Amazon smart security packages soften smart home setup learning curve

Amazon tends to mix splashy, colorful product launches such as the Echo Dot Kids Edition with quieter introductions. The retail juggernaut’s gradual incursion into the residential security marketplace represents the more measured approach. Amazon’s five smart security packages also signal a wider shift for selling to the smart home market.

Techies and early adopters may find joy installing and configuring multi-component smart home systems. For mainstream consumers, however, staring at a pile of small white component boxes and a card with an installation link is often a “So now what?” moment.

In early 2017, Amazon announced a smart home consultation and installation service in conjunction with iDevice. The Amazon Smart Home Services Store popped up online later that year. Consumers could book appointments to have Amazon experts come to their homes to answer questions and install smart home devices, CNN Money reported at the time.

Amazon Smart Home Services
Amazon Smart Home Services

As of this writing, Amazon’s smart home security packages are available in Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Texas, Nevada, North Carolina, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, Washington D.C., and Florida. The packages may not be available at all locations in the listed states, as this writer discovered while browsing security package options. A “not available yet in your area” message popped up with an opportunity to be contacted later.

So one reason for Amazon’s smart home security program quiet introduction is clear — why make a big introduction for a product and service you can only sell in parts of the country? When most areas in the U.S. are ready for the security product and service packages, Amazon will likely make a bigger splash.

Amazon’s five smart security packages involve two visits by Amazon employees — the first is to identify needs and help you configure and order the system. After delivery, another Amazon expert shows up at a scheduled appointment time to install and configure the devices and show you how to use them.

The five security packages include the components and installation in one price. There are two packages for outside protection: the $240 Outdoor Base package has indoor and outdoor security lighting plus an Echo Dot, and the $490 Outdoor Plus adds a video doorbell.

Whole-house security bundles start with the $575 Smart package, which includes an Echo Dot, a video doorbell, motion and contact sensors, and a siren. The $840 Smartest package adds safety sensors, an interior camera, and outdoor lighting.

The $320 Indoor Base home security package for renters includes entryway sensors, real-time alerts, and a live interior video feed. Indoor Base is the only package that does not come with or require an Echo Dot.

After your Amazon smart home security system is installed, there are no further monthly service fees — a significant difference from traditional residential security systems.

Smart Home

Whatever happened to those dumb smart products we wrote about in 2017?

A smart salt dispenser? As manufacturers rush to get the next new smart item out there, we wonder if all these new inventions are really necessary. Here’s a list of 10 of the quirkiest home smart gadgets available, and where they are now.
Business

Bags with brains: Smart luggage and gadgets are making travel smoother

The bag you use to tote your stuff can affect the experience of any trip. In response, suitcases are wising up, and there are now options for smart luggage with scales, tracking, and more. Here are our favorite pieces.
Product Review

Gate’s Smart Lock is locked and loaded but ultimately lacks important basics

In a world of video cameras and doorbells comes the Gate Smart Lock, a lock with a video camera embedded. It’s a great idea, but lacks some crucial functionality to make it a top-notch product.
Smart Home

Amazon knocks down the price on the second-generation Echo smart speaker

Amazon just knocked down the price of the second-generation Echo smart speaker with Alexa by 25 percent. The Echo can answer questions, control smart home devices, fill a room with music with its Dolby speakers, and make hands-free calls.
Smart Home

Ikea isn’t throwing shade with the delayed release of its smart blinds

Ikea planned to release is Tradfri-compatible smart blinds in April 2019, but the products have been delayed until later in the year for a firmware update that promises better functionality.
Smart Home

Lutron’s Fan Control makes ceiling fans smart, but has some turnoffs

Lutron recently came out with a smart switch that controls ceiling fans, the Lutron Caseta Fan Speed Control Switch. How does it stack up? Here's a first-hand review of the Lutron Fan Control switch.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

Amazon and Kia team up to simplify EV home-charging station installs

Kia Motors announced a new program with Amazon for electric vehicles. Customers planning to purchase a new Kia EV or PHEV can check out recommended Level 2 240-volt home charging stations and arrange installation in their homes.
Smart Home

Traeger’s latest wood-pellet grills are smoky, smart, and spacious

Traeger is famous in the world of barbecue and heavy-duty grills for its signature pellet grills and now the company is expanding this year by adding three new brands of redesigned
Smart Home

The five best teeth-whitening kits you can buy on Amazon

Teeth whitening can have a major impact on a person’s smile and overall appearance. You don't necessarily have to go to the dentist to get your teeth whitened though. Here are the best teeth-whitening kits you can buy.
Smart Home

Is your Keurig making gross coffee? Might be time for a cleaning

No one likes a dirty, scaled, or smelly Keurig, but how are you supposed to clean them? Before you throw yours out the window, here is a quick guide on cleaning your machine out thoroughly.
Smart Home

Which is better, the original Echo or the Echo Dot? We compare them

Amazon Echo vs. Dot: Having Alexa answer your questions is nothing short of futuristic, but which device should you get? There are some big differences between the two, especially in size, sound, and cost.
Smart Home

Viral porch pirate videos freak people out, cause unrealistic concern

Viral porch pirate videos convince others crime is more prevalent than facts indicate. According to polls, even though FBI reports show property crime rates are at historic lows, more people worry about crime today than ever before.
Smart Home

Sony’s Aibo robot dog can now patrol your home for persons of interest

Sony released the all-new Aibo in the U.S. around nine months ago, and since then the robot dog has (hopefully) been melting owners' hearts with its cute looks and clever tricks. Now it has a new one up its sleeve.