With new technology comes new ways of mastering our domains — including arming and disarming our security systems on-the-go, answering the door remotely and getting instant intruder alerts.
Here’s a look at some of the biggest names in connected home security today — and some pointers for choosing the best one.
If you want a market pioneer: Nest
You may be familiar with the Nest brand by now. It’s got a bit of a head start in the industry — and the stability that comes along with a Google acquisition — and that makes the company’s products a great choice for anybody who values stability and brand familiarity.
And since they’ve been refined and made easier-to-use for longer than some of the other industry players have even been around, Nest products are a good choice for anybody who doesn’t have a wealth of experience with connected technology.
Nest offers an indoor security camera and an outdoor camera. Both devices communicate wirelessly with the Nest smartphone app to push activity alerts right to you, wherever you are. An optional NestAware account will set you back $10/month and adds mobile person alerts and either 10- or 30-day backups of your video archives.
Nest has been in the game long enough that it has lowered the barrier to entry for the budget-conscious. At less than $200, the basic indoor camera is a great starting point for this type of technology that won’t break the bank.
If you’re mostly concerned with main access points: SkyBell
The SkyBell Video Doorbell is a standout product in a brand-new product category: connected doorbells. You might not immediately think of your doorbell as an element in your security system, but SkyBell will convince you otherwise.
Like the Nest product line, SkyBell communicates with a proprietary iOS or Android mobile app to alert you to what’s happening on your property. Unlike a traditional doorbell, which may only ring in one part of the house, and can be drowned out by nearby noise, SkyBell “rings” your doorbell right on your smartphone, meaning you’re made instantly aware when somebody has arrived on your property.
SkyBell is a great choice for anybody who’s interested in trying out connected home technology without “wiring up” their home from top to bottom. It’s also for people who like elegant solutions to common problems — namely, worrying about missing the next FedEx delivery or Girl Scout cookie sales pitch.
If you like the newest on the market: Netamo
Founded in 2011, Netatmo is a fresh new company in the connected home technology world. With two efforts under their belt — the $199 Welcome and the pricier $299 Presence — Netatmo is hoping to stake its claim in two different markets.
The claim-to-fame for Welcome is Netatmo’s facial recognition technology, which the company promises is “revolutionary,” even in this burgeoning industry.
The Welcome camera can be taught which faces are friends and family. You’ll get automatic stranger alerts on the accompanying app as well as customizable notifications for events you’re interested in, like the arrival of children or grandparents. If you’ve got kids to keep tabs on throughout the week, Netatmo is for you.
Welcome is intended for indoor use, while Presence is for your yard. The latter lacks facial recognition but makes up for it with a “smart floodlight” feature, plus real-time alerts and property reports. If you want a robust, family-friendly and customizable connected home security solution, Netatmo is the company to watch.
If you want family-owned: Lloyd (or a similar company)
Serving the greater Minneapolis area exclusively for over 10 years, Lloyd Security brings the touch of a small business to the futuristic world of connected technology. The kind of personalization that comes from supporting local markets is something many homeowners value, and Lloyd is an excellent example of that.
If you’re an established homeowner in the Minneapolis area and you want a partner in security you can keep on speed-dial, Lloyd is what you’re after. The security company marries its wide variety of home security essentials — like burglar alarms, motion sensors, video cameras and lightning-fast response times for emergencies — with the convenience of its mobile app.
If you’re looking for similar options in a different area, there are many other location-specific smart security systems available. Just search Google for “smart security systems in my area” or check out the business listings on your local news’ website.
If you like the classics: Vivint
Vivint is another stalwart in home security. It’s a name many of you will know and trust as reliable and familiar. Smart home security from Vivint comes with the 24/7 and 365 monitoring you’d expect from a full-service home security company.
The Vivint smart home app lets you remotely enable and disable your security system, configure and receive alerts about visitors, intruders and events on your property and even full control over and navigation of your thermostat, locks and light — provided they’re part of your connected home system.
Like Lloyd Security, Vivint is a full-service installer of home security equipment that stands by with in-house monitoring and instant dispatch in the case of emergencies. As such, pricing will vary. If you’re an established homeowner who wants to put together a very smart and very comprehensive collection of security elements — including connected indoor and outdoor cameras, doorbells, garage door controllers and thermostats, consider what Vivint brings to the table.
How will you choose?
Homeowners and renters alike are right to take home security seriously — and now it’s easier than ever to do it.
No matter your comfort level with connected technology, there’s an option out there that’s just right for you. What do you look for in a connected security system?
Kayla Matthews is a writer and tech blogger, talking about connected devices and smart tech on websites like MakeUseOf, VentureBeat and Motherboard. Check out her blog: Productivity Bytes.
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