Security comes at a price. Home security in the smart age need not cost the earth, but some companies do seem to charge a premium.
Is BeOn’s offering really worth the money, or can you do something similar for less with other products?
Its Starter Pack offers three lights that can do some clever things to help protect your home, lights can come on and in, following your typical pattern when you are out, and lights can come on when the doorbell rings.
All these features are controlled through a recent iOS or Android device. Is that enough to improve your sense of security? Or is the company just marketing them as such to justify the rather high cost.
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Key Features of BeOn
A three pack of BeOn screw-in type Smart Security Lights costs $199 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here), so $66 for a light bulb (at the time of this writing.)
Individually they sell for an even scarier $80 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here). Compare that to around $50 for a Hue light and much less for some of the new Chinese brands.
The cost most likely comes from the plug-in smart parts that fit inside the main LED bulb. These offer the equivalent light of a 60-watt old school model and provide 800 lumens.
The smart part contains a rechargeable battery, so the lights can work when there’s no power, and the smarts of the unit, The smart module packs in a microphone to listen for audio cues, it can learn the typical light switch activity around the home and recharges the battery.
Pros of the BeOn Smart Security Lighting
- Someone is Always Home? The plan behind BeOn is that when you are out for the night, the lights will come on and off just as if you were home. If a passing criminal sees lights coming on and off they will keep on going. You can also train the lights to come on when a specific sound is heard, such as the doorbell or smoke alarm for safety purposes.
- Basic Scheduling Available: Recent updates to the app mean you can now provide basic scheduling too, this feature was missing at launch, which is a major oversight for any lighting product. Now though, the lights canbe scheduled to come on as you arrive, so no stabbing about in the dark, on a wintery afternoon. If you are worried about the environment then further good news is that the bulbs only use 13 watts of power, so if you are replacing old style ones your energy bill should go down a bit, ignoring the massive up front cost.
- Works in a Power Outage: Perhaps the main plus point of the BeOn lights is that you still have good lighting if the power goes out. It saves hunting for candles and torches. The bulbs provide around five hours of light, which should cover most outage situations and they recharge in place, so no need to fiddle about with the bulbs.
- Easy to Use App: The app looks pretty smart in use, and is easy to set up for when you go away, but you need to remember to set the security mode to ON before you go away, you can’t do it after the fact, as you’re stuck in the airport. Each light can be assigned a location or name, and they create their own little network, so as long as they are close enough, you can set them all up from one room. Scheduling is a recent addition, which at least proves that BeOn is listening to customer feedback and continuing to develop the product.
Cons of the BeOn Smart Security Lighting
Having considered how BeOn ideally works in the pros section, then we also need to consider alternatives in this area.
- Not Fool Proof: What if the criminal is watching you or your family leave the home. If they know how many people there are, they’ll know the lighting changes are a con, and not be deterred.
- Could be Confusing to Neighbors: Also, if neighbors see your lights are on, they might come over and be confused as to why you leave your lights on all the time. Similarly, one of BeOn’s features will turn a light on when the doorbell rings, but there’s no one home, so any legitimate callers will be very confused. There are a lot of scenarios where having these lights doesn’t make much sense, or where you can use cheaper lights in a similar situation.
- Don’t Work Remotely: Since they lights are Bluetooth Smart only, you cannot change settings on the go, as the BeOn communicates with your phone only at short range via the BeOn Home app. Also, the lights don’t come on automatically if there’s no power, you need the phone to trigger them. That seems rather ludicrous, especially if you are out and left a baby sitter at home, or a similar scenario.
- Do Other Smart Lights do it Better? While the app is updated often, if you shop around you can probably find that other smart light vendors are also updating their apps and can reproduce much of the smart security features of BeOn, the battery power is about the only thing we would see as hard to replicate.
File these bulbs as desirable for the “more money than sense” crowd. If there’s a power cut, most of us have candles, or can turn our phone’s flash on – problem solved!
There are many other automated lighting systems and apps, and you can link any smart doorbell to turn a light on, which makes the whole package an expensive luxury with few redeeming features.
Only if you have no other smart home technology would it appeal, and even then, you have to consider your sanity for spending $200 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here) on three light bulbs, no matter how smart they are.
While the website might have a police officer extolling their virtue’s only the most casual or dumb criminals will be dissuaded by these devices.
Alternatives: If you are looking for a tried and tested smart lighting system, check out my review of the iLumi smart LEDs.
You can also check out our full round-up of the top smart LEDs currently on the market.