Interlogix (Formerly GE) displayed their New Advisor One panel again this year at ISC West 2014.
Interlogix originally debuted the Advisor panel at last years show however the programming wasn’t complete and several hardware and software refinements needed to be made.
Fast forward to spring 2014 and the Interlogix Advisor One looks like it’s ready to go or is it?
After more than 6 months of Beta testing the Advisor One looks good. The new panel has an impressive set of features including a 7” inch touch screen, on-screen text and voice prompts in four languages (English, Spanish, French and Portuguese), 100 zones, (95 wireless/5 hardwired), 8 partitions and five radios including 10/100 WAN and LAN ports, Bluetooth LE, Telco POTS, Cellular (GSM), Wi-Fi and Z-Wave. The last three are optional.
For alarm communications Advisor One comes standard with a Telco POTS interface and IP WAN port. I find it odd that Interlogix continues to offer the POTS interface as a standard feature when most systems nowadays are connected with cellular (GSM) or IP. A better configuration would be to offer IP and GSM as standard and Telco/POTS as an option. Realistically it’s hard to image an alarm panel today being sold with Telephone line connectivity and without GSM. The IP Port on Advisor is important since it will allow advisor to communicate via the internet and receive firmware updates remotely via the WEB.
There are a couple communications options available with Advisor not found in other alarm panels. The Advisor One has the ability to report alarm conditions directly via SMS Text and POTS without the need for a central station or third party service provider. On the surface this feature seems beneficial especially for DIY or self monitoring customers however the target market for the Advisor One is likely to be someone who will want home automation and all the goodies and probably not a DIYer.
Like many of todays new panels Advisor One contains Bluetooth Low Energy which will allow the panel to communicate with BLE devices such as smart watches, wearable devices and cell phones to add enhanced services, system access. Bluetooth LE will also provide proximity sensing for smart home control and PERS (Personal emergency reporting service).
Wi-Fi and Z-Wave are options with Advisor One. These optional modules will allow Advisor to communicate with a host of Wi-Fi and Z-Wave home automation and control peripherals including Thermostats, door locks, light switches, garage door openers and more. Some panel manufacturers are including Wi-Fi and Z-Wave as standard features while others like Interlogix are going the optional route . One never likes paying for features that they will never use however I can’t imagine purchasing an upscale alarm panel without the ability to control Wi-Fi or Z-Wave devices so these radio modules will really be a necessity for many buyers of Advisor One.
Included standard with Advisor One is a Micro SD card slot. The Micro SD card slot can be used to upload or download data and information into the panel and users can add their own pictures or screen backdrops to customize the look and feel of Advisor One. IP connectivity will allow Advisor One to display select IP video cameras onto the built in 7 inch display and lastly Interlogix plans on opening up the Advisor Platform to developers to design third party apps such as weather, news, sports, stocks etc.
At a glance the New Advisor One panel looks beautiful and the User Interface is nicely laid out, functional and easy to navigate.
Advisor One is going to be released sometime this summer however there is one very important feature which will be missing from Advisor One at launch date and that is Alarm.com Services. That’s right, the new Interlogix Advisor Panel will NOT be able to connect to Alarm.com services when it launches this summer. Interlogix/GE and Alarm.com have been partners since the beginning of Alarm.com and it’s hard to imagine a Interlogix/GE panel not being able to connect to alarm.com services. There was much speculation around the show floor as to why Interlogix and Alarm.com would not be partnering together on the Advisor Platform however no official statement was provided by either Interlogix or Alarm.com.
While the new Interlogix Advisor One panel will not have alarm.com services at launch date all is not lost … Interlogix announced their own interactive service solution for Advisor called … Advisor Sync. With Advisor Sync, users will be able to control their alarm panel remotely using smartphones, tablets and other internet connected devices.
The Advisor Sync service will be hosted by Interlogix and will have an App which will mirror the Advisor One Panel. Interlogix dealers and customers will have to set up an account with Advisor Sync and will have to administer their Advisor One panels using a different platform and portal then alarm.com. Interlogix touts Advisor Sync as a simpler, lower cost solution but in reality the dealers I talked to at the show were not happy with missing alarm.com integration and even less enthusiastic about having to connect, manage and interact with another dealer portal.
Dealers are not the only ones who may be less enthusiastic about Interlogix’s Advisor Sync Service. Existing GE/Interlogix customers who already have connected services through alarm.com will find navigating to a separate app and online porthole frustrating and confusing. The Advisor Sync and Alarm.com apps look, feel and navigate differently from each other, not to mention there are several features available on alarm.com that will not be available on Advisor Sync.
As a final note to the Advisor Sync and Alarm.com controversy. Alarm.com will be launching an All New Alarm.com app this spring. The new Alarm.com app is natively written as a separate app for each device iPhone and iPad. The new alarm.com app is well laid out, easy to navigate and rich in texture and design. The Advisor Sync app is only written natively for iPhone and small Android phones and mimics the GUI of the Panel. When viewing the Advisor Sync app on a larger device like a tablet the graphics on the screen are simply doubled to fill the entire screen of the iPad or tablet … thus reducing the resolution. Each alarm.com app is written for the iPhone or iPad and is optimized to take advantage of the extra screen size of the iPad.
Overall I’m a big fan of Interlogix and Advisor One and Pro. Interlogix is a great company and makes terrific products. The Advisor One and Advisor Pro both look great however without alarm.com integration there is something missing from the experience.
Why did Interlogix decided to create their own interactive services porthole especially at a time when other manufacturers like DSC abandoned their own C24 (Connect 24) platform in favor of alarm.com? I believe at some point in time Interlogix may eventually get the Advisor Platform to integrate with Alarm.com services however until they do so I’ll be sitting on the fence.