What’s the deal, Biggs? I thought I was your west coast hippie? Apparently I’m getting replaced because I’ve been sitting on this story for a little too long.
About two weeks ago I was demoed a new home security system called InGrid in San Francisco. As someone who has never owned their own home, I can’t say I’m terribly familiar with the home security industry in general. But I was impressed by InGrid nonetheless, and in large part because InGrid is trying to bring home security to people like myself who don’t have an established homestead to wire up with ADT.
InGrid can come with a variety of components, but the most important parts are the little sensors you put around your house, mostly on windows and doors. These sensors operate on batteries that last about ten years and communicate with base stations, such as special inGrid phone handsets, consoles, and extenders. When the inGrid system has been put in place and configured, you’ll be able to arm your house so that whenever a sensor gets triggered (a door or window opens) the police are notified.
There are quite a few things about InGrid that make it unlike traditional home security systems. You don’t have to use the system just for reporting break-ins to the police. If you suspect your college roommate may be borrowing your stuff surreptitiously, you can set up inGrid to track the activity of a sensor you place on your closet door. Activity logs can be accessed via the web browser wherever you go, and you can even set up things so you receive a text message on your phone if you’re in class and your roomie grabs your stuff.
InGrid also doesn’t require you to sign a contract, although it will make the initial equipment purchase cheaper. Without a contract, kits range from $270-400, but with a contract you can get started for only $130 (giving you three sensors, a handset, and a console). Subscriptions cost a flat $30 per month no matter which kit you buy or which contract you sign.
InGrid’s overall strategy is to disrupt the current home security industry, which it views as highly stagnant. If you want to deploy a traditional solution, you’ll need a technician to come to your home and extensively wire your house up. And even after all this hassle, such analog solutions are easily compromised by burglars who know they just need to cut your phone line before breaking in.
InGrid, on the other hand, requires no technicians and bases itself on digital technologies. If you have an broadband connection, you can set up InGrid’s reporting mechanism to work with that. Worried that your internet connection is too intermittent? InGrid will also hook up with your phone line – and your neighbor’s line, too, if you’re extra concerned. Soon, the base stations will be able to report activity via cellular as well.
Look for InGrid to provide some extra components, like motion sensors (although the company argues you probably won’t want ‘em anyway, since you’ll just get to explains things to the police every time your pet knocks over a lamp).
InGrid Digital Home Protection [Product website]