The new updates for Direct Link, originally launched in 1993, had already undergone a test phase for its users since Jan. 2, said Ken Walker, West University Place chief of police, during a Monday evening city council update on the status of the monitoring service.
“We started looking at it a year ago,” Walker said. “It’s based on feedback from what we found from our competitors and what they were providing.”
One of the biggest changes for West U residents using Direct Link is the addition of a mobile app to the program through alarm.com that allows remote monitoring, said Jessica Ly, the police department’s support services sergeant, who is spearheading the program. Alarm.com is a tech company that provides cloud-based monitoring services including interactive security, video monitoring, and home automation enabled through hardware partnerships and integrated devices, according to the company’s website.
Such convenience doesn’t come free, though. According to Ly, residents can opt for the app by choosing one of two packages: Alarm.com Interactive Gold for an additional $8.95/month or Alarm.com Interactive Gold Plus Pro Video with Analytics for an additional 14.95/month, Ly said. “This will allow residents to remotely arm/disarm their systems and receive text/email notifications, or with the Pro Video addition, residents can monitor videos with compatible equipment,” Ly wrote in an email. Should residents opt in to either option, the additional fee would come in addition to the $35 per month residents using the alarm monitoring service already pay.
Direct Link is unique in that alarm signals don’t go through a third-party provider, but rather get sent directly to the West University Police Department, who can then dispatch emergency personnel immediately, both Walker and Ly said to the West University Place City Council on Monday.
It should be noted that Direct Link is available only to West U residents, according to the city’s website.
The city has a total of 3,075 registered alarm permits, with 1,400 accounts using third party monitoring companies and 1,675 using Direct Link.