DIY security company Swann is the latest player to enter the Internet of Things arena with a SwannOne, a customisable system that’s been designed to work with Nest and Philips Hue.
Swann’s new One system lets buyers quickly and easily set up a home security system which from launch can include HD cameras, alarms, motion sensors with temperature controls and smart plugs as well as a hub allowing all of these things to communicate.
We’ll get to each of those devices in good time but before that we should take a look at how Swann sees its smart home products fitting in to the market.
Brands cranking out gadgets for the ‘smart home’ seem to be a dime a dozen these days and the arrival of yet another will likely provoke more shoulder-shrugging from folks who remain to be convinced.
There’s also a fear that investing too heavily into one particular smart home system means that existing products or services won’t be compatible, unless they’re HomeKit-certified, there’s an IFTTT channel or it’s part of a program like Works With Nest.
Works with Nest. And Philips Hue. And Kwikset. And WeMo…
Related: New Nest Protect, Dropcam-esque Nest Cam plus an all-in one app hands-onSwann is taking a clever approach here – by making the SwannOne range compatible with two of the biggest players in smart heating and connected lighting space – Nest and Philips – it means that people who’ve got either of these products running will be able to get set up with Swann.
The SwannOne temperature sensors for example can be configured to make your Nest thermostat turn the heating down or up if it detects that heat exceeds or falls below a pre-set temperature. Similarly, SwannOne works with Kwikset’s SmartCode Deadbolt locks, which means you can check who’s at the front door via a Swann security camera and grant access from the same app.
Swann has also announced that support for Philips Hue is coming very soon, meaning you’ll be able to do things like make all of your lights come on when an alarm is triggered.
Swann’s Sales Manager for Europe Alastair Park told us that discussions are also taking place with Belkin to bake in support for WeMo smart plugs.
As well as playing nicely with the existing kids on the block, SwannOne also functions quite nicely as a self-contained home security unit.
So how does SwannOne actually work?
As we mentioned above, it can consist of cameras, motion sensors, smart plugs and alarms. Launching today are two types of SwannOne camera, one designed for outdoor surveillance and indoor security.
In terms of key specs, they’re essentially the same: Both cameras are capable of recording 720p HD video, have 76 degree viewing angles and ten infra-red LEDs to allow for night vision recording. They’re both programmed to start recording whenever motion or specific sounds, like breaking glass, are detected.
The outdoor camera comes with a mount that allows for easy fixing to a wall as well as a weather-resistant coating while the more poseable indoor cam comes with a magnetic base.
This lets you twist and turn in into whatever position affords you the best view of your living room, or whichever room you’re looking to cover. This also means you can fix an extra base to a ceiling or wall if you ever want to reposition the cameras for whatever reason.
As well as security cams, SwannOne also features a pair of motion sensors, one which detects whenever a door or window is opened and another which detects general motion. These can be useful for detecting potential break-ins, sending alerts and notifications to your phone if anything triggers the sensors.
SwannOne loves the sound of breaking glass
Park told us that the company has been working closely with Cambridge-based start up Audio Analytic, a firm which specialises in what it calls ‘intelligent sound detection’.
Put shortly, this means SwannOne’s sensors and cameras will be clever enough to differentiate between the sounds made by your stereo or TV compared to real life noises.
Park said: “There are certain sounds that won’t trigger, like gunshots or the sound of breaking glass coming from your TV but a pane of glass, a windowpane that’s reinforced or tempered, will sound an alert or act as a trigger for whatever you’ve asked the system to do.”
Lee Harrington, retail and e-commerce merchandising manager added: “TV sounds are heavily compressed. So unless you’ve got a super-high end audio surround system, it’s highly unlikely that you’d get a false trigger from this. The system is smart enough to recognise the difference in pitch created by a wine glass breaking versus a window being smashed.”
As well as smashing glass, SwannOne is also primed to keep an ear out for noises made by babies, smoke alarms and the sounds of plant pots being knocked over by errant pets. The idea is that Swann don’t want you to be bothered by notifications for things that aren’t emergencies, so when you do get an alert, it’s something you’ll genuinely want to respond to.
SwannOne app to rule them all…
Rounding out the security aspect of SwannOne is a pair of burglar alarms – again, one for outdoors and indoors – which, as you might guess, make an ear-splitting racket and shine strobe lights.
SwannOne’s smart home umbrella also covers smart plugs, which means you’ll be able to remotely shut off home appliances from your phone.
The SwannOne app lets you control and to a degree configure all of these devices from one place. If you want to be able to get a live feed from any of your SwannOne cameras, fire up the app, open My Devices and you’ll able to monitor your home in real time, provided you’ve got a data connection.
The app also lets you remotely enable one of three presets – Home, Night and Away – which can be customised to your liking. By default, Home will power down the alarm systems but keep cameras active, if parents want to be able to keep an eye on their kids. Night mode, for when you go to sleep, turns on all door and window sensors but can be set up so that any upstairs sensors are turned off, so should you go to the bathroom in the middle of the night you won’t end up setting off the alarm by mistake. Away, obviously for when nobody’s home, primes everything for action.
For instances where you don’t have your phone to hand or it’s out of battery, you can trigger these three preset modes with a keyfob, which features three buttons for the different modes.
….SwannOne Hub to bind them…
Tying everything together is the SwannOne wireless Smart Hub. This is an unassuming white box that plugs into your router and communicates with devices around your home via WiFi, Zigbee (868 MHz) and Bluetooth LE.
Ingeniously, you’ll also be able to connect external hard drives to this hub for storing video recordings made by the cameras, if you don’t want to sign up for Swann’s £5.99/week subscription service. There’s also scope for it to be used as an ad hoc phone charger thanks to a hidden USB port.
How much is SwannOne’s home security gear?
You’ll be able to pick up a series of starter kits which contain everything you need to get ready. SwannOne is designed to be a modular system, so if you need to add any more components, here’s how much each extra thing will set you back:
- SwannOne Key Fob Remote – £22.99
- Outdoor camera – £119.99
- Indoor camera – £99.99
- SwannOne Smart Hub – £139.99
- Wireless outdoor siren – £79.99
- Door and window sensor – £19.99
- Door and window sensor twin pack – £39.99
- Wireless motion and temperature sensor – £29.99
SwannOne starter kits are now available to buy from Maplin and Screwfix, which you’ll be able to buy from Costco, PC World and Currys later this year.
From Maplin, you’ll be able to pick up an Alarm Starter Kit for £200, which consists of a smart hub, keyfob, one motion sensor and a door/window sensor. The £350 Video Monitoring Kit consists of all the above, plus a SwannOne indoor camera.
Screwfix is flogging a Smart Home Control bundle for £400 which gives you a hub, one smart plug and an indoor camera, one motion sensor, two door/window sensors and two keyfobs.