By Brad Beckstrom
What is disruption? It’s when an established industry like eyeglasses, taxicabs, music is completely turned on its head by a new technology or a new way of doing things.
Usually this is very good for Frugs. Eyeglasses and prescription sunglasses drop from hundreds of dollars down to $75. A taxicab ride into town drops from $20 to $10 and comes with a tidy receipt, including a map of your journey sent to your phone from UberX. Music sounds better and, is unlimited, for a fraction of what we used to pay.
Whenever I see an industry about to be disrupted, I see opportunity to flex some frug muscles and get the word out. The next industry being disrupted…..
The home security business is a 5+ billion dollar industry. The industry includes established players like ADT, FrontPoint, Brinks. Also, other major communications players have jumped into the game including Google, AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and others.
The monthly monitoring fees are the bread-and-butter profits for these companies. Much like the cable or mobile phone industry, they are willing to install a high-tech home system, for a low price, but you’ll be on the hook paying anywhere from $30 to $200 a month or more, depending on the number of entries, windows, sensors, and keypads etc. in your home.
Cable companies and mobile carriers are jumping into this market because it’s a perfect fit for their model. They are very good at setting contracts up, raising prices while charging early termination fees for those who want out after their monthly monitoring gets too pricey.
The good news is this industry is about to be completely disrupted.
Beginning now, you can order a home security system online that will alert you, and any others you’d like to add to your emergency contact list, if there is a fire, intruder or disturbance in your home. To avoid false alarms, you can even view HD video or listen in on the alarm sounding or noises in the house when you get an alert on your smartphone.
Here’s the important part — there is no monthly fee. all you need is a mobile phone and Wi-Fi in your home. There will be no wiring, no custom install, or setup fee. You’ll have option to add sensors or cameras to the system if you need them. All of these systems integrate with an app on your smartphone for monitoring.
Moving? You unplug it and take it with you.
Here are some of the (no monthly fee) disruptors in the home security market
Leeo – a smart alert nightlight that plugs into any wall jack and monitors any existing alarms in your home. You just plug it in and connect it to your home’s Wi-Fi using the Leeo app. When an alarm sounds, you get an alert on your phone and so will anyone else that is on your emergency contact list. You can listen in on the alarm and call 911 directly from the app.
Leeo will even invite your contacts to receive phone alerts if you can’t respond. It also includes a temperature sensor. Total cost $99. No monthly fees or setup charge. You just plug it in.
iSmartAlarm – This unique system involves components like motion sensors, contact sensors, cameras, and automated smart switches allowing you to turn on and off lights remotely and monitor energy use starting at $29. The product will be available in December and will have packages containing multiple components from $200.
DropCam – This thing is cool. It has a motion sensor that you can point at any room and it will alert you to motion in your home while you’re away. This thing even has night vision so you can say hi to your pet or take a nice photo of the intruder who just came into your home. They also have the neat thing called “dropcam tabs” that are small single piece motion sensors you can place in different parts of your home.
Canary – This is an all-in-one system that combines features of both Dropcam and Leeo. This compact high-tech unit is connected to an app and monitors everything from motion to noise levels even air quality temperature and humidity. It has a wide-angle HD camera with night vision and high quality audio.
How to evaluate a home security system. Does it have a monthly monitoring fee? Cancel.
If you or maybe, an older parent have an existing system, make sure you check with the service provider regarding any cancellation fees. Some require you to maintain a contract for as long as three years to avoid these fees. But once the contract ends, in most cases, that installed system is yours to keep and should still work. You just need to set up your own monitoring.
Here are my recommendations for systems with no fees depending on your living arrangement:
Homeowners – If you have an existing home security system and smoke detectors, the $99 Leeo is a good choice. Leeo Is good at listening for alarms and alerting you, as well as anyone on your emergency contact list. PS: If you don’t have smoke detectors (get them) you can often pick them up for free at your local fire station. Just search free smoke detectors in your area. In my area you can request them online and they’ll ship them to you.
For homeowners without an existing alarm system, I recommend iSmartAlarm. This is a component system where you can start with a basic unit then add as you go. You can even add plug adapters that turn lights on remotely or when an intruder is detected.
Renters or Condo Owners – For those living in apartments or condominiums or any smaller space, I recommend the Canary. This all-in-one unit is ideal for most spaces with one or two main points of entry. Sets up in minutes and has a lot of cool features of more expensive units. Dropcam is also a nice option for small spaces and can be expanded using dropcam tabs.
These are all relatively new systems, so make sure you seek out reviews online and sure they have an app that’s compatible with your smartphone. Most of the systems start with an iPhone app then quickly add android apps and other online monitoring options as systems become more popular. As with any other purchase, do some more homework you may decide that you don’t need anything more than a smoke alarm and that’s great.
The message here is to start flexing your frug muscles to slowly chip away at all the monthly fees in your life one by one.