Smarten up your oldschool home security setup with Scout’s Takeover box

smarten oldschool home security setup scouts takeover box screen shot 2014 06 26 at 1 24 57 pm

Here’s a new idea: an alarm system that piggybacks on your existing landline-based home security system and makes it smarter. Instead of replacing it entirely, you simply retrofit your oldschool setup with a web-connected box to give it more capabilities.

Pretty novel, right? Well that’s the idea behind an upcoming product from Chicago-based startup Scout. The company, which already offers a line of DIY home security devices, is currently running three separate crowdfunding campaigns to launch a trio of new products — one of which is the aforementioned Takeover box.

scout takeoverThe potential product lineup also includes a connected security camera and a smart light socket adapter. Each device has its own crowdfunding campaign on, and the first one to reaches its goal will ship before the other two.

We’ve seen other iterations of the security camera and connected socket adapter before (i.e. Dropcam, Emberlight), but as far as we can tell, the Takeover box is a completely new idea. There’s currently nothing like it on the market right now.

Most traditional alarm systems –like those you’d get from a provider like Brinks or ADT– are tied to wired telephone lines, and relay information using a series of tones to indicate when something happens. Therefore, if a window opens/is broken in a particular zone, for example, it sets off a fixed series of tones over the phone line that is interpreted by the alarm company. Scout’s takeover system uses those same tones, but translates them over a cellular or IP connection — so instead of getting a call from your security provider, you can get an instantaneous alert on your mobile device and can act accordingly.

Speaking with GigaOm, Scout co-founder Dan Roberts said about 90 percent of home alarm systems in North America would work with this system, so nearly anybody who has an oldschool alarm system hardwired into their walls already could easily install one. Right now, the company’s plan is to charge $19.99 a month for the monitoring services, plus $199 for the Takeover box itself. Sounds a bit steep at first, but it would essentially allow you to ditch your current provider and pay a considerably lower rate in exchange for a one-time 200-dollar hardware investment.

Not a bad deal if you ask us.