How to Create a No-Code Alarm Rental Start-up

adrian boo

We launched Alta Guardia in 2019 with the aim of bringing a breath of fresh air and transparency to the home alarm market. Entering the security market is undoubtedly challenging. The technology has to be reliable, and the proposition must be distinctive to survive in a market with so few players of such significant size.

Through conversations with potential customers, we concluded that we could create something different from what was already available. Is it better? Only time will tell. We focused on offering a temporary alarm service without the need to purchase devices, without a minimum (real, not fictitious) commitment, and where the customer knows the total cost from the very beginning, with no hidden fees.

At Alta Guardia, we rent alarms only for the time the customer needs them, with a transparent, flexible pricing structure and no long-term contracts. We conduct installations remotely by sending equipment through courier services and assisting customers via video conferencing during installation. This approach allows us to reach customers who were previously not considered or were beyond the reach of conventional companies due to cost.

Beyond the business model, there is significant room for product innovation in the security market. Developing technology that combines hardware and software for a partially regulated market is a time-consuming and costly endeavor. Therefore, we began searching for solutions to test more quickly without sacrificing reliability or service quality for our customers.

Moreover, we wanted our two founders responsible for developing our proprietary product (a telecommunications engineer and an industrial designer) to focus 100% on creating a product tailored to this type of business model. This proprietary technology will be the most valuable and differentiating factor for us in the future.

How to Build an ERP that Functions as a Central Monitoring Station for Alarms

At that moment, we pondered how we could achieve this quickly, simply, and without code, considering the need for hardware integration with software and creating various customer interaction points (web, app, etc.).

Regarding the software, we were already familiar with and had previously used no-code tools. So, we decided to delve deeper to construct an ERP that would function as a central monitoring station for alarms.

Building our product with no-code would provide us with speed and adaptability for this initial phase, without consuming development team resources to validate our business model.

We needed software that could serve as a database and control center, be user-friendly, and highly flexible for making changes. Airtable was the ideal choice as it perfectly suited our needs, and its integrations were powerful. With Airtable, we could construct the entire structure needed to kickstart operations without overwhelming ourselves.

The challenge with hardware was to integrate the equipment with the software and make them independent of a Wi-Fi network. Twilio helped us address this with their Programmable Wireless SIM cards. We used them for a dual communication channel. On one side, the alarm sends us generated events (activations, deactivations, alerts, etc.). On the other side, we send commands to the alarm for actions like activation, deactivation, etc. Twilio allows us to remotely control the alarm at a very low cost and integrate the entire alert flow with other software through its API.

Ultimately, we found the ideal communication software to validate our proposal.

Scenario: Alarm Activation through Airtable Buttons with Integromat

The next step was to integrate the two parts, hardware and software. For this purpose, we chose Integromat, a tool we had been using for some time in other projects. It integrates well with Airtable, supports webhooks, allows HTTP calls to APIs, and facilitates integrations with email marketing and CRM tools, offering a sea of possibilities that allowed us to create an MVP without or with minimal coding.

Tip: When building an automation, always contact the tool's support if you have any doubts. They usually resolve them relatively quickly, and who better than them to do it? Forums, Slack channels, or no-code communities like NoCodeFounders, Makerpad, or those specific to each tool are also very helpful.

Finally, we had to decide on the software to use for customer interaction:

Webflow (web)

We're not designers, so Webflow allowed us to have a visually appealing website based on a template. It's easily manageable by the non-technical part of the team, allowing us to make quick modifications without consuming technical resources. We added Helpcrunch as a live chat on the website.

Jotform (reservation form)

Due to the variable price of renting our alarms based on the days reserved, we needed a tool that could handle these conditions in the price calculation field. It also needed to support date-based calculations and the ability to add associated services, such as a camera. Of course, integration with Stripe for payments was a requirement.

Adalo (app)

Currently under construction, we will use it to validate use cases with our customers until we have our proprietary technology. We chose Adalo because it integrates with Airtable as the database. It also allows exporting apps for publishing on Google Play Store and the Apple App Store, offers the ability to make HTTP calls, and is user-friendly.

Sendinblue (email marketing - transactional email)

Integrated with Integromat, we have a perk that allows us to send a large volume of emails, both for marketing and transactional purposes. It's user-friendly, has webhooks, and essentially works well.

Freshsales (CRM)

Similar to Pipedrive, which we are familiar with, we have a perk that provides us with the entire Freshworks suite for free for a considerable period. It has webhooks and an integrated setup in Integromat.

WhatsApp Business (installation assistance)

Used for WhatsApp video calls with a WhatsApp Business account when conducting remote installations. Why WhatsApp? Because it's widely used by everyone. This way, we assist the customer in ensuring everything is properly installed. Our systems are entirely plug-and-play, but it's crucial that the sensors are placed correctly.

Tip: Look for free credits for tools on sites like or YC Startup School.

This is the customer journey.

The following explains what happens from the moment a customer reserves on the website until the reservation begins.

The website, as we mentioned before, is built on Webflow.

We created a start and end date selection form using Webflow forms. Our CTO, César, assisted in customizing this form to include date pickers that work seamlessly on desktop, IOS, Android, and various browsers. The added functionality is that when a user clicks 'Reserve' to view the price, it redirects to the Jotform with preloaded date parameters in the URL. This way, these fields are automatically filled in the Jotform, and the price is calculated automatically.

