Security Equipment, Inc. (SEI)
What is SEI?
Founded in 1969 by Sid Meredith, Security Equipment, Inc. (SEI) is a security company based in Omaha, Nebraska that provides services for areas of the Midwestern United States. SEI started out by providing residential fire and smoke alarm services and have since expanded to other aspects of security for residential and commercial properties. Today, more than half of their revenue comes from fire and security for businesses. They provide an array of services from video surveillance to automation to medical alert systems. With around the clock 24/7 monitoring, an app and a website, they are modern and provide a range of products to fit their customer’s needs. Security Equipment, Inc. also recently acquired Strauss Security solutions in 2019, helping boost them up in the field of security.
Security Equipment, Inc. is, in a sense, still a family owned and operated business as the founder is Chairman of the board and his son and daughter act as President and Senior Vice President. It has always been the focus of Sid Meredith to allow the company to position itself as a very customer-oriented company. Considering it very important to satisfy customers as it heavily affects what they do in the future. This was part of his reasoning behind developing his own monitoring center for his security systems. SEI’s monitoring center is UL listed and the monitoring team goes through regular cyber-security training and implement disaster recovery software in their facilities.
SEI provides your home security basics such as indoor and outdoor cameras, doorbell cameras, motion sensors, and glass break sensors. And like most other front of the line security companies, they offer home automation, life safety systems like fire and carbon monoxide detection, flood detection, and medical alert systems. They also have temperature monitoring to let you know when the temperature in your home is too high or too low, as to avoid frozen pipes, and combustible gas monitoring to help prevent fires and explosions.
On the home security page on their website, it lists a few of the security options they have that are not cameras. They have a programmable touchscreen keypad with a screen that is high resolution that allows you to control all of your doors and locks, your smart home automation, and view sensor statuses. SEI has devices for detection of intruders at your perimeter and entries, and motion sensors that work with their cameras to identify unexpected motion and alert your panel and the monitoring center. They also have glass break sensors to detect the sound of glass breaking and offer wired and wireless systems for you to choose from. Security Equipment, Inc. uses both Wi-Fi and cellular signal to communicate between equipment and the monitoring center and has battery back-up if the power goes out. SEI also offers medical alert pendants for the home and on the go, so if you ever need help, you can press the button and get the assistance you need.
There cameras are on par with other companies offering top of the line tech in their security systems. The indoor camera come with 1080p resolution, two-way talk, night vision, and alert zones. All footage recorded from the camera is stored on the camera and in the cloud. You can also choose between wired or wireless options. The Sei outdoor camera, like the indoor camera, comes with 1080p resolution, night vision, on camera and cloud storage, and alert zones. It is weatherproof, has built in motion sensors that monitor specified zones, and has advanced optic sensors to help get a clear image day or night. The doorbell camera is like most others, it has two-way talk, motion sensors, alerts through the app, and it comes with a do not disturb feature that silences the chime inside the house.
For businesses, SEI offers a lot of the same services as homes plus some business specific ones. They have comprehensive fire alarm systems with horn strobes, pull stations, and a control panel. There are a few indoor and outdoor camera options with cloud and on-site storage options. You can automate your lights, temperature, and locks to remove the need for key copies. With access control systems you can use things such as cards or biometrics to create restricted areas that you can give or take away access to from any of your employees. They offer four different types of cameras and a panic button in case of a hold up. You can also get on-site DVR storage for your cameras.
With 24/7 monitoring, Security Equipment, Inc. can help detect problems earlier and send emergency services to your home or business as soon as possible. And with smart home automation options, you can make your life just a little bit easier whether you are at home or the office and need to make sure you turned off your lights.
Security Equipment, Inc. has a lot of positive reviews from its customers. A lot of the reviews give praise to the employees of Sei for being polite, knowledgeable, and efficient. There is a lot of praise for the agents over the phone who spend time answering questions and explaining anything and everything to the client. Some customers have also praised the technicians who come to install or fix any equipment the client has. Most talk about how quickly the equipment was installed, how well the technician explained the equipment to them, and how well they cleaned up after themselves.
Although not everyone can be a happy camper when it comes to their security system. One complaint admits to not thoroughly reading the contract only to find out that in fine print was a 5-year commitment to monitoring. When they lost their job and had to move out of SEI’s range, they were upset to discover this and have SEI tell them that they had to pay $900 for the monitoring service balance. And another customer was not happy about the image range of the camera they had installed. But, as with every other security company, the good comes with the bad.
So, what is the catch?
To begin with, Security Equipment, Inc. (SEI) is a major provide in the Midwest for areas such as Omaha, Des Moines, Lincoln, Kansas City, and Iowa City. So, unless you live in that area, it is not much of an option. And if you do live in that area and want to move elsewhere, you can say goodbye to your system. If you want to look at individual products and specs before asking for a quote you will not be able to since they do not have individual product listings.
You can set timers for your lights and thermostat, but you cannot establish complete smart scenes to fit your schedule. For example, if you want your system to turn off lights, turn down the thermostat, lock doors, and arm itself automatically at bedtime, you can only set it to do the first two tasks. However, you can set it to automatically lock and unlock the door when you manually arm or disarm the system rather than having it do so at a set time.
