Good morning...we bought a used house in Idaho as a second summer home and I'm going to replace the ancient Regency security system. At first I thought I would install an Elk M1 Gold system to duplicate what we have at our main house, but I started talking local installers and they are urging me to consider more modern solutions like Qolsys, 2Gig, and Honeywell Lyric. I'm also hearing raves about the extensive features and capabilities of the Alarm.com app.
Below is a long list of requirements and my assessment of the new systems. I hope you have the patience to read and digest this. I really need knowledgable assistance here.
My requirements are:
1. High quality panel, hardware, firmware, and software.
2. Encrypted sensor RF communications.
3. Integration with smoke detectors. The house has two existing wired smokes and a heat detector in the furnace / water heater utility room.
4. Ability to use legacy hard-wired sensors on doors. Currently, there are no sensors on the windows.
5. Motion detectors. House currently has two wired motions, but could use one or two more.
6. Home lighting system integration.
7. Integration with thermostats. I have two existing and brand new Honeywell Lyric T5 thermostats which I'd rather not replace.
8. Remote temperature readings.
9. Integration with interior sirens and speakers.
10. Text, email, and push alerts to our phones.
11. Cellular coms probably using AT&T LTE. Our town has both Verizon and