Z-Wave and UK Alarm/Security systems

security
alarm
project_security

(John Lockwood) #1

Currently the UK market for smart home alarm/security systems seems very poorly served. Traditional alarm systems are for the majority either very ugly, very dumb or both.

I am looking to add home automation products to my house which I will shortly be doing a fair amount of remodelling to and have so far identified night-latch and mortice locks that can be linked via Z-Wave. These being the Yale Keyless Connected Smart Lock, and the Danalock V2. I have also found a door-cam/bell that can be integrated with Smartthings although it does not support Z-Wave, this is the SkyBell HD.

Where I am struggling is an alarm system. I would obviously need motion sensors, door open sensors, broken window sensors, i.e. the usual alarm type sensors most standard alarm systems support. I would hope to find a system that can include security cameras.

On the face of it you might expect the Yale Easy Fit range to be eminently suitable since Yale have substantial Z-Wave experience both in the US and the UK including as mentioned the Yale Keyless Connected Smart Lock. Unfortunately it seems all Yales alarm systems are proprietary and only work with their own smarthphone app. :frowning:

There is also the Vivint Sky but this at the moment appears a US only product.

Update: The Verisure system looks good but also uses a proprietary system and therefore at best the only integration might be via IFTTT.

I am aware I could probably build my own system with just standard Z-Wave sensors but I would rather have an off-the-shelf system from a recognised brand which does have Z-Wave and/or Smartthings compatibility as this is likely to make insurers a lot happier than a purely DIY solution.

Does anyone have any suggestions?


UK Alarm / Security System that is ST Compatible--advice needed (2018 build)
(Greg) #2

Im in exactly the same situation. Also, you mention insurers - call them and check. You will find that most UK insurers will not give you a discount, even if you have a proper alarm fitted unless it is an accredited alarm (cant remember the standards) by an accredited company. I asked for a discount on a Texecom Premier Elite alarm (what a lot of big businesses use) and I was told it’s not an accredited alarm…

On the flip side, apparently the comms between the wireless unit on the Texecom are sent in plain text (wtf?): http://www.lucalo.net/2015/12/30/security-alarm-and-iot/

So it might actually be possible to rig something up here. On the flip side, I wonder if its possible to wire in a Fibraro sensor into the sensors that the alarm provides.

The only reason I am doing it is that I’ve got cables left in place from the previous alarm so could do with reusing them…


(Daniel McDougall) #3

Im currently working on a project to link the smartthings platform to the Yale EF-KIT3 Easy Fit Smart Phone Alarm Kit.

I’m making progress i can log in and arm, home , away the alarm.

I can return the state of the devices (door, window contact sensors) I’m just working on passing that data into smartthings.

I think i might have something reliable in about a month.

–edit also ive asked yale directly and they have no plans to integrate the smartphone alarm system with smartthings. despit it apparently being the best selling alarm they have.

My Yale Project


(John Lockwood) #4

@tapion1ives

Thanks for the response and good luck in integrating the Yale system. I may well chose a Yale system if you manage to get it all working. (Which Yale model do you have?)

Will you be able to link locking locks e.g. the Danalock V2 (a Z-Wave device) to arm the alarm? And the reverse? Will you be able to link the video feeds from Yale Easy Fit cameras to SmartThings?

I noticed that in your thread there was mention of the HoneyWell Total Control system. Am I right in thinking this is - yet again, a US only product? It otherwise also looked an interesting candidate.


(Greg) #5

@jelockwood

I should have mentioned MyFox also:


(Daniel McDougall) #6

@jelockwood its the EF-KIT3

i assume once i have it linked into the smartthings ecosystem the linking it to locks, ifttt and all manner of other things should be much easier.
from reading other threads the cameras are funny things but im sure its possible.

right now I’m focused on the basics.

MyFox looks to be a good bet as @ghesp says.
my wife wanted a known brand for the alarm which is why we went for yale. i foolishly thought that it would be Smart like the name implies lol.


(John Lockwood) #7

@tapion1ives

Thanks for indicating the model you have i.e. EF-KIT3 you are using. This does seem to still be on sale but is not listed on the Yale site itself anymore. I get the impression it may have been superseded by the ‘Yale Smart Home Alarm’ range - which of course is no smarter lol.

See http://www.yale.co.uk/en/yale/couk/productsdb/alarms/smart-home-range-/ it uses the same accessories as the Easy Fit range.

