The whole point of security alarms is that they should give you peace of mind that your home is safe at all times. Yet research and anecdotal evidence has proved that with many smart home alarms this simply isn’t the case. That’s because, while technology has undoubtedly improved and made our lives easier, it also has the potential to go horribly wrong. And when it does, the consequences can be devastating.
Ring, for example, is one of the most popular doorbell apps currently on the market. It enables the user, through video doorbells, security cameras, alarm systems and smart lights, to watch over their property and send them alerts when someone is at the front door or if it detects motion outside.
The problem, however, is that it’s prone to a host of technical issues. Chief among them is the fact that it’s incompatible with certain smartphone technology. Because it’s now only available to users of iOS 14 or later; Android 9 or later; or Fire OS 7 or later, that excludes a multitude of people with older versions. As a result, many users have had to foot the bill for a new phone or alarm system.
Then there is the problem with charging the video doorbell. Here, customers have reported that it has suddenly stopped charging or the chime no longer rings. As recently as this month, the app was also subject to significant outages, preventing users from logging into their accounts for a lengthy period of time. Ring later confirmed that no breach had occurred, but it’s still a major security concern and disruption for users.
Wi-Fi connectivity problems
It’s not just Ring that has had its problems. There have been reports of the MoonShot sensors not responding after losing a Wi-Fi connection or that the fob used to control them doesn’t work. The MoonShot sensors are also prone to be triggered by the slightest wind movement or sunlight, according to users. Worse still, there have been reports of the alarm being set off despite the control panel display showing it has been deactivated or even when there’s no movement at all.
More worryingly, there was a reported case where there was evidence of a break-in, but the sensor failed to pick it up at all. One unhappy customer went as far as to sum up MoonShot as the ‘Windows Vista of burglar alarms – great idea but terribly executed’. Based on the evidence presented, it’s hard not to disagree, the MoonShot sensors appear to be a complete letdown. Other unhappy customers have argued that the MoonShot product is incompatible with pets, with dogs and cats often triggering the sensors despite the product’s claims to be ‘pet friendly’.
Even technology giant Google isn’t immune from such issues. A Which? investigation has found that Google Nest Hello can be exploited by a Denial of Service attack, which hackers can use to stop the doorbell from recording, thus leaving a home vulnerable to a break-in.
In all these instances, there’s one common theme: the technology behind the alarm systems just isn’t up to scratch. Many of them are cheaply manufactured and haven’t been tested to a rigorous enough level. That’s further evidenced by reports of poor camera image quality. Surely it defeats the purpose of having a camera in the first place if the user can’t properly see what’s going on?
Another big concern is privacy. As with CCTVs, many people fear that the systems can be easily hacked by criminals, who can then disable them and more easily gain entry to their property. It’s an inherent problem given that smart home alarms need to be connected to the internet in order to work. And the more devices involved, the more attack points there are for the hacker to go after.
That’s why it’s paramount to invest in a renowned and reliable brand. That sometimes means paying a bit more to get a quality hardwired system that works properly and isn’t susceptible to basic faults.
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