Wednesday, 27 December 2006

Why wouldn't I use a traditional monitored alarm company?

This was also posted in the FAQ section of the forums, but I thought it might be of broader interest.

Why wouldn't I use a traditional monitored alarm company?


We give you more functionality at a lower cost, which means AlertMe is a much better solution.

Traditional monitored alarm companies have the following issues:

1. Their technology is old. There hasn't been a major design improvement since the 1980s. They require drilling holes and wiring cables and waiting for professional installers, simply because they haven't designed a wireless system that is easy to use. And they haven't asked you what you really want from a modern home security system.

2. Their "full service" is no more, and quite often much less, than what you can easily do for yourself. They don't know your home environment or situation nearly as well as you do. All they can tell you is that the alarm has gone off and ask you what you want to do. We've automated that much, cutting out all the extra costs and unnecessary staff. We also give you more information about the issue, so you can avoid false alarms to the police and the fines and potentially even black-listing of your home. We give you the control to decide how you want to respond.

3. They charge unfair rates. Why should you pay 25-50 pounds each month when most of the time there isn't a problem? Why should you pay 1500 pounds for thirty year old technology? They have to pay all their extra staff, but they certainly aren't doing much new product development. We charge much, much less, and we will be rolling out a whole range of new accessories for your home, going far beyond basic security.

Thursday, 21 December 2006

Children wake quicker to their mothers' voices

Another interesting article, this time from CNN, about the power of parent's voices to wake their children in an emergency.

Study: Kids who slept through fire alarm tone awoke to mom's voice

POSTED: 1:32 p.m. EDT, October 2, 2006

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Children in deep sleep awoke to recordings of their mothers' voices -- calling them by name and ordering them out of their bedrooms -- even if they slept through the beeping sound a smoke alarm makes, according to a small study.

The study reaffirms previous research that shows what works for adults doesn't always work for children, said Dr. Gary Smith, one of the co-authors.

"Clearly, the strategy that has been tried and true and used for years ... fails miserably for children," said Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Columbus Children's Hospital.

The study of 24 children ages 6 to 12 found that 23 awoke to the recorded voice of their mother saying "(Child's first name)! (Child's first name)! Wake up! Get out of bed! Leave the room!" Fourteen of the children also awoke to the traditional tone alarm. One child didn't wake up to either.

The children who woke up to the voice did so at a median time of 20 seconds, compared with three minutes for those who woke up to the tone, according to the study by Columbus Children's Hospital researchers being released Monday in Pediatrics.
Funding for the study came from a grant from the Ohio Department of Public Safety's Division of Emergency Medical Services and the Ohio Emergency Medical Services Board.

A safety expert said the study was a start.

"We have a piece of the puzzle now and we're really happy someone has taken up this research and we hope it moves forward," said John Drengenberg, manager of consumer affairs for Underwriters Laboratories Inc., an independent organization that certifies safety for consumer products.

The U.S. Fire Administration estimates that 3,300 fatal fires killed 3,380 people (not including firefighters) in 2005, with 14 percent of victims younger than 10. Smoke alarms were not present in 42 percent of residential fatal fires; alarms did not operate in 21 percent.

Read the full CNN report here.

Sunday, 10 December 2006

Crime busting with technology

Here is an interesting article, from the BBC, showing the power of advanced home security. Not least interesting because our product could do the same far, far less than the £20,000 he paid for his alarm system, even less than a basic alarm would cost today:

Raid foiled by laptop in Spain

A man caught burglars raiding his £600,000 house when his home security system sent CCTV images to his laptop computer as he holidayed in Spain. John Ellison, 52, from Lancaster, was alerted to the intruders by an automatic call to his mobile phone. By logging on to his CCTV system he managed to see men turn his house upside down before calling police and watching their arrests live. Police led two men in handcuffs downstairs and they were later charged. The thieves had smashed his conservatory window to get into the property on 7 September.

Mr Ellison, a company director, watched on his £20,000 security system from Malaga as the men worked their way through the house doing £12,000 of damage. Mr Ellison said: "The alarm system rang my mobile and when I logged on, I saw three men hurrying through the house doing damage," said the company director. "Then I saw the police go upstairs and saw them come down with two men in handcuffs.

"Anyone thinking about doing this now has a serious deterrent. I'm extremely delighted with the system."

Mark Johnson, 46, and Ian McClements, 20, admitted burglary at Lancaster Magistrates Court on 8 September. They are due to be sentenced on 5 October.

Read the full article from the BBC here.

Tuesday, 5 December 2006

AlertMe wins its first award! has won a significant "Proof of Concept" grant from the East of England Development Agency (EEDA.) We believe in engaging with our customers to deliver personalized, unique solutions. Happily, our vision for people-oriented innovative home awareness was recognized and rewarded. This grant will enable us to conduct extensive market research -- working with real people to define and build technology that they'll love to have in their homes. We would like to extend our heart-felt thanks to EEDA for their contribution to making your dreams reality.

Saturday, 2 December 2006

Why am I spending my time at

Hello again.

I thought I'd start off on a personal note, since our company is really about people.

I've frequently been asked why I joined, well, here goes.

First, I'm a worrier. I worry about everything: my two daughters, politics, crime, the environment, speed cameras.... I sometimes catch myself in daydreams of crazy things going wrong. So I need to divert myself from worrying. One way is to focus on fun by going out with friends, punting on the Cam, or reading a good book. Another way is to do something about whatever it is that's bothering me, such as making a list, getting a plan together, or asking my friends for help.

Second, I know a bit about security. I worked for Veritas Software (now Symantec) for almost 10 years. Our business was about preserving businesses by protecting their data and applications. I traveled a lot and helped businesses and governments around the world, and it felt good.

Third, I wanted to work directly with customers, not as abstract numbers, but as people. I just finished a MBA at Cambridge's Judge Business School, and my thesis was on "co-production", a fancy word for working with people to deliver exactly the solution they want.

The vision of the company to me is really about the overlap of these three areas: using innovative technology to end the worries around the home, even when away from home, and to do so in a way that is designed around people.

Keep the peace,

Friday, 1 December 2006

Welcome to

Welcome to the blog.

Here we will share our thoughts on a variety of topics: interesting news items, technology in general, home safety, our business, our products and services, and anything else that seems important.

We welcome your comments and ideas, and hope you'll participate in the developing

Grab a cup of tea, coffee, or a Coke (for the Americans like me) and enjoy!

Keep the peace,

For more information, browse