Abode became the first DIY security system to launch HomeKit support last year, which was an interesting development for those closely integrated into the Apple ecosystem. And in the last month, the company has launched a completely new iOS app and updated plans that offer everything from free self-monitoring to professional 24/7 monitoring, with backup for cell phones and battery. Watch to see in more detail why Abode’s versatile Iota security system is a great choice for your home / business and the HomeKit experience it offers.
After using the Abode Iota HomeKit security system I think the biggest positive aspect that stands out is how flexible and capable it is. If you want to use traditional hardware accessories, such as a physical keyboard or included key, Abode supports this. For a more modern approach, you can opt to use automation and the iOS app and the Home app to arm and disarm the system (or of course all of the above).
You have HomeKit support, which is the big selling point for me, but there are also Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Sonos, Ecobee, ZWave and many more features. And there is also the option to use professional on-demand monitoring if you want to have flexibility when using it.
While you can find motion sensors or door and window sensors that work with HomeKit from a few other companies, Abode offers the richest experience with the Iota Hub that includes a 1080p camera, motion sensor, siren and more. And there is no doubt that Abode has the widest variety of accessories (including slick sensors that are completely hidden).
And since it’s a wireless DIY security system that you can easily customize, it’s easy to install, no matter how old or new your home or business is (a nice bonus is that you can manage multiple Abode systems in the latest version of the iOS app without multiple connections).
Leave the Iota HomeKit hub enabled
Abode now offers HomeKit support for both the Iota Smart Security Hub and its Smart Security Hub. But I’d say you don’t particularly want a room in your hub that costs a little extra for Iota Hub. The motion sensor is integrated with Wi-Fi and Ethernet support, while the standard Hub uses an external motion sensor, it lacks a 1080p camera and must be wired.
For my analysis, I tested the Iota Smart Security Hub. The setup process is simple and straightforward with the Abode iOS app (the app got some rough reviews after the May update saw some location services errors, but they were correct).
I really like the clean and simple aesthetics of the Iota Hub and I think it works well with a variety of tastes. The front of the device has a 1080p camera and motion sensor in the upper half, while the lower half has a built-in two-way speaker / microphone and 92dB siren.
Back, you have the power port, Ethernet, as well as the microSD and SIM card slots (SIM is preinstalled). The Iota Hub also has a built-in battery that will keep it connected during a power outage. Keep in mind that you either need to opt for the Pro plan (detailed below) to use backup cellular monitoring, or to connect your modem / router to a backup battery to keep everything running in a power outage if you choose free or Standard plan.
As part of the initial setup process, you will be asked if you want to adhere to the free self-monitoring plan (default) or upgrade to the Standard or Pro plans. To get the most out of Iota, you’ll probably want at least the Standard plan, but you’ll still get HomeKit support, even if you follow the free plan.
For both paid options, you can choose to pay monthly or save some money and pay throughout the year. As the name suggests, the Pro plan is what provides 24/7 professional monitoring, but if you don’t want to hire monthly or annually, you can add pro-on-on-demand monitoring for only $ 8 for three days if you go for the Standard plan.
So the breakdown is the Standard plan is normally $ 72 / year if you pay monthly or $ 60 if you pay in advance for that year. The Pro plan runs $ 240 / year if billed monthly or $ 200 in a lump sum.
Keep in mind that if you want to use geolocation features, such as automatic arm / disarm, one-touch arm / disarm, professional on-demand monitoring, video storage, time access, customizable alerts, and more, you’ll need at least the standard plan .
You can see the full chart comparing the plan here.
Configuring Abode Iota HomeKit support
After completing the initial configuration of Iota Hub, you can download the HomeKit configuration code in the Abode application settings.
Once added to the Home app, you can rename and customize the three HomeKit boards: camera, motion sensor, and alarm.
Next, we’ll look at adding the door / window and other sensors, then go back to how Abode works a little in the Home app.
Active HomeKit sensors and other accessories
The Iota Smart security kit comes with a hub, key and a Mini door / window sensor. To start, we ended up buying two more Mini door / window sensors, a built-in door / window sensor, a solar-powered yard sign and some window stickers.
Other Abode accessories include a motion sensor, multi-sensor (which will come later in June), keyboard, outdoor siren, smoke alarm monitor, vibration and acoustic pause sensors and more. Not all of these are compatible with HomeKit, but the devices that will appear in the Home app are clearly marked on the Abode website.
Here is a Mini door / window sensor, it has about the same footprint as the AirPods Pro charging case, but it is weaker.
It is so compact that, after installing it, I did not notice it at all (and even on our sliding door it is black).
But if you can (and / or want) to drill into the door or window, the built-in sensor is a very nice option.
You need a 3/4 inch drill and you will definitely want to drill a hole as straight as possible 😄.
And here’s what adding sensors to the Abode app looks like, which automatically adds to the Home app.
Subscribe to the Iota Home app experience
Ok, now back to the Home app. As mentioned above, when you add sensors and other compatible devices in the Abode app, they will automatically appear in the Home app.
You’ll also see an armed / disarmed state at the top of the Home app:
For door and window sensors you will only get an open / closed status. You can customize notifications from these sensors in the settings for each sensor. You can also use them with automation for Home applications.
For Iota Hub, there are three HomeKit devices available. You may want to show them as separate boards for easy access to the Home app.
The integration of the security system with HomeKit is definitely from the beginning (especially alarm support), so while it’s great to have no support at all, don’t expect a completely smooth experience here. I imagine it will be a cooperative effort on the part of Apple and Abode (and future HomeKit security system makers) to work things out.
For example, for now, Siri cannot arm and disarm security systems. In my experience, manually arming the system through the Home application is wrong, but disarming works constantly. You can also ask Siri about the status of your security system. Read more about Abode + HomeKit in this support document.
You can set up automation through the Home for Abode app, but if you’re subscribed to a Standard or Pro plan, I found it better to create the automations in the Abode app on the Cue tab (I couldn’t get the Home app automations to arm the running system weapon the latest software). Here’s how it looks:
Subscribe to the Iota HomeKit package
All in all, after spending time with the Abode Iota HomeKit security system, I think it offers the best experience available, even if there are improvements that I hope will come in future updates. It is much improved when it comes to functionality and flexibility in terms of traditional options such as ADT and also jumps to newer options such as SimpliSafe, through collaboration with HomeKit and a longer list of smart platforms and services for the home.
One thing to keep in mind, with the functionality of the HomeKit security system still young, is that access to the Abode Standard or Pro plan will be needed to provide the automation and full set of features that many are looking for. However, the free plan is still functional if automation and things like pro monitoring are not mandatory.
When you look at everything you get with Abode and the ability to easily customize and install the security system for any type of home or business, I think it has great value.
Based on Abode’s records, I also feel confident that it will continue to improve service and functionality over time. Some specific improvements, beyond the higher HomeKit support mentioned above, I would like to see would be the HomeKit Secure Video support for the 1080p camera, as well as the detection of people from the indoor camera to Netatmo.
The Abode Iota Smart Security Kit normally sells for $ 299 and is on sale at the time of writing for $ 229 directly from Abode.
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