Xandem is a motion-detector centered security system that aims to bring spy-movie fantasies into reality. It emphasizes that this security system incorporates no cameras whatsoever and relies solely on motion detecting sensors that create a web throughout your entire home so that every movement is seen and felt.
It claims that it can easily cover an entire floor plan with its easy-to-plug-in Nodes. You plug in its Gateway hub to an internet connection, and the system is online. Then, an upcoming app (it doesn’t exist yet) plans to let users access the sensors to get an idea of what is happening inside the house while you are connected to the local network. If you pay a $20 monthly fee for their cloud service, you can also take a look at your system when you are away from home, which is when it really matters.
This technology is definitely exciting, and many are already talking about so many more uses and applications for it. However, how does it really stand on its own as a home security solution?
A big concern that we have is the overall reliability of this technology as a 24/7 home protection system. The nodes plug straight into your wall socket, so there aren’t any batteries anywhere in the system. This is convenient, but what if the power goes out? There should at least be a back up battery that lasts a reasonable amount of time, so that you are still protected even in the event of a power outage.
The entire system is also on Wi-Fi. Without the cloud service, you can only get notifications about your system while you are on the same local network as the system. You won’t be notified when you are away from home. Because most burglars like to commit their crimes while they know the household members are away from the home, this doesn’t really help you at all. Subscribing to the cloud service feels like a must, since that will enable the system to send you notifications when you are connected to the internet elsewhere. However, there is no option for a cellular connection option. So this requires for you to have a solid internet connection at home as well as a reliable connection to the internet wherever you are. For many people who don’t have unlimited data plans or Wi-Fi wherever they go, this isn’t the best way to stay connected. Cellular connections are the most reliable, since cell towers exist to perform this function, and it covers the largest range. Perhaps Xandem will offer this option in the future, but for now it’s not part of the package.
Dependence on Wall Outlet Positioning
In all the images of the house layouts using Xandem, the Nodes manage to be evenly spread out, perfectly one in every room. However, when you think about your own floor plan and where the wall outlets are, they probably aren’t all facing in an ideal direction, readily available to have a Node plugged in, or spread out evenly. If you do, that’s great! But we worry that many less ideal floor plans will need more Nodes than expected for the square footage, and there may be a lot of rearranging needed if outlets are already in use. Power strips sound like an easy solution, but they can be obtrusive and something of a hassle (who wants a power strip in their bathroom?)
Without a suitable wall outlet layout, we fear that there could be several blind spots, especially near corners, where doors and windows are usually located.
Ultimately, Xandem’s home security system is a standalone product that doesn’t offer you any help in the case of an emergency or break-in beyond sending you a notification on your smartphone—if it’s connected to the internet. It’s so easy to miss phone notifications, especially since we are inundated with them these days. Phone batteries die, ringers get silenced, beeps can be drowned out by busy streets, we check notifications “later,” meetings happen, phones get left at home, and phones get stolen. There are so many reasons to miss a notification. We shouldn’t have a responsibility to be glued to our screens in order to simply ensure the security of our property.
This simply does not replace the necessity of a professionally monitored system that will alert you, your emergency contacts, and then the proper authorities in the case of an emergency. Seconds count, and you can’t leave something as important as the safety of your home purely in your phone’s notification list.
Xandem is strongly attempting to market itself as a replacement for a security camera. While we definitely see the usefulness and cool factor in this product, but we do not see it as a replacement for a security camera. It simply doesn’t provide the same level of monitoring, protection, or peace of mind. We live in a visual world. Showing the police the history of an intruder walking through your home as a red X on the screen doesn’t help them as much as video footage of the perpetrator. And while seeing a blank screen indicating no movement in the home can be somewhat comforting, we don’t feel like it has the same impact towards your peace of mind as seeing your room in real time with your own eyes.
Ultimately, the Xandem is more of a gimmick than a real security solution. The technology is impressive, and it could definitely be a good addition to a home security system. The $500 price tag, with an additional $20/month, may turn many people away, though. However, a professionally monitored, complete home security system can not be replaced by a web of motion detectors—no matter how extensive.