UPDATE TO ORIGINAL POST:
Since the original post, Rogers has modified its pricing… sort of. Their revamped pricing and plans page promotes a $19.99 monthly service fee. Hey, sounds great, right?
Problem is, this plan doesn’t really do anything… you need to add options such as “Live Video Streaming” and “Video and Picture Storage” to get some actual monitoring capabilities. If you add those two features into the package, it’s $30.47/month which includes a $5 Rogers customer discount. Plus you need to spend significant dollars on hardware and installation.
So, despite a few modifications, mostly in how they talk about their pricing, not their actual pricing, it still is an expensive service for what you get. My original point in the review below is still valid.
Read the whole review below, and if you want to try out a quick and easy way to video monitor your property, consider a lighter weight cloud service. We offer one called Camcloud and all you need is a standard USB webcam.
Also, be sure to read our tips for setting up a free webcam video surveillance system which suggests some other options for the more technically savvy.
And of course, sound off in the comments below as several people have already done.
Time for a review of the new-ish Rogers Smart Home Monitoring system. If you’re in Ontario, you’ve probably been bombarded with ads for this service, and it does look pretty slick. Let’s take a closer look at its capabilities, pricing, and of course any gotchas to see what it’s all about.
First, Rogers Smart Home Monitoring is an internet-enabled system that integrates a pile of features such as: secure video monitoring, web and mobile access, as well as other home automation capabilities. Using their proprietary hardware, you place monitoring devices around your home, and it’s managed through a tablet-like device that acts as your control panel, all of which is network-connected.
All sounds good right? The catch? Price. It’s very expensive.
The basic plan starts at $34.99/month. That includes all their core home security features. Their top-end plan is $52.99/month, which also includes all their home automation features (e.g. manage your lights, thermostat, etc), plus live video streaming so you can check on your property from anywhere. Oh, and hardware is extra. If you commit to a 3 year plan you get a minimal set of hardware for an extra $149; if you pay monthly it’s $749. Installation is also $99. Wow.
So unless you’ve got rare artwork to protect or some other reason to drop this kind of money on home monitoring, this is probably outside the budget of most families.
What are the alternatives? Well, there are other alarm companies that are starting to provide these capabilities but they have many of the same pricing features – multi-year contracts or high upfront hardware costs.
One option is a simpler video monitoring system that uses webcams. There are a few of these services starting to crop up, and we provide one called Camcloud. It allows you to take an off-the-shelf webcam and enables most of the core features you’d get from an expensive service like Rogers Home Monitoring, such as: motion detection, live video streaming, recording of motion events, etc. While obviously not as feature rich, it’s a great alternative that satisfies most people’s monitoring requirements. Here’s a quick chart with a feature break-down:
|Capability||Rogers Smart Home
|Secure video monitoring||Yes||Yes|
|Web & smartphone access||Yes||Yes|
|Live video streaming (only available in Rogers
|Home Automation (smoke detection, thermostat, etc)||Yes||No|
|24×7 monitoring by security personnel||Yes||No|
|Price – Entry level monthly fee||$34.99||$5|
|Price – Expensive hardware costs||Yes||No|
Bottom line: if a full featured security system is what you need, Rogers appears to offer a nice system. Obviously, you’ll pay for it, with a high monthly cost and additional hardware fees.
If you love the concept of having a modern home monitoring system with video monitoring, along with web and smartphone access to your system, but don’t want to shell out big bucks, give Camcloud a try. Check out our plans and pricing (free plan is available), and you don’t need any special hardware or an installer to come by your house. Connect your webcam and you’ll be up and running in a few minutes.
Anyone who has experience with the Rogers system, leave a comment, or if you know of other alternatives add those to the comments as well.