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Some thoughts on HomeKit compatible security systems

I've been going back and forth for a long time on how to integrate an alarm system into HomeKit. I looked at the Abode, Aqara and Lyric systems and wanted the system to integrate better into HomeKit because I thought it would be ready to run my HomeKit security system like all other devices. My goal has always been to have all my devices "under one roof".

Now, I think this was a wrong approach to a security system in a smart home.

Security is not one of those things you want to be left to chance or interruptions or flaws. By its nature, you want to know that a security system will work just fine when you are not there to address it. Bugs in HomeKit updates and user error (such as changing automation) could leave my system vulnerable to failure or error. So, I now believe that security should be completely independent of HomeKit (and Alexa / Google), as it does not try to automate and control the entire home (which brings more complications and potential for failure), but rather to focus on one thing … maybe the most important thing in your smart home.

So the question now is, which is the best security configuration that can work independently of HomeKit, but can also play nice with HomeKit. All three have their own considerations, but here's what I learned by researching (I don't own any yet).

** Rest **: This option strikes a very good balance between DIY and professional systems. You have the option to get a cell backup if your Wi-Fi network shrinks and provides short-term or short-term monitoring services. Their motion and contact sensors are on display at HomeKit as well as Iota (and future Smart) cameras. Abode also integrates with a number of companies such as Hue, First Alert, Schlage, Kwickset, Yale, LIFX and IFTTT. This is good because you can configure your entire security system independent of HomeKit, but fully compatible with HomeKit. Abode really checks a lot of the boxes I have. They also have some nice (security) options that are not (and should not be) integrated into HomeKit, such as key fobs, status indicators, keyboards, window shatter sensors, additional sirens, etc. Again, I would like some of these to be integrated into HomeKit for novelty, but do I really need them there? I realized that the answer is no.

** Aqara **: Aqara would be the complete DIY option for a HomeKit compatible security system. Of the three options, this one has probably the most diverse set of accessories that can be displayed on HomeKit, which I originally thought made it a front runner … oh, and they are the cheapest by far. But, when it comes to a security system itself, I have to say, it is highly desirable in terms of its effective functioning as a security system. It is based on a phone or tablet for use, and stopping it may be difficult for family members who are not tech-savvy or do not always have a phone with them (yes, there are still some in the world). We have come to the conclusion that Aqara is the best for HomeKit enthusiasts who wants to save some money. But when it comes to security for my family, I want to save a few dollars at the expense of the alarm that doesn't work for the rest of my family when it may be needed (like disarming it if it goes downstairs in the middle of the night or having an easily identifiable panic button, etc.). Without some of these traditional "security" devices and functions, I cannot say that Aqara is indeed a viable home security platform … but it is cheap and it speaks to many.

** Lyrical **: This option, by its intent, is intended only for those who want a professionally installed and monitored system, with a monthly service charge. You cannot enable HomeKit compatibility alone (only professional monitoring services can do this). Yes, there are ways to avoid this, but it really takes advantage of the companies that offer them. Like Abode, you have the potential to expose sensors on HomeKit, but with the monthly cost of monitoring and activation. However, if you read this, it's probably because you want a HomeKit-compatible system just because you don't have to pay monthly fees. This makes the lyric an option that is not for me.

So there it is. That's why I decided to go with the Abode system. It doesn't have as many HomeKit-compatible devices as Aqara, but it turns out, I don't really need them.

Maybe this is a long post that no one wanted to read, or maybe some might find it useful. Do it the way you want.