Abode Iota review: Perfect security for small homes

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David Priest/CNET

Homes come in all shapes and sizes, and in 2021, home security systems do, too. If you’re worried mostly about porch pirates, you can just install a video doorbell. Conversely, if you want a fully secured house, complete with security cameras and motion sensors, a professionally installed and monitored system might be more your pace.

Somewhere in the middle is Abode Iota, a $330 system that comes with a central hub device, a door/window sensor, a motion sensor and a keyfob. The hub comes with a built-in camera, Zigbee and Z-Wave receivers and a siren. After you install Iota, you can add dozens of sensors, cameras and other devices to the system by purchasing them a la carte on Abode’s website.

Iota’s all-in-one approach to home security makes the most sense for apartment or small-home dwellers — and its Apple HomeKit compatibility will likely excite Apple enthusiasts. Its pricing, particularly if you hope to expand the system to cover more space, and a slightly lackluster app, tarnish an otherwise impressive system. In short, it won’t be right for everyone, but it’s still a great option to consider.

7.9

Abode Iota

Like

  • Solid performance
  • Broad integrations

Don’t Like

  • Expensive devices
  • Clunky app

A smooth start

One of the best parts of using Abode Iota is its setup. I usually give myself a whole morning to set up multiple devices, such as the ones that come in Iota’s kit — and I’m a fairly seasoned installer of smart home tech. Iota was a total breeze to install. It took a grand total of six minutes to get the whole system up and running, thanks to the fact that everything in the box is already paired.

If you purchase more devices, you’ll have to connect each of them to the hub, but the starter kit is thankfully simple to get going.

Once the kit is installed (which essentially just requires plugging your camera into a wall outlet and the router), you can switch it over to Wi-Fi — which involved a hitch I’ll describe later — and place it wherever you want in the house.

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Abode Iota comes with a handful of devices, like this key fob, which can arm and disarm the security system.

David Priest/CNET

One for the money

Before I talk performance, I want to discuss the pricing of Abode — which is the first thing many potential buyers are going to look at.

Abode Iota and SimpliSafe are two of the most popular DIY security systems on the market, along with Ring’s Alarm. Iota costs $330, and for the exact same price at SimpliSafe, you can get a starter kit with a motion sensor, a door/window sensor, a keypad, a bridge and an indoor camera. Aside from the keypad, that’s almost exactly the same setup for the same price.

Ring is a little cheaper than both of these systems: for $320, you can get a motion sensor, door/window sensor, keypad, video doorbell, bridge, range extender and indoor camera.

It takes a couple hundred bucks to get any of these DIY home security systems started, but they all land at around the same initial price, with Ring undercutting SimpliSafe and Abode by $10 and one video doorbell (worth $60).

So Abode is doing all right here. If you like the system, then 60 or 70 bucks may not make a huge difference. But the starter kit isn’t the only price to factor in. The appeal of DIY home security is that you can expand it to fit your precise needs. Many of us have more than one door and window, after all.

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Abode’s Iota lands almost exactly at the same price point as SimpliSafe’s comparable kit.

Chris Monroe/CNET

This is where Abode Iota gets a little pricier. Almost every one of its standalone devices is more expensive than its corollary at other companies. Abode’s basic motion sensor, for instance, costs $55, compared to SimpliSafe’s and Ring’s $30 sensors. If you look down the list of products, almost all of them have similar price differences. That means $200 extra dollars to expand your home security system is going to go a lot farther at SimpliSafe and Ring than at Abode — and that’s a real bummer for customers with larger spaces to cover.

One notable exception to this pattern is Abode’s Cam 2, an indoor/outdoor security camera that’s open for preorder and will be priced at $35. Though we haven’t gotten a chance to review the camera yet, it’s nice to see the company moving toward some more affordable hardware, especially in matching Wyze’s price for their latest camera.

Abode’s professional monitoring plan is also expensive. While SimpliSafe charges about $183 a year for professional monitoring, and Ring charges $100/year, Abode charges a whopping $241 a year. 

On the other hand, Abode only charges $73 a year for a self-monitoring plan (which includes video storage, person alerts and more), while SimpliSafe costs $120 a year for a comparable plan. Ring, meanwhile, costs $30 a year. The one problem with self-monitoring — and this is true for 암사한강아파트 all three of the systems I’ve mentioned — is that it doesn’t support cellular backup. If your power goes out, so does your system’s ability to communicate with your phone.

It all boils down to this: if you’re planning to self-monitor a smaller apartment or home, Abode could be a solid deal for you. But it you’re planning to cover a larger space with Iota and its compatible devices — or if you want professional monitoring — Abode’s competitors might be more economical options.

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Abode’s door/window sensors are standard and perform well.

David Priest/CNET

Two for the show

Price isn’t everything, and when it comes to securing your home, it might not even be the primary thing. So how does Abode Iota actually perform?

As mentioned, setup is a breeze and the Abode app is fairly accessible. In it you can access live streams of your cameras, check your devices, arm your system and create smart home automations (including using geofencing).

