A while back the guys at MyHome247 sent me a box to review.
Inside you’ll find a starter kit which uses a combination of wireless technology, batteries and sometimes ethernet
cable to connect you house onto the web.
Why do that ? Well, for so long security systems have followed the same setup. A few infra-red sensors, perhaps a
couple of door sensors and a stonking great buzzer or bell on the front of your home. If someone does break in,
usually no-one in the neighbourhood will bother doing anything because they think it’s a false alarm. It’s a little
like a car alarms – you hear one going off and ignore it. The difference here is that you’ll get a a motion sensor,
door sensor, alarm plus a remote power switch and a network web cam so you can monitor and control your home from
anywhere on the web – and on your phone too.
We got sent a starter kit which proudly boasted a quick setup time. This is important, because if there’s one thing
that puts people off it’s having to mess around at the beginning. This seemed like a good excuse for a video, so
here’s a first look at the box and the contents..
You’re probably thinking that this is going to be a nightmare to setup, but really, it’s not. Just have a quick
think where you’re going to be putting everything and then start putting it all together. I put the door sensor on
my garage door purely because (in comparison with a front door) it’s not as secure, but you can put it where you
feel it should go. Most of the kit works on wireless technology and uses a couple of AA batteries and they power
the devices for a lot longer than you’d think. I actually took delivery of this review unit and kept hold of it for
weeks whilst doing the review – I should’ve sent it back earlier to be honest, but it’s such an addictive and
excellent solution. Batteries are delivered with the unit and I didn’t change them once. You’ll get notified via
your web control panel if one of the batteries is running low.
Right, to start off with I added the IP webcam. I love the fact that a camera is included. Put this up in a window
in your house and you can monitor what’s happening outside. The images will be recorded in your account and this
Panasonic BL-C1 camera has a built-in motion sensor and produces full colour images. It doesn’t require batteries
but does need an ethernet cable to feed over your network into the main “brains” of the system – the XG1000
Controller. I had a hub / switch in the house, but you can use one of the ports on your ethernet router if you have
The video below also shows the remote power switcher (as I call it). This lets you turn electrical devices on or
off over the web, on your phone or using the blue switch on the top. This would be useful if you’re going to be
late home from work and want to turn a light on etc. The alarm sounder is also shown, although I’ve dangled it on
an extension lead. You can put this in your house to alert people or warn off potential intruders. I put mine in
the garage so that neighbours could hear it. If the internal IR detector got set off or the door sensor was
activated, this would sound.
The main controller is called the XG1000. It’ll find your devices and connect to the net so you can control
everything. The video below also shows the IR detector, which I ended up putting in a plant pot. It’ll sent a
signal to the controller if it detects movement. Here’s a quick video of my final setup…
You’re now on the home stretch. In the box there’s a “quick start” guide. Now that all the necessary bits are in
place you can go ahead and do the funky cool stuff. It’s all too easy to forget how much work has just been
achieved with little or no stress. If this was a fully cabled solution you’d be pulling up floor-boards, drilling
holes in ceilings, ripping up carpet and probably annoying your better half (the wife, in my case) in the process.
Now, you’ve seen them in the video but here’s a close-up view of just a few
bits of kit. First, the remote power socket on the left and the sounder on the
right. The sounder has an aerial which can extend and both are powered direct
from the mains, so in this case there’s no batteries to worry about.
Next we’ll take a look at the door sensor. Essentially it’s a
couple of magnets and an LED to tell you when it’s been activated. This does run
from some batteries, however it can run from a power pack if you wish.
The IR detector has a cool stand which can allows the sensor to be tilted and
positioned on a flat surface or, with the other attachment, on a wall or similar
surface. Here’s the stand – screw it into the bottom of the IR sensor.
Again, this is a battery operated device but it withstood me and the wife
walking past it several times a day for several weeks. The two Duracell
batteries came with it – it’s good to see decent batteries included.
