Locking Down Gainesville With Scout Alarm Home Security

Locking Down Gainesville With Scout Alarm Home Security System

Mrs. Tech has been on me for YEARS to install a home security system. I really wasn’t feeling the typical run-of-the-mill systems because…they were wack.

Fast forward a couple years, and with the advancement of smartphones and “smart” home systems, I decided to purchase an “all-in-one” security system. I picked it because there was nothing to install, it connected to our home wifi and smartphones for management, and it fit our home size perfectly.

Late last year, we upgraded to a much larger home (Thanks BrothaTech, Jr.) and the all-in-one joint just can’t hold it down anymore. Plus, Mrs. Tech really wanted “traditional” home security monitoring. You know, that “just in case someone breaks into the house, but I’m ignoring all the app notifications, so somebody actually calls me to find out if everything’s good” type security monitoring.

A new house is the perfect time to invest in a home security system that connects to other systems in the house to create a smart home, so I did some research and decided on Scout Alarm for “Gainesville”.

Before I get into the purchase, install and setup of my home security system, here are some of the features/options that attracted me to Scout Alarm in the first place:

Easy to install

Scout Alarm connects to my network using a main Hub (brains of the system), then creates a wireless mesh network with the other Scout devices – “Look Ma, no wires”. All Scout devices can either be attached to surfaces by drilling holes or via the pre-attached adhesive.

Smart House Ready

Scout Alarm integrates with the other smart home products I already own (more on that later) and a host of other network-ready services and devices.

Cellular 4G LTE and battery backup

One of the negatives to IoT (Internet of Things) devices is if your network goes down or the power is cut, you’re pretty much screwed. Scout Alarm is smart enough to switch to cellular/battery connectivity to stay active. It also notifies me when it loses network connectivity so I can troubleshoot…or call the cops because a crook thought they were being slick when they unplugged my router.

Live 24-hour monitoring

Self-monitoring is “Kool and the Gang”, but due to all the apps that constantly ping your phone, we all know your response time is not as fast as a phone call, especially if somebody is breaking into your home and you need to act fast. So in addition to Scout Alarm sending app and sms notifications, you can opt for professional home security monitoring for that added layer of protection.

Those where the highlights for me. So I went to the Scout Alarm website, picked all the devices and features, got a quote, talked it over with Mrs. Tech AKA, Chief Financial Officer, and pulled the proverbial trigger.

Ordering Scout Alarm

Scout_Alarm_home_security_website via BrothaTech

Scout Alarm homepage

 

The Scout Alarm website user experience is pleasant to navigate. It provides a simple breakdown of all the equipment needed to build a system, and adds a walk-through of building a system that suits your needs. Once you configure your ideal Scout Alarm home security system, you can also choose to add cellular 4G LTE/battery backup and professional monitoring, which you won’t be billed until you have activated your account.

Installation

 

Again, Scout Alarm makes it simple to install and setup your system. You plug in the Scout Hub and connect it to your home network. In the box is an activation code you use to register your Hub and create your account by either downloading the Scout App, or visiting the Scout activation website. Then it’s just a matter of registering each device with the Hub and installing each device in the optimal location.

In addition to the Hub, I installed 2 Door Panels, 3 Access Sensors, and 4 motion sensors. Collectively, my Door Panel units included enough key fobs so me, my wife and mom in-law can quickly disable the alarm with our keys if we forget to disarm our system using the app.

Similar to ordering a Scout Alarm home security system, the app walks you through installing and testing each device to make sure it was connected to the Hub, before moving to another device. It took approximately about 2 minutes per device to completely install/test, including the Hub. I opted to use the adhesive to secure each device to a clean surface instead of using nails.

The Hub is the only device thats connected to my home network. Every other device creates a mesh network to remain connected. That way, you don’t need Wifi connectivity throughout house so each individual unit can stay connected. Which came in handy in my basement that has limited network connectivity…for now.

Once the Hub was activated and devices connected and installed, to finish the process you need to add any additional devices (key fobs and emergency stickers), edit/confirm the default security “modes” or create your own, and complete your account information (address, phone numbers and emergency contacts and additional users), and the installation is complete. I also created a seperate account for Mrs. Tech so when she interacts with the system, the status will reflect both our interactions.

