Homey Community Forum

Is a professional alarm possible?


#1

Hi All,

I currently have a Galaxy 80 alarm system in my house with window sensors, motion sensors and window breaking sensors in place. It’s about 15 years old already and I’m thinking about replacing it using z-wave sensors and homey, though I’m a bit worried that it’s not yet possible to create a professional alarm this way.

For the motion sensors I’m considering the Fibaro Motion sensor, it’s z-wave plus and secured / encrypted. Though it is extremely small and I doubt that it is just as reliable as “real” alarm motion sensors.

The window sensors could also be the Fibaro sensors, but it seems as if they only have the z-wave and not the z-wave plus. I’m a bit worried about the security on that part.

Also I currently have about 30 z-wave repeaters in the form of Fibaro dimmers within my house, but it’s still not a stable z-wave network. I guess this has to do with the broken Homey z-wave mesh support I read about within this forum. Last thing I would want is false positives.

I don’t see any homey compatible window-break detectors based on z-wave yet?

Heimdall seemed to be fine in order to manage the alarm flows and I believe Homey itself is secure enough to perform these functions by now?

But how can I integrate an alarm service to respond to the alarm? I can have homey sending me a push-message in case of an alarm, put all the lights to full, ring the alarm sirens, but how does (we currently have Securitas) know about the alarm?

And how do we securely arm/disarm the alarm? I currently have the galaxy panels, but there seems to be no way to connect them to homey. A switch to toggle the alarm from mobile would work, but is it secure enough?

Any thougts about this? I’d rather have full open z-wave sensors then buy a new alarm that is homey compatible because it would be more flexible, but I doubt it’s professional enough for this already.


#2

I wouldn’t risk using it as your primary alarm base (e.g. Heimdal and all z-wave) if I were you. Homey still has a lot of bugs and weird stuff going on that would impair the accuracy and reliability of your alarm system. It’s okay for basic automation but it’s nowhere near the reliability level you’d want or expect for an alarm system.

You could however use something like the Fibaro Universal Binary Sensor or the likes to turn on/off your existing alarm system. The new version they just announced would also allow you to turn the contacts on/off by z-wave.


#3

To be honest, I don’t think you can see Homey as a replacement for a ‘real’ alarm system as it’s missing some vital things such as a backup battery and relies on wifi and an available internet connection to communicate with the outside world.
Replacing the Galaxy 80 with for example a Galaxy Flex and reusing your current sensors is a more sensible path to follow in my opinion


#4

Thanks for the quick replies. The current sensors are about 15 years old as well that’s why I’d like to replace everything (window sensor and motion sensors from Fibaro are way smaller then what I have now and I assume in 15 years time technology became better as well / the old sensors will probably be end of live soon).

I got the backup battery issue for homey solved, there is a simple powerbank in between and that works fine. My wifi, router, etc. is also connected to a UPS within the fusebox. Tested this and if I shut down the main fuses homey and the internet connection for homey are still stable.

Big issue is the connection to the security agency and the reliability of this Homey / domotica based alarm. I think your right and its simply too amateuristic to use this as a reliable alarm. Hope to see that change somewhere within the future.


#5

Yeah, connecting to the security agency is the only issue left in your setup. I thought about looking into the SIA protocol to implement it in Heimdall but decided not to at that time because it would require at least a UPS setup you’re describing here and not many Homey users would have that.


#6

If your current alarm system is hard wired I would never switch to Homey. There’s nothing more reliable than wire. Radio frequencies can be jammed which is an extra risk. Heimdall is a perfect solution (I use it myself) but unfortunately Homey sometimes is quite unreliable.


#7

Thank, unfortunately it’s not, but I start to believe that the Fibaro sensors (motion detection, door open) are more created to switch a lightbulb on or off and cannot be compared to real alarm sensors. Z-wave pro should be secure, but the galaxy has heartbeat checks, jam detection, tamper alerts etc. Its indeed never as good as wired, but a lot better then what is currently available for home automation.

