Scout DIY Home Security Tested

By: Brian Rhodes, Published on Dec 11, 2015

This hipster startup claimed it would crush cavemen alarm companies, with a DIY disruptive offering.

Now in production, we bought a Scout Alarm system to see just how well it delivered.

The DIY alarm market has been getting a lot of attention, with mega funded Simplisafe making the most noise (see our Simplisafe Test Results).

**** ******* ******* ******* it ***** ***** ******* alarm *********, **** * *** disruptive ********.

*** ** **********, ** bought ****** ***** ****** ** *** **** how **** ** *********.

*** *** ***** ****** has **** ******* * lot ** *********, **** mega ****** ********** ****** the **** ***** (*** our ********** **** *******).

** ****** *****, ******* at *** ******* ** the ***, *** ***** of *** ******* ********, *** system's ******** *******, *** alerting ************, ******** ** Simplisafe *** ************ ********* systems.

[***************]

Key ********

*** * *** *******, Scout ******** ****** ****, and **** ****** ********** over **** ********** *******. Key ******** *******:

*********

  • ***** ***/*********:***** **** **** **** of *********** *** ****** right. ** *** **** of **** *** ****** and ********** ***, ****** control *** ****** ******** and ********. ** *********** no **** ** ***** during *** **** **** either *********.
  • ******** ******: * *** **** of '**** **********' ** alarm ****** ** ** have ****** ****** ** sent ********** **** **** occur. ** *** **** of *****, ** *** alerts *** *****, *** text, *** **** ************* through *** *** **** no ****** ******.
  • ****** *******: *** *** *** install *******, ***** **** to ****** ************ *** enrollment ** ******* **** the ********** *** *** nice, ** ** ***** multiple ***** ******* ****** location *** * ***********. Sensors ***** ** ***** from *** ********** ***** they **** *********.
  • ********, ***** ******* ***********: **** ******** ******* may **** ****** *** in ******** ***** ******, and *****-***** ********** *** delay **** ******* **** updating *** ****.  **** was *** *** **** with *****, ***** ******* updated ** **** **** a ****** ** *** web ** *** *********, and ** ******/***** ****** happened ****** *** ****.
  • ****** *****: ****** **** *** systems **** **** ******* or **** *** ****, Scout ****** ******** **** are ************ ** ****** grouping ******* *** *** alerts **** **** ** an ********** *****.
  • ***** *******:***** ******** ***** ****, **** **** **** ****** ** ******** configuring **** ********** *** security ********* ********.  **** if ***** ******* ** not *******, ***** ******* standardize *** ********* ** tying ******* ******** ***** on ****** *******.
  • ******* ******:*** ***** *** ******** integrated ******* ****** *** both ***** *** *** communication, *** ** ***** drops *** ****** ***** still ****.  ** *** test, *** ******* ****** about ** *******.

*******, *** ********** ****** well. *****'* ********* *** even ** * *********** for ****:

*********

  • ***** ****: *** ***** ***** annunciation, ***** ** *** loud ******. ******* ******** 100 ** *****, *** siren ** ************* *****.  A ****** ** *****'* forums ******* **** ** be ***#* ********* **** ** ***, ** this *** *** *** result ** * *** test **** ** ***-*** issue.
  • ******** *****: *****'* ***** ******* *** wireless *** *** ****** network *******. *** ******* claims **** ***** *** these **** ** '***** 100 **** (***)', ******* we *********** ************ ******** at ** ****, *** no *********** ** *** beyond ** ****, **** with ***** *********.
  • ** ***-****** ***:******* ****** ******* ** the *** ** *** resistant ** ***** ******* by **** *** ****. Scout *** ** *** for ****, ***** **** recommending ************** **** *** ******** of *** ******* **** ****.  *** good.
  • ***** *******:******* ******** ** *** system ** *** ***** physical **** ** *** sensors. ***** ****** *** not ** *****, *** footprint ** ****** *** cause ******** *** ********* problems. ** ****** **** in *** '******** ********' section *****.
  • ** ******: *** **** ****** users *********** **** *** system ** ******* ********** app ** **** ***. If ***** **** ***** or ** *** **** ready ******, **** **** no *** ** ******* off/disarming ** ****** *** system.
  • ***** ************: * ***** ******, but **** *********** ** how ****** *** ****-***** finish **** ****** ******* with ************.  ***** ****** anticipate **** ********** ******** to ****** ** * cleanup *** ** ****** unsightly *******.

