Home Security Stories May 7, 2014

Dropcam adds $29 motion sensors (and teaches its cam to recognize cats)

Dropcam, whose Wi-Fi video security system impressed us when we previously tried it, is now adding separate motion sensors to its product range. Costing just $29 each, Dropcam Tabs are small, weather-resistant devices that can be attached to doors, windows, and valuables. They use Bluetooth LE to connect to your existing Dropcam Pro camera which then sends push alerts when motion is detected, turning it into a much more comprehensive security system.

Dropcam says battery-life is rated for around two years, making Tabs close to fit-and-forget. Tabs can be pre-ordered today, and will be shipped in the summer.

The company has also made the Dropcam Pro suitable for more households by allowing it to recognize and ignore cats. Previously, the system would send push alerts any time it detected any movement, creating lots of false alarms as Tiddles engaged in her hectic schedule of moving from the sofa to the food dish and back.

Detecting pets usually requires 3D sensor systems which can measure the size of moving things, but Dropcam says that it has analyzed many hours of publicly-shared video in order to teach the system to recognize cats using only analysis of the visual data.

Home Security Stories July 22, 2013

There’s a likable trend brewing. Affordable home automation used to be complicated and the equipment was generally ugly. Nest made the humble thermostat both smart and beautiful, Jawbone made door locks smart and iPhone-controlled, and now a new Indiegogo project Canary aims to do the same for home security .

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Home Security Stories April 25, 2013

AT&T’s ‘Digital Life’ home automation suite goes live in 15 markets; iOS apps, pricing

Last year, AT&T rolled out a test phase of its new Digital Life home automation and security suite. Starting today, the company will be rolling out the final product in 15 markets. The system is launching in Atlanta, Austin, Texas, Boulder, Colo., Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, Riverside, Calif., San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis and select areas of the New York and New Jersey metropolitan area. The company says that it hopes to reach 50 markets by the end of this year.

The home automation system includes many facets, though security seems to be the aspect that AT&T is promoting the most.

The foundation of AT&T Digital Life is complete home security with 24/7 professional monitoring. Through AT&T-owned and operated, U.S.-based monitoring centers, professionals will respond to emergencies and alert police and fire authorities. Customers can choose which alerts they want to receive and how.

Through iPad and iPhone applications, customers can also manage items throughout their home. In addition to camera, lights, and thermostats, the company offers some bonus packages:

  • Camera Package – View live video from inside and outside of the home for an additional $9.99 a month plus equipment and installation.

  • Energy Package – Control appliances, lighting and thermostats for convenience and energy efficiency for an additional $4.99 a month plus equipment and installation.

  • Door Package – Allow a pet sitter or repairman into your home remotely with automated door locks, or check to see whether your garage door is open or closed for an additional $4.99 a month plus equipment and installation.

  • Water Detection Package – Detect water leaks before damage occurs for an additional $4.99 a month plus equipment and installation.

  • Water Control Package – Detect leaks and shut off water at the main water source for an additional $9.99 a month plus equipment and installation.

Pricing and more below:

dALLAS, April 26, 2013Secure your home, check in on your kids or pets, adjust the temperature, let your housesitter in the front door, or check to see if you closed your garage door, from almost anywhere all on the go.  Available today for the first time in 15 markets, AT&T Digital LifeSM makes customers’ lives easier by simplifying the management of their home.  Digital Life offers customers security, convenience and peace of mind, in a customizable and easy-to-use experience from smartphones, tablets or PCs.

AT&T* today announced the first commercial launch markets for AT&T Digital Life: Atlanta, Austin, Texas, Boulder, Colo., Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, Riverside, Calif., San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis and select areas of the New York and New Jersey metropolitan area.  AT&T plans to introduce Digital Life in up to 50 markets by the end of 2013.

Security

The foundation of AT&T Digital Life is complete home security with 24/7 professional monitoring. Through AT&T-owned and operated, U.S.-based monitoring centers, professionals will respond to emergencies and alert police and fire authorities. Customers can choose which alerts they want to receive and how.

“We know how important security is to our customers, and this was our top priority when we set out to build Digital Life,” said Kevin Petersen, senior vice president, AT&T Digital Life. “People rely on their mobile devices more than ever, so Digital Life offers an easy and convenient way to secure their homes, protect their families and simplify their lives from virtually anywhere.”

Remote Access

AT&T Digital Life is an all-digital, fully integrated, wireless home management system, giving customers flexibility to manage their home from their smartphone, tablet or PC. Customers can purchase Digital Life regardless of their wireless or wireline broadband provider.  The Digital Life application is available on most web browsers and apps are available for iOS, Android smartphones and Windows Phones. To ensure customers’ privacy is protected, Digital Life has a secure log in system each time the app is opened from any Internet-connected device.

Easy to Use

In addition to security, Digital Life offers a robust suite of automation services that can be customized to meet customers’ needs.  A user-friendly application was designed to be as simple as possible, making it easier than ever to manage your home.  The AT&T Digital Life application gives customers control over cameras, door locks, lights, thermostats, small appliances and more by setting alerts or programs to manage your home.  It’s all integrated into one simple system.

Customization

AT&T Digital Life provides total flexibility so you get exactly what you want.  You can build a system with the features you want, and you can add features or make changes easily as your needs evolve. Unlike competitors, AT&T Digital Life is a major home security and automation system that can be ordered completely online, in an AT&T store, over the phone, or with an in-home sales consultant.  Pricing is competitive and transparent, making it easy for customers to understand and purchase solutions to meet their needs.

 

Pricing

Customers can choose from two base plans: Simple Security, which is our basic home security package; or Smart Security which includes enhanced security features and the option to add home automation.

  • Simple Security – Includes 24/7 home monitoring, 24-hour battery backup, a wireless keypad, keychain remote, recessed sensors and an indoor siren for $29.99 a month plus $149.99 for equipment and installation.
  • Smart Security – Includes the benefits of Simple Security plus a choice of three of the following features: motion sensor, carbon monoxide sensor, glass break sensor, smoke sensor or takeover kit.  Smart Security begins at $39.99 a month plus $249.99 for equipment and installation.

Customers who select Smart Security can add these automation packages:

  • Camera Package – View live video from inside and outside of the home for an additional $9.99 a month plus equipment and installation.
  • Energy Package – Control appliances, lighting and thermostats for convenience and energy efficiency for an additional $4.99 a month plus equipment and installation.
  • Door Package – Allow a pet sitter or repairman into your home remotely with automated door locks, or check to see whether your garage door is open or closed for an additional $4.99 a month plus equipment and installation.
  • Water Detection Package – Detect water leaks before damage occurs for an additional $4.99 a month plus equipment and installation.
  • Water Control Package – Detect leaks and shut off water at the main water source for an additional $9.99 a month plus equipment and installation.

“AT&T’s Digital Life service is fully featured with one of the market’s best selection of pre-packaged bundles and connected devices.  With straightforward and competitive prices, the AT&T value proposition will leave the company in a good position to capture market share in the growing connected home market,” said Larry Hettick, Contributing Analyst, Consumer Services, Current Analysis.

“We’re bringing you security and convenience features that can be easily integrated into your life, making things simpler for you and your family”, said Petersen. “We conducted extensive research, listened to our customers and worked hard to build a single integrated solution with an unmatched set of assets all built around our customer’s needs.”

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