That is too bad cause I would love to have it all integrated within one system.


#8

I have a few battery powered (Fibaro) Z-wave motion sensors. The big disadvantage with these devices is that the batteries run out quite fast and are relatively expensive to replace. I swapped most of my sensors with Xiaomi Zigbee door- and PIR sensors which are dirt cheap, quite reliable and very energy efficient. The batteries are cheap too. In combination with Homey and Heimdall I created a relatively safe alarm system. The good thing with Homey is that it is very versatile and easily configurable. Unfortunately with Homey version 2 Athom decommisioned the web interface which makes it a lot harder to create and maintain flows. That’s why I am still on version 1.5.13. I had hoped that the Homey pro would have been really pro with the ability to connect to a LAN with a cable and several IO ports but unfortunately it only has some more memory and a faster processor. So in my opinion Homey is definitely not the best option for an alarm system but at least it is better than nothing.


#9

I don’t know about the Fibaro sensors, but the Aeotec MultiSensor 6 sensors do have Tamper alarm and Heimdall can use that. The Aeotecs can also be used on USB power where they can be configured to send information in a short interval so it would be possible to do heartbeat checks (it’s not in Heimdall yet, but could be)
That said I do share your opinion that what is available for home automation does not meet the standards for home security.


#10

Same opinion here.
Initially I wanted to setup homey as the brain for some security flows. But as Athom messed up with v2.0 and seem to be barely make the stable version 2.0 (rc 14?!) stable plus already using the old fashioned and well
known desperate marketing move of trying to gain money by offering nearly the same device in “an other version” for higher price, it seems highly questionable if Athom can still pay salaries in 12 months so short:

No way. Homey is a toy; not more.


#11

I would go for a professional alarm system, but try to link that with one-way communication to your Homey.

I personally have a Jablotron-100 alarm system linked to Homey with programmed PG output true/false commands, which are coupled to multiple Fibaro Universal Binary sensors via a Jablotron output module (JA118N).

This way Homey can see the state of all my sensors, alarm arm status, alarm triggered status and activate flows based on the info my alarm system provides. The communication is one-way, so Homey cannot control the alarm system.


#12

Thanks all! I’m also a bit concerned about Athoms next steps and the Athom professional device that seems to have the same antenna’s and Z-wave issues as the older one. They have a hard business model, if you only make some money on every Homey you sell and a bit of contribution to the Homey store while your customers do expect you to keep upgrading software and features that will be hard. I would have expected some kind of Homey Pro service by now where customers could pay a monthly fee where in return Athom managed apps and additional features will be available, to start with some backup mechanism, assistant integration, etc… That will provide them with more income to finally make some needed improvements and hopefully in time also real professional security features.

I was hoping that Homey could be the central brain of my home, managing everything, but even with Z-wave devices that should have two-way communication in place Homey sometimes does not switch lights on or off or is missing sensor data. I do trust the security of the platform, but not the stability to use it as an alarm. My current alarm will still work for a while, I’m going to see if there are any other domotics devices capable of what I’m looking for and otherwise indeed connect an existing alarm to homey. But the one-way is not really what I want, would be great to have homey switch the alarm on if there is no more movement downstairs for some time and it is midnight, or after I told goodnight to the google assistant.


#13

I totally agree. Seeing the same obstacles for Athom.
Bought my device early 2018 and still didn’t manage to make it all work flawless as of today.

It’s ambitious to say “we connect everything” while generating income w/ sales of devices only. That is a business model that of course cannot carry a company.

