July 25, 2016
Still paying $50 or more per month on a two-year home security contract from a legacy player? You’re paying through the nose for reputation, friend. And, these days, reputation is cheap.
Here’s the deal: the home security oligopoly, epitomized by big-name companies like ADT and Broadview (which has since merged with ADT because, ahem, keep reading), is dead. If you’re locked into any sort of home security contract, you’re paying too much. In fact, if you’re paying a monthly fee for home security service period, you’re probably paying too much.
Thanks to the ever-expanding universe of Internet-connected sensors known as the Internet of Things, homeowners and attentive renters can keep a watchful eye on their homes and possessions like never before. This WiFi security camera roundup merely hints at the wealth of choice available to frugal consumers looking to protect their domains without springing for expensive, clunky home security systems.
These six fee-free home security solutions offer another taste. All cost something to purchase or install, but none require ongoing monthly or annual fees — though some, like Canary, operate on a freemium basis, with some features and services reserved for customers who spring for relatively affordable monthly plans.
Canary is a night-vision camera with 1080p resolution, a 147-degree field of vision, and built-in temperature, air quality, and humidity monitors. Captured images are sent to a secure cloud storage database for future viewing, and users can activate a screaming (90 dB) siren at will. That’ll scare ‘em. The camera is $199, and optional service plans start at $9.99 per month.
Smanos’ W020i is a complete home security solution that doubles as a home automation hub. In addition to a security camera, the starter kit features two window and door monitors, plus a remote control that complements the smartphone app.
Presence is a super-portable, totally free home security system that turns connected smartphones into audio-visual monitoring cameras. You can add motion, temperature, water, and humidity sensors for an added charge.
There had to be an “i” home security product eventually, right? This non-Apple-affiliated system is a “whole house” solution that includes a night vision camera with near-360-degree capabilities, window and door sensors, a standalone motion sensor, disarming tags, and a super-loud (110 dB) siren. The whole package goes for about $300, depending on where you buy.
Panasonic DIY Security
Panasonic’s DIY Home Surveillance Camera Kit features two outdoor-rated cameras with built-in sound and motion sensors, SD recording capabilities, and smartphone apps that automatically receive alerts when the equipment detects something amiss. Its slightly humbler DIY Home Monitoring and Control Kit is basically a starter home automation hub that includes a cordless phone, window and door sensors, a motion sensor, a smart plug, and a controlling hub.
The camera kit starts at $299, while the camera-less home monitoring kit will set you back $249. You can add indoor and outdoor cameras to the latter for $79 and $99 each, respectively.
Piper NV boasts a snazzy night vision camera with 180-degree vision and 3.4 megapixel HD capabilities. With two-way audio, it’s easy to listen in on and react to threats, the main deterrent being a 105 dB siren. Starts at around $279 — spendy, but this is a great camera.
Keep an Eye Out
Dramatic advancements in sensor technology, the rapid proliferation of smartphones, and the near-ubiquity of broadband connectivity have revolutionized the home security industry. The oligopoly that dominated the niche for a generation is no more. With barriers to entry lower than ever, there’s never been a better time to be an enterprising home security startup — nor better deals to be had for frugal homeowners and renters who believe that peace of mind is right, not a privilege.
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