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Scout sensors, app jump start your home protection

Steve Sande, @stevensande
April 2, 2013
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There's a rather nifty crowdfunded project that aims to deliver a "roll-your-own" home security system this August. Using the Selfstarter code available on Github, the Scout Alarm project has so far pulled in almost 800 backers and more than $211,000 in funding. The project is designed to "make the latest home security technology affordable for everyone with no required monthly fees."

The hardware starts with a US$80 base station complete with WiFi, a 3G cellular chip and a backup battery. At each door where homeowners want to be able to arm or disarm the system, there's an arm / disarm panel ($40) that uses RFID reader technology to avoid the need for keypads and codes. Windows and doors are equipped with $20 open / close sensors, and there are $40 motion sensors available for those locations where intruders could smash a glass window to enter the home.

Tying all of the hardware together is a Zigbee chipset creating a mesh network for the sensors and allowing integration with other Zigbee-powered security devices. The security system can be monitored, armed or disarmed from anywhere on Planet Earth through a smartphone, tablet or computer.

Homeowners will get notifications for certain alarm situations and can make their own response (like calling the police), or they can choose to have their home monitored professionally for as little as $10 per month over the 3G connection built into the base station.

As someone who has spent much more than $10 per month for the last 29 years to have professional home security monitoring, the Scout system looks very attractive to me. My only wish for the system is that they'd add a deafeningly loud alert siren like the one that came with my system, as well as fire, smoke, CO2 and water sensors.

Readers interested in the Scout alarm system can pre-order the components on the company's website.

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