Ideas are nice, but it’s concepts that drive success.
Like that:

  • Offer 3 different devices (Standard, Plus, Pro)
  • Build hardware alliances around that to offer better prices for sensors & actors (cross-selling accessories via online-shop)
  • Enhance user experience by knowing the customer journey (design the Webshop around the needs, e.g. “category security” / sensors or actors / functionalities / tutorials and flows according the chosen product)
  • Don’t try to do “a bit of all” but “all of a bit”
  • Use the App Store as a section of additional income, shared w/ developers (engage more developers and hardware alliance partners to write their own API; they will do as it will boost their sales via Athom-Shop)
  • Use close contact to the consumer base as an invest in transparency (transparency creates trust and trust avoids soar of disappointed consumers in a quickly growing substitutional market)

… and so on …


#14

@Mario_Me

Please keep this on topic, ie. this is not as thread about Athoms Business Model.

I am going to quote something kennith wrote before he left.

I think it is fair that we customers voice our opinion and that many are allowed to post “me too” messages. But we should also respect to do it on the few threads that addresses this so that people can still search for solutions to problems in all the other threads.


#15

My view, an alarm system is a risk mitigation, i.e. if someone really wants to burgle your house, they will. So if you’ve got a mansion in the sticks, secure the hell out of it. If it’s a normal house in suburbia, then literally placing an alarm box - even a dummy one - on the outside is statistically the biggest prevention of burglaries

So you can implement UPS, get 2 broadband connections into your house, etc., but as above, it’s a reassurance feeling only. If you let someone into your house that gains the trust of knowledge of your system such that they can discover its weak points - which is likely the only way a burglar would go to such lengths [beyond the alarm box deterent], then you should probably get new friends and a better insurance policy :slight_smile:

So, that being said, [I’ve literally only pulled my Homey back out of its box last week, since receiving it after Kickstarter, which took forever - it was not ready to use then, and arguably still has a long way to go, non-tech consumer comerciallly directed or otherwise], having had Fibaro HC2’s (they get bricked too), SmartThings (no resiliience due to internet/WAN reliance) and Hubitat (ST with total local processing but as mature the Homey after Kickstarter), over the last ~10 years, I am over-joyed with how quickly I’ve been able to set Homey v2.0 up (even mobile app only) to be able to replicate and supersede all of my previous home automations up in less than a week , which included an alarm system (I haven’t done this yet on my new house and Homey but the path seems very simple)

My main issue ‘seems to be’ only that I’ve got the first Homey and the hardware is nowhere near enough for the the amount devices/flows/apps etc. in my new house. I’m sure with the new Pro, which its spec is on parity with most other controllers I’ve used, the performance problems I seem to be reaching, will go away - I hope

Back to the OP point… you can implement an alarm system as much as your risk mitigation level requires. If you live in a low crime area but the knowledge of technological capabilities to prevent your house being burgled 100% has made you paranoid beyond the statistical probability of being burgled, then go with an unintegrated, fixed/secure, alarm system. If you’re more liberal with your security and your insurance isn’t as dependent on your alarm system (most UK insurance isn’t), then keep on hacking (but test it well).

Post-ramble - looking forward to the Ring Alarm System hitting the UK. It’s z-wave and seems to tick a lot of boxes that most alarm systems do not.


#16

Sounds pretty well.
Equal situation here, Germany.
Insurances do not care at all whether you do have an alarm system or not. Need to state that crime rate in Germany is at a pretty low level.

Though - having an alarm system may make you sleep Better when on vacation, knowing that you can easily access all cams, sensors, sirens etc.

Homey - to me- after experiencing it for around a year - is a toy. It’s fun to create flows and just like toy it works - or not. There are sooooo many possible options that make the device unstable or unreachable; as foreign developers do the work instead of the manufacturer Athom, Homey is very prone to errors. There never had existed a really stable version and as we’re experiencing w/ v2 it’s the same; Devs do Apps, Apps are external, external brings issues, issues cause trouble.

The Pro version has not a difference to the other versions except the price and RAM. (Dunno why Athom seems to need the money so urgently that they sell the Pro for such an amount, as the parts itself cost around 1,50 €).

However - to stay on topic - as the average house and ground plus stuff inside has a value of around 600.000€ - I would answer to everybody saying “I want Homey to protect my house” :
Just leave the door open - it may save you some money as the burglar doesn’t need to ruin the front door then!