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

Wireless / WiFi Access Lock Guide on Nov 12, 2019
For some access openings, running wires can add thousands in cost, and wireless alternatives that avoid it becomes appealing. But using wireless...
90+ Companies Profile Directory on Nov 05, 2019
While IPVM covers the largest companies in the industry regularly (like Axis, Dahua, Hikvision, etc.), IPVM strives to do a profile post on each...
Lock Status Monitoring Tutorial on Oct 28, 2019
Just because access doors are closed does not mean they are locked. Unless access systems are using lock status monitoring, the doors and areas...
Alarm Veteran "Demands A Criminal Investigation" Of UL on Oct 18, 2019
The Interceptor's Project pressure against UL continues to rise. Following Keith Jentoft's allegation that "UL Has Blood On Their Hands", Jentoft...
IPVM Camera Calculator User Manual / Guide on Oct 16, 2019
Learn how to use the IPVM Camera Calculator (updated for Version 3.1). The guide below includes instructions, images, gifs, and videos...
Last Chance - Register Now - October 2019 IP Networking Course on Oct 10, 2019
Last Chance - Register Now - Fall 2019 IP Networking Course. The course starts next week. This is the only networking course designed...
Network Optix NxWitness 4.0 Tested on Oct 10, 2019
Network Optix released Nx Witness 4.0, proclaiming new features like a deep learning analytics metadata SDK, increased H.265 support, and UX...
'Bunker Busting' Wireless Access Startup: Sure-Fi Profile on Oct 03, 2019
An access startup is claiming its 'bunker busting' wireless Wiegand radios can punch through 'any obstruction'. We examine their offering,...
Access Control Mustering Guide on Sep 30, 2019
In emergencies, determining where employees are located can be critical for knowing whether they are in danger. Access systems can be used for...
Hikvision Acusense Analytics Tested on Sep 23, 2019
Hikvision touts "The Magic Behind It All" in their new Acusense line are 'deep learning algorithms' inside these cameras and recorders. But how...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Camera Field of View (FoV) Guide on Nov 13, 2019
Field of View (FoV) and Angle of View (AoV), are deceptively complex. At their most basic, they simply describe what the camera can "see" and seem...
UK Big Brother Watch: Hikvision Is 'Morally Bankrupt' on Nov 13, 2019
UK civil liberties advocate Big Brother Watch has condemned Hikvision as being 'morally bankrupt' following IPVM exposing Hikvision marketing...
Color Low Light Mega Camera Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Panasonic, Speco, Sony, Vivotek on Nov 12, 2019
This is the biggest color low light shootout ever, testing 20+ super low light models from 10 manufacturers: Increasingly, each manufacturer...
Wireless / WiFi Access Lock Guide on Nov 12, 2019
For some access openings, running wires can add thousands in cost, and wireless alternatives that avoid it becomes appealing. But using wireless...
Open vs End-to-End Systems: Integrator Statistics 2019 on Nov 11, 2019
Preference for open systems is on the decline, according to new IPVM statistics. We asked integrators: For video surveillance systems, do you...
Biggest Low Light Problems 2019 on Nov 08, 2019
Over 150 integrators responded to our survey question: "What are the biggest problems you face getting good low-light images?" Inside, we share...
US Issues Criminal Charges For Fraudulently Selling Hikvision And Other China Products on Nov 07, 2019
The US government has made an unprecedented move on the video surveillance supply chain, charging a US company, Aventura for "having conspired with...
The Access Control Codes Guide: IBC, NFPA 72, 80 & 101 on Nov 07, 2019
For access, there is one basic maxim: Life safety above all else. But how do you know if all applicable codes are being followed? While the...
Rhombus Cameras, VMS and Analytics Tested on Nov 06, 2019
Rhombus boasts they have created "the new standard in Enterprise, cloud-managed video security" and told IPVM in January 2019 they offer twice the...