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Z Wave is available in over 2,400 home security and automation devices from more than 700 companies. Plus, you have flexibility in where you place various devices because Z Wave can communicate farther distances than other protocols — like Wi Fi, for example — since it functions by sharing an Internet connection between devices as opposed to a localized router. Ultimately, we wanted systems that could integrate seamlessly into our homes and improve our quality of life. To find which fit the bill, we spent a day outfitting a 1,900 square foot home with the equipment of our finalists. We appraised the installation process, the ease and clarity of registering and syncing, the app experience, and functionality. We were pleased to find we could get most systems up in less than half an hour, but the quality of both hardware and software differed. We docked points for flimsy or easy to knock over physical elements and slow or dysfunctional cyber ones. Effective home security offers crisp and quick app interfaces preferably with practical perks like customized sensor names and facial recognition and instantaneous notifications. Rather than restrict control to a physical hub hung on your wall, Abode puts control where you actually need it: in the palm of your hand. Abode’s security dashboard is accessible by any internet connected device and gives you enough information to take action from wherever you are. When Abode’s motion sensors are triggered, it snaps a photo to show you what triggered it.

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Although we may reach out for technical support or for clarification on a particular feature, the companies have no input on our testing practices and we don’t share our results or rankings with them before publishing our reviews. As we researched this topic and security systems in general, we reached out to Jamie Vos, vice president of the Electronic Security Association ESA for his thoughts on DIY systems. He emphasized professional monitoring for security systems: “If you receive a text alert, you may not be in a condition to respond and you may not hear an alarm. At that point, you have lost valuable response time, whereas a professional monitoring station can automatically alert first responders. ”We also contacted Kirk MacDowell, a board member with the Security Industry Association SIA and president of MacGuard Security Advisors Inc. He said a security system can act as a central heartbeat in the home.