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Security continues to be one of the key reasons that people invest in smart home technology. However, not everything can be monitored by cameras, or protected by locks.
For those items, how about the iHomeware Zigbee CoinGuard Vibration Sensor, a product that looks after your valuables by keeping them with a ZigBee powered motion sensor.
We all have things that we don’t want touched, perhaps a valuable painting, a box of rare coins or stamps, or other goods around the home.
Since most of us don’t want cameras everywhere, these small digital coins provide a useful way to receive alerts if something is being handled. That could range from the children trying to see what their Christmas presents are a few days early, or the spare keys to the car being borrowed by a headstrong teenager.
Whatever the scenario, these seven CoinGuards that come in the pack will send an alert to the bundled smart home hub, which can alert you on your phone, allowing you to take preventative action.
CoinGuard started out as a failed Kickstarter product back in 2014, but that’s nothing to hold against the product, which is a sensible idea. Indeed, Kudos to the Pilot Labs team for getting it to market.
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The $210 kit (at the time of this writing) comes with a smart small ZigBee hub, which has alarm and disarm button, it connects via Ethernet to your router for connectivity. Small and unobtrusive, the white box can fit anywhere, and since you can arm and disarm it from the app, it doesn’t need to be anywhere visible.
The battery powered CoinGuards tokens have about six months of battery life in the from the watch-type cell. They have a maximum range of up to 100 feet, but that may vary depending on walls and other obstructions.
To install them, you place one where it is needed, press the sync button on the hub and then name, enable or disable them via the app. Once everything is connected, all it takes is some vibration or movement and the coin will send an alert to the user via a cloud service.
Each one has its own ID and can be used for a variety of purposes, to stop people touching dangerous substances, to protect locations where you don’t have time to set up full alarm systems and many other uses.
Naturally, CoinGuard can be used in the office or at home, and can easily be used alongside cameras and other security sensors as part of a layered approach to protection or defense.
Pros of the iHomeware Zigbee CoinGuard Vibration Sensor
The obvious benefit of the CoinGuard is its drop-and-forget approach to protection. If you want to leave one in the gun cabinet to make sure kids don’t touch things – no problem. If there are chemicals in the basement or valuables in the attic, again just place a Coin and don’t worry about it.
Once you’ve received an alert, then if you have other smart home services like alarms or cameras you can see what’s going on. If not then you can take more basic direct action, calling neighbors, the police or whoever you think can help.
The iOS and Android app allows you to control the CoinGuard settings from any location, and get alerts wherever you are. The apps have basic but well designed functionality and are easy to use.
Cons of the iHomeware Zigbee CoinGuard Vibration Sensor
One concern you may have it this CoinGuard relies on a cloud service to send messages to your phone. If that ever goes down, then it is next to useless, as is a situation where your Internet goes down.
Also, as a new product, there hasn’t been much testing, but we’re not sure how these would work in seismically active areas or in homes next to busy roads. Related to there, there’s currently no way to buy extra Coins if you have a few more items in your home or office you want to protect.
Of most concern, the usefulness of the system stops at the alert. If you can keep a CoinGuard inside a valuable item or box of them, then it would be much more useful to have a slightly larger model that had a GPS tracker and radio built in to help with theft prevention and recovery.
These devices exist and are used by business and security companies, but a home version would be really cool. Yes, that would cost more, but if something is worth protecting, then offering a better service would help iHomeware sell more of its useful Coins.
As a note, iHomeware asserts that its devices only work with the company’s own Pilot Labs Gateway.
Compatibility with other Zigbee products is not guaranteed, which isn’t to say that it won’t if you already have a hub installed. That’s a shame as it would be good to link these up to alarms or provide IFTTT commands for further actions.
If there’s anything in your smart home that you value that can’t be covered by a camera, then the CoinGuards make a useful fallback device. Small and unobtrusive, they can help protect all sorts of items, that really makes them worth investing in.
Yes, it would be cool if you could just buy the Coins and link them into an existing hub, and even cooler if a Pro or Plus model had GPS tracking for anti-theft purposes.
But as a starting point, these could be a great way to help protect the home, calm down the aspirations of your over-eager children, or just keep a cautious eye out on items that could cause harm or damage.
Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!