Buttons
- Status Tab
- History Tab
- Video Tab
- Settings Tab
- Snapshot Tab
Users can download the app for free by going to alarm.com, frontpoint.com, iTunes (for iPhone users) and following the links and instructions. The app receives regular updates and has an average four out of five – star user rating.
Once you purchase a system from Frontpoint, you will be sent a password by email that will allow you to go to the customer portal and configure, then manage, your new home security products. The features available with the package you bought will determine which characteristics of the portal you can utilize. For example, unless you have the Ultimate Plan, you will not have access to video devices. The Interactive Plan will not give you access to any smart home, Z-Wave control options.
For Interactive and Ultimate users, the portal will show several tabs. Some of the key tabs include:
- System Events
You can do things like view the alarm system’s current status and history, watch live or achieved video clips, set up email and text alerts, and control all the other functions. Turning lights on and off, setting the thermostat, arming or disarming the system, or even unlocking a door for your son or daughter who forgot their user code are all possible using the portal.
Most people use the portal for the initial setup. This includes connecting and naming your sensor array. When traveling or working online, accessing the portal makes it easy to keep tabs on what is happening at your residence.
It takes some to establish a routine and remember to activate and deactivate your alarm system. If you can only use the control panel, you must remember each time you leave the house in a hurry to enter your user code, turn on the alarm and exit the residence quickly. Most homeowners have busy lives. Work, children, pets, and other typical, daily routines often made using a home security system problematic for many.
Remote access and control have made home security systems much more practical for most people. If you are at work on your computer and suddenly realize you forgot to arm your system, no problem. You can merely access the online portal, and one click will arm it for you.
If your spouse, son or daughter forgets his or her user code, they can call you and using your smartphone, you can disarm the system for them.
You also do not have to worry about a babysitter or worker who might be coming to your house while you are gone. You can deactivate the system from anywhere.
The Frontpoint system allows you to create notifications for just about anything to do with your home security and smart home control operation.
Smartphone control lets you receive an e-mail or text message about any aspect or change. Programming these notifications takes only a few simple steps. The most frequent warnings are for when an alarm sounds. Once you get the text, you may either be able to ascertain immediately whether or not it could be a false alarm. For example, you may know your teenager is due home and can contact him or her and see if that they forgot to disarm it. You can even access any cameras you may have connected and see if there is actually anyone in the house. Finally, getting notification allows you to get home quicky and meet the fire, police or ambulance personnel to resolve the problem.
You can use text and e-mail notifications to notify you of:
- Arming and disarming the system, including the user code used to do so;
- System events such as power outages, low batteries on your sensors or detectors, and malfunctioning equipment;
- Sensor activity such as activations or disabling;
- Doors, windows, or garage doors left open;
- Lights left on or doors left unlocked;
- Home temperatures that reach a certain degree indicating possible HVAC issues; and
- Any other customized alerts such as sending you a photo or video clip if someone enters a room or area monitored by an indoor or outdoor camera.
Placing cameras at strategic locations in your home or small business will allow you to monitor activity through your online portal or smartphone. You can access live video at any time. This gives many parents peace of mind when they have so-called latchkey children who get home from school before the parents get home from work. It also allows you to monitor any workers or nannies present during the day.
You do not necessarily need to watch the activity live either as you can access the archived footage anytime from anywhere.
Anytime you need to set up or disable an access code; you can also do this through your alarm.com app or portal. If your suspect someone has compromised a user code, you can just disable it with one swipe or key stroke and create a new one.
The use of access codes stays in the system history logs. You can view the history logs and see who used his or her access code when at any time.
Lighting and Thermostat Remote Controls
Controlling your lighting remotely adds to your safety also. If you return home at night, you need not do so to a dark house. You can turn on outside or indoor lights connected by Z-Wave components prior to entering.
You can also turn on lights for someone else who may be without their phone or without access to the smartphone alarm.com app. You could even turn on the lights if an alarm is activated to potentially scare off any intruders.
Manipulating your thermostat settings not only provides convenience and comfort but also helps you save on energy and costs. You can control the settings with your phone while on vacation and set or revise time of day temperature settings. If you have an upstairs and downstairs climate control zones, for example, you can manage both smart home thermostats through the app or portal.
The popularity of geo-services has increased in the past few years as people start to realize the benefits of using this technology. Frontpoint offers geo-services control through your smartphone app as part of their Interactive and Ultimate Plans.
Users can create virtual fences or geo-fences around his or her home or business that automatically do lots of things based on your location (or more correctly your phone’s location).
Homeowners, once they create the virtual fences, can make certain things happen automatically depending on their location. You can create a fence that will arm your system once you or your car reaches a certain geographical area. You can build another fence that would disarm your system whenever you reach the end of your block or driveway.
The possibilities are almost endless. Garage doors fitted with smart home devices compatible with Frontpoint’s GE technology could automatically close or open based on your “fence” setting. You can have your thermostat raise the temperature once you get within 10 miles of your home so that the interior of your house is comfortable when you get there.
Each family member can create his or her own virtual fence too. All this can be done through your smartphone or online. Learn more in our full Frontpoint security system review.