iSocket Environment Pro + Remote Security Kit provide great coverage for the home or office.
There is a big buzz these days about the so called “Internet of things”. Google acquired NEST and DropCam, Samsung is investing heavily in this new market, hell you can even buy stuff like this at Walmart. It seems like everyone wants a piece of your remote controlled home and everyone is dumping products into the market, some good and some very bad.
iSocket is definitely in the former category with its ever-growing line of smart sockets with expandable kits to add additional features. Seriously, I could write an entire review just listing the things you can attach to these sockets and the different configuration options. However, for our purposes today, we will only be looking at the iSocket Environment Pro + Remote Security “Kit 1”.
The combination of this Smart Socket, Kit 1 and a pay as you go SIM card gives you the following impressive list of abilities anywhere you have electricity and a GSM cellular signal.
Temperature monitoring of almost any element: air, water, oil, etc.
- Power failure alert to your phone
- Remote switching (turn smart outlet on and off) and reboot by SMS/Call
- Security and safety monitoring for your home, office or anywhere you have electricity and a GSM cell signal.
In its most simple configuration, this unit can be up and running in about five minutes. Just insert a SIM card (not provided) and follow the simple setup instructions. First, make sure the LED lights are confirming access to the cellular network, then send a text “MAKEMEBOSS” from the phone you wish to control the iSocket with. This install will pair your phone with the iSocket and give you the ability to receive texts about power failure and allow you to turn the smart outlet on and off (ie. Lamp, Radio, etc.) without any further configuration. This can give you the remote ability to make it look like someone is home.
Then come the sensors: our evaluation unit came with a short temperature sensor, a long temperature sensor, motion detector and door contact sensors. Installing and configuring sensors is a snap, just make sure the unit is unplugged and turned off and be careful to follow the instructions for which sensors go into the RED v.s. BLACK 3.5mm ports. The general rule is to put the temperature into the RED port and security sensors into the BLACK port.
Once the wires are run and the various sensors in place, you have an array of options to configure the behavior of the environmental monitoring and security aspects of the system. For instance, I installed this unit in an office and I can now arm the system with a text message and receive alerts when the temperature exceeds a threshold, a motion sensor or door contact is triggered, or if the power goes out. The best part is that this all happens over cellular so it is very secure since there is no way to disable the unit without entering the space that it is in and triggering a sensor. Even if an intruder cuts the power, you will at minimum receive an alert from the device before it powers down.
In our testing, the device performs as advertised. The only issue we encountered was that our initial attempts to pair with the iSocket using the MAKEMEBOSS command would not work with our Verizon iPhone. We contacted iSocket support for assistance and the response was quick and helpful. The issue was actually on Verizon’s side and had nothing at all to do with the iSocket. Apparently, the cellular service we chose TruPhone was recognized by Verizon as a land line rather than a mobile number. This prevented us from sending texts to the unit from Verizon. Some research online revealed that this is a known issue with Verizon and not at all related to iSocket or TruPhone. We did not have this issue with any other carrier in testing, so Sprint, AT&T, TMobile, etc. were all fine.
A simple work around for this issue is to use a free Google Voice number to control the iSocket and then forward texts and calls to your Verizon phone. This offers the added benefit of generating an email when events happen so you have another method to be notified. In our testing with Google Voice, this worked very well and we chose to leave this configuration in place as our preferred method to control the iSocket regardless of carrier.
Our final verdict? The iSocket Environment Pro + Remote Security Kit 1 is an excellent product that is a very well made and cost effective way to implement an autonomous environmental and security monitoring system for just about any location you can think of. We are already thinking of installing another one of these in our home and cabin. The bottom line is if you want a remote monitoring system for the price of a few months of service from a company like ADT, then the iSocket is for you.
These two products retail for $169 (iSocket Environment Pro) and $42 (Kit 1). For more information, visit http://www.isocket.eu/.