Have a car that you park on the driveway? SEI does not have a specific system to monitor and protect your vehicle from break-ins and theft other than pointing a camera at it that will alert you if there is movement. And if you fancy having some home automation, you can only control it from the app or website rather than integrating it with Google assistant or Alexa.
How Vivint compares
Vivint offers a lot of the same security options as SEI, and then some. Unlike SEI, Vivint is a nationwide company with services available almost everywhere, when you talk to a Vivint agent they will check to make sure your home can receive services so that you do not waste your time on a system you can not use. And if you move, the good news is that you can take your system with you since it is completely wireless, and Vivint while send you new adhesives and have a technician come and set it all up at your new home. Plus, if you would like to you can view individual products on Vivint’s website and products like cameras and car guard list their specs so you can see the finer details before making a decision or calling an agent to get a quote.
Want to set smart scenes? You got it. You can set your system to automatically lock or unlock doors, switch lights on and off, change the temperature, and arm or disarm the system at certain times to fit your schedule. You can also set the door locks to unlock any time the fire alarm goes off, giving you a safe and easy exit. Never worry about making sure the doors are locked when you go to sleep or work ever again, and even if you do you can check the status of your system from the app or your smart hub. Best of all, the smart home products integrate with systems such as Google assistant and Alexa so you can have them do all the work with simple voice commands.
Cameras can be a great way to deter potential criminals since most will see visible cameras and go the other way to look for a house with less protection. Vivint outdoor cameras not only record in 1080p resolution, but they also have night vision, motion detection, and if they notice lurkers, they will flash a light and whistle a tone to notify the individual that they have been spotted and that you are protected. The outdoor cameras also have a lens with a wide angle of 140 degrees and are able to tell the difference between, cars, people, and animals. On top of two way talk, weatherproofing, and an 85 decibel speaker, it has a night vision range of 55 feet.
However sometimes criminals can be brave and think that they are smart enough to avoid being recognizable on camera. If you have a car or two that you park on the driveway you are going to want to protect them no matter what. This is why Vivint offers a neat little gadget called car guard. Car guard is a small product that plugs into your vehicle’s Onboard Diagnostic Port II (OBD-II) located under the driver’s side of the car near the pedals. It will alert you of any tampering or problems occurring with your vehicle. Whether someone is trying to break-in, it has been hit, or if it is being towed. You can monitor your vehicle’s location, set up perimeters to know when it leaves a certain location, get alerts about engine and battery life, and maintenance needs and recalls. Plus, you can monitor trip details such as duration, distance, average speed, harsh brakes, and fuel efficiency. So, you can monitor your vehicle whether it is at home or out on the road.
This makes it easy to keep track of the teens in your family that are new to driving and can be a bit reckless or decide to go somewhere they should not without telling you. Or if they get into an accident, you can know if they were speeding and being reckless. It is also handy for elderly parents who may get lost or into accidents and need help. Car guard is just another way that Vivint can help you and your loved ones have peace of mind.
For the inside of your house, Vivint offers its small indoor ping camera. With 1080p resolution, two-way talk, night vision, and a 155-degree horizontal field of view and 80-degree vertical field of view, you can see everything you need or want to see within your home. Keep an eye on your kids or pets from anywhere, and let your kids talk to you with just a press of a button located on the camera itself. You can also pinch to zoom in on your video feed from the app if there is ever something you need a closer look at.
Package thieves can be a thing of the past with the Vivint doorbell camera. With a 1080p HDR sensor, night vision, and two-way audio to get you started, the doorbell camera can also protect your packages. It can alert you when a package has been delivered and provide you with two options. If you have the Vivint smart locks you can unlock the door and let the deliverer place the package inside your door or turn on a deterrent. The deterrent will place a sensor area over the box that will turn on a light and play a sound while alerting you to the motion detected near the package. The doorbell camera has an audio speaker of 65 decibels and a field of view of 180 both vertically and horizontally.
Other products offered by Vivint are a medical alert pendant for those at risk of falling or other medical emergencies. It can be integrated with the system to connect you with the monitoring team for a quick response from emergency services. Security sensors to know when a door or window has been opened or accidentally left open. Flood sensors to place by appliances such as washing machines and water heaters to detect flooding when it is still low so you can act quickly and minimize damage. Vivint also offers carbon monoxide detectors and fast acting smoke and heat detectors that will monitor for excessive heat and smoke and can alert you before you even smell smoke yourself, and it has a five year battery power life so you can be protected without having to worry about the batteries draining.
Like SEI, Vivint offers 24/7 monitoring for fast response times from emergency services. If an alarm is triggered, they will try to call you, then try to reach you through your smart home panel with two-way communication. If you provide your false alarm code, they will cancel the alarm. If you do not respond or give an incorrect code or your emergency code, they will immediately send emergency services to your location.
What to choose
At the end of the day, it is up to the individual customer to decide what their needs are and what company can provide that to them at the best cost, with the best equipment, and with the best customer support to be there for them when they need it. So, consider this, Vivint manufactures its own equipment within the United States so that it is top of the line. They also offer financing options for qualifying customers and a low-cost DIY system. And for our active military service members, Vivint offers deferment and cancellation policies depending on your assignment and deployment needs. With highly trained employees here to help you build your system, set up your system, and monitor and maintain your system, you can always count on Vivint to be there for you and your family when it counts.