http://nymag.com/intelligencer/smarthome/the-good-enough-smart-home-automation-on-a-budget.html

Creating a new front in the DIY battle with traditional alarm companies, ‘Safe’ by HUB6 pulls value and functionality from existing security systems 

By removing monitoring fees and adding multi-device connectivity, including a neighborhood watch capability, Safe taps into massive security “cord-cutter” market 

As DIY system vendors nibble away at the market share of established security monitoring companies, industry giants ADT, Brinks, Guardian and others are challenging these newcomers with their own wireless devices and advanced smart home-ready capabilities. In this war of attrition, increasingly ubiquitous DIY systems such as Nest Secure and the Ring Alarm Security seek to win over first-time buyers while wooing away homeowners with already installed monitored hardware. HUB6, a new entry into the hothouse atmosphere of home security, is attempting to end them all by repurposing existing control panels and intrusion detection hardware with a plug-n-play smart home hub called Safe

Launched in 2016, Toronto, Ont.-based HUB6 debuted their Safe wall-mounted hub product last autumn and its garnering strong reviews by reporters and industry analysts. The simplicity of their “if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em” business model may prove to be a game-changer. At a time when most of the dominant alarm companies are intent on jumping into the DIY market with hybrid solutions, Safe is offering consumers a viable alternative for re-activating a dormant security system or cancelling their monthly monitoring subscription. Suggested retail for the Safe hub which comes with a T-clip cable, stripped cable, and an Ethernet cable is a one-time cost of $249.00. According to news articles, a monitoring option is available for $10 monthly but is not offering on the company’s website.

Described as a “self-monitoring system that transforms existing home security systems into smarter systems”, Safe installs next to existing security touchpads as a master controller for all existing window and door contacts and motion detectors. The approach simultaneously provides the consumer with self-monitoring while empowering them to enjoy greater capabilities from the hardware in place. Providing the consumer owns the hardware free and clear, there’s nothing ADT, Brinks, Guardian or anyone else can do about it.

Once set up to communicate with the router via Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi, Safe is plugged into the existing hardwired security system with four simple wire interfaces. A free smartphone app serves as a mobile panel as well as voice commands through Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. They’ve also created an interface for Nest Thermostats. When armed, the system redirects any alerts triggered by the existing system to a user’s phone, email, computer, or tablet, as well as trusted neighbors and family. The only significant limitation on who would benefit from Safe is that security hardware in place must be Honeywell or Digital Security Company (DSC)-Tyco, which apparently account for roughly 75% of all residential alarm systems already installed. 

Another innovation likely to appeal to suburbanites and city dwellers alike is the Neighborhood Hub feature. By selecting the add user option on the Hub interface, users can push system notifications, streaming video, and suspicious activity alerts to the smart phones of trusted neighbors. “When you travel, do you trust someone from a security company who’s in a call center miles away to protect your home? Leverage your local community to watch and protect your home,” the HUB6 video asks. It’s a compelling argument and nicely plays into the “shared economy” already familiar to a public comfortable with Uber and Lyft ridesharing and hospitality brokerages such as Airbnb and its dozens of competitors. 

The commodification of DIY home security finds its baseline price point with the $99 Remo+ DoorCam

South Korean smart home security manufacturer offers consumers a cheaper, faster approach to monitoring entryways, indoors and out

As the DIY home security sector continues to encroach on the market share of traditional alarm vendors, the features and functionality battle is shifting to who can offer budget-conscious consumers the lowest retail price. Retail goliath Amazon has recently slashed prices on its own Ring video doorbells and several models of its Echo Dot, Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Show smart speakers, while continuing to offer discounts on many of the home security products of its competitors. Monthly monitoring service fees are also experiencing downward pressure with a wide variety of firms offering basic plans that start in the $8.95 – $10.00 range.

Into this race to gain market share with hard-to-resist price points comes the Remo+ DoorCam and RemoBell, both priced around $100 and often available heavily discounted from their original introductory prices. Manufactured by Olive & Dove and sold under the Remo+ brand, the DoorCam is billed as the “world’s first and only wire-free, over-the-door smart HD camera with built in motion sensor, 2-way talk, and night vision”. 

Since its launch in 2017, DoorCam has recently been trying to elbow its way to greater market share with retail prices as low as $99, a 50% price cut from its MSRP of $199.99. The base model RemoBell S carries an undiscounted price of $99. Both provide two-way talk and the premium version, the RemoBell W includes a door chime. 

With similar features to Ring and August, and the field of other compact video doorbells, Remo+ is counting entirely on ease of installation of the DoorCam as its competitive strong suite. How easy? Installation requires no tools, zero wiring and takes just a minute or two. The video camera portion of the device provides a clamp which hangs on the top edge of the door and a thin, flat wire ribbon for transmitting data. Only doors which swing inward when opened can accommodate the device. Installation of the Remo+ video doorbells are essentially the same as competitors, which effectively leaves a lower price point compared to most as their only advantage.