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Notion aims to make home monitoring simple (and cheap)

Michael Brown | May 28, 2015
Most connected-home system use a variety of sensors to monitor your home. One can tell if doors and windows are open or closed, but you'll need a different sensor to determine the status of your overhead garage door. Need protection from water damage? You'll need a moisture sensor for that. Want to know if someone's walking around your home when it should be unoccupied? Get a motion sensor. Would you like to be notified if your carbon-monoxide or smoke alarm goes off when you're not home? You'll need yet another type of sensor for that task

You can set a Notion system up to receive text messages informing you of doors or windows opening when you don't expect them to, water pooling on the floor next to your water heater, your smoke or CO detector sounding off, and similar scenarios. Since each sensor monitors everything in the environment, the same sensor that warns you of an open door or window can also alert you if an intruder breaks the window, or if someone is in your house when it should be empty, or if your smoke detector is going off. Unlike the Leeo Smart Nightlight, however, you won't get a phone call with a recording of the sound that set it off.

"We detect smoke and CO alarms using spectral analysis," Jurgens told me in an interview last week. "If it's this decibel level and it's repeating, it's a smoke alarm versus a baby crying or a dog barking. This was a conscious decision because operating a microphone on a battery is very difficult. You plug the Leeo into the wall. But we also had concerns about the Big Brother angle, because Leeo has the potential to listen to your conversation."

You'll also be able to set up an alert tree, so that if you don't respond to an urgent situation — such as a water leak — in a timely fashion, the system will ping your friendly neighbor who can then check things out for you. Despite the real-time cloud-based monitoring and messaging services, Notion does not plan to charge its customers a monthly subscription fee (Jurgens said Notion does expect to charge $10 per month for the cellular model of the ZigBee bridge).

Notion is accepting pre-orders now (with discounted prices) and plans to ship product in late July. A single sensor and bridge will cost $129, or you can buy a bridge with three sensors for $199. Bundles with 5 and 10 sensors are also available, and three-packs of additional sensors will cost $135. Notion expects to ship its product in late July. I hope to be able to post a hands-on review soon after.

 

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