By the way, there is a startup insurance company doing a unique offer, they bundle home automation / smart alarm systems with an insurance policy. The idea being a smart monitoring system reduces the likely chances of a claim or the severity of a claim in that the smart systems allow you to remotely take action to prevent damage. Currently still in beta. They are apparently at this stage using Fibraro as the system but intend to eventually do their own. No idea on costs. The equipment maybe free as part of the policy but of course there is likely to be a premium somewhere. See https://neos.co.uk


(Daniel McDougall) #8

I like the idea of insurance companies taking into account smart sensors when calculating premiums but not so keen on being dictated to on what tech i use.

still an interesting development.

NOW as for the yale stuff it looks like an updated hub box, all the accessories have the same model numbers.
it looks like the hub still runs through the same website i’ll be using, so as you say NO SMARTER


(John Lockwood) #9

Just found what maybe the only Smart Alarm system with built-in Z-Wave here in the UK. It is from a traditional alarm company and has a traditional control panel and the usual range of wireless sensors e.g. PIR. The panel is so-so in terms of aesthetics but the sensors are verging towards the meh level. :wink:

See https://www.utcfssecurityproductspages.eu/UK/products_single.php?cd=0&product=ZW-6404&cat_2=126

All the good stuff is still US only. Ironically Bosch a German company has a home security product range with Z-Wave but only so far in the US. Even more ironically apparently Bosch’s own Z-Wave gateway the G100 is basically a rebadged Vera Lite which is available here in Europe.


(Greg) #10

This is half of the problem.

Most “proper” security alarms come with a control box and a separate pin pad. The control box is usually under the stairs, in a cloakroom, downstairs bathroom etc, and then the pin pad is by the front door.

All these new “smart” offerings from the likes of Yale and above are:

  1. No where near as robust
  2. Not compatible with existing security alarm systems

We’ve got the wiring for the control box under the stairs, and a pin pad by the front door, so that rules out pretty much any solution on the market today.

What I want is the following:

  • A traditional security alarm that utilises a control box, pin pad, external ringer
  • A host of sensors, such as PIR, shock sensors, contact sensors
  • A module that extends the alarm using an API that can be access via an external API or internal API

This way I still get the robustness of a traditional security alarm that works if the IoT world or power goes out, but I get the extension to the IoT world to tap into what I want.

There are solutions out there such as the Risco Lightsys 2 that do exactly that, but they’re completely closed so no external integration is possible (not what I want)


(John Lockwood) #11

@ghesp

I was not clear on your thoughts about the ZeroWire product which is from a traditional alarm company.

However perhaps more in-line with your brief, have a look at the DSC product as listed here http://zwave-products.co.uk/epages/c52574ce-7814-4e39-8602-e19657ce0eaf.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/c52574ce-7814-4e39-8602-e19657ce0eaf/Categories/Security/Alarms and here http://www.dsc.com/index.php?n=products&o=view&id=2

This seems to be a very traditional system. There have been a number of people who have integrated it with Z-Wave which is why it is also listed on the zwave products website. I believe this maybe by having a z-wave relay/sensor detect on/off signals from the control panel rather than via a software approach. I am sure if you searched you would find the user discussions about that.


(Daniel McDougall) #12

HI Guys, just to let you know i have finished writing a device handler for the alarm.

It arms disarms and sets to home. it works with smartthings routines.

Next on my list is to write something that takes that status of the sensors and allows me to use those in routines also.

I’ll be posting the code later on this evening but seen as i’m the only one in the world with this system it seems it will just be for the curious.

next step after that will be to see if i can do the opposite and use wave sensors to trigger the alarm


(John Lockwood) #13

@ghesp

I found out more about how people are using the DSC alarm panel with SmartThings.

You fit a supported DSC panel, you fit inside the panel a third-party module which adds a network interface and a web interface for the entire DSC alarm system. You can in theory stop there and just use that web interface to monitor and set the alarm. The next step is to run a python app on a suitable computer Mac, Linux even a RasberryPi, this acts as a server for SmartThings to talk to. Finally you use a SmartThings app to talk to the server.

With this it is still a traditional alarm system but has a link via the module to the LAN.

There are several threads in these forums discussing this, see DSC + Envisalink 4 + smartthings-dsc-alarm-server as a starting point.


