Vivint Sky: Next-Generation Smart Home Automation
Vivint has been dabbling in the home automation market for some time now with its security cameras and other simple DIY hardware that lets you control your locks, open your garage doors, and sense smoke or break-ins. Now Vivint Sky is preparing to upgrade these simple products into a far more cohesive smart home system with a lot more features and some exciting smart tech at work behind them, including a combination of Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, and 345 MHz radio protocols. Let’s take a closer look.
New Devices From Vivint Sky
Vivint Sky is more than just a rebranding: It’s more of a new product line, a system that combines Vivint’s older products with new devices that offer up plenty of additional functionality. What does that look like? Well, it starts with the SkyControl hub, which is similar to the older hub used by Vivint, but now has a much larger touchscreen interface that can be used to control all aspects of the home automation system. Fortunately, Vivint also goes the app route, allowing you to control various devices through a smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer. But when you are coming in the door, it may be easier to make a few swipes on the hub than to bring up an app. It also flashes important indicators, like an open door, that you might miss on your phone, and keeps a log of all activity that you can search through if necessary.
This SkyControl is backed up by a selection of new devices that expand home automation into many familiar and welcome corners. You can wirelessly control or set your temperature schedule with the smart thermostat. You can also control appliances or light bulbs with the new controls and bulbs that Vivint Sky now includes. You also have the more traditional Vivint devices, like motion detectors, cameras, window sensors, and key fobs.
The new system allows you to customize these features however you want, slanting the system toward specific goals, like home security or the welfare of elderly homeowners. There are optional smoke detectors, general glass break detectors, medical pendants, and more equipment they can add at will.
Smart Automation Around the House
The most interesting Vivint Sky upgrade by far is the smart system, which now learns your habits and adapts to them. We’ve seen this sort of thing before, notably with the Nest thermostat (recently bought by Google), which noted when people left the house and what temperatures they preferred, then started making its own adjustments.
The Vivint smart thermostat does that too, but so does the rest of the system. It starts by noting when you leave and asking you questions via text about locking doors, turning off lights, or turning down the heat. Then eventually it will start making adjustments on its own based on what you have told it. The goal is to create a system that relies as little on manual control as possible, but still lets you decide how much influence you have. Ultimately, your house can learn your habits and respond accordingly.
Pricing and Availability
Vivint is basing its new system on contracts and packages. A low-tier package, costing around $54, will give you the control panel with basics like smoke detectors and radio sensors. A $70 package will add more devices, like a smart thermostat. There’s an activation fee of around $100 to get started, so spending around $200 for the basics may be likely — plus more for advanced lighting, garage door control, and other options. The typical length for a contract is around 5 years, so this is truly a long-term investment.
Vivint’s model is ideal if you want the cutting edge of home automation and have not already started amassing smart devices. The Nest thermostat may be great at learning temperature patterns, but it is not compatible with the Vivint system, which is more of an all-in arrangement. For beginners or those with only basic security systems looking to upgrade, the Sky system is certainly an attractively affordable answer.
Photo Credit: Kazuho Okui
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