One rising trend in the smart home is the emergence of home kits for the DIY market. While many kits are hub-based systems that comprise a hub and several connected objects that can be controlled by the hub, systems that do not have a dedicated hub are also available. In these systems, gateways may be embedded in devices such as a home camera. For example, GKB Security’s home automation solution platform, Aetherlink, is built around an IP camera with an embedded Z-Wave gateway that allows the camera to connect to and control Z-Wave sensors. The company is launching a kit that includes the IP camera and a 4-in-1 sensor this year.
Kits in the smart home are often designed for specific applications, and they provide consumers a quick way to get everything they need all at once for their desired applications and kickstart their smart homes. Consumers do not have to worry about interoperability issues as items in these kits are almost guaranteed to work with one another. Furthermore, as most kits are designed to have a consistent look, consumers also do not have to worry about items looking like they do not fit together in the home.
By being purpose-built, these kits may also provide consumers an easier entry into the smart home, especially those who are not sure where to start and what to choose.
Easy Installation and Setup, the Most Advertised Feature
Easy to install and setup is perhaps one of the most advertised features of any kit on the market. Going wireless simplifies the installation a great deal as user can place the items anywhere they want without being restricted by the location of outlets. However, while the connected objects can be mostly wireless, many hubs still plug into the wall and connect to the internet via an Ethernet cable for system stability. Some hubs have backup batteries and GSM cards so they can continue to operate during loss of power and internet.
Affordability and Design
Affordability is another important consideration for DIY kits. To encourage adoption, many companies may advertise no monthly fees, or provide flexible plans that will not tie customers down to annual contracts. SimpliSafe even offers a 60-day money back guarantee — customers can receive a full refund as well as free return shipping if they are not completely satisfied with the alarm system packages within 60 days of purchase.
To add to the appeal, kits have to be aesthetically pleasing and be able to blend in nicely with the home decor without looking intrusive. Having an eye-catching design also helps any kit stand out from the rest.
Common Applications: Home Security and Energy Management
Common applications for kits include home security and energy management applications. There are also kits designed for a combination of these applications. For example, Iris Smart Kit, which includes an Iris hub, a keypad, a smart thermostat, a range extender, two door/window/cabinet sensors, a smart plug and a motion sensor, can fulfill users' needs for home security, energy management all at once.
Different Types of Home Security Kits
One type of home security kits is an alarm system that includes at least one hub and various combinations of door/window sensors, PIR sensors, keypads, sirens, remotes and panic buttons. For instance, Myfox Security System offers a simple solution that includes a door and window sensor, a siren, a hands-free key fob for automatic user recognition, and a hub called Link. Another example is Skylink's DIY wireless security system SC-100, which includes one control panel, two door/window sensors, one motion sensor, and one keychain transmitter.
The system may further incorporate home safety-related products such as smoke or gas detectors and water detectors. The Ultimate Package by SimpliSafe has 17 pieces including burglary, fire, CO, freeze and flood sensors.
Another type of home security kits is home camera-based. For example, Arlo Security System is a hub-and-camera system that includes a base station and at least one indoor/outdoor HD camera. Up to four cameras may be included in the kit. However, for some alarm system type home security kits, cameras may also be added.
For energy management, smart plugs (some with dimming), smart switches and smart light bulbs are the most common items found in a kit. With smart plugs or switches, user can remotely control lights and appliances at home or set up schedules or event-triggered motions. Some smart plugs have built-in smart meters to monitor energy consumption to help user save energy.
In this feature, we have compiled 10 home kits designed for home security and energy management applications.