As home security needs increase, people are finding new DIY solutions to secure their home, assets, and the people they love. New security companies are sprouting up thanks to the ease of designing and manufacturing devices outside of the big security providers people have come to know over the years at a fraction of the cost. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the Novi Home Security Starter Kit stacks up against the heavyweights.
The project at Novi started as a successfully funded Kickstarter, reaching their base goal of $80,000 early in the campaign and capping out at $175,000+ by the time the campaign was over. With the additional funds, Novi announced three features they want to add for increased and reliable connectivity: the Relay Station backup battery, 3G capabilities, and smartwatch integration. They’ve already added the backup battery to their current iteration and are currently working on bringing the other two features online.
The culmination of Novi’s current security system includes a 720p surveillance camera, a smoke detector, motion sensor, and intruder deterrent in a simple-to-install two-piece system; the Relay Station and Novi Sensor. This sleek system comes with a free subscription service to Novi’s network where a limited number of your last picture notifications are saved, but the service can also be upgraded to a paid subscription that includes Novi’s Professional Monitoring, where an agent is available 24/7, and unlimited cloud storage to save all your notifications for increased flexibility and peace of mind.
The Novi Sensor is the eyes of the system and captures three photos when motion or smoke are detected, then sends them directly to your phone. This device comes equipped with a 720p, HD camera that boasts a super-wide 170° view to let you see what is going on. The camera itself comes with an LED flash and night vision capabilities to ensure that whatever is lurking in the dark will be seen. The motion detector on the system uses advanced passive infrared (PIR) sensors that will not be triggered by an object or pet of less than 60 pounds, and has an effective range of 30 feet.
One of the best features of the Novi Sensor is its portability in terms of where you can install the sensor. The sensor is powered by four AA batteries (included) that can last up to one year, so that means you can place the sensor anywhere in your home without having to be restricted to the closet power outlet like some other surveillance camera setups.
It also comes with a photoelectric smoke detector, which senses slower smoldering fires, like a cigarette left unattended, better than smoke from fast flaming fires, like a grease fire in the kitchen. When motion or smoke is detected, the sensor will send the Novi app a picture notification in addition to sounding the 90dB alarm (which can be silenced through the Novi app). Please note that Novi recommends using the Novi Sensor to supplement your existing smoke detectors since it is not a certified life-saving device.
The Relay Station
The Relay Station syncs all the sensors in your home, and pushes any motion or smoke picture notifications directly to your smartphone through the Novi App. This device easily connects to your existing network through the included Ethernet cable and creates a private wireless network to secure your data from cyber-attacks trying to access your Novi information.
With the free service subscription, the hub stored the last seven gifs, or 21 pictures, I found in the app. By subscribing to Novi+, you’ll have access to unlimited storage giving you the ability to look back as far as you’d like for $4.99 per month or $54.98 annually.
The Relay Station shines as a DIY system with its backup capabilities. In the event that your Internet goes down, the device can automatically connect to a 3G cellular network so you’ll still receive push notifications, but this requires a subscription fee that hasn’t been released yet. Now when the power goes out, the hub will run on a backup battery for up to two hours. Once power is restored, the Relay Station will automatically recharge the batteries.
As your security needs change, so can the number of sensors the Relay Station can sync with – up to six! That’s plenty of sensors for most homes up to two-stories, allowing you to secure multiple rooms and areas of interest under one system.
The Novi App guides you through the process of syncing the Relay Station and Sensor that shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes. Once the devices are synced with the app, you’ll now be able to receive push notifications and pictures directly to your smartphone when motion or smoke is detected while the system is armed. You’ll also find a simple interface to arm and disarm your system, change your settings, and retrieve the last seven push notification pictures.
When the Sensor detects motion or smoke, you’ll be able to call the police, dismiss the alert, or take more pictures to get a better idea of what happened. With a Novi Pro Monitoring subscription, you can speak to a security professional available 24/7 for $11.99 per month, or $124.99 annually.
Simple and affordable security
With security systems becoming more advanced, the Novi 4-in-1 system keeps things simple so you can stay focused on what’s important. At $299 for the Starter Kit and $175 per year for unlimited cloud storage and professional monitor subscriptions (if you choose), the Novi system is very affordable when you think of the installation and recurring fees with the bigger security companies.
It’s a great system, but it isn’t without its flaws. The camera only takes photos when the system is alerted of intruders or incidents, which makes the system slow since you’ll have to wait for the Novi Sensor to take three pictures, or one gif. What this means is that you aren’t able to tap into a live feed to monitor real-time video. The camera also isn’t adjustable, so you’ll have to try different placements to get the best coverage for one area. Setting up additional sensors will be needed to fully secure your home.
In all, the Novi security system is a great product with thoughtful features. It has a modern and incognito design that blends in as any smoke detector – until it flashes three times for three pictures, capturing any intrusion or incident. And with the ability to upgrade to unlimited cloud storage for photos and professional monitoring 24/7, the Novi system gives you as little or as much security as you need without breaking the bank.