Abode has an all new version of its simple home security system called Abode Iota. Iota takes the Abode security hub and teaches it some new tricks, thanks to an integrated motion sensor and camera, in addition to a built-in siren.

I’ll give Abode some deserved credit here: It has been relentless in releasing new products and upgrades to existing products, and in general the company seems devoted to the principles of continuous improvement—that’s a rarity in the rapidly commoditizing smart home world.

All-in-one security hubs (loosely defined as an alarm system that has a camera built into it) aren’t a new thing, with offerings from Canary and Honeywell Home among the popular do-it-all options. But unlike most all-in-one security systems, Abode comes at the problem from the security side of things rather than the camera. Abode has built a robust infrastructure over the last few years, and users have plenty of alternatives when it comes to designing a security system for their home around Abode, including a wide range of sensors, the option (but not the requirement) to subscribe to professional monitoring, a cellular backup option, and even the ability to integrate other types of smart home devices with the system.

abode iota 1 Abode

A compact design makes it easy to find a home for the Abode Iota.

Don’t need the integrated camera?

By adding a built-in camera to that mix, it expands the capabilities of the system even further. If you don’t need the camera, Abode continues to sell its original starter kit for $159.

The camera features aside, Iota has much of the same functionality and feature set as Abode’s standard offering. Setup involves creating an account with Abode (online or via its app) and using a code that’s included in the box to tie your Iota unit to your identity. The camera and motion sensor built into the Iota are automatically connected to your dashboard, and setting up the additional door/window sensor that comes in the kit takes only a few seconds. (The only other piece of hardware in the box, a remote control key fob, is also automatically configured to work with the system.)

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Iota must be initially configured by connecting it to your router via an ethernet cable, but once the initial setup is done, it can be easily switched over to work via Wi-Fi, which is essential in giving you more flexibility in where you place the camera. Since it’s built into the Iota box directly, there are some limitations in how you can aim the camera, but thanks to its very wide-angle lens, it isn’t hard to capture a large chunk of whatever area you want to monitor.

The Abode app

The Abode app hasn’t changed significantly since our last review. The system offers three modes: home, away, and standby, which work fully as expected. In standby mode, all sensors are disabled except for door sensors, which chirp by default when a door is opened. Depending on the mode the system is in and your various settings, just about everything gets logged into the Abode app, including sensor trips and camera activity. It’s all conveniently catalogued in the app’s Timeline view, which is easy to scroll through in search of goings-on at the homestead.

2 Christopher Null / IDG

Abode’s timeline view is second to none in this market.

Iota’s alarm, as with the original Abode, isn’t the loudest, but it’s shrill enough to merit attention and can easily be heard throughout the home. A variety of notifications can be pushed to the user when an alarm is tripped, though you’ll need to check the app to view any video that’s captured. A built-in battery backup also ensures that an intruder can’t just pull the plug to disable the alarm.

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