Scout Home Security System review: Scout's security system keeps your safety in check

The hub has a 100 foot range. An ethernet cable and power cord are included with it as well. Once it's plugged into the router and displaying a solid green LED, the hub is connected. From there, I connected the Motion Sensor (closest to the hub, about 10 feet, 3 meters away), the Door Panel (about 30-40 feet, 9-12 meters away) and the Access Sensor (about 100 feet, 30 meters away).

Each device has a strong adhesive backing that makes sticking them to walls, doors and other surfaces very simple. While it took a little effort to remove them, they left no sticky residue behind.

Screenshot by Megan Wollerton/CNET

Custom modes

Beyond buying whatever combination of accessories you like -- two Door Panels and a Motion Sensor, a Door Panel, three Access Sensors and an HD Camera and so on -- Scout also lets you set your own rules. It pre-populates Home, Sleep, Away and Vacation modes, but you can edit them and add more as needed.

You have a few options within the mode settings, but they all follow the same "If this, then that" template. This format has become fairly ubiquitous both within apps like Scout and as part of larger open-API services like IFTTT, which literally stands for "If this, then that."

For example, I set Scout's Vacation mode to send me push and email notifications and initiate the siren if something triggered either the Motion Sensor, the Door Panel or the Access Sensor. I set the other modes to respond if just one of the three sensors was triggered. I then rotated among the various modes, arming and disarming them and triggering the alarm by walking in front of the Motion Sensor, opening and closing the Door-Panel-connected office door and opening and closing a desk drawer with an attached Access Sensor.

Both the Door Panel and Hub itself are equipped with 106-decibel sirens. You can use either the app or the RFID fobs to disarm the Door Panel. Everything worked as expected. I received push and email alerts and the siren blared every time a device linked to an armed mode was triggered.

A bit limited in the end

Even though Scout worked very well and boasts a unique combination of features for a DIY system, I can't help but feel that the stand-alone DIY kit is losing the smart home race. The Scout Hub does work with the ZigBee protocol, but specific brands still need to partner with Scout to make that capability worthwhile. So far, it can't control Philips Hue LEDs or any other popular devices that speak ZigBee.

Without those specific partnerships or larger integrations with inclusive solutions like SmartThings, Wink , Homekit or the initiative, Scout becomes less and less appealing.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

A recap

Scout does a very good job of combining DIY ease-of-use with advanced features like cellular backup and professional monitoring. All of the products I tested worked well separately and as part of the larger system. The app is well designed and I consistently received alerts based on the rules I set.

However, at this point in the game, kits that don't offer IFTTT or integrate with specific third-party companies feel like they're missing out on a lot of potential within the smart home. We want our devices to speak to one another so we don't have to stick to one specific brand (unless we want to). That will be a big challenge for Scout as these sorts of partnerships become increasingly commonplace.

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