The term “DIY” is enough to make any integrator cringe, but there is no doubt that these “do-it-yourself” products have earned their part in our business — whether it be from bringing greater awareness to a product category or simply solving an issue for a client. Here we take a look at a few of these smart home technologies that have an effect on the custom install industry.
abode iota Smart Home Security System Adds HomeKit
Apple HomeKit compatibility is now live for abode systems’ iota all-in-one smart home security solution. HomeKit is available as an update to iota home security systems enabling control through the Apple Home app and Siri on iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and HomePod. abode’s traditional Gen 2 and Gen 1 security systems will also add HomeKit compatibility in the near future.
iota features a built-in HD camera, motion sensor, two-way audio, and Wi-Fi connectivity. With HomeKit, Apple users can now add their abode iota system directly into the Home app on their iPhone or iPad to control their smart home from a single app. In addition, all abode-branded motion, door, and window sensors can be added to the Home app when connected to the abode iota gateway.
With HomeKit compatibility, users can arm or disarm the iota system and receive notifications of motion events triggered by abode motion sensors, as well as open or close events triggered by abode door or window sensors. Additionally, abode users can easily access a live stream of their home from iota’s built-in 1080p streaming camera right through the Home app and ask Siri for the status of their system.
eero Mesh Wi-Fi System
eero is a mesh Wi-Fi system that replaces the existing router and extends Wi-Fi coverage seamlessly throughout your home. A single eero plugs directly in to the modem, while additional eero devices extend the network’s range wirelessly or via Ethernet connections.
Using the in-app instructions, setting up the eero takes minutes. Unplug the old router, plug in the eero, sign in to the app, and you’re ready to go. Use the eero app to manage the network, pause the internet, share the network with friends or guests, and more — whether you’re at home or on-the-go. A three-pack of eero should cover up to 5000 square feet, but you can also choose to mix and match with eero Pro and eero Beacon to create a custom system. Whichever combination you choose, all eero devices use TrueMesh technology to intelligently route traffic. Enable the eero Alexa skill to pause Wi-Fi for specific profiles when screen time is over, you want the family to gather for dinner, or to find connected devices like phones — all with just your voice.
The eero collects minimal network diagnostic information, which is used only to improve the performance, stability, and reliability of its products and services, and to provide customer support. eero’s network security is constantly working in the background to keep the system safe and secure. Automatic software updates provide the latest security patches, bug fixes, and feature upgrades without lifting a finger. For additional peace of mind, customers in the U.S. can choose to add eero Secure or eero Secure+ to safeguard the devices that connect to their networks. eero Secure provides an added layer of security at home, while eero Secure+ offers additional security whether you’re at home or on-the-go.
The eero mesh Wi-Fi system is available in the U.S. now for $99 or $249 for a three-pack at amazon.com/eerosystem.
Konnected Alarm Panel 2
Breathe new life into a wired alarm system with the Konnected Alarm Panel 2. Konnected leverages the wiring that’s been in the home for years and has been lying dormant for people that didn’t want to pay the fees of security providers like ADT. A switching of the panels hidden in a closet not only enables consumers to take their own home security into their own hands without recurring monitoring fees from an alarm company, but it also opens the door to the SmartThings, Home Assistant, OpenHUB, and Hubitat ecosystems.
The Alarm Panel 2 is now smaller than the original and more reliable than before. The company has collapsed the original Konnected board and Wi-Fi module onto a single circuit board, doing away with the separate NodeMCU Wi-Fi module.
It still features six zones per module, is still based on the ESP8266 Wi-Fi SoC, and comes in two varieties: an alarm board with a dedicated 12V siren output, and add-on board featuring a 5V supply and trigger signal for a buzzer or relay.
New features include improved Wi-Fi antenna design; smaller form factor; improved component quality and build quality; improved power efficiency; built-in lightning and short-circuit protection; built-in overcurrent protection; increased siren output current maximum to 2A; and an expansion port for use with INTERFACE module.
The Konnected Alarm Panel 2 is currently in the certification phase to ensure that it meets product safety and EMC regulations worldwide. Mass production began in late September with expected delivery in January 2020. This product will replace the original Konnected Alarm Panel, with prices increasing to $99 for the entry-level six-zone kit once the new product is available.
Rachio Smart Sprinkler Gen 3
Rachio makes smart sprinkler equipment, and while the last thing you want to add to your list is irrigation, the Rachio Smart Sprinkler Gen 3 lets you save the day without even going outdoors. The Gen 3 comes in 8- or 16-zone controllers and lets you make an existing sprinkler system smart simply by removing the old box and swapping the wires with the Gen 3.
Once installed, it lets you build fixed or flex schedules, and automatically uses information from the closest weather station to determine how dry or moist the lawn is, and acts accordingly. If you use the Flex Monthly plan, it looks at weather data from the last 30 years (!) to determine the climate and predict the course of hydration. The Flex Daily plan looks at the soil conditions to make decisions.
The price for the 8-zone is $229, and the 16-zone costs $279. It is available at rachio.com, Amazon, Best Buy, and other retailers. It is Apple Home Kit enabled, and works with Google and Alexa.
Ring Peephole Cam
Replace a door’s peephole with a smart, compact video doorbell from Ring and get mobile notifications when anyone presses the built-in doorbell button, knocks on the door, or triggers the motion sensors. Then answer the notification to see, hear, and speak to visitors from anywhere. The Peephole cam features 1080p HD video with two-way talk; real-time mobile notifications; knock detection; and a removable battery pack that plugs into a standard outlet to recharge.
Combine Ring Peephole Cam with Alexa for hands-free home monitoring. When anyone presses your doorbell or triggers Ring’s built-in motion sensors, your Echo device will illuminate and make an announcement, so you’ll always know when someone’s there. And if you have an Echo Show or Echo Spot, you can also see, hear and speak to anyone captured on camera.
Roku OS 9.2
The recent Roku OS 9.2 software update focuses on getting customers to content quickly and adds new ways to control the home entertainment experience. The 4K Spotlight channel has been redesigned to make access to 4K entertainment even easier. The new “Roku Tips & Tricks” channel features videos to help Roku users get the most out of their Roku devices. Roku Voice enhancements provide new voice control options while new channel performance improvements enable smoother streaming experience. Additionally, Roku announced a new streaming player line up in another announcement today.
The new Roku Tips & Tricks channel is packed with helpful videos created by Roku to assist customers in getting the most out of their streaming experience. The channel is installed on all Roku streaming devices; and videos cover a variety of topics, including notable features, new products, popular support topics, and more.
Sonos One SL
Sonos got a lot of attention this past fall with a number of product introductions (including the Move speaker, which is reviewed here). One of those was the Sonos One SL, which delivers room-filling sound like the Sonos One, but without the built-in microphones. A smart speaker without integrated voice assistants, One SL is a full member of the Sonos sound system to listen to more than 100 streaming services controlled with the Sonos App, Apple AirPlay2, music service apps and more. One SL replaces Play:1 and is now available for $179.
The compact design, available in all-black and all-white, fits any space. One SL features two Class-D amplifiers, as well as the original Sonos Trueplay tuning technology that optimizes the sound for any room. Pair with Sonos One or another One SL in the same room for stereo separation and more detailed sound — or use a pair as rear home theater surrounds with Playbar, Playbase, or Beam.