Abode’s simple smart-home security starter kit keeps things simple, yet elegant.
What Is Abode’s Iota?
DIY home security kits come in a lot of flavors these days. At their simplest can be just a network-connected camera that you can monitor, and if it has some kind of motion-sensing that can trigger alerts, all the better. If you get more sophisticated, you need an integrated system that can handle multiple cameras, and maybe some door and window sensors. These more sophisticated setups generally need some kind of hub, like Z-Wave systems, that need to be connected to your home router. And then there’s Apple HomeKit and Amazon Alexa integration, and depending upon what other third-party hardware you have, things may or may not talk to each other, and be controllable. It can be complicated.
The Abode Iota All-In-One home security kit wants to cut through all that complexity, connect all the devices in your home and give you the automation tools and controls you need to make it work without causing headaches.
What’s in the Box?
Abode’s Iota kit Includes the following parts/pieces:
1 x Iota Combination Camera and Hub
1 x Door/Window Sensor
1 x Key Fob Remote
1 x Power Supply Cord
QuickStart Guide, Owners Manual, Legal/Warranty Information
How to Use Abode’s Iota
Of the home camera/security systems I’ve installed over the years, this one is pretty near the easiest. Of course, you have to connect the hub/camera to your router via ethernet during setup (cable included), but after that, it can go wherever you need it, and not permanently lose one of the ethernet ports.
Setup (From the Abode support site)
Step 1 – Getting Started
Remove the Abode Iota from the box and place near your internet router.
Step 2 – Power
Plug the supplied AC Power adapter into a wall outlet and into the Abode Iota.
Step 3 – Internet Connection
Connect the ethernet cable to an open port on your router and plug in to the Abode Iota.
Step 4 – Battery Backup
On the bottom of the Iota, push the switch forward to activate the battery backup.
Step 5 – App Download
Download and install the Abode app on your iPhone or Android device and follow the quick setup process.
Step 6 – Activation Key
Be sure to hold on to the installation card that comes with your Iota Security Kit. You will need the Activation Key printed on it to link your email to the device and launch your Abode profile.
Step 7 – Pairing Process
The devices (Mini Door/Window Sensor & Key Fob) that are included in the Abode Iota starter kit have already been paired with the Iota.
Mini Door/Window Sensor
Simply follow the setup process on the app to activate and name these devices.
To add additional devices, follow the information below to add them to your iota system. You can use the abode mobile or web app.
Using the Mobile App: Log in to the Abode mobile app and click on the settings option at the bottom right of the screen. Click on the +Add Device option and locate the proper name/icon of the device you’re adding and follow the wizard.
Using the Web App: Login to the web app at my.goabode.com. Click on the +Add Device option at the top of the page, locate the proper icon for the device you’re adding and follow the wizard.
Read more on the Abode support site here.
Once you have all your devices set up (including any third-party devices already on your network, like smart lights, plugs, locksets, and more), you can control everything via the Abode app. At the basic (free) level, you can check your camera and door/window sensors, and set them to arm when you’re away from home (or home, but perhaps gone to bed) using the app or the dongle. If the camera senses someone lurking where they shouldn’t be (using a smart motion-sensing system that can differentiate people from other moving objects), you can get an alert on any connected device (I’m getting them on my phone and watch), and the camera/hub itself can blast a 93dB alarm. It’s important to note that these features are free – no extra subscription or service contract is needed.
There are two levels of paid service as well, but the benefits may be worth it (especially in comparison to some of the “pro” security companies out there). The Standard Plan adds functionality like saving and viewing video on a timeline so you can track the activity that your camera picks up, as well as the important automation features that Abode offers. For example, you could set up different lights around your house to turn on when you set the system into “Away” mode, just to make it look like someone is home. Or you could have ALL your lights go on when an alarm is triggered. This plan costs $6 a month, or $60 a year billed annually, which is pretty reasonable.
At $20 a month, or $200 a year billed annually, you get the Pro Plan, which includes active monitoring for piece of mind (and in some cases, savings on your homeowner’s insurance), and a cellular back-up system so that, even if your home network goes down, the system still works. If you’re enough of a geek to handle the installation by yourself, this can save a lot of money over the professional home security services (one I checked charges 50% more per month for it’s active monitoring plan).
Why You Should Get Abode’s Iota System
At this point, I’ve only just started to scratch the surface with this system, and I’m pretty sold. Having the hub built into the primary camera is a great design feature, and the quality of the equipment is excellent. I’m looking forward to adding their outdoor camera, and getting window sensors hooked up all around the house, and then tying everything in with my smart lights and plugs, and my smart lockset. The Standard Play seems like a no-brainer to me, but I’m planning on calling up my insurance company this week to see whether the savings on my policy would effectively pay for the Pro Plan. Even if it’s just close, I’ll probably take the leap.
Abode’s Iota All-In-One home security system is available for $292 from the Abode website.
Disclosure: GeekDad received a sample of this item for review purposes.