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We were pleased to find we could get most systems up in less than half an hour, but the quality of both hardware and software differed. We docked points for flimsy or easy to knock over physical elements and slow or dysfunctional cyber ones. Effective home security offers crisp and quick app interfaces preferably with practical perks like customized sensor names and facial recognition and instantaneous notifications. Rather than restrict control to a physical hub hung on your wall, Abode puts control where you actually need it: in the palm of your hand. Abode’s security dashboard is accessible by any internet connected device and gives you enough information to take action from wherever you are. When Abode’s motion sensors are triggered, it snaps a photo to show you what triggered it.

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99 upfront for the hardware and still get monitoring but avoid the activation fee. If you live in a small apartment and want to keep tabs on things when you're not home, a security camera can get the job done for a lot less money than what you'll pay for a full security system. Nearly all standalone security cameras connect to your home's Wi Fi so you can see what's going on from your phone or tablet, and most have built in sensors that detect motion and sound and will send push and email notifications when those sensors are triggered. You can usually tweak the camera's motion sensitivity to prevent false alarms due to pet activity or passing cars if the camera is near a window, and you can create a schedule that turns the sensors on and off during certain hours of the day. A smart lock is typically part of a robust smart home security setup, but you don't have to invest in a full blown system to use one. If you're using a home automation hub to control things like lighting and thermostats, you can add a Z Wave or Zigbee smart lock to the system without much effort. Alternately, if you don't have a home automation hub, look for a Wi Fi or Bluetooth lock that comes with its own mobile app. Smart locks use standard pre drilled holes and are fairly easy to install. Some models use your existing keyed cylinder and deadbolt hardware and attach to the inside of your door, while others require that you remove your existing interior and exterior escutcheons and replace the deadbolt and strike hardware. Smart locks can be opened and closed using a mobile app and will send a notification when someone locks or unlocks a door, and most allow you to create permanent and temporary access schedules for family members and friends based on specific hours of the day and days of the week. Features to look for include geofencing, which uses your phone's location services to lock and unlock the door, voice activation using Siri HomeKit, Google Assistant, or Amazon Alexa voice commands, support for IFTTT, and integration with other smart home devices such as video doorbells, outdoor cameras, thermostats, smoke alarms, and connected lighting.