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Frontpoint Security is one of the first home security companies to take full advantage of Alarm.com’s sophisticated home security portal, app and smart home integration. In this review, we dive into the Frontpoint customer portal and see what sets it apart from the competition.
- Powered By Alarm.com
- What’s In The Portal?
- Navigation Menu
- Frontpoint App
- How Does Frontpoint Compare?
First things first – you should know that Alarm.com powers the Frontpoint portal. Alarm.com used to be in the security business themselves, but they have since transitioned to a licensing model where they simply license out their portal, app and equipment to security companies like Frontpoint. We have a dedicated Alarm.com review that explains this in more detail if you’re interested in learning more.
For Frontpoint, there are several advantages to this approach:
- The portal functionality gets automatically updated with new features, and they can choose which ones they want to apply (i.e., make available to customers) and when.
- They don’t have to have in-house staff to develop and manage the portal. You’ll notice that for companies like SimpliSafe, this has caused their portal to fall behind the times.
The Frontpoint portal is very comprehensive. When you first log in (which may take some time because technically you are logging in to alarm.com, and you’ll probably see the URL switch to them in your browser’s address bar), you’ll be greeted with a bunch of panels and a navigation menu on the left side of your screen.
As you can see, the navigation menu contains the following menu items. Click on an item for a more in-depth explanation. As you browse through your portal, the page you’re on will highlight green in the navigational menu.
- Home – the home screen includes various widgets to give you an overview of your system: Welcome | Panel | Sensors | Recent Activity | Lights
- Video – the video screen shows all your video feeds in a grid and gives you access to Live Video, Saved Video Clips and Recording Rules.
- Automation – the automation screen lets you customize rules, schedules and scenes for your system, which determine how sensors react to events: Rules | Schedules | Scenes
- Notifications – set notifications for just about any activity that occurs within your system parameters – a light turning on, door being left open for a certain amount of time, etc. the possibilities are nearly endless.
- Activity – here, you can view all your system activity. The more equipment you have, the more detailed this will be. You can also filter by device, sensor, time range and users and export data.
- Users – the users tab lets you manage access to your system. You can set up users with various privileges.
- My Account – here, you can access Account Settings, Emergency Settings, Documents and Preferences.
- Move Portal – moving to a new address? No problem! This area will help you move your system easy to follow with step-by-step instructions.
- Support, Contact Us, Shop and Settings – here you’ll find all the Frontpoint contact information you might need, and access to the shop where you can purchase new equipment.
- Settings – access your system settings where you can adjust things like your contact information, panel WiFi, address details and more.
The home screen contains some basic information about the state of your system, via various widgets:
Here, you’ll find a welcome message with the last active arming state. You’ll also see:
- Issues – hopefully, you see nothing here, but if you do, like in our example, you can address them or call Frontpoint for assistance (833-654-0225).
- Scenes – this is a cool feature that gives you unprecedented control over your system. Since it’s so important, we’ve dedicated a whole section to scenes.
- Live Video – gives you access to video camera feeds if you have them added to your system.
Below we give you details and screenshots of some of the other widgets you may see on your home screen, depending on the equipment you have installed. You can click into each widget for more detailed information.
This gives you control over your system’s arming state. By clicking the green button pictured you can choose to arm your system in stay (home) or away mode. You’ll also see additional options you can check that will affect how your system is armed:
- Force Bypass – this allows you to bypass individual sensors that you don’t want armed.
- No Entry Delay – the system will arm immediately, instead of with the programmed delay (default 30 seconds).
- Silent Arming – the system will arm silently (no voice or beep notifications of arming happening).
The Sensors Widget gives you the status of all your sensors at a glance. As you can see in our example, it shows that various motion sensors were recently activated, the front door is currently open and the garage doors closed.
If you have Frontpoint’s light modules (or a compatible Z-Wave module), you’ll be greeted with this widget, which shows whether your lights are currently on or off. By clicking through, you’ll be taken to the Devices/Rules tabs in the Automation section.
- Devices – you’ll notice an icon for each light that you can click to turn the light on or off. You’ll also see its current state and the last time the light was on. Lastly, by clicking on the gear icon above each light, you can change its name.
The Recent Activity Widget shows the most recent system events, including the time they occurred. In our example, the various door and motion sensors were activated in the past 30 minutes.
The Video section shows all your live video feeds in a grid. Our only complaint is that you must have Adobe Flash running if you’re on a desktop browser, and you’ll need to go through some hoops to get it working since most modern browsers consider it a security risk.