Once the customer makes the reservation, we channel all the information obtained in the Jotform through Integromat.

Integromat Scenario for the Reservation Workflow

In Integromat, we have a scenario with an instant trigger that creates reservations, customers, etc., in different tools. The first step is to search in Airtable to check if the customer exists, determining whether we need to create them or just fetch and update their data. After that:

  • Airtable: Create or update the customer, installation address, and reservation.
  • Quipu: Generate the invoice and download it to attach in the reservation confirmation email. Since Quipu doesn't have a module in Integromat, we perform this using an API call.
  • Freshsales: Create the customer and reservation.
  • Sendinblue: Add the customer to the corresponding lists and send the transactional reservation confirmation email.

The next step in operations is the installation, allowing the customer to start using the equipment. At this point, the alarm begins to send us information when the customer activates or deactivates it, when a sensor is triggered, when there is an attempt to sabotage, when the battery is low, etc. This information is sent with Twilio's SIM card via a webhook to Integromat, where we create custom alerts, alerts for customers, and store all events within our Airtable database. Additionally, we associate the equipment being used, the customer, the installation address, etc., to keep everything well-related and connected in Airtable.

Integromat Scenario for the Altert Workflow

As you can see, our main tools are Integromat and Airtable. Integromat allows us to automate many processes that would otherwise be done manually, as mentioned earlier. Meanwhile, Airtable is our operations hub, the place where we store all the data and where we can review every detail of each reservation or customer. The power to relate tables and see each related record from one table gives us enormous navigational ease to have all the data close at hand and just a few clicks away.

However, Airtable, thanks to its field types such as lookups, rollups, buttons, and now automations, offers endless possibilities. Some of the things we do in Airtable include:

Alert Dashboard

As mentioned, we receive each alert from Integromat in an Airtable table. We have a view where we see alerts from all devices together, and depending on whether it's a motion detection, a low battery alert, etc., we use color assignment rules to identify these messages faster.

Cost and Profitability Control

Thanks to the Rollup field type, we have precise control of the cost of each set, adding up the costs of each device it comprises. We also use Rollups to track the exact cost of each reservation, summing, for example, shipping and communication costs.

Stock Control

Since our alarms are physical devices, our stock is not infinite. With the first devices, it was easy to distinguish each one, but as we purchased more, recognizing identical devices among 100 became impossible. Additionally, each device has a SIM card. Managing the stock of all different types of devices and knowing to which set they belong becomes complex. In Airtable, we register all our stock. The autonumber field assigns a unique number to each device. Then, with the formula field, we construct the unique reference by adding the device type.

Furthermore, we also include the cost to later work in other tables with Rollup fields.

We also monitor the stock of sets. A set is composed of several devices (sensors, central hub, remotes, etc.). Therefore, each set also has its unique reference.

Finally, we have SIM cards, which also need to be registered with their internal data, and we need to know which device they are installed in.

As you might assume, these three tables (sets, devices, and SIM cards) are related to immediately access all the information.

Alert Dashboard in Airtable.

Centralizing Reservation Data

In our daily operations, we always start from the alerts table or the reservations table. From the reservations table, opening the record of the desired reservation allows us to view details such as:

  • The associated customer and their contact information.
  • Reservation dates.
  • Associated alert contacts.
  • The installed set.
  • Installation address.
  • Alerts for that set during that reservation.
  • Record of where each device has been installed in the customer's home, etc.

We can truly see everything by scrolling through the reservation record or navigating from that card to related records in other tables. This saves us a lot of time and allows us to quickly access all the information because everything is very close.

Creating Functional Buttons

We primarily use the button field with links. We have buttons to:

  • Activate and deactivate alarms.
  • Download invoices from Quipu.
  • Access invoices directly in Quipu.
  • Access SIM card settings in Twilio.

All of this, along with some internal automations, means that practically the only manual step we have to take when a reservation comes in is to check the availability of the equipment and assign one that is available for the dates the customer wants.

Other Integromat Automations

More examples of automations created by combining and integrating these tools with Integromat:

  • Automatically change the states of reservations and alarm equipment on the start and end days of each reservation.
  • Automated end-of-reservation email with the option to extend.
  • Post-reservation email to assess customer satisfaction with NPS methodology.
  • Internal daily email summarizing installations and removals of the day.
  • Email with a form to gather more information about the reservation: number of stays and accesses to the home, preference for receiving all alert notifications or only when something significant happens, etc.
  • Create a panel grouping buttons to activate and deactivate each alarm with the Integromat app for iOS and Android.
Integromat Scenario to Automatically Change Reservation and Alarm Equipment States on Reservation Start Days. Also Includes an Internal Email with the Daily Installation Summary.

It must be mentioned that all of this is a dynamic process in which the data structure and automations evolve as we add functionalities. For example, the first time a customer asked us to install an alarm in more than one residence, we had to modify the Airtable database. We had to add an independent table for installation addresses, which, when related to the customer and reservation tables, allowed a customer to have more than one installation address.

The same happened with alert contacts, enabling a customer to have multiple associated alert contacts, or when we wanted to record the location where each sensor is installed in each reservation.

These changes may not be ideal, but no-code tools allow us to be very agile and validate many hypotheses before building our own technology more effectively.

Thank you for reading!

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