It was an interactive display with smart home products, including a smart lock, doorbell, cameras and thermostat. Intrigued, he tried all the gadgets. Then he worked with a smart home expert to design a system that was right for him. It was an unexpected purchase, but a valuable one.
Many customers want to make their homes smarter, but they often find it confusing to choose products, install them and monitor the technology on their own. The partnership between Best Buy and Vivint aims to simplify that.
Consumer awareness and adoption of smart home products are on the rise. U.S. sales of home automation products increased 57 percent in 2016, according to The NPD Group. Smart doorbells, locks and security cameras are leading the growth. And nearly half of households with those products are using voice commands in some manner.
Smart home products include everything from light switches and doorbells to entertainment devices (like smart speakers) to home security systems (like cameras and alarms) to warning devices (like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors) all the way through to major home appliances. There are numerous smart alternatives to many of our most familiar household devices, and the variety of products and product types is constantly increasing. Major smart home brands include (but are not limited to) Arlo, Belkin, D-Link, Nest, and Philips.
Smart lighting and switches allow you to control lights (and other electronic devices) in your home from anywhere in the world with your smart device and an app (provided you have access to a Wi-Fi network). There are even complete smart lighting kits that allow you to control individual light bulbs or full lighting sets. Many of these lights can produce millions of colours and may be changed by a simple touch, and some can even react to special occasions like holidays or sporting events. Such lighting is notoriously energy efficient as well, comprising low energy LED bulbs that are capable of lasting for many thousands of hours before ultimately burning out.
Smart locks and deadbolts from manufacturers like August Locks are capable of detecting a mobile device or fob in your pocket as you walk up the path to your home. Many of these locks also allow you to create temporary (or permanent) electronic keys for friends, family, and other frequent visitors to your home.
For smart home products to work together effectively, they have to be able to communicate with one another. Unfortunately, different brand manufacturers often employ different languages from their competitors. Thankfully, some smart home platforms do support multiple protocols. This enables a variety of different smart home products, even if they come from different brands, to communicate effectively and thus work together in a larger smart home context.
The partnership, which was launched just last summer, was significant in that it marked the first time a nationwide retailer had teamed up with an alarm company to sell a combination of connected home products and professional security monitoring.
In an interview with SecurityInfoWatch shortly after the partnership was announced, Colby Winegar, vice president of strategic business development for Vivint, said that the arrangement would not only help increase their exposure and brand awareness, but also enable them to educate consumers about the capabilities of smart home products.
Though it may not be partnering with Vivint any longer when it comes to selling connected home and security products, Best Buy appears to remain committed to the market as the company announced last week that it has agreed to acquire GreatCall for $800 million in cash.
The backbone of a home security system is the base station. This unit communicates with all the security sensors and smart-home components in your house. Many connect to a home router, but if your base station comes with Wi-Fi or cellular support, placement is more flexible. Contact sensors are the first thing you should buy alongside the base station; these attach to doors and windows and alert you when they open. Other home security components include motion sensors, keypads, key fobs, cameras, glass-break sensors, and panic buttons.
Wirecutter takes security and privacy issues seriously and, as much as possible, investigates how the companies whose products we recommend deal with customer data. As part of our vetting process for home security systems, we looked at the security and data-privacy practices behind our picks.
Although entry and exit trigger times are customizable (up to 4 minutes 15 seconds), we found that the response time was always consistent: In every one of our tests, the Cops Monitoring service called exactly 44 seconds after the alarm sounded. The service was always polite, and for security it requires a safe word to restore the peace. In November 2022, the company introduced Fast Protect alarm texts, which will send a text message when the alarm triggers, providing the option to cancel any false alarms with a text reply before you actually have to talk to someone. Fast Protect also includes Critical Alarm Notifications, an opt-in service that will bypass Do Not Disturb or muted smartphones in case of an emergency. We have not tested these new features yet.
The Frontpoint Security system, along with its Interactive Monitoring plan, was our favorite home security system from 2013 to early 2016. Since then, the company has dropped the need for a contract, but the monthly fee is more expensive than that of any of our top picks.
The cost of a home security system varies depending on the number of devices and accessories included. A good starter system can be had for around $200 and should include a base station, a keypad, at least one door/contact sensor, and a motion sensor. Look for a system that allows you to start small and add on other devices and features as your needs change; contact sensors go for as little as $15, cameras can cost anywhere from $30 to $250, and so on. 781b155fdc