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Scout is a component based alarm system that you can use to protect your home, It works and interacts with SmartThings, Nest, Amazon Echo and Hue to fit in with your existing smart home gear and to make your home as secure as possible.
Rejected originally by Kickstarter, Scout was forced to crowd-source funds from alternate means.
Scout provides a smart way to monitor the comings and goings around a property, and can be monitored by the Scout service to ensure that appropriate action is taken in the event of an alarm, and you are out of the area or out of touch.
With an increasingly crowded smart home security market, Scout has gone out of its way to look and think different, and we think that difference is well worth investigating in this Scout system review.
Key Features of the Scout System
- A Zigbee Compatible Product: The Scout system is based around a Zigbee hub, plus most of the security features you need. These include door and window sensors, motion sensors.
- Talks to Your Smartphone: The hub comes with a loud 106db alarm and links to your smartphone. It also features a 3G data connection and battery backup, so will work if your Internet connection and power gets cut.
- Tag Your Friends: That redundancy stretches to the other components too. The battery powered door sensor comes with some RFID tags, so you and friends can come and go without relying on the smartphone being present, and the battery not having died.
- Motion Sensing: For rooms, a motion sensor has a 20 foot range and a 90 degree monitoring angle.
- Different Color/Finish Options: Unlike most plastic or shiny metal finished smart home gear, the Scout range comes in white, black or walnut, so it should more easily fit in with your home and decor. That might not be a concern for some users, but for higher end smart homes, fit and finish is an important issue.
- Monitoring Plan Based on Your Needs: Behind it all is a monitoring plan. While you can manage the alerts and alarms yourself, there’s an option for Scout to manage that depending on the service you require. That provides email and push notifications to your iPhone or Android device, and professional monitoring with the top tier.
Pros of the Scout Alarm System
- Flexibility: The immediate benefit of the Scout is its flexibility, you only need the sensors you want, and while they aren’t the cheapest are not aggressively priced either. The hub, the door panel and a window sensor, so you can cover a small apartment. Yes, the plans will add to this, but peace of mind isn’t cheap these days. You can buy a starter kit on Amazon for a good price.
- Relatively Easy to Set Up: Setting up the system is easy enough, register an account, connect the hub to the router, and each device will be recognised by the hub and activated. The sensors are all pretty light and attach by double-sided tape, so there are no DIY installation nightmares to get in the way. Then, you apply the set of rules you want via the app, and leave the rest to the system.
- IFTTT is Great: A strong benefit is using IFTTT and the range of compatible smart home devices to trigger lights if a sensor goes off, or for the monitoring system to kick in.
- Alarm Works Well: The app provides various scenarios you can set your system by, including home, sleeping, away, on vacation and so on, and the rules are easy to configure. Each sensor and RFID tag can be named, so you can see who comes in by which door and there’s a log of all such activity. If an alarm triggers you can disable it with your phone or a tag, or if you’re away arrange for someone to investigate.
- Now Works with Alexa Voice Control: Recent feature additions include Alexa voice control through the Amazon Echo (see full review of the Amazon Echo here), and we expect greater integration with other smart home kit and control systems soon.
Cons of the Scout Alarm System
- Not a Complete System Yet (more devices on the way): One of the cons of the crowd funding approach is that the whole Scout system is taking time to develop. We still wait for the Scout Camera that could identify callers or rogue visitors, and while the company has other products in the pipe, things will take time as its business takes off. On the plus side, you can at least pick and integrate with stock Zigbee smart home gear.
- Can Have a “Patchwork” Feel: However, if you picked the Scout range because of its style, then having incongruous looking boxes as part of a patchwork solution may dent that otherwise designer look you were aiming for.
Final Thoughts – Is the Scout System Worth Buying Now?
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Like most of the successful crowd-funding operations, Scout has thought out its product and its market very well. The neatly designed kit, the redundancy and backup features, and the appeal of its various service packages are all well tailored to a range of users.
In use, the Scout system is easy to install, configure and operate. In the early days, the company only had an iOS app, but the Android version is catching up fast.
While it might not be the low-cost approach that some were hoping for, it does provide an excellent service that can easily help secure any size of home. Short of a professional, and complicated, alarm system, Scout is showing us the future when it comes to home security.
If you want a smart-looking, smart-working, home security system, and don’t mind it being quite finished yet, then Scout Smart Alarm. If the company finds major success, then hopefully it will offer a full product range, for a more sophisticated solution soon.