Fear of hackers may keep some homeowners from buying Wi-Fi enabled door locks but even if you’re not interested in using an app to lock your doors or control your alarm system, you may want to consider a smart doorbell that enables you to see who’s on your doorstep. Such home security systems are in abundance at the 2014 International CES, including two doorbells you can answer from a wireless device.
Shipping since late November, this wireless doorbell, $199, connects to your home Wi-Fi network. Other devices on the network can be used to view live video of who’s at the door. With the included app (for iPhone, iPad, or Android), you can see, hear, and speak to visitors even from afar—and even when it’s dark outside. The device replaces your existing doorbell using the same wiring, and the battery lasts a year. In addition to the company’s website, Getdoorbot.com, it’s available from Amazon and Staples.
At the moment it has a quirky drawback intended to preserve long battery life. To do that, the DoorBot takes a nap until someone rings the bell. But the company plans to issue an update that lets you view your doorstep even if no one has pushed the doorbell.
The iSmartAlarm Doorfront.
The iSmartAlarm Doorfront is a wireless doorbell that was recently added to the iSmartAlarm system. The alarm system sells for $199 or $349 depending on the configuration, and is a collection of wireless components that includes a camera, motion sensor, and a remote tag (for tracking children or pets). The replacement doorbell lets you know when someone is approaching the door even before they ring the bell, and you can see, hear, and speak to visitors using the company’s app on your iPhone. You can also view streaming video, take snapshots, or set the system to automatically capture activity with the product’s built-in motion detector.
Consumer Reports hasn't tested these products so we can't vouch for them. But over the coming year we plan to purchase and test many web-enabled connected home products, which have become known collectively as “the Internet of things.”