Designed for the DIY crowd, Panasonic’s new Home Monitoring System untethers homeowners and renters from costly security systems, replacing the middleman with an app for your cell phone or tablet.
Introduced at Dwell on Design, the annual exhibition of innovative furnishings and products in L.A., the monitoring products range from security cameras to window and door sensors, motion detectors to baby monitors. Panasonic’s system doesn’t require Ethernet cables—the devices each communicate with a hub, which is in turn connected to your Wi-Fi router.
The trump card: There’s no monthly service fees.
“Panasonic is finding ways for people to get away from ADT-type systems,” said Marvin Freeman, Panasonic’s product manager for Home Monitoring & Control. Such security systems typically cost a dollar a day or more to maintain, and contracts rope us in to two or three years at a time. Plus, third-party security systems rely on an outsider to monitor what’s transpiring at your home—the person on the other end might not be familiar with the neighbor you’ve invited to pluck lemons off your backyard tree.
Easily installed, the Home Monitoring System is controlled from your cell phone or tablet. The images from up to four different cameras can be viewed live at six frames per second, and zoom capabilities reveal activity taking place as far as 1,000 feet away. A control kit allows you to know when children have arrived home, and lets you turn on the lights as you pull into your driveway. The baby monitor will detect crying and play a calming lullaby, and it can also be used to watch over pets while you're away.
The major downside to Panasonic’s system is that traditional third-party security companies can immediately contact law enforcement, even when you’re on the other side of the globe. Yes, you get the perk of leaving out the middleman, but that means you're responsible for resolving the problem. Fortunately, the app can be loaded onto multiple devices, allowing you to designate a neighbor or relative with monitoring duties.
The products, which will be available in October of this year, will be sold in four different bundles. The complete package—hub, sensors, cameras and baby monitor—will retail for $399.95. The least expensive individual unit is the baby monitor which, with hub device, will be priced at $169.95.