I had a few minor issues with the app, most of which I could figure out without much trouble. One annoying discovery, for instance, was that the button to switch my Iota to Wi-Fi (from being hardwired to my router) simply didn’t appear on Chrome when I was using the online Abode platform. After Googling it, I discovered the button was still there, and 암사한강아파트 I could click on it — it just wasn’t visible (meaning I had to know which blank section of the screen to click for a setup action almost everyone will perform).

Such issues were few, but they were enough to make the app experience feel less than ideal.

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Abode is one of the few DIY home security platforms that works well with Apple HomeKit and Siri.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Despite these annoyances, Abode’s integrations are genuinely impressive. Iota works well with Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri. Again, the integration setups are a little clunky: Apple, for instance, lets you scan a QR code, but you have to generate the code on the Abode app rather than it being on the device itself. Instead of a quick scan, you have to copy down an eight-digit number and 암사한강아파트 re-enter it on the Home app.

That hitch aside, you still get a HomeKit-enabled DIY security system — something you won’t get from SimpliSafe without a third-party bridge, and you won’t get from Ring at all.

Final thoughts

Abode Iota is a solid DIY home security system, and if you’re looking to secure a small house or apartment, it could be perfect for you. The other big appeal is its Apple HomeKit integration, which sets it apart from much of the direct competition.

That said, Iota still isn’t perfect. Expanding the system is more expensive than it is with SimpliSafe or Ring Alarm, and the professional monitoring subscription is the most expensive of the lot. Its app can also be a tad clunky. In addition, Abode still doesn’t require multifactor authentication for signing into its apps, which should be more of an industry norm by this point.

Whether the pros outweigh the cons will largely depend on your exact needs — but I can say Abode is worth considering. I just won’t recommend it for everyone.

Hospital plays Don't Stop Believin' as COVID patients are discharged

A New York City hospital has created a new tradition to help lift spirits amid the COVID-19 crisis. 

Staff at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens have started playing Journey’s rousing 1981 smash Don’t Stop Believin’ each time a coronavirus patient is discharged from the facility and sent home. 

Heartwarming video filmed April 10 shows two recovered patients partaking in the ritual as nurses push them through the lobby before they are transported back to their homes. 

‘Every patient discharge gives hope to NewYork-Presbyterian Queens staff.

They are encouraged to see their patients recovering and going home,’ Jaclyn Mucaria, the hospital’s president told Storyful in a statement. 

Staff at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens have started playing Journey's rousing 1981 smash 'Don't Stop Believin'' each time a coronavirus patient is discharged from the facility and sent home.

Staff at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens have started playing Journey’s rousing 1981 smash ‘Don’t Stop Believin” each time a coronavirus patient is discharged from the facility and sent home.

A female patient who has also been discharged is seen clapping along excitedly and, although a mask covers much of her face, it is clear she is smiling widely

A female patient who has also been discharged is seen clapping along excitedly and, although a mask covers much of her face, it is clear she is smiling widely

In the video, a male patient is seen raising his hands victoriously in the air as he celebrates his release from hospital while the hit song plays in the background. 

A female patient who has also been discharged is seen clapping along excitedly.

Although a mask covers much of her face, 암사한강아파트 it is clear she is smiling widely. 

However, most excited about the patients’ releases are the hospital workers, who dance and cheer through the hallways. 

Like many medical facilities in The Big Apple, NewYork-Presbyterian Queens has been struggling in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

A view of refrigeration units serving as temporary morgues at NewYork- Presbyterian Queens

A view of refrigeration units serving as temporary morgues at NewYork- Presbyterian Queens

On Wednesday, New York state added another 752 fatalities, bringing the official death toll above 11,500

On Wednesday, New York state added another 752 fatalities, bringing the official death toll above 11,500

As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 100,000 New York City residents have tested positive to the virus. 

One nurse from New-York Presbyterian Queens told The New Scientist last month described scenes inside the hospital as something from ‘a war zone, but without the blood’. 

‘It’s inconceivable.

Everything we know about medicine is out the window,’ said the nurse who has been practicing for more than 40 years.  

On Wednesday, New York state added another 752 fatalities, bringing the official death toll above 11,500. 

‘We are not out of the woods yet,’ Governor Andrew Cuomo stated at his press conference Wednesday. 

‘Coronavirus is still a monumental public health crisis and 암사한강아파트 we are losing New Yorkers every day to this virus.

Each New Yorker lost to COVID is a heartbreaking loss.’  

British jobs revolution will fuel a strong recovery, says Hays chief 

Running a recruitment business in the midst of a pandemic, with unemployment soaring around the world, might seem like a nightmare.

But not for Alistair Cox, who is the wiry 60-year-old chief executive of rapidly expanding Hays.

The £2.6billion jobs agency, once part of the Hay’s Wharf group, 암사한강아파트 with origins dating back to the 17th century, has grown from small beginnings into an enterprise operating in 30 territories across the globe.

Confident: Alistair Cox, chief exec of jobs agency Hays is buoyant about its prospects, especially in technology jobs, a segment of the labour market where it has come to dominate

Confident: Alistair Cox, chief exec of jobs agency Hays is buoyant about its prospects, especially in technology jobs, a segment of the labour market where it has come to dominate

Cox is buoyant about its prospects, especially in technology jobs, a segment of the labour market that Hays has come to dominate.

