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ViewQwest's Vesta Shield is a smart monitoring service for homes and businesses

By Ng Chong Seng - on 24 Oct 2019, 9:25pm

ViewQwest's Vesta Shield is a smart monitoring service for homes and businesses

(Image: ViewQwest.)

ViewQwest, the ISP often determined by Ookla to have the fastest fixed network in Singapore, has announced that it’s entering the IoT market with its new Vesta service.

Calling it a “subscription-based smart living service”, Vesta is targeted at consumers who are interested in smart living / smart home solutions but are put off by the inconvenience of setting them up. So regardless of which Vesta service you’ve subscribed to, it will come with full-service installation, maintenance and customer support.

That said, ViewQwest CEO Vignesa Moorthy is keen to stress that Vesta is more of a platform than a hardware product. In development for the last three years, he says the goal of Vesta is to provide users useful, rich and actionable intelligence, based on analysis of the data collected on the cloud and server side.

The first "product" to rely on the Vesta platform is the Vesta Shield, a smart monitoring service that will alert the user when there’s an intrusion.

Like all smart home control systems, Vesta Shield requires a gateway to tie all the devices together. This will be the Vesta Hub, which supports Z-Wave, Wi-Fi and Ethernet, and has a speaker for voice prompts and the (really loud) alarm.

Additionally, the hub has a backup battery that lasts up to 12 hours when power is cut off (which means you don’t need a UPS) and offers 4G fallback (it’s included with the service, so you don’t need a separate SIM card) in the event the line network goes down.

The other important piece of equipment you get with the Vesta Shield is the contact sensor, which is a small sensor that you stick to the door or window that you want to monitor. Once paired to the Vesta Hub, you can use the Vesta app to arm/disarm the sensor or premise and set up rules for notifications and alerts.

For instance, you can configure the system to send your phone a push notification, an SMS, or even an automated call when the sensor is triggered (e.g. someone opens the window). You can also set it such that the siren in the Vesta Hub will sound if you don’t response to the notification within 60 seconds.

What if you’re unable to respond to the alert in time? When this happens, the system is able to notify contacts you’ve entered on the Vesta Shield’s escalation list. You’ve to list a few contacts so that when there’s no response from the first contact, the system will proceed to call the next.

The Vesta mobile app is available for both iOS and Android.

For now, you can only use the NanoMote as a panic button. Since the Vesta Hub is a Z-Wave gateway that can include other Z-Wave devices, I hope this restriction can be lifted so that users can choose to use the other buttons to control other devices or activate scenes.

Vesta Shield also comes with Aeotec’s NanoMote Quad, which is a small remote control with four buttons. Ideally, I’d like to be able to customise their functions for automation purposes, but for now, Vesta is treating all the buttons as a panic button for triggering the siren and system notifications.

Finally: price. Vesta Shield bundles range from S$25 to S$35 per month and will be available to all new and existing ViewQwest customers. The official launch is only in Q1 2020, but from November 2019 to February 2020, ViewQwest will be offering a free trial for its existing residential and SME customers.

When they arrive, the S$25/month Starter bundle will net you the Vesta Hub, one contact sensor and one NanoMote Quad — but there’s also a one-time S$80 activation fee and you can only monitor two security endpoints. ViewQwest defines an endpoint as a security device such as a door/window sensor. Devices that don’t fall under this security category (e.g. Z-Wave smart plugs, lights, dimmers) won’t be affected by this limit and so can still be added to the hub for automation purposes.

The other two Essential and Full Protect bundles, priced S$30/month and S$35/month respectively, don’t have this activation fee, let you monitor more security endpoints (up to five for Essential, six and up for Full Protect) and additionally come with a 3-in-1 (motion, light, temperature) sensor. None of the bundles comes with a security camera though.

For more details and to subscribe to the service, you can visit: https://www.viewqwest.com/smartliving/vesta. To reiterate, Vesta Shield is the first product based on the Vesta platform; and while ViewQwest didn’t reveal its roadmap, the company is pretty clear that more Vesta services are already in development or under consideration.