Canary Smart Home Security System announced on March 5th that they have secured a $10 million in funding for their single unit smart home security solution. The product was first featured on Kickstarter and raised over $1.2 million in funding.
The Canary product is still being developed and is not currently being sold. The unit will cost around $200, and contains sensors and a camera. The idea is that the unit can do most things a traditional home security system can do. It has certain learning features, where it will supposedly understand the movements within the house, and then when activated if any movements seem unusual it will trigger.
The unit is self-monitored through a users smartphone, where the user can watch the camera, see video and arm and disarm the system.
There is currently no outside monitoring solution.
While the idea for the Canary Home Monitored Security System seems novel, unfortunately, it can’t do everything a traditional home alarm system can. It has definite limitations. If you live in a small apartment, or a trailer home then the unit may well be enough to protect yourself. Beyond that, it simply doesn’t have the functionality that a system with more equipment has. Multiple motion detectors located throughout the house adds more security value than a standalone unit.
Beyond that, if the unit does not have outside monitoring capabilities then the true level of protection is suspect. What if the homeowner is in a meeting and can’t look at their smartphone or if the user’s phone is dead? In both of those examples the system then simply becomes a local alarm providing little deterrent value.
The Canary Smart Home Security System seems like a product that would be found at The Sharper Image or Brookstone. It’s a cool concept that in reality has little true value as a security solution. If someone is really looking for a real way to protect their home and family then a traditional security system, with increased features and equipment that is strategically placed throughout the house continues to be the ideal form of security.
Here’s the Techcrunch article on Canary’s latest round of funding: http://techcrunch.com/2014/03/05/canary-smart-home-security-system-nabs-10-million-series-a-from-khosla-ventures/
Simplisafe, a self-install home security company based in Boston, just announced increased offerings in regards to the peripherals they sell on their website. These new motion detectors, glass breaks and also a new app available on your smartphone where a Simplisafe user can be notified of events that have occurred in the home.
Techcrunch wrote about the new peripherals here: http://techcrunch.com/2014/03/13/simplisafe-adds-new-sensors-services-to-their-diy-home-security-system/
Simplisafe sells their product direct to users through the internet or over the phone and then sends it through the mail for the user to install themselves. Packages range from $229 to $540 for the system (each package has increased equipment).
Simplisafe operates through a cellular connection between their unit and the Simplisafe central station. The systems do not have two-way voice or a dual backup network through digital phone lines or the internet.
Monitoring rates range from $14.99 for their basic monitoring to $24.99 for multiple features, which include Simplisafe’s app which allows you to remotely turn on and off the system and “secret alerts” – a gimmick where you place a sensor somewhere in your home for text alerts that someone has done an activity (such as opening a medicine cabinet, etc).
Simplisafe does not require a contract, which differs from other home alarm companies in the self-install space, such as Protect America, Frontpoint, and Lifeshield.
Simplisafe is a good option for a DIY self-install home alarm system, far lower in price than other self-install home alarms, however, the fact they do not offer live two-way voice is a detriment. Perhaps they will at some point, however currently they only offer traditional monitoring.
The other knock on Simplisafe is the high upfront cost of the system. The quality of the hardware is on par with others in the space, however, the upfront cost seems higher than it should be. Perhaps the company wants to limit their risk since they don’t require a contract between them and the customer.
Regardless, Simplisafe is a better value than most companies in the self-install space, and definitely a far better value than traditional home alarm systems, which require an installer, contract, and high monthly fees.
If a Simplisafe customer cancels their monitoring and wants to switch to another company, can another company monitor a Simplisafe system? I’m not sure. This is definitely something potential Simplisafe customers should be asking before they sign up for a system.
Think protection when buying or leasing a home security system. Make an informed decision and remember to spend your money wisely.