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SimpliSafe vs. ADT
SimpliSafe vs. ADT
The challenge: Convince consumers that wireless security systems are as good as the old-school options.

What they did: With so many folks moving around these days, SimpliSafe, based in Cambridge, Mass. offers a security system customers can easily install themselves and take with them to their next home. That's because the battery-powered system, which uses wireless devices affixed to walls near doors and windows, doesn't require complicated installation, and it works with cellphones -- no landline needed. CEO Chad Laurens designed the product, manufactures it, and sells it via the web, keeping pricing competitive: $300-plus for the system and $15 monthly for service, minus the contract and added fees that bigger companies typically tack on. Even without fancy marketing, word is spreading: Laurens expects sales to rise to $15 million this year, up from the low-single-digit millions in 2010.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that ADT does not serve apartment dwellers. They do offer products for renters, including a wireless system that is comparable in price to SimpliSafe's. However ADT's product requires a three-year contract and installation by a professional.

By Jessica Shambora, writer-reporter @FortuneMagazine - Last updated February 01 2012: 10:37 AM ET

The Van Winkle family has been in the bourbon business for 100 years. Its secret for the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery? Make prize-winning spirits and keep supply really low.