***** *** ************

  • ** ***** ******: ** ****** ** handtools ** ********** ******* Scout. ***** *** ******* are ********-******, *** **** was ****** ****** ** withstand ******** ******** *** temperature/humidity ******* ******* *******.  For *** **** "***', no ******** ** ********* and ***** *** ****** it ** * ***** or **** **** ***** and ******* ******** *** made.  *** ********* ******** short ** *****, ** 'non-DIYers' ************* **** ********* installs, ***** ** **** to **********.
  • ** ******* ***: ******* ***** ** ***** HD ****** ******* ** launch, **** ***** *** not ******* ** ***** [link ** ****** *********] for ****, *** *** estimated******* **** *** **** missed******* *****. 

********

****** *********

** *** ***** *****, we **** *** **** app/system ********* ********* *** web ****** ** ********** app:

 

*** *** ********* *** system ******** ** ***** configuration *** ******** ** solid. ****** *** ****, every ***** ***** **** should **** **** ******** was, *** ** ***** alarming ********.

***********, ******* *********** **** the ****** *** *** portal ** *** *** (and ***** **** ** the **** ****), ******** worked *** *********. ***** logging *** ***** *** comparable **** ********** ******** alarm *******.

*** *** **** *** well **** *** *** reliable ****.  ** *** example ********** *****, *** 'system *****' *** ****** is ***** **** ****** event **** ********** ****** and ********* ******* ** call ****** ** ****** the ****** ** ****** actions:

** **** * **** at ******* ***** ************* and ***** ****** *********** in *** ***** *****:


******** ********

** **** *****, ** examine *****'* *** *** sensor ******. 


***** *** ******* ************ is *****, *** **** of ******* ** ***** and **** *** ** ************* pleasing ** *** ***** and *******.

*** *******, *** *** piece '****** ******' **** typically ** ******** ******* when ***** *** ****, due ** *** ************** difference ** ***** **** profile *** **** ** door. ** ****, ************* look ****** *** ** worst ********** ********* ******* sensor ***** *** *** be ********:

************, ***** *** ******** nature ***** ******* ****, it **** ******** ******** batteries **** *** ***** and ********* ******** ** users **** ****.

System **********

***** *********, **** ***** alarm ******** *** *** lack ** ****** ******** are *********** ** **** video:

** *** ************, *** big **** **** ** the ***:

  • ******** ***********: * *********** ******* *** **** users **** ** *** limited ******** ***** ** system *******. ******* *** range ** ** **** *** no ******** *** *********, *****'* best *** ** *** *****, single ***** ********* ***** areas **** * *** doors ** *******.  
  • ** ******:******* *** ******** ** the **** ** ** interface ****** ** ***/****** the ****** ** ****** alarm *****. *******, ***** uses * ***** '**** panel' **** ****** **** users ******* *** *** fobs ** ******** ** activate *** ******. ***** can **** ***/****** *** read ***** ***** **** the ***** ********** ***, but ** **** ******** these ***** ** ***'* have ***** ******, **** simply ****** ***** * bypass **** **** * keypad ** ******* **** intrusion *******.

System *******

***** ******* *** * bargain ****** **** ****** find *** **** ** Scout *****. ******* *** a ******* ****** **** run $*** - $*** depending ** ***** ****** of ****** ******.

* ****** **** * hub, * **** '**** panel', * ****** ***, and *** '****** *******', the **** **** ** about $*** **** ** monitoring *****.  *******, **** door ** ****** * user ****** ** ******* adds $** - $** each *****, *** **** a ****** **** **** three ***** *** **** windows **** ***** *** $650 **** ***** ******.

*** **********, ***** *********** offers ***** *******:

  • ****: *** **** ****-********** option **** **** ** push ****** *** ****** to **** *****. ***** explains **** **** ****** "Keeps *** ** *** know ***** ****'* ***** on ** ****, *** it's **** ** **** as **** ******** **********", because ** ***** ******** backup *** ****** ********.
  • $*.** *****:*** '****** **' **** turns ** *** ******'* 3G ***** *** ******** or ****** ****** *************, so ** ***** **** goes **** *** ****** still *** **** ******.
  • $**.** *****:*** '****** **+' **** adds ** ********* ******* station **********, *********** ******* it **-*** **** ************** installed ***** *******. ***** $20/month ** **** **** many ********* ******** ********** prices, ** ***** ********** nearly $***/ **** ** recurring **** *** * Scout ******.

***** ****** * **% discount ($***.** ** $***.** annually) ** ***** ***** service ******** ****** ***** invoiced *******. 

Deep *************

***** ****** ***** * fairly ******** ***** ** configuration *******.  ****** ***** DIY ******* **** ********** or ****** **** ** not ******* ******** *****, Scout ****** ******** **** user *******.