Plugging in the controller is also relatively simple. It’s got an aerial on the back for communications over WiFi
and then a power and ethernet port to plug into. The ethernet port needs to go into your router – I plugged mine
into the same router feeding the network camera. Then you just need to turn it on and go find your
On your PC, click to http://myhome.homegenie.com. You then
need to grab the username and password that came with the paperwork in your starter kit. It’s tied to the
controller you’ve just powered up, so entering this username and password combination should get you into the same
account that your controller is speaking to. Once logged in you can then register your controller and choose
“Device Descovery”. This is the part when the controller has a look for all the stuff you’ve positioned in your
home. Some devices need to be put into “discovery mode” by clicking a small switch inside the device, but you only
need to do this once. It’ll take a minute or two and then you’ll see all your security devices on your control
panel with the signal strength and name.
Now, the web control is really cool and we’ll come back to it in a moment, but I wanted to have a look at the
mobile application (this being a mobile site ‘n all) ;) First you need to download the Java application. Sure, we’d
like a full Windows Mobile app, but Java will work too. I picked up my HTC handset and went to http://myhome.homegenie.com/mobile/j2me on the
phone itself – a Java midlet is then downloaded for you to run.
Below you’ll see what shows up. You put your login details in …
Then you’ll see a list of your devices. You can control them by pressing
the “Options” button. In the camera options
you can choose from macros, which allow multiple functions to happen all at once, or inbox, which shows the event archive. You can also
view your camera, direct from your phone. Below you can see the list of devices,
then I can see whether my switch is turned on no matter where I am in the world
– and control it.
You also get to view your camera on the phone too. I like this ability – being
able to see my house while I’m out and about is an excellent.
Arm or disarm your camera here too. That’ll turn the motion detection on or off. It’s here where you can turn the
switch on or off that we saw operating the light in my garage.
If you do choose to use the website control panel at myhome.homegenie.com you can also arm, disarm and – if you have a camera – watch your live feed.
You can also buy new devices from the online store.
You can group your devices into groups to get better organised,
plus with the macros function you can perform multiple actions when one sensor
triggers. For example, if my IR sensor or camera got triggered I could turn on
the remote power switch and have a light come on. You might also want to sound
the siren if the door sensor gets activated – it’s totally up to you, and that’s
another great advantage to this system. You can also set notifications here too
– get and email or text message sent out when something happens in your secured
environment. The frequency and which device will send the notification can be
This is also the place to watch archived images from your camera
and you can also see how much space is being consumed by these images. There’s
more too – you can alter the theme of your web portal, time zone and much more.
The guys at myhome247 work with a company called Xanboo. Basically it means that they’re the exclusive UK partner for the XG1000 gateway and the kit to go with it. Xanboo themselves are a world leader in their field and it shows through this kit. It’s all so easy to get going, get configured and control. The residential kit starts at £249.95 and comes with 1 panasonic network camera, the XG1000 gateway, 1 wireless door sensor, 2 homeplug ethernet over power modules (which I presume will allow network connection over your electic circuit at home) and an inclusive web account. You’ll need to have a broadband connection and ethernet router too. However, you can also start to build your own kit, starting with just the controller for £99.99 – you then add whatever you want to use and build the system bit-by-bit.
It’s advertised as having a 15 minute setup and I was surprised at how easy it all was to get going. Sure, I’m a techie geek, but placing the various bits around the home and getting them hooked up to the controller was surprisingly easy. The control aspect, and the ability to do a lot of monitoring and amendments on my mobile phone, was really fantastic. I love the fact that I can control my home or office when I’m not there – and being able to view the network camera was perhaps my most favourite part.
Battery powered devices always worry me, but I did find that these lasted well and, if you really want low-maintenance, you can buy power-packs for the majority of the accessories. I also love how expandable the system is. It’s not just door sensors, motion detectors and web-cams, you can also get wireless thermostat controllers to control your central heating system and bring your heating bills down. Just imagine it – most central heating systems work on strict time settings, but who can really schedule when they’ll be at home ? Add a wireless thermostat and you can turn off the heating if you’re stuck at work or at the shops. There’s more too – huge outside lights, keypads, external webcams and more.
Overall I was very impressed and it was yet another review unit I really didn’t want to send back. I’ll be saving up for this one.
Link – myhome247.co.uk