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Home Security Systems Google Nest
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Sarah Morrison is a senior reporter who has covered data privacy, antitrust, and the power of Big Tech for the site since 2019.
It has never been easier or cheaper to have some kind of security system in your home. I know this from personal experience. As one of the relatively small minority of Americans who have been the victims of a break-in — an experience I do not recommend and would not want to repeat — I purchased a small home camera to monitor my apartment. Decided to protect and invest. Send an alert if my phone detects movement or sound while I’m enjoying a week-long vacation.
It was not a complete success. The camera was very sensitive, sending multiple alerts every day – all false alarms – that I couldn’t check due to spotty internet service. By the end of the week, I was completely ignoring the warnings.
My first attempt at DIY home security certainly could have been better, but it wasn’t a complete disaster. if any
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Ran into my apartment, I’m pretty sure the camera picked them up – if nothing else, it was extremely sensitive to movement and noise. And although my lack of internet access means I can’t watch a live stream of my apartment, the camera will at least capture a record of the thief that can be used as evidence. For less than $30, I had the peace of mind that my apartment wasn’t stolen or burned down in my absence.
These days, home security runs the gamut from a humble, internet-connected camera and phone app to a professionally installed and monitored setup that locks your entire home. But any of these systems comes with trade-offs, and figuring out which one is best for your needs and your budget can be confusing. You may want to consider not only your home security but also your cyber security: Some systems are vulnerable to hacks, which is an especially scary prospect if hackers are watching live footage of the inside of your home. You’re putting a lot of data about your home in the hands of private companies, so it’s important you can trust what they do with it and how secure they keep it.
While there are many automated options for home security, professionally installed and monitored systems remain the market leaders. They are the ones that come with yard signs and window stickers and the classic keypad on the door where you type in a different code when you leave and enter your home. For decades, these systems were the only game in town, and consumers paid a lot for them — installation, equipment, and monthly monitoring fees add up quickly.
“For years, the security industry has been plagued by the idea, ‘We just sell these ugly little white plastic boxes and sensors, they’re ugly, they’re not very sophisticated,'” said LinkedIn Research Director Brad Russell. Security for home appliances and park helpers.
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The undisputed leader in this space is ADT, a company that has long offered smart home, Internet, and even telephone services. The company began as a telegraph delivery company — the “T” in ADT stands for “telegraph” — eventually branching out into fire and burglar alarms. But it wasn’t until the 1980s that the technology was advanced (and cheap) enough for mainstream residential home use.
ADT’s competitors in this space include Vivint and Brinks Home Security. They can be a good option if you have money but no technical knowledge: professionals will use their home security expertise to recommend the best package for you, install everything, connect it to your phone lines and have the rest of your smart devices. Show them, and how everything works. Professionals will also monitor your home for alerts about things like potential break-ins, fires, and carbon monoxide leaks — and contact emergency services if necessary — so you don’t always have to be on call.
The downside? They are expensive. Installation costs money, gadget costs money, and monthly monitoring costs money. You may have to sign a long-term contract that locks you into the service for several years. Also, depending on where you live – for example, in an apartment – this may not be an option for you.
Over the past decade, smart home technology has taken off and cameras have gotten smaller, better and cheaper. These innovations have made DIY home security a viable option for the reasonably tech-savvy and wallet-conscious person who wants to keep an eye on their home without paying a premium (or violating their lease).
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You can buy as many or as few security gadgets as you want, including door and window sensors; indoor, outdoor and doorbell cameras; Alarms, smoke detectors and keypads – the more you buy, obviously, the more expensive your system will be. Or you can forget about a dedicated home security system altogether and go with a few cameras and an app instead. You set them yourself, which means you’re the one who has to figure out what you need and your device should actually be the most efficient. You’ll also learn how to set up a mobile app for alerts and how to integrate it into your smart home system if you have one. All this requires a certain amount of technical knowledge. These systems are easy enough for anyone to set up, but that doesn’t mean everyone can.
Amazon’s Ring — which started life as a video doorbell but now offers a home security system and a social media app called Neighbor — may be the most popular in the space, Amazon said. Google has its Nest line, SimpliSafe is one of the pioneers in DIY home security, and there are cameras from several manufacturers at various price points. They have their own advantages, but they also have their own controversies. Color, for example, has a problem with hackers and has a close relationship with law enforcement agencies (more on that below).
If you go the completely DIY route, your system will also be self-monitoring, so you’ll receive any alerts. And that means you have to be ready and able to receive those alerts and act on them all the time. You may also pay for extras like monthly cloud storage to keep camera recordings, get advanced features like AI, or get a cellular backup option in case your internet goes out and renders the system useless.
But you can also get the best of both worlds, which many traditional and DIY companies now offer. DIY systems these days can include professional monitoring for a monthly fee, for example, and they usually don’t require a long-term contract, creating a more flexible and affordable option for consumers. Some DIY systems also offer professional installation – Color now has an “X Line” offer, for example, which eliminates the DIY element entirely.
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ADT has dipped its toe into the DIY space a few times, teaming up with Samsung SmartThings and, more recently, coming out with its own DIY line called Blue. A few weeks ago, it made its biggest play yet with a massive partnership with Google, which will invest $450 million and take a 6.6 percent stake in the home security company. ADT will provide Google’s Nest family of smart home devices, as well as the artificial intelligence technology that powers them. Meanwhile, Google’s Nest products will have access to ADT’s professional installation and monitoring services. The deal, which marries Nest’s DIY approach with ADT’s established records and professional monitoring services, represents a step forward for both companies. The agreement shows that the respective sector leaders believe they need each other to tap into a growing market that neither is able to master: DIY smart home security.
While your home security is top of mind here, don’t forget that cyber security is important too.
You may not like the privacy or cybersecurity trade-offs you have to make with DIY systems—especially considering how sensitive the information they collect is.
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