‘London is building a real name for itself as a global hub for technology and technological innovation. I think it is fantastic,’ he declares.

‘My London tech business is bigger now than it was pre-Covid.’

When coronavirus revealed itself in early 2020, Hays had first sight of the potential disastrous consequences from the company’s recruitment offices in China, where the enterprise was largely closed down. Hays staff found themselves, almost overnight, having to work from home.

The early experience from China turned out to be a godsend for one of Britain’s world-class service-sector firms. 

Companies such as Hays are often overlooked as big earners, in spite of making a big contribution to the UK overseas trade, the tax base and Britain’s reputation overseas.

Cox’s attention immediately turned to Australia – which he describes as ‘next door’ to China – where the group has some 40 offices.

The task was to discover how the company should react if the disease went global.

‘I don’t think any company had ever fully tested the system to say everybody can work fully remotely for an extended period of time. 

That social experiment had never happened,’ Cox tells me in an online interview from his apartment in the heart of London’s ghostly quiet Covent Garden.

A father of two adult sons, Cox has spent most of the pandemic locked down on his own in central London. 

He has kept busy in his leisure time by taking vast numbers of photographs of an eerily silent London and is currently organising the slides into some kind of order: A record of a plague year.

The Hays boss believes that the pandemic has lit a fire under the digital economy, adding: 'Every organisation in the world is going through a digital journey'

The Hays boss believes that the pandemic has lit a fire under the digital economy, adding: ‘Every organisation in the world is going through a digital journey’

Cox is longing to be set free and go on a hike in the Lake District, climb a mountain or, even better, go scuba-diving just off the tip of the Malaysian part of Borneo. 

As Covid advanced, Cox rapidly put in place infrastructure making sure that all his recruitment consultants and staff had the broadband 암사한강아파트 connections, tablets, laptops or PCs necessary to work from home.

When Milan went into meltdown in the spring of last year, it became clear that the virus knew no geographical borders.

The group’s tech teams had already made it possible for 11,000 employees to work from home seamlessly.

It was just as well that Hays was prepared for fully online working because the fastest expanding part of its ‘white- collar’ job finding is for the technology sector, with finance not far behind.

This is no accident in Cox’s view, because these are sectors where Britain excels.

‘We are arguably the world’s biggest recruiters of tech talent for our clients. We are not just finding technologists to go and work in tech companies, but for every organisation in the world that is going through a digital journey,’ Cox says excitedly.

The chief executive is very much in the camp of Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane when it comes to Britain’s prospects for the economy springing back.

‘We’ve had in the UK one of the sharpest rebounds in activity that we’ve seen anywhere in the world,’ he says, ‘albeit off a low base. 

There are so many innovations that we are able to talk about.’ He says that people tend to overlook the world of video games, which is a tech industry too – one where Britain has real leadership.

The Hays boss believes that as a recruiter his company is in the right place at the right time.

The pandemic has lit a fire under the digital economy, adding: ‘Every organisation in the world is going through a digital journey. 

Whether they need cyber security experts, whether they need people who can flip a business on its head and switch to e-commerce or they are developing apps to go to market – everybody needs these people.’

There is evidence from the Office for National Statistics that it is young people in the 18-25 age group who have been hardest hit by pandemic unemployment because of the damage done to the hospitality and retail sectors, often the first port of call for newcomers to the workforce.

But with the right qualifications, things could be very different.

Starting salaries can be as high as £40,000 to £50,000 in tech. ‘Then, as they start to progress and get experience, you can see people well into six figures,’ Cox says.

Cox started life as an apprentice aircraft engineer at Hawker Siddeley in Hull (now part of BAE).

He later went on to university and gained an MBA from the top-rated Stanford Business School in the US.

But he has never lost his enthusiasm for starting at the bottom, explaining: ‘Apprenticeships did me a power of good – you don’t have to go and 암사한강아파트 get a degree to become a highly skilled contributor to society.’

Nevertheless, he is critical of the Government’s apprentice levy and scheme, warning: ‘It is too inflexible, a quite regimented system that I went through 40-odd years ago.’

He wants to see a redesign on the whole way apprenticeships operate, with structured in-house training rather than the old concept of going off to a technical college for a couple of sessions a week.

Hays itself has embraced in-house training for the 1,000 or so ‘apprentices’ that it takes on each year, and offers training and refresher courses for job applicants.

A big potential growth area is climate change.

‘I think we can put some real rocket fuel into that whole sector,’ he argues, noting, ‘there is not a sufficient supply of skills.’

That’s something which Hays can help with. A passionate believer in free markets, Cox says that the Government deserves credit for furlough and the Covid support schemes.

He accepts that this has been costly and 암사한강아파트 thinks the Chancellor Rishi Sunak had little choice in his March Budget but to ‘start paying for it’.

He believes that as long as the UK maintains its ‘flexible workforce’ the corporation tax increase should not slow inward investment.

Let’s hope he is right.

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