Qolsys Android-Based Security/Home Automation Now Shipping with Alarm.com
IQ Panel from start-up Qolsys is a self-contained security/home automation system built on Android, featuring WiFi Bluetooth, Z-Wave and cellular radios; works with Alarm.com cloud-based service.
Julie Jacobson · February 21, 2014
Start-up Qolsys (Quality of Life System), which we discovered last year at ISC West, is now shipping its IQ Panel, the first and possibly only Android-based security and home automation system on the market.
While some may question the use of Android for mission-critical services like security, Qolsys VP Mike Hackett told us last year, “We picked Android so we can continue to innovate.”
True enough, you need the power of something like Android to drive the features that Qolsys offers today, and plans to offer in the future – things like facial recognition, Hackett suggests.
It wouldn’t be a stretch to add that particular feature to the self-contained touchscreen system, given its built-in camera.
Qolsys demonstrated last year how the camera snaps an image when a PIN code is entered.
“So if the daughter’s PIN is used, and there’s a picture of the boyfriend …,” Hackett said.
Seemingly unique to the IQ Panel is its wealth of on-board radios, including WiFi, Z-Wave, Bluetooth and CDMA cellular.
It also includes a proprietary radio that communicates with the Image Sensor from service provider Alarm.com. The Image Sensor is a small wireless camera with infrared lighting and motion detection. It uses a long-range low-bandwidth communications protocol, allowing it to take a series of snapshots upon alarm events, which can then be relayed to the user via the security panel’s cellular communications.
Other Alarm.com partners, including Interlogix (formerly GE Security) and 2Gig, require an external adapter to communicate with the Image Sensor.
Qolsys was the first alarm panel after Interlogix and 2Gig to integrate with Alarm.com, a cloud-based security and home automation service that incorporates geo-fencing and other advanced functionality.
Pricewise, Qolsys plans to be “kit-to-kit competitive” with other security systems on the market, Hackett told us last year, citing dealer pricing that was about $100 more than its competitors’ at the time.
The company can afford to be price-competitive, he said, “because we don’t have inventory of legacy products on the shelves. We’re brand new.”
Qolsys began shipping product to select dealers last June, but now the products are widely available through these distributors:
- eDist - Branches throughout the US
- First Action Security Team - Hagerstown, MD
- Silmar Electronics - Throughout Florida and Carolinas
- Alarm Product Distributors (APD) - HQ in Minneapolis, MN
- A1 Security Supply - Miami, FL
- Volutone - SoCal and Las Vegas
- Arlenco - Pacific NW
- Custom Electronic Supply (CES) - N. California. Phone 480-452-8300
- Audio/Video Warehouse - AZ and NV
- Systems Depot - CA, GA, FL, NC, and WV
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Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at email@example.com
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