I had a system installed by Vivint.. I canceled on the second day and waited over a month to hear back from them. I finally called them and was notified that the cancellation went through but as they could not get someone to my house within the 16 day time period the equipment was mine to keep. If you check this link, http://www.vivint.com/home-automation and scroll to the bottom, I had a GoControl! panel installed along with 6-8 door/window sensors, the smart thermostat, 2 fixed video camera's, smoke alarm and glass break sensors (1 each), and an automated deadbolt.
They wanted to charge me 68.99 a month to monitor this system and wanted a 5 year contract, even though the tech told me 49.99 and a 3 year contract. They also charged me a 199.99 activation fee even though the tech told me he was waiving that.
My question to you guys is, being an IT professional... How much of this system can I tap into without signing up for a monthly charge. I would think controlling the system while near my home wifi would be possible. Obviously I don't expect a police/fire call without monitoring, but what about having it send a notification to my phone? or even an email? At present the panel does set off the alarm if you set it and then open a door, and the pin still deactivates it. It just doesn't call anyone or receive weather alerts and such. I would love if connecting through my iphone over 3g was possible as well.
Any advice on where to go from here would be appreciated. I have contacted other providers and before I sign any contracts I would like to see what is possible with just the equipment and my own local network in-house.