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Technology Today - March 2017 - CES Zmodo Connecting the Home

By Robert Sanborn

Zmodo Beam

Zmodo is one of those companies you run into that looks to be doing everything right. They have a cool lineup of devices that connect together and to your home and smartphone. See the website.

I first saw them a couple of years ago at CES and thought how easy it looks so after visiting with them this year, had to take a closer look. Zmodo is a system that allows you to connect and monitor all sorts of events in the home, in and outside, to alert your smartphone of what is going on. So you need to start with a hub to connect all the devices and in this case, I selected the Beam.  The Beam is several devices in one but the most important is the hub for the other devices. It plugs directly into a wall outlet and becomes a Wi-Fi range extender for your network. It also includes a motion sensor to become a smart night light for you as well.

You start first with the Zmodo app on Google Play Store or Apple App store. Easy to find with the Zmodo logo. First thing I notice is that it only received a 2.6 rating at this time. And I can already see one reason for low rating. You tell it to send you a verification code to your phone and when you get it, you need to erase the word “pin” in the box before entering it. There are several other things about the app that were confusing and you really have to pay attention to the little instruction sheet that comes with it. Also, the quick start guide device on the website doesn’t look like what I have which is ok since I have the most current version. One other quibble I have is that I am starting to see devices with no led lights to indicate they are working so when the beam is plugged in, I can’t tell if it is working just by looking at it. When I look at it on the app, it says the device is offline but is the device off line or is that there is nothing currently connected to it?

Zmodo Logo

In adding a new device, life got even more confusing. Maybe it took a while before the app caught up with the Zmodo Beam hub that I set up because it seemed like it took quite a few minutes before the app truly recognized the Beam hub. Finally once it is connected, I can see it and now when I go to device settings, I can easily add the window unit that I was trying to set up. I suspect that the problem I had was the hub was not fully recognized in the App. 

The second window/door unit I installed went in like a breeze and even though this one was a ways away from the Beam unit, because of the shared Wi-Fi, it connected just fine and is working very well. Testing both units give me the alerts on my phone like it should and having the motion sensor light on the Beam hub itself is a nice addition.  When you are setting up each device, you will need to give each device a name and password. Again, it looks like the App has already named the device but you still need to put something in where the device ID was.


Zmodo Door and Window

Setting them up in my house was not easy and the difficulty was finding a place to put them. Most of my doors and windows have curved molding around them so there wasn’t the flat space available to attach the devices.  I think this was one of the reasons the alarm company went with glass breakage devices and motion sensors.

Once you get a feel for the smartphone App, things do look and work quite well. The alerts came in when I opened each of the windows or closed them and I ended up choosing windows that are not open all that often so that the number of alerts will be minimal.  But one thing I found while browsing around the app is that you can set schedules for the devices. There is a home setting where you don’t get alerts, an away setting when you do get them (this is the default setting), and a Sleep setting as well and in all of them, you can set whether the device is active and will alert you. You can also create a time schedule for each of those modes.

We are seeing a lot of new and interesting technology put together. To connect devices, they have what they call “Zink” technology for smart Wi-Fi devices for quick and easy connections.

The devices are quite reasonably priced as well with the two pack of door or window sensors just $35.99.  The Beam repeater and hub unit is just $49.95. Other devices include the Greet connected door bell and the Pivot, the motion sensing and moving Wi-Fi camera for the home.  These products are definitely worth checking into.


More from CES 2017 later.

Robert Sanborn

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