In this weekly column, hosts Brandon Doyle and Colton Pratt walk through smart-home products and showcase their capabilities while reviewing pros and cons. Tune in, so that when your clients ask, you’ll be the expert. This week, host favorites Abode and SimpliSafe face off.

In this weekly column, hosts Brandon Doyle, Doyle Real Estate Team with RE/MAX Results, and Colton Pratt, project manager, walk through smart-home products and showcase their capabilities while reviewing pros and cons. 

Previously, if you wanted to install a security system, you’d need to call a company such as ADT or Brinks to come out and set up the equipment, and you’d be locked into a long-term contract.

Now with wireless connections such as 4G, Wi-Fi and Z-Wave, homeowners can build their own network of cameras, sensors and interconnected hubs without being tied to a single vendor. You can even monitor your home yourself or do a month-to-month contract, in this episode of Home Tech Decisions, we compare and discuss the Abode and SimpliSafe platforms.


SimpliSafe is arguably the easiest DIY home security system to set up, as you do not need any technical knowledge. Nothing is drilled into to the wall or wired; it all operates over its own proprietary network.

To get started, you can select from a package available online or build your own. Installation only takes about 20 minutes, and there are number of different add-on sensors available. There are some integrations available with Alexa and Google to arm and disarm the system, but it does not do advanced home automation or work with sensors from other companies.

Self-monitoring is free, and professional monitoring is available starting at around $15 a month.


Abode offers the most flexibility for home automation along with self-monitoring, integrations and compatibility with various products across multiple manufactures.

This enables you to setup advanced automations via CUE including automatically arming and disarming your alarm based on the location of your phone. There are several different triggers that can be paired with a desired action, and you can even add conditions such as time of day or whether you’re home or not.

Multiple starter packages are available, and you can custom build your own system. The Abode Gateway connects via Ethernet and functions like a traditional hub, the Abode Iota includes a built-in motion sensor, 1080p Camera and is capable of operating over Wi-Fi, which is ideal for placement in the front entryway.

There are not currently any video doorbells that are compatible with Abode, however, more integrations are being added regularly. Both systems come standard with an app that allows you to receive notifications on your phone, which is ideal for self-monitoring.

Abode is the only company that offers short-term professional monitoring on demand, perfect for vacations. Professional monitoring with cellular backup is available for $8.30 a month.

Brandon Doyle is a Realtor at Doyle Real Estate Team — Re/Max Results in Minneapolis and co-author of  Mindset, Methods & Metrics – Winning as a Modern Real Estate Agent. You can follow him on Twitter.

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