security

Blue by ADT: ADT’s first DIY home security effort is off to a good start – TechHive


Do-it-yourself home security systems such as Ring Alarm, SimpliSafe, Abode, and others are becoming increasingly popular for their ease of use, ease of installation, and freedom from expensive long-term monitoring contracts. Traditional alarm companies are feeling the pressure, so we weren’t surprised when ADT—one of the biggest players in the U.S. market—acquired the DIY-oriented Lifeshield in early 2019.

One year later, Lifeshield and its products are being rebranded “Blue by ADT” and offering consumers the cost savings of a DIY system with optional professional monitoring by ADT on a month-to-month basis—no long-term contract needed. More on that in a bit.

To date, the Blue by ADT product line includes a video doorbell, a wireless indoor security camera, a wireless outdoor security camera, and a combination remote chime (for the video doorbell) and Wi-Fi range extender that works with all three cameras. ADT says it will launch a Blue by ADT-branded home security system later in 2020, but the cameras also work with the current Lifeshield system (although that left us underwhelmed when we reviewed it in late 2018).

blue by adt hub Ben Patterson/IDG

ADT showed us this prototype of its Blue by ADT smart home hub, equipped with Z-Wave and Thread radios, in early January. It’s expected to come to market later in 2020.

Features 

The Blue by ADT cameras offer several attractive features which either aren’t present in cameras from competitors or that cost extra (in the form of subscription fees). These include the ability to set motion detection zones, filtering for movement that isn’t from a person, and onboard local storage options should your broadband connection fail.

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You should be aware, however, that the Blue by ADT cameras provide only 24 hours of video storage in the cloud. And while you can take advantage of the cameras’ onboard storage, you’ll need to provide the memory card for that purpose—and if a thief steals your camera, the forensic evidence of the crime will go along with it. If you want more than 24 hours of storage, ADT has two cloud storage subscription plans: 60 days of storage for a single Blue by ADT camera costs $2.99 per month; 60 days of cloud storage for an unlimited number of Blue by ADT cameras costs $12.99 per month.

TechHive has detailed reviews for each of three devices: The ADT Blue Indoor Camera, the ADT Blue Outdoor Camera, and the ADT Blue Doorbell Camera. We’ll evaluate the Blue by ADT security system as soon as we can get our hands on one.

200317 blue adt 11 Martyn Williams / IDG

Custom motion detection zones enabled me to mask out the street, so that cars driving by wouldn’t trigger the Blue by ADT Outdoor camera’s motion detection.

The Blue by ADT app

At present, Blue by ADT cameras operate as stand-alone units, but they come together inside the Blue app. This manages detection settings, provides alerts, and lets users access video feeds from each of the cameras in the system.

The app has some useful features, and one of its best is the ability to allow several people access to your system, but for you to retain control of the settings. Rather than sharing the entire system with others in your household or beyond, Blue asks you to specify if subsequent users are regular or admin users. It’s a handy way to share access to the security system without having to worry about anyone messing with its settings.

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