Kangaroo: A Security System That Uses Nothing But Motion SensorsBy - 10/09/2018
Usually, when a company launches a DIY security system, they start with a hub and maybe a few sensors, like what Nest and Ring both offer. Not Kangaroo. They’ve launched a security system comprised of nothing but motion sensors, although they plan to add more sensors soon. Still, they claim that with motion sensors alone, they can secure your home.
How Kangaroo Works
So how does a hubless, motion sensor-based security system work?
Building Your System
First, you need to figure out how many motion sensors you need to cover your entire house. Keep in mind that there are no door/window sensors, your motion sensors will need to cover all possible entrances. Also, Kangaroo only allows up to 20 motion sensors per location, so you will need to be strategic with your placement.
Each sensor has a field of view of 120°, detection range of up to 15 feet, and built-in tamper sensors that will alert you if someone tries to tamper with your sensors. They are also immune to pets no taller than 2 feet 4 inches, which means most medium-sized dogs and most cats.
And if you’re wondering how much the system will cost, that depends on how many sensors you need. One Kangaroo motion sensor sells for $30.
Connecting Kangaroo To Your Smartphone
After planning for and purchasing sensors, you will need to tie them to Kangaroo’s Simple Home Security app, available for iOS and Android users. To do that, each motion sensor must connect to your router via Wi-Fi. Keep in mind that means EACH AND EVERY motion sensor. The hubless approach might seem appealing to some users, but it’s not appealing to your router nor your Wi-Fi network. Sure, the motion sensors won’t eat up a lot of bandwidth, but having a bunch of sensors connected to your router could congest your network. Also, Kangaroo motion sensors only work on a 2.4GHz band. If you do end up purchasing a Kangaroo security system, I recommend upgrading your router as well.
Once your Kangaroo motion sensors are connected to Wi-Fi, you should be able to see and control them using the app. From there, you can arm or disarm your motion sensors, invite and chat with co-users, and call the authorities if there’s an emergency.
Choosing A Monitoring Plan
The third step is choosing a monitoring plan. There are two monitoring plans according to Kangaroo’s website. The first one is free (self-monitored), and the other is $9 per month (professional monitoring). However, there’s another monitoring plan mentioned on their FAQ page, a self-monitoring plan that charges $1 per month. Confused, I contacted Kangaroo’s customer support to clear things up.
According to the agent I spoke with, the free plan is only a free trial. Once the trial period ends (100 days), you can choose to self-monitor Kangaroo ($1 per month), upgrade to professional monitoring ($9 per month with a 14-day trial), or unsubscribe. If you unsubscribe, your system will be useless. If you self-monitor, you’ll get push notifications, text, and call alerts, but you’ll have to contact the authorities if the need arises. If you subscribe to the professional monitoring plan, you’ll get push, text, and call alerts plus trained agents will assist you and even call the authorities on your behalf. You might also be able to receive an insurance discount.
|Price||FREE for 100 Days||$1 per month||$9 per month|
|24/7 Professional Monitoring|
|Possible Insurance Discount|
More Devices Coming Soon
Although the Kangaroo motion sensor is Kangaroo’s only product, they have plans to release several other products in the future, including two types of sensors and a siren/keypad.
The siren/keypad reminds me of Nest Guard. Its primary job is to sound an alarm if one of your sensors detects a break-in. However, it’s also a keypad you can use to arm your Kangaroo system or enter a PIN to disarm it. There are also tags that you can give to your house sitters or guests. If they use the tag to arm and disarm Kangaroo, you will be able to track who armed and disarmed your system.
As far as sensors, they have a motion/entry sensor and an environmental sensor in the works. The motion/entry sensor is a two-piece door/window contact sensor that detects when a door is opened using a magnet. However, the piece that attaches to your door includes a PIR motion sensor that gives it the ability to detect motion. Again, we can easily compare this to Nest’s multi-purpose Nest Guard sensor. The environmental sensor is a three-in-one sensor that can detect water, temperature, and humidity.
All three devices are coming soon with pricing and availability TBD.
Are Motion Sensors Enough?
For now, let’s focus on the fact that Kangaroo is selling a security system comprised only of motion sensors. Yes, motion sensors are vital to any security system, but is outfitting your house with them enough to make it more secure? Frankly, it’s not. For one, motion sensors have blind spots and are not always reliable. If I were asked to secure my home using only one type of sensor, a motion sensor would not be my pick. I’d rather place a door/window sensor at all possible entries. Interestingly, there was a security company called Korner that only sold door/window sensors. I covered them back in 2016, but sadly, they stopped operating in June of 2018. And there’s another company, Notion, still chugging along with their multi-purpose sensor that’s a motion sensor, contact sensor, and more.
Second, I’m worried about false alarms. Looking at the app closely, it seems like there are only two arming modes: armed and disarmed. But what if you’re at home sleeping? Inevitably, you or one of your family members will trigger at least one of the sensors when you get up in the middle of the night. I’m just not sure a system that is prone to false alarms should be tied to a monitoring service.
Kangaroo was going for a simple security system, and I think they just missed the mark. While trying to simplify their system, they ended up compromising security quality. The good news for them is that it’s not too late. They can still turn things around by launching other types of sensors and improving the system overall. For them, the hardest part might be overcoming the monthly fee.
To learn more about Kangaroo, you can visit their website at heykangaroo.com. You can also check out their Amazon page where you can purchase Kangaroo motion sensors for $30.00 each.
Photo Credit: Kangaroo