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“This is a great, great business,” Boyce told IBJ. “There are tons of innovations going on within this industry and that’s going to push growth. ”But the potential has spawned a plethora of new competitors, from cable television providers such as Comcast, to telephone companies including ATandT and Verizon, and the latest—internet retail behemoth Amazon. The leaders at Defenders aren’t overly concerned. “We are excited to see new entrants in the home security industry,” Boyce said. “We believe these brands will increase consumer interest for security and smart home solutions and help grow the overall category.

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One of the biggest draws of a DIY system is the opportunity to add in third party equipment like Philips Hue lights or a Nest Thermostat at any point. 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.