(Greg) #14

Thanks John.

I’ve been looking for a DSC Panel that actually fits my needs. The problem I have is that the pin pad, and bell box can be wired on my system, but everything else needs to be wireless.
A bit of a hybrid if you would.

Half the problem is, most of the information I can find is a little limited for the UK market


(John Lockwood) #15

@ghesp

If you look at the info on the EnvisaLink 4 module you can see which DSC panels are supported. See http://www.eyezon.com/?page_id=176 this module makes the DSC a network addressable device.

The DSC PowerSeries 1616, 1832, and 1864 all seem to be available in the UK. You can then look at what accessories are compatible with those models.

I had been seriously considering going the DSC route myself, however apparently due to rule changes it is no longer a make supported by official installers. This does not suddenly make it a bad product it has been and still is widely used even ignoring smart home system requirements. I had wanted to use a standard alarm installer to install it and do all the hard wiring of the sensors and then I would add the Envisalink to integrate it. I particularly like the LCD keypads available for DSC systems.

However partly based on the above and what I have found literally this evening I may wait a bit and look at the following instead http://www.texe.com/uk/technology/connect/

This Texecom Connect product is not yet shipping although in theory you could get a Premier Elite panel now and upgrade it later. They have already announced that they plan to build Z-Wave support in to themselves! Finally a product in the UK that it seems will be connectable as standard. There current keypads are not a patch on the DSC ones though.

I will also be monitoring Daniel’s progress regarding the Yale system.


(Greg) #16

Wow - good spot on the Texecom system @jelockwood!

I’ll ping them an email and ask them what the crack is with existing installations


(Daniel McDougall) #17

Hi Everybody.

IN case you aren’t following my other thread.

Control Panel - arming/disarming etc… - Done - can be triggered by routines in smartthings.
Contact Sensors - Done - working towards real time updates - can trigger routines in smartthings
Normal PIRs - Doubtful - im becoming convinced this will remain out of reach. unless the system is armed the PIRs send no signal to the panel ( unless its in walk test mode) i think i may be able to force this mode but will need testing.

Photos PIR - Hopeful - getting the photos and trigging the camera are 100% in reach. using it as a PIR has the same issue as the above, the thing is i have a feeling the the photo PIR is actually a Zigbee device. and i think i could do something with that. for now though mark as OutOfReach

Smartthings sensors used by Yale alarm system - Will need more testing but i think i can trigger the alarm if any other sensor in smartthings changes state. Will need loads more testing and i think i might have to buy a panic button device to actually do this but i’m hopeful.

Think this will be my last update on this thread.


#18

Hi jelockwood,

I realise this is a slightly old thread now but I’d be interested to know what you decided to go with in the end? I’ve just started researching and am leaning towards the Yale system with the code written by Daniel. Not much seems to have changed in the past year in the UK (at least from my research).


(John Lockwood) #19

I have not done anything yet but can provide the following thoughts.

Honeywell do a smart Z-Wave compatible alarm system in the US, I have seen suggestions this will be eventually coming to the UK in some form. Honeywell already have some of their Lyric products available in the UK.

In general the UK market is still only supplied by traditional ‘dumb’ alarm systems with basic numeric keypad controllers. Arguably the Yale falls in to this category although it does have at least an iPhone app and of course Daniel has done sterling work integrating it with Smartthings.

I have however been wanting a wired alarm system to avoid as much as possible the hassle of batteries for each sensor. As such I have been also considering the DSC panel for which there is a network module and software to link to Smartthings. The relevant DSC panel is however now older technology as far as the alarm industry is concerned and therefore no longer widely available but not impossible to get either. Newer DSC panels sadly do not have the ability to integrate with Smartthings.

This is all in sad contrast to the US market. In the US even ADT themselves sell a smart alarm system with the ability to integrate with other devices. ADT in the UK of course do not.

So to summarise, at the moment I am favoring a DSC panel, and still not ready to go ahead so this gives more time for changes.


(Steve ) #20

Have you signed up to the ADT monitor on demand 3 month beta they are doing.
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdQa0_znczzNPdTNC35qQCooizvnKQvECgNMSQ_ew3PqUI9Tw/closedform
It’s not a alarm system like you want but I think it looks like they are considering pairing up with ADT.
I’ve signed up for the beta and been accepted I’ve just not set it up in my SmartThings app yet.