Samsung's SmartThings just announced that Scout's 24-7 monitoring service will be available for $20 per month through the SmartThings platform. This is a first for Samsung's smart-home brand, which has been limited to standalone security cameras and accessories up until this point.
SmartThings is a startup-turned-Samsung property that focuses exclusively on DIY smart-home and home-security products. The SmartThings Hub, now in its second generation, works with smart-home products from different manufacturers and it its goal is to offer a "universal" app where you can control all of the connected products in your home. (We actually have a SmartThings Hub installed at the CNET SmartHome and it does a decent job of limiting the number of apps we have to access for remote device control.)
Scout is a startup that offers a variety of security products, including a hub of its own, door/window sensors, motion sensors, security cameras, and key fobs for quick system arming/disarming. Unlike many DIY security kits, Scout offers optional cellular backup as well as professional monitoring. Its new partnership with Samsung simply extends its professional monitoring service to SmartThings users.
In the war between traditional security firms and do-it-yourself security products, 24-7 monitoring has always been something of a sticking point. ADT, AT&T and other professional outfits offer monitoring as part of their service, whereas most DIY options give you the reigns (including having to call the police or other authorities yourself, if needed).
Some overlap does exist between professional and DIY security, though. Simplisafe, a DIY home security system, offers a lot of the same features and accessories as an ADT-style firm, including professional monitoring and a monthly subscription fee. The advantage is that you aren't locked into a two-year-plus contract -- Simplisafe's service is available on a month-to-month basis.
The same goes for Scout and its optional, contract-free professional monitoring service. But, extending this service to an inclusive multiprotocol hub like SmartThings is entirely new for the market -- and an exciting shift for the industry as a whole. (Please note: through January, current SmartThings customers will be able to get one month of professional monitoring and a SmartThings door/window sensor for free.)
Since we already have SmartThings installed at the CNET SmartHome, we'll plan to test out this new monitoring service to see how it stacks up against Simplisafe and even professional firms like ADT. Stay tuned.