*** *******, ** ***** wish ** ****** ** alarm ******* **** **** arms ***** *** *** windows, ** *** ***** floor *** *** *** second, **** *** ****** their *** ****** ******** and ****** ******** ******* when * ********** ****** trips.

***** *** ********* *** beep ******* **** *** front **** ***** *** a ********* ******* **** the **** **** ***** and ** **. 

Wireless ***********

*******, * *********** ******* for **** ***** **** be *** ******* ******** range ** ****** *******. Because *** ***** ** ** feet *** ** ******** are *********, *****'* **** *** is *** *****, ****** ***** apartment ***** ***** **** a *** ***** ** windows.  

Market **********

*** ***** ******* ** pay * ****** ***** for ** ***** ***** DIY ******, ***** ******** well. *** *******, ***** Scout's ***** ****-*********, **** sensor ****** **** ~$***, Simplisafe's '******* *******' **** ****** ****** costs ~$***.

***** ********* ***** ************* are ******* ****** *******, of *** ***** ******** and ***.  ** ********, Simplisafe ****** * ***** of *******, ********* ********** ********* *** * '***-******' ***.

Our ************** 

** ***** *** ******* for ** ************* *** configurable *** ***** ******, Scout ***** ** * good ******.  ****** **** intrusion *******, ********** *** offerings, ***** *** ** integrated **** ***** **** automation ********* (********** *****, Nest, ******** ********, *** Amazon *****).

*** ***** ************ *** could **** ***** ********* buyers ** ***** *****, as ** ** ******* a ******** ******** ** platforms **** *****.*** *** Honeywell ***** *******.

*******, *** *** ****** overall ** ***** ** video *******, **** ********** platforms ***************** ** ****** ******, but ***** ******** ****** platforms ****************** ******* ***** *******.

 

Comments (7)

Would this be considered a "pre-configured" system?

Aside from local sensor enrollment and user and zoning, yes.

The user spends no time configuring the panel to communicate with sensors/cloud, and if they want to just throw a four/five sensor system up with minimal tweaking, it will take about 30 minutes.

I use the large door panel (with the RFID reader) as my arm/disarm interface. It is not associated with a door, instead it sits on a wall with the associated contact tight up next to it.

While the door contacts are on the large side, once up after a while you hardly notice them.

The NEST integration is great as it pulls in the Nest protect smoke detectors so you effectively get a full Burg / Fire system that is monitored.

On the down side the cellular backup seems to only show poor connection regardless of where I have placed it in the house.

Thanks for the feedback. Scout is apparently working on an option to change 3G carriers if users have reception issues. I believe they currently use TMobile, but there are rumors (nothing official) they are going to also implement Verizon in the future.

One usability question: have you experienced 'false alarms' due to the PIR sensor tripping on pets? That particular aspect has a lot of users hot, and aside from the lens tape mask solution, no one has a suggested workaround.

Their original PIR was terrible so I have not deployed it and it as you said, does not deal with pets at all. I am waiting for a new version but I really want glass breaks too. Also on their list but down the road.

Why they have to develop their own from scratch instead of modifying an existing device that is proven seems odd.

Thanks for the info on the 3G. That will help.

Now... if you just had the option of using the NEST thermostat face to virtualize the dial on a padlock for a keypad... and incorporate its 150 degree presence sensor into the system for another sensor...

[Update]

Scout has announced an option to upgrade system/sensor firmware to use default Zigbee wireless.

This is a fairly drastic change, because it changes system design. Scout described them in an email blast:

Scout is ready to offer a more standardized approach, which is completely optional: a firmware release that uses Zigbee. In such a scenario, there is no mesh routing.

The Benefits:

  1. Longer battery life: Sensors will not route messages, so they “sleep” until they are triggered, which helps push battery life to 2 years or more.
  2. Integration with Zigbee devices: This gives the hub the ability to integrate with a number of third party devices.
The Tradeoffs:
  1. Range extender needed: Any sensors that are not within 100 ft. of the hub would need a range extender to connect.
  2. No battery backup for extender (yet): If the range extender is not plugged into a power supply with backup battery, that sensor would be offline in the event of a power outage
  3. No going back: Once you switch over to the new approach, we cannot switch the system back to the old firmware.
  4. Repair Sensors: It will be required that you to reinstall each sensor after they are successfully updated (Over-The-Air).

We are going to be working on creating a range extender that does include 24 hours of backup battery to eliminate the downsides of releasing this new firmware. That product will not be available in the immediate future, though. In the interim, there are a number of great range extenders we can recommend on the market already.

