Another Kickstarted crowd-funding effort, abode is trying to reinvent home security with its affordable starter kit. Designed to be self-installed, the company raised $150K last year, and the product is now generally available on the market.
It offers high-end security features such as battery and cellular back-up, so it continues to operate when the power or Internet goes out.
With on-demand monitoring from a smartphone app plus home automation to improve your security, it does pack in the features, and can integrate with your existing smart home technology.
Key Features of the Abode System
- Professional, But Self Installed: Billed as a professional-grade, self-install home security solution, abode comes in a sleek black and white box, acting as the central hub.
- Multi-Lingual: It is future proof with software upgrades and supports most smart home gear with ZigBee and Z-Wave radios, plus its own abodeRF for the company’s own devices.
- Attractive Starter Kit: The Starter Kit, in stylish black and white, also comes with the gateway, built-in siren, two door and window sensors, an IR motion sensor, a key fob and access to the app. A range of other sensors, sirens, cameras for indoors and out are available to create your perfect custom kit.
- Plays Well With Others: The hub makes use of its home automation capabilities, and will talk to Nest and Amazon Echo devices as well as most Z-Wave or ZigBee kit. This help control your home from anywhere using your phone, and offers a lot more than a limited function security hub.
- Optional Plans: While there’s no need to take a out a monitoring contract, if you are going away on holiday and have no one else to check you can take 3-day, 7-day, or monthly plans for the company to monitor any alerts.
- Full Backup and Security: Back in your home, the battery backup and cellular backup, plus full encryption mean that you will still be protected and get alerts if the power or Internet goes out. That is a major plus above most of the other smart home security kit we see.
Pros of the abode Connected Home Security & Automation Starter Kit
- Superior Backup Capabilities: As mentioned the power and connectivity backup is a key feature of the abode kit. Most home packages don’t bother with this function, and true professional home security will cost an awful lot more.
- Full Customization: The ability to tailor your package is also well received, with buyers able to expand as they see fit, or pick everything up in one shop from the company. If you need a breaking glass sensor, they have one, water leak sensor, no problem! Just another sign of how far ahead the company is thinking
- Easy to Set Up: Setting up is relatively straightforward, with the hub and app working neatly together to prime all your security features.
- Excellent Range: The radios have good range and can reach security devices around most homes.
- Good Technical Support: There is plenty of detailed documentation on the company’s website for installing every feature, and the company’s tech support is fast and responsive.
- Smart Home/Away Modes: Auto home and auto away modes will set up, so you don’t need to keep activating and deactivating everything. When the cameras sense unexpected activity, you get a message show the situation and can badge it as a false alarm or take further action. When using professional monitoring, they will call the police or fire department in an emergency.
Cons of the Abode Connected Home Security & Automation Starter Kit
- Integration with Other Devices Still “Beta”: The main issue with the abode system is that, despite the company promises, it doesn’t really integrate well with other smart home systems or security features. This seems very much a work in progress, and while there are regular updates, it looks like there is still plenty to do, and there is no help for this on their website.
- Limited Support List: There isn’t a huge support list for Z-Wave or ZigBee smart home gear, with Aeon, Enerwave, GE, the Iris Smart Plug and a few others currently supported. Many more may work through IFTTT, and even though abode tout Nest and Echo support, the features seem limited, for now.
- Not Totally Fail Proof: Other issues may come with quirks in your property, such as windows and doors that rattle or don’t quite align, otherwise the technology behind the system seems firm. That said, there have been a few comments about the cameras not being the fastest or best in their class, but we didn’t notice any issues.
- Long Term Investment Ecosystem Risk? The future of the abode project rests on their ability to sell to cover expansion costs to keep the app updates coming and introduce new products. $150K won’t get it very far without extra investment, so there remains the risk that these systems will die out or be shut down. There’s no sign of it relying on a cloud service, so even if they shut up shop, it should still operate.
- No Clear User Community: The lack of a user community was another tick against the company’s website, but apparently they plan to address this in an upcoming update, so users will be able to discuss how to get the best out of their system and how to get other devices working smoothly.
In Summary – is the Abode System Worth it?
If you want more than just a novelty home security kit, then the abode solution is definitely a cut above most of those you will find in a DIY store. However, it isn’t yet the perfect solution, with much to do on the software and compatibility front. Yes, it costs a little bit more, but its features are way up there with the larger security installations, which has to be a big plus.
If you are concerned, perhaps give it another few months and see what the company has up its sleeves. But if you are ready to give them a go, the product has a lot of positives going for, including a key benefit in that there are very short-term contracts available, for only when you are away, rather than other companies that push you toward their annual contracts.
That makes abode a pretty compelling option, just as long as you bear in mind that it is a crowd-funded company that could be easily acquired or vanish.
Where to Buy: Thankfully, Amazon Launchpad is carrying the Abode. This is the best pricing I’ve found online.