The Future of AlertMe

Using your AlertMe, British Gas Hive, Safe & Secure or Iris system.
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benw
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Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2012 7:08 am

The Future of AlertMe

Post by benw » Sun Dec 23, 2012 8:04 am

As a loyal AlertMe customer for 3 years now, I suppose this is a desperate reach out to try to understand what is happening to this company.

I was originally inspired by the leadership the company had shown in Smart Energy monitoring, creating real solutions for the domestic environment (which at the time were miles apart from the plethora of free energy displays that utilities were offering), its bold adoption of zigbee communications and some quality technological innovation out of Cambridge. I'm conscious I probably represent a small niche, one of the early adopters with some particular belief in the company - and so not a use-case on which to build a mainstream consumer business.

But WHY did you guys stop innovating? I can only assume lack of funding.

2 years later after plenty of new board placements, a VC frenzy and a range of horizontal deals with utilities and retailers, AlertMe seem to have given up trying to do anything new. There's been a clear lack of thought leadership (aside from 5 blog pages of corporate flannel from Mary dating back to October 2012) for months now, not a single product update for your Energy subscribers in 2 years and the same frustrating website that just continues to promise more vapour-ware...

Can you guys see what is happening with Smart Energy and home automation now? Do you see KickStarter? Have you seen the quality of the technology that my grandmother can buy in B&Q now? You made a promise to your user community and we've invested in equipment and paid subscriptions. Aside from an 'exclusive deal with British Gas,' your 'raving fans' have been left with nothing but disappointment.

I feel that I've put enough into smartplugs and subscriptions to persevere for 6 more months, but after this point, I'll have to accept I must be one of those people 'with more money than sense' that cNet originally identified.

Sadly, I think we know how this story will end. With the new VC board selling the company out to utility and retail partners, I expect the company's remnants will continue to exist in some form through those commercial commitments its made - the rest will be destined for for the VC graveyard. I know how hard start-up funding can be and what can be said for AlertMe's technological achievements - but I felt compelled to put out one more desperate plea (perhaps just a rant) to the company's founders to try to instil that original vision back in 2013... AlertMe still has so much potential!

NorthWalesMyko
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Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:21 am

Re: The Future of AlertMe

Post by NorthWalesMyko » Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:29 am

I contacted AlertMe today, I was looking into a new alarm system for myself, I wanted something that would offer me more from an alarm system that you'd normally get. Anyway, this is what I got with response to the new boiler control that you all have been promised for years.

Thank you for your enquiry, this product is currently exclusive to British Gas. Details for this are available at http://www.britishgas.co.uk/smarter-liv ... ution.html

Regards,

Cupport

I also asked about the system they sell & I was told its no longer available, (disscontinued) I feel this is unfair to you all as you've spent a lot of money on this system with promises of new products.

They have teamed up with BG and left all their customers in the past, very bad move as without you, they wouldn't be here now!

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roobarb!
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Re: The Future of AlertMe

Post by roobarb! » Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:26 pm

NorthWalesMyko wrote:I also asked about the system they sell & I was told its no longer available, (disscontinued) I feel this is unfair to you all as you've spent a lot of money on this system with promises of new products.
The energy and monitoring systems they sell are still available, certainly on the website at least. Do you mean the heating system?

To be honest, I've pretty much got over the fact that we're the 'early adopters' now. After the hiccups of last year, the system has been very stable for me and I've been making more and more use of the API features (not something most people will use, but an inspired decision to include back in the early days).

So long as they keep the systems running well, I don't mind if they see their future being in the 'partner' game. I just hope that a company with a little more inspiration than British Gas comes along and gets them to produce a UK version of the Lowes Iris system. Who knows - they may even get bored and decide they've become big enough to do it themselves.
Alerty - control your AlertMe system with my third-party app for iPhone and iPod Touch. Available on iTunes!

m@t
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Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:19 pm

Re: The Future of AlertMe

Post by m@t » Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:57 pm

Having gathered information of such systems for around the last 4 (or maybe 12) months and reading many of the scathing and frustrated reviews and comments across various source, I gathered enough parts from ebay and spent £200 with Alertme.

What most frustrates me about alertme? It has to be the lack of clear technical information on functionality and compatibility, and basic communication with its founding user base. I have a 'starter hub' with no SIM and battery backup, I have a nano hub sat on the shelf (anyone want it?). I've 'invested' without any assurance that they will continue to honour their service, despite asking the question.

What made me take the plunge? I first looked at alertme 12 months ago and dismissed based on the poor reviews of frustrated, expectant users. The ?Times 250 tech tracker article prompted me to give them a second look. Then... A same day response from their support team for the numerous questions and queries that I have sent them. The fact I had my 'starter kit' up and running in about 10mins out of the box. A 48 hour turnaround for a faulty energy display and after asking the question in several different ways they eventually acknowledged they have no plans for future device releases (I'm quite happy with the range for my needs).

I'm amazed that this sector is still so niche, all providers past and present seem to get the same things wrong - communication, expectation management and basic technical information. Funding must be hard to come by and I can't blame Alertme for seeking other market channels, however a simple statement to their founding user base would go a long way.

I'm going to play around with this for the next 12 months, I already have a 2 month temperature and occupancy profile for my new 'old house' which I'm using to plan my heating system, my wife feels a lot happier we've got some security, the energy monitor has been a saviour (I found a permanently on oil filled electric radiator hiding in the corner of my loft!!), and the app works good enough. I'm amazed it even has one, everyone else seems to be struggling with reliable IP connected hubs. My gut feel is that they will sell out in the next 12 months, hopefully I'll have got some pleasure and utility out of my £300. If they are still around, I already have 2 plugs a door contact and pir in pieces that have boiler controller written all over them, and with some help from Roobards API's there could be a project in the making. This may have to wait however until I have more confidence that they won't turn the power off!

Anyway, an unstructured ramble, I'm glad this forum exists and I'll post my developments and experiences....

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roobarb!
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Re: The Future of AlertMe

Post by roobarb! » Mon Jan 07, 2013 11:50 pm

Looking forward to how you get on! I have a Button in pieces at the moment, primed to be integrated into our house's traditional doorbell once the hallway is decorated.

I think with the components available, there's definitely some good hacking fun to be had!
Alerty - control your AlertMe system with my third-party app for iPhone and iPod Touch. Available on iTunes!

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