Overall, an option to move Scout to a default Zigbee network is an interesting one, given the wide array of sensors and hubs that then could be made to work with Scout. Lighting, thermostats, other contact/motion sensors, and door locks are just a few options of Zigbee products currently available.

Given that Scout's range already tested shorter than advertised (in our test, 30' vs claims of 100') and the core issue of battery life (that we did not evaluate over extended time), this optional unlocked firmware could be a good move for Scout.

Other DIY systems like Simplisafe do not offer similar 'unlocked' firmware options.

No going back: Once you switch over to the new approach, we cannot switch the system back to the old firmware.

Is this a scare tactic or is there some technical reason to not allow firmware downgrades?

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports

Resideo AlarmNet Has Major Outage on Mar 12, 2020
AlarmNet suffered a major outage yesterday, impacting Total Connect, Resideo, and Honeywell / Ademco alarm customers. Inside we examine what...
Breaking Into A Facility Using Canned Air Tested on Jan 28, 2020
Access control is supposed to make doors more secure, but a $5 can of compressed air may defeat it. With no special training, intruders can...
Halo Smart Vape Detector Tested on Jan 16, 2020
The Halo Smart Sensor claims to detect vaping, including popular brand Juul and even THC vapes. But how well does it work in real world...
Hikvision DS 2nd Gen Intercom Tested on Dec 12, 2019
With its newest IP intercom, Hikvision proclaims users can 'get full control over an entrance' regardless of where it is installed, home or office...
Hidden Camera Detectors Tested on Nov 18, 2019
Hidden cameras are a growing problem as cameras become smaller, cheaper and easier to access. However, some companies claim to be able to detect...
Commend ID5 Intercom Tested on Sep 12, 2019
Commend touts the new ID5 intercom as 'timelessly elegant' and the slim body, glass front touchscreen indeed looks better than common, but ugly,...
Axis Door Station A8207-VE Tested on Aug 07, 2019
Axis newest door station, the A8207-VE, claims to deliver "video surveillance, two-way communication, and access control" in a single device. But...
Alarm.com Suffers Outage on Jul 26, 2019
Alarm.com suffered a major outage this week, impacting its 5+ million customers. Inside, we examine what happened, what Alarm.com told IPVM and...
Alarm.com Favorability Results 2019 on Apr 15, 2019
The once dot com startup has evolved to become a core provider for home security and is now expanding into commercial. In their first entry in...
Camera Disruptor Wyze Enters Sensor / Security Market on Mar 28, 2019
Wyze, the company that has disrupted consumer IP cameras, combining American marketing and Chinese manufacturer, has just announced its expansion...

Most Recent Industry Reports

IPVM's 12th Anniversary - Thank You! on Apr 07, 2020
IPVM is proud to celebrate it's 12 anniversary expanding our commitment to providing the industry independent and objective information on video...
Mobotix Thermal Body Temperature Detection Examined on Apr 07, 2020
Mobotix has jumped into the Coronavirus temperature detection market, but how do they compare to thermal incumbents like FLIR or ICI who have been...
Verkada Coronavirus Response: Free Temp Systems For Government and Health Care on Apr 07, 2020
Verkada has built a reputation on giving away things for free - free Yeti Tumblers, free trial cameras and now free temporary systems for...
Hikvision USA Refuses, Dahua USA Drives Forward With "Coronavirus Cameras" on Apr 07, 2020
Both have been federally banned, both sanctioned for human rights abuses but only one - Dahua - is taking aim at the booming "coronavirus cameras"...
China Surveillance Vulnerabilities Being Used To Attack China, Says China on Apr 07, 2020
While China video surveillance vulnerabilities have been much debated in the West in the past few years, China is now saying those vulnerabilities...
USA ICI Elevated Skin Temperature Detectors Examined on Apr 06, 2020
Infrared Cameras, Inc. (ICI) is aiming to help slow the spread of COVID-19 with "pinpoint accurate skin temperature measurement" using their...
Trade Groups Request NDAA Blacklist Delay Citing Coronavirus on Apr 06, 2020
Two trade groups representing government contractors have asked Congress to delay implementation of the NDAA's 'blacklist' clause from this August...
Coronavirus Hits Manufacturers, Standing Now, Worse To Come on Apr 06, 2020
Coronavirus is hitting security manufacturers, though overall modestly for now, with worse expected to come, new IPVM survey results...
FLIR New Coronavirus Prioritized Temperature Screening Camera Examined on Apr 03, 2020
FLIR has announced a new series of thermal cameras "prioritized for entities working to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 virus", the A400/A700...
ADI Branch Burglary on Apr 03, 2020
A security systems distributor branch is an odd target for burglary but that happened this week at ADI's Memphis location. Vehicle Smash &...