Here’s an example of the live feed from one of our Frontpoint cameras. This is a pan & tilt camera, so you’ll notice arrows that let you control the camera from your portal. Also note how part of the room is dark – if this were a night vision camera, it would all be lit up.
When you hover over one of the feeds, a menu will pop up at the bottom, giving you options: pan & tilt (for pan & tilt cameras), take a snapshot, record video and set to theater or fullscreen mode.
In this area, you’re greeted with a mini video manager. You can play, download, rename, protect and delete selected video clips. You can filter by cameras and events and search clips by date.
A simple interface that lets you add rules and specify what happens based on sensor activity. For example, you could set up a rule that triggers if any of your sensors trigger an alarm at any time of day. Specify which cameras activate and start recording, and which recipients to send the video clips to.
This is a very powerful feature of the portal as it will allow you and your designated contacts to receive video clips for areas you’re monitoring as soon as an event is detected.
Automation is the newest addition to the Frontpoint portal. It’s brought Frontpoint front and center into the smart home game. In this section, you’ll be greeted with a tab sub-menu taking you to Rules, Schedules and Scenes.
A perfect example of the vast customizability your Frontpoint system offers is the ability to set rules with various conditions.
On the edit screen is a light rule to give you an idea of the level of flexibility the system offers.
You’ll note that you can specify rules to trigger based on events (alarm, arm/disarm, sensor activity or geofence) and then specify an action (in this case, turning the light on).
You can select which devices respond to this action (dining room light in our example), and lastly, you can specify the timeframe for which you wish this rule to apply.
In our example, we want the light to come on if there’s activity in the middle of the night on weekdays (we selected Monday – Friday). During the daytime, the rule is not triggered since we’ll be moving around the house. If you select “Sunset,” the Frontpoint system will grab the local sunset time in your area and automatically apply it.
Head on over to the Schedules tab in the Automation section and you can set light schedules to have lights automatically come on and off based on times of day and sunrise and sunset periods.
Use Light Schedules To Make It Look Like Someone’s Home When You’re Not
These light schedules are one of the most useful aspects of a home security system, and one of the most effective burglar deterrents. Schedule your lights and schedules to create a natural pattern to make it look like someone is home when you’re out. Statistics show that burglars are much less inclined to break in if they think someone is home.
You can fine-tune lights to come on based on times of day and sunrise and sunset times that are automatically detected based on your timezone.
The last Automation tab brings you to Scenes, where you can customize alarm-states. If you’ve had a security system before, you’re probably familiar with the arm-states “Home” and “Away.”
Basically, “Home” is tailored to when you’re at home, so sensors like motion sensors that you might trip while walking around indoors would be disabled. While “Away” typically enables all sensors, and since you’re not home, you would want motion detected.
Well, Frontpoint has taken this a step further and allows you to create your own scenes.
For example, you could create a “Sleep” scene that silently arms the system in case some of your family members are asleep. You can also customize if lights turn on or off.
The Notifications section of the portal allows you to configure all sorts of alerts. The system is very flexible, so you can receive a notification for just about any event or sequence of events. For example, you could set a notification to be sent to your smartphone and email from 12:30am – 6:30am, when any door or window is opened.
Notice that the portal will also suggest popular, useful options. There is no limit that we’re aware of to the number of notifications you can create.
There is also a “Manage Devices” tab where you can manage mobile devices to receive push notifications. You can also set language preferences.
Notifications don’t have to be associated with alarm events. For example, you could place a sensor on your liquor cabinet and receive a text when the cabinet is opened.
In the Activity section of the portal, you can view everything that your system has sensed. The more equipment you have, the more detailed this will be. The view is condensed by default so you can get a quick glance at what’s been happening. Click on an event to get more specific details.
Filtering & Export Options
You can export activity in CSV or PDF format, and there’s a powerful filter that lets you view activity by any date or date range you choose. So, for example, if you were out for Thanksgiving holiday and your alarm sounded, you can log in and narrow down the timeframe to see exactly what occurred.
Additionally, you can filter activity by user, event types (alarm, arm/disarm, battery/power failure, doorbell call, failed logins, lights on/off, lost power, sensor open/close, tamper/malfunction, video clips, etc.), device types (door/window sensor, lights/switches/outlets, motion sensor, panel, panic button, smoke/heat and video) and device names (here you can drill down on individual sensors – i.e., master bedroom carbon monoxide or left side garage door).
The Users tab lets you manage access to your system. You can set up users with various privileges.
User Access Example: Cleaning Person
For example, you could give your cleaning person access to the panel (with a unique user code) to disarm the system at certain times of day. Alternatively, you can remotely disarm the system to let them in.
Account Settings contains your account info – name, email, address (shipping, billing and premise) and primary and secondary phone. It also contains your billing information and your service plan.
See What’s Included In Your Frontpoint Service Plan
This is the area where you can see exactly what’s included in your Frontpoint service plan. You’ll see this user is signed up for the Interactive Monitoring plan.
In this section, you can set your passcode – your secret word that you use to identify yourself when speaking with Frontpoint support or your monitoring center. For example, when your alarm sounds and they call you to confirm it’s not a false alarm, you’ll need this word.
Pro Tip: What If I’m Under Duress When They Call?
If the monitoring center calls and a burglar is telling you to tell them everything is okay and to disarm the system, simply use a false word instead of your real passcode. For example, if your real passcode is “pizza,” say “spaghetti” instead. The monitoring center will act like everything’s normal and hang up, but unbeknownst to the burglar, the authorities have been dispatched.
In this section, you set the contact details for who should be notified (and what number) when there is an alarm incident. This is a necessary step for all monitored home security systems that must take place before authorities are dispatched. This is to prevent false alarms (which are the majority of alarm incidents) from overwhelming resources and making them unavailable to real alarm incidents.
Portal language: These numbers are called to confirm the alarm was not an accident before the police are dispatched to your security location. In the event that we call these individuals, we will ask them to provide your Security Passcode in order to cancel the alarm.
These are your family/neighbor/friend contacts that you would like to be notified if authorities are dispatched to your home. This is especially useful in the event of a fire or similar emergency event – i.e., if your front porch chair is on fire your neighbor might be able to put it out before the fire truck arrives.
Portal language: These numbers are called as a courtesy notification after the police are dispatched to your security location in the event of an emergency. Neighbors, friends or family members who could notify you or check on things are good to add to this list.
A very helpful section that includes your home security contract start date and end date (i.e., when your monitoring commitment is up – note that this only applies to older customers, Frontpoint now offers month-to-month service). You can download your contract and view the details here as well.
Certificate Of Insurance
Many customers don’t realize this important document is here.
Pro Tip: Get A Discount On Your Homeowners Insurance
You can download your certificate of insurance (PDF format) that you can show your homeowners insurance to get a discount on your policy.
In this section, you can adjust your system login information (password, security question and answer and login name). And you can set account notifications – choose whether to receive billing, password change and monitoring status notifications (just to name a few) via email or text.
When you get a new sensor, you can activate it via your mobile device without calling tech support (wait times are relatively short however so if you feel more comfortable having someone walk you through the steps, don’t hesitate to call in 833-654-0225).
Moving to a new home? The advantage of a DIY system like Frontpoint is that you can take your system with you. Click on “Start Move” and the portal will give you step-by-step instructions. Alternatively, call in 833-654-0225 and support will be more than happy to assist you.
What’s involved in the moving process? You’ll be able to remove your stick-and-peel sensors and panel and simply move them to your new address and re-activate.
We’ve moved our system once and the process was seamless and easy.
Pro Tip: Update Your City Alarm Permit When You Move
It just takes a quick phone call to your city – they will issue you a new alarm permit for your new address. This is a step that’s frequently forgotten in the excitement to move.
These sections are relatively self-explanatory, but if you have any questions, please ask. Contact information for Frontpoint is listed below for your convenience, and in the shop you can purchase new equipment.
Frontpoint Contact Information
- Monday – Friday | 8am – 11pm ET
- Saturday – Sunday | 10am – 7pm ET
Request Or Discuss A Quote
- Monday – Friday | 9am – 9pm ET
Order Return Address
22675 Dulles Summit Ct
Sterling, VA 20166
Corporate Mailing Address
1595 Spring Hill Road
Vienna, VA 22182
In this final section of the portal you can manage your login information (preferred language, password and we recommend enabling two-factor authentication for security), account information (details of the property where your system is installed), devices (manage your devices and settings), add a device (install a new video camera or home automation device), geo-services (create geo-fences and configure location features) and your panel WiFi (connect your panel to your WiFi network).
A lot of the features contained in the portal are also available in the Frontpoint app in a more streamlined interface, but not all of them. Either way, you’ll want to download and install the app as it’s the easiest way to communicate with your system.
The home security space has gotten quite crowded, and Frontpoint Security is not your only option. There are dozens of companies wanting your business, so it’s worthwhile to digest what’s out there. We do the heavy lifting for you in our comprehensive review of the best home security systems, reviewing pros, cons, features, pricing and getting feedback from users of the systems.
Think you’ll give Frontpoint a try? If you’re already a customer, are you happy?
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