abode is currently our top recommended self-monitored home security system, but anyone who has read our review probably knows that we usually say, “buy the system, skip the camera.” abode has yet to show us a camera that’s worthy of protecting our homes, but that might be changing. At CES 2018, they announced their intent to go all in with iota, an all-in-one camera and security system.
Five Reasons Why We Should Give iota a Chance
iota has a cylindrical shape, much like iCamera Keep, but it’s fabric-wrapped and certainly boasts its own unique set of features.
1. It Works Alone or With the abode Security System
iota can work as a standalone security system or you can use it with your existing abode system. Either way, the camera takes advantage of abode’s intelligence. You can control the camera using the existing abode app (Android and iOS) or the web portal. From there, you can set up alerts, customize notifications, view a live stream from anywhere, and more.
iota offers battery backup, two-way audio, and a 1080p resolution with automated night vision using integrated infrared LEDs backed by a 152° field of view. The camera monitors for different events. If something is detected, it sends an alert and starts recording. Recorded clips are uploaded to the abode timeline for later viewing and the camera also supports up to a 32GB microSD card for local storage. iota protects your home using its built-in motion detector, but also by connecting to other sensors and third-party devices.
2. It Offers HomeKit Support
Update 1/10/2019: abode plans to add HomeKit to both iota and the Gateway.
iota will be one of the first DIY security solutions to work with Apple HomeKit. Through the Home app, you can add the camera to new or existing rules and scenes. You can also control the camera using your voice via Siri.
For a list of other devices that work with HomeKit, head here.
3. It’s a Smart Home Hub
If HomeKit isn’t your thing, there are other options.
First of all, iota acts as a gateway and can communicate with up to 150 Z-Wave, Zigbee, and abode RF connected devices. It will work with all existing abode branded devices, but abode hasn’t released a list of compatible Z-Wave and Zigbee devices. We're assuming the list will match the list of devices compatible with the abode Gateway. The existing list includes products like smoke detectors, water leak detectors, connected lights, door locks, and more by brands like Aeon, Enerwave, First Alert, GE, Linear, Kwikset, and Schlage. By adding other sensors, you can create rules to trigger the camera to record based on event. For example, you can set the camera to record if someone unlocks the door, opens a window, and more.
Second, abode offers direct integrations with with Philips Hue, LifX, Nest, and ecobee.
Finally, abode has an IFTTT channel, and they plan to add actions and triggers for iota.
4. It’s Multilingual
Yes, you can command iota using Siri or you can use other voice assistants as the device is multilingual. iota also integrates with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
abode’s integration with Alexa is really useful. Using your voice, you can arm or disarm your security system (disarming requires a voice PIN), check your system’s status, and even ask for the status of individual door/window sensors. Finally, you can set your abode motion sensors and door/window sensors to trigger Alexa Routines.
5. Self-Monitoring and Professional Monitoring
While you can certainly monitor iota on your own, you can also add professional monitoring. iota has access to abode’s no-contract short and long-term monitoring plans.
|$8/month or $80/year
|$20/month or $200/year
|iOS, Android, and Web App Control
|3G Cellular Backup
|24/7 Professional Monitoring
|Optional On-Demand Professional Monitoring (3 Days: $8 / 7 Days: $15)
|Timeline and Media Storage
|Unlimited User Accounts
|IFTTT, Amazon Echo, Works with Nest, Google Assistant
|Email and Support Site
|Phone, Email, and Support Site
|Premium Phone, Email, and Support Site
iota or the Gateway Hub
Perhaps the most confusing aspect of iota is that it seemingly competes directly with the current abode Gateway. They share features like 3G cellular backup (soon to be upgraded to 4G) and battery backup that will keep the camera running for up to 10 hours. However, iota is not a replacement for the Gateway. abode will continue to sell both options to customers and there are reasons why one might choose one over the other.
The first difference between the two is how they are sold. Gateway protects by connecting to multiple devices. The Starter Kit includes the Gateway, one door/window sensor, a motion detector, and a key fob. Of course, you can add other devices a la carte. In fact, you can connect the Gateway to the abode Indoor 1080p Streaming Camera. The Streaming Camera offers the same technology that is now embedded inside iota.
iota can also connect with other devices, but it’s also a standalone security device that acts as an all-in-one Gateway, motion detector, and camera.
We're giving this one to the Gateway. It ships with more devices to protect your home and has a smaller price tag.
The second difference is that iota works with HomeKit; Gateway does not. If you’re a HomeKit user, you should choose iota.
Third, iota doesn’t require Ethernet, but the Gateway does. If you don’t have room for yet another Ethernet hogging device, you should choose iota.
Fourth, iota is a streaming camera. The motion detector that ships with the Gateway is an image sensor. If it detects motion, it takes a snapshot; it does not stream video to the cloud. If you don’t want a security system that streams video, choose the Gateway.
It’s hard for us to say yay or nay to iota. Though we got to see it during our CES 2018 visit, we didn’t see it in action. We also have yet to test abode’s 1080p Streaming Camera which is the same technology embedded inside iota. However, if you’re looking for a no-contract home security solution, we do think that iota will be a viable Gateway alternative, and we're excited that it opens the door for HomeKit support.
iota is now available for purchase. It's available as a standalone kit, but there are also packages that include a 1-year subscription to abode's monitoring plans. Also, if you're a Gateway user, watch out for loyalty discounts.