System Setup

Scout Alarm Web Interface

 

Customizing modes uses the “If”, “Then” format. For example, if I’m working with the default “Away” mode, I can add all the devices that should be included in this mode. “If” one of these devices is triggered (door/access panel opens, or motion sensor detects movement), “then” I can also choose how the alarm reacts. I can choose a variety of actions including activating the siren, prompting an email/text/phone/push notification, or alerting professional monitoring that something is happening.

I just edited the default modes: Home, Away, and Sleep. Home mode really doesn’t do anything right now…Now that I think of it, I could just delete that mode. Away mode triggers an action if any door is opened or motion is detected. Sleep mode triggers an action if any doors are opened, or if it detects any motion in the basement.

Arming/disarming the system is easy as opening the app and tapping on one of the modes – The Hub and each door panel will beep to confirm. Mrs. Tech appreciates that I added the Scout Alarm Widget to the Today View on both of our iPhones (You know, that screen you never use when you swipe right on your home screen)? Now arming the system, as well as checking the current activity, is as easy as swiping to the Today View.

At any time, we can open the app or log in via our computers to arm our system, monitor the status of the system and each device, and quickly add family members or key fobs if anybody other that core family needs access.

Smart Crib Integrations

 

Of course, the fun part for me is the “Smarts” of Scout Alarm home security system. Since the system is connected to my home network via the Hub, there are tons of options available to give it even more brains. One of the first things I did was activate the Scout Alarm IFTTT service and set up some applets. The first applet that I created was the ability to automatically arm Sleep mode at midnight, and disarm Sleep mode at about 5:30am.

Another little applet I created was connecting my 2 ecobee smart thermostats to Scout so when we arm“Away” mode, our thermostats are also automatically set to “Away”, theoretically saving money on heating/cooling costs.

I also have 3 Nest Smoke/Co2 detectors. Scout Alarm has a relationship with Nest, so I connected my Nest devices directly to our Scout home security system, so I can monitor the status of each detector using one interface, and integrate each detector into my different alarm modes. I haven’t invested in any security cameras yet, (hoping Scout still has something up its sleeves), but I have been eyeing Nest indoor/outdoor cameras to easily integrate those and complete my home security system.

No Apple HomeKit integration so I can’t use Siri (boooo!), but Scout Alarm integrates perfectly with my Amazon Echo devices so at any time, I can ask Alexa for my current alarm status, as well as arm/disarm system using my voice.

The only gripe with Scout Alarm (in addition to no HomeKit), is that the mobile app user interface could be better…Not that it’s bad, but it seems dated…You have to tap different icons (some at the top, some at the bottom) to navigate the app. I’m used to swiping and using gestures with most other apps I frequently use.

The web interface is much better though – Everything you need is conveniently presented on one screen, giving you a quick “at a glance” of your home security system without having to click through to each section like on the mobile app. Hopefully, the mobile app gets better, mimicking the web interface, and adding current navigation options in future updates.

 

Like I mentioned earlier, what puts me at ease is the fact that the Scout Alarm Hub has a Cellular 4G LTE and battery backup for an additional $9.99/month – If my home network goes down or the power is cut, Scout Alarm still can respond to any actions. What puts Mrs. Tech as ease is that the system isn’t totally dependent on us to respond to a action. For most of the DIY “Smart” security systems, if you don’t respond to any actions, well…nothing happens. We added the professional monitoring so it kicks in and somebody gives us a call or notifies authorities if we can’t immediately be reached.

…All that and with all the possibilities of Smart Home and IoT (Internet of Things) technology, I have definitely made the right decision investing in Scout Alarm – Easy Installation and setup, multiple levels of security, with the ability to integrate and update as technology advances.

Oh, and NO MONITORING CONTRACTS! (We were burned by a long azz traditional security contract on our first home and I’m still a little salty about that one). With Scout, you can choose to self monitor, or add professional monitoring starting at $19.99/month which includes cellular and battery backup, with the ability to cancel anytime.

For more information, and to order your “BrothaTech Approved” Scout Alarm home security system, visit the Scout Alarm website.

Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links, which means I will get broke off a little something, something if you read this honest, impartial…and well done article and decide to purchase. Peep my site’s Disclosure page for more information.

Terrance Gaines
terrance@brothatech.com

Terrance Gaines is an Apple Certified Support Professional living in Atlanta. When he is not spending time with his lovely wife and two smart, sweet, and sassy daughters, he's providing individuals and small biz owners with exceptional, comprehensive, and affordable technology support that will enable people to do great things. For more information, visit terrancegaines.com