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ISmartAlarm Review

The primary home electronics categories are: Security, Audio/Video, Networking, and Control/Automation. ISmartAlarm is a cool and very sharp young Silicon Valley company focused on the home security category. We’ll get to their story below. First, a little background …

People love their entertainment systems – tv, music, movies. People will pay for good tv’s and sound systems, and the ability to view and hear stuff they love when they want to, and on their own schedule. Someone is buying a song from Itunes right now. There is a soundbar rolling out of Walmart as we speak. One of those 2016 model, 75” flat panels with high dynamic range (HDR), 4k resolution, and a smart hub built in is on a cart at Costco.

People don’t love monthly fees - they aggravate them and they are always looking for ways to reduce or eliminate them. So – there in … is the “cord, the cable, the contract cutting” story of today. People are leaving the cable and satellite companies. People are opting out of 2-year Verizon plans in favor of monthly Straight Talk bills. IsmartAlarm asked the question – “Would a homeowner leave a big name security company contract, and adopt our products to watch their home, if there is no loss in quality of service?" Answer is ... "Yes - if the product is super easy to install, capable, affordable, with a nice app, and no monthly fee or contract ... a resounding yes!"

Monthly monitoring fees occur when you pay a security company (such as ADT, Vivinet, etc.) to first install sensors and cameras, and then monitor and keep an eye on your home when you are not there. These charges can be significant, depending on the system and company. Security is a key human need, so people are willing to pay to stay secure. And daily, the news media will tell and show you how insecure you are.

The residential security industry is mature. Homes without security systems are up to two times more likely to be broken into than homes that have them, according to various studies. If you are a burglar – how do you know if there is a system installed at the home? Perhaps a decal or sign from a home security provider is a signal to burglars that they need to go somewhere else. Or – a visible outdoor security camera is in place (if a simple sign works, maybe a simple fake camera works also).

Burglaries take place all the time, but that doesn't mean that people should simply accept burglary as inevitable. More people are realizing the value of today's home security systems as deterrents and are determined to help their homes remain as safe as possible.

Monitored home security systems are not just for the wealthy, but for anyone who takes the security of their home and family seriously. The real question today is – first, do you have a system in your home, and if so is your family monitoring your house, or did you contract with a company? Technology has made the investment in systems more effective and more affordable, and increasing numbers of middle-class and apartment households are investing in these systems. Do you opt for convenience, go with a security company, and pay the monthly fee, or do you buy a DIY system and install it yourself and then monitor it with your mobile phone, that everyone seems to carry this day and age?

If your budget is tight, you are looking to minimize your monthly obligations, and the dollar amount. If you are young and starting in the workplace, your budget is limited. So you figure out ways to not only get your entertainment for free or at a lower amount (online, Netflix, etc.), you also figure out ways to be secure. If it seems doable – you examine and purchase DIY solutions online and on the shelves at the big box stores. What if you might actually be able to improve the quality of your security service by going this route, rather than calling out ADT? Let’s give it a shot – I’m in for better service at a lower cost.

Once you hit your home, bag in hand, today’s consumer electronics products are easy to unbox, and almost automagically install (OK, not always, but more frequently than ever). They all connect to your wifi router, or hardwire in to it. After you have downloaded their app on to your security monitoring device (aka phone) – you get to create another stress point on your home wifi network. Your home network pipe just added another stream of zeroes and ones. Fortunately, today’s new devices and routers are more capable of communicating efficiently and at higher rates. But an upgrade may be in order to insure the DIY security system works well. Look for the term "MU MIMO" on your router, and pair it up with a device that supports it (a plug here - I install stuff like this for people).

How do I know if I should be alarmed? If I have told the app I am away, and the sensors and camera detect an alarm condition - then let me know. Movement. Noise. A door or window open. A smoke or fire alarm making a noise. Then, the phone in my pocket will make a noise or vibrate – it is my personal DIY monitoring service telling me something is awry. If I set it up, a text message comes across. If a modern video camera is involved in the system (with the price of Spot below, they always should be!), I will be able to look through the camera lens to see what is happening, and even hear what is going on. With an onboard microphone and live video, you can even speak through the camera ... "Fido, my pit bull ... bite his ass." If I was busy when alerted, I could look at recorded video of the event later, and the storage of that digital event didn’t cost me anything. That is nice - no monthly cloud storage fee. As an option, I could have the wife and kids alerted also on their phones at the same time - alert multiple phones. App power - power to the apps! But your app better look good - nobody likes an ugly app.

OK – to the story of the DIY security manufacturer -, and their products. No contract, no monthly fees, no expensive hardware, simple installation, cell phone monitoring. There is no loss in quality of service, and for many it actually may be better service than their current solution, and for less. People like that. For me, it is all I need for security, because I have always avoided paying a security company a monthly fee. A fake sign and camera - I have them. I know there are busy executives and mid to upper income individuals and neighborhoods where they prefer it done as a service, and don’t mind paying the monthly fee. I design and install various systems for these folks. They are easily capable of DIY - but just too busy to hassle with designing, buying, and installing. For me personally, I would rather save this monthly fee in this home electronics category of security, and spend it in the home entertainment category - with a bigger tv, louder sound, and a party in the hot tub. I don’t think I lost much, but gained a lot.

For me, two cameras, two door sensors, two motion detectors, and two lamp plugs are the perfect mix of economy and capability, with zero monthly fee. I need adequate, not overkill. Of course, square footage affects camera and sensor counts - and my home is only 1800 sq. ft.

My only personal challenge is I may want to throw the live camera image onto my computer screen or my big boy tv, and that is through making it an android or ios tv, since windows isn't supported directly. That story, and overcoming it, is for another day.

As we think about it - if only approximately 20% of residences currently have any kind of security system, then the other 80% that have gotten by so far without a system - it seems like this is a next logical step for them, rather than the $0. down and $1200. / year, for two years plan.

Below are iSmartAlarm pictures and quick videos - you will get the idea on their value in the market. Thank you to Armando Ferreira for his video reviews included below. He did such a good job, I won't do one myself here. (OK - another plug - I do install security systems for people, along with routers, hubs, switches, NAS equipment and a variety of products in the categories of Security, Entertainment, Networking, and Automation and Control).

We love playing with this cool stuff, and having it work in harmony with your lifestyle. Kent

iSmartAlarm complete home security system (great for small business also) video review :

iSmartAlarm "KEEP” camera / sensor "all-in-one" video review (pictured above):

I am currently using the Spot pictured above along with my android phone and Chromecast (live video to big screen feed):

Spot Video review:

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