Whether you’re recently retired and looking forward to traveling more or are just looking for more security and convenience, making your home smarter is worth looking into. Most professional alarm companies today are offering smart home features, but the equipment and subscriptions can be pretty expensive.
But there are alternatives that work well and are easy enough to install yourself. Some require what is called a hub, typically a small box that plugs into your Internet router. The hub acts as a go-between, allowing your smartphone or tablet to communicate with a variety of sensors, switches, door locks, and cameras. Pairing those devices with the hub is sometimes easy, but now and then it can be frustrating. So we were intrigued by a company called Simple Home, which promised an easier and more affordable approach. What’s different?
The first thing I noticed is that Simple Home’s products – ranging from both indoor and outdoor security cameras, door and window sensors, motion sensors, sirens, light bulbs, and outlet switches – don’t require a hub. They connect directly to Wi-Fi in your home. They’ve made that process easy. CEO Elie Chemtov says the first step is to download the free app and then, “You open the box. There’s a QR code on the product. Once you scan the QR code, the app will ask you for your WiFi password and network name.” Provide the info, give the product a name like Front Door Camera, connect your phone to the device’s built in Wi-Fi, and the set up is done. From that point on, the camera or other device is connected to your home Wi-Fi and you can use the app to control it from anywhere in the world.
The real fun begins when you have multiple sensors, switches and cameras that can trigger a variety of actions:
“Today a lot of people are still using smart home for the basic functions of the devices, but the beauty is going to be long term when you have multiple devices in the house. If somebody walks in the door, a siren can go off or a light can turn on. That’s where the full smart home can come into play.”
Chemtov also says Simple Home is more affordable than the competition, with pricing that starts at $35 for a connected LED light bulb and runs as high as $150 for a Wi-Fi outdoor camera. You buy only what you need and there are no subscription costs to worry about when you’re done. When motion is detected or someone opens a door, you’re notified on your phone and can see what is going on and decide what action to take.
The company has more products in the pipeline, like a connected video doorbell. A couple of things to keep in mind – the Simple Home devices are not compatible with equipment made by other smart home gear from other manufacturers. That means, at least for now, that you can’t control your lights and switches with voice commands through Amazon’s Alexa. Also, while not having a subscription can be a good thing, it also means that there is no professional monitoring service involved.
Click here to hear Fred’s complete interview with Simple Home CEO Elie Chemtov.