When it comes to protecting your home, Honeywell is a name you know you can trust. They've been creating reliable security systems for almost a century, and their products are widely used across the country. Recently, they launched Smart Home Security System, a DIY security system designed to be sold directly to end-users. What's unique about it is that you can use it with or without security sensors because the hub alone is powerful enough to enhance your home's security. While we haven't tested Honeywell Smart Home Security in our own environment, we were lucky enough to get a sneak peak of the device at CES.
A Hub Equipped With A Camera
The Smart Home Security System starts with a hub called the Camera Base Station. It's unlike most hubs or control panels offered by Honeywell as it lacks a screen and keypad and it's cylinder-shaped, not tablet-like. However, one of the most intriguing things about the base station is the presence of a camera. And it's not just any camera; it's a security camera capable of going toe-to-toe with some of our top picks.
The camera on the base station is situated at the top of the cylinder. It's an HD 1080p camera backed by a 2MP image sensor and a 147-degree wide angle lens. It has night vision thanks to IR LEDs, and it's capable of streaming HD videos to your smartphone through Honeywell’s Lyric App.
Camera Base Station To Enhance Home Security
A camera with powerful hardware and the ability to stream to your phone is already an asset to your home's security. But the Camera Base Station has more to offer.
For starters, it offers PIR motion detection. If it sees motion, it will notify you via the app, and it will automatically start recording. The video will go straight to the cloud or to its 8GB internal storage space if your internet is down. Each Camera Base Station will have 72 hours of cloud storage for free.
To make motion detection more reliable, the camera offers area masking. Area masking is similar to motion detection zones in that it helps reduce false alarms. However, instead of telling the camera what to monitor, which is what detection zones do, it shows the camera what NOT to monitor. If motion occurs within a masked zone, the camera will ignore it.
Another feature to enhance your home's security is facial recognition. Facial detection will let your camera know if there's a person in view. Facial recognition takes it up a notch by knowing whether the person in view is someone familiar or an unknown person.
The Camera Base Station uses facial recognition to notify you if one of two things happen. One, you can use it to keep an eye on loved ones. For example, parents can use this feature to confirm that their kids made it home from school on time. Second, the camera will let you know if it sees an unfamiliar person, such as an intruder. Facial recognition is a free feature, but it won't be available at launch. It will be activated via a firmware update to all users, except for those living in Illinois where the feature is prohibited by law.
There are only a few security cameras that offer facial recognition, and even fewer cameras that offer the feature for free. To compare, Nest offers Familiar Face Alerts to Nest Cam IQ owners who subscribe to Nest Aware ($10/month). Netatmo Welcome, Tend Lynx, Butterfleye, and Amaryllo AR3 are the only other cameras we've reviewed that offer facial recognition.
Intelligent Sound Detection
Another security feature, one that is becoming increasingly common in security cameras, is intelligent sound detection. If the camera hears a loud noise, it will notify you. To take the feature a mile further, if the camera hears the sound of a smoke alarm or CO detector, a barking dog, or a baby crying, it will notify you and tell you what it heard.
Like facial recognition, intelligent sound detection will be activated after the camera hits the market.
Built-In Siren & Two-Way Voice
Finally, the camera comes equipped with a 90dB siren. If it senses motion, hears a loud sound, or senses a possible intruder, it will sound the alarm. Of course, you can turn the siren off or customize when you want it to trigger using the Lyric app.
Finally, you can use two-way talk to speak with family members or even intruders near the camera. It's equipped with a 5W omnidirectional speaker and three microphones facing different directions.
Further Enhance Your Home's Security With Sensors
Unfortunately, regardless of the size of your home, you can only have one Camera Base Station. If you want to secure a larger home, you're going to need the help of security sensors offered by Honeywell.
Honeywell offers a door/window sensor, motion sensor, and MotionViewer. The first two sensors are pretty common and are seen in most security systems. The MotionViewer, on the other hand, is unique. It's a PIR motion sensor, which means it can reliably detect motion. However, it's equipped with a low-resolution QVGA camera (320 x 240) that can record 7-10 second motion clips. This is an improvement over image sensors (motion sensors that take photos). The MotionViewer will be available in indoor and outdoor versions. It's battery-powered, and it can operate for up to two years without needing a battery replacement.
In addition to sensors, you can also add Honeywell Lyric C1 and Lyric C2 security cameras to your Camera Base Station. By doing so, you can add video monitoring to more than one area in your home. Lyric C1 and Lyric C2 both offer motion detection with support for motion zones and they can both recognize the sound of smoke and CO alarms.
Finally, you can connect existing sensors to the Camera Base Station so long as they are Z-Wave Plus-enabled. The Camera Base Station offers limited control to Z-Wave devices via the Lyric app.
Working With Others
One of Honeywell's goals for the Smart Home Security System is to integrate it with as many security and automation systems as possible. They have several integrations lined up, some of which will be available at launch while others will come later.
At launch, the system will work with two voice assistants: Amazon's Alexa and Honeywell's Security AI. Using the Camera Base Station, you will be able to talk to both voice AIs. You can ask Alexa questions or ask her to control compatible smart devices or you can ask Security to customize your Honeywell security system. What's unique about Security is that it works offline. Even if you lose your internet connection, you will still be able to talk to it. However, it has a limited understanding of natural language.
Soon, the Camera Base Station will also gain access to Google Assistant and Siri. Like with Alexa, you will be able to talk to Google Assistant and Siri via the Camera Base Station.
Another integration that will be available at launch is IFTTT, a rule-based automation system. IFTTT works with hundreds of automation channels, including several security cameras. It also integrates with smart lights, thermostats, and even entire security and automation systems.
The Honeywell Smart Home Security System will be available in 2018. The Camera Base Station will ship first and the sensors will follow. You can pre-order the Honeywell system on IndieGoGo.
The Camera Base Station pre-sells for as low as $329, lower than its $399 retail price. A sensor pack worth $160 ($140 for pre-order) is also available. It includes two door/window sensors, a motion sensor, and a key fob. Most packages, including the MotionViewer package, are sold out.