East Valley residents have long been able to order pay-per-view movies, faster internet speeds, or long-distance phone service telecommunications provider Cox Communications. Now, they can order peace of mind, too.

Cox launched its home security product into the Metro Phoenix market a little more than a month ago, and Cox representatives say it is another example of how the company is expanding products based on what customers ask for.

“We’ve seen a need and it seemed like a natural extension of providing services to our customers,” said Andrea Katsenes, Cox’s director of media relations.

The new system protects homes like any other traditional alarm system but uses advanced technology to provide a more enhanced security experience, according to a press release announcing the service.

That includes being able to stream surveillance video from a smart phone or computer, controlling the thermostat’s temperature, and getting text or email alerts if carbon monoxide or smoke is detected.

Erik Evans, Cox’s home security project manager, said the system is controlled from a touch screen remote, similar to a tablet computer, allowing the customers to have a portable platform to connect with their residence.

“You’re able to control so many aspects of your home,” Evans said. “And you can manage it via the internet, a smart phone, or on the touch screen.”

Stephen Fitzgerald, a resident of Vail, located just southeast of Tucson, signed up for the security system when it was made available for Southern Arizona customers one year ago. The system went wide in the Phoenix market in late April.

Fitzgerald said remote access to the system has been the best part of his experience, especially during those moments when he’s left home, only to realize he forgot to set the alarm. With the Cox system, he said he doesn’t have to go back home anymore to turn it on.

“It’s what sets it apart from other systems,” Fitzgerald said.

The Cox system, which includes free hardware with a $99 installation charge and three-year contract – the introductory monthly rate for current Cox cable or internet customers was $29.99 with the contract – also remains secure even if a home’s cable or phone lines are not functional, thanks to cellular technology.

Security giant ADT introduced its “Pulse” system for preview in late 2010, before a wider release later in 2011. Pulse includes similar remote features as Cox’s setup. Pulse also offers users the ability to control multiple devices in the home, like lighting, appliances and thermostats – in addition to the security system itself.

With the new home security product and service line, Cox, which serves more than 3 million customers in Arizona, is now a member of the Arizona Alarm Association, which includes more than 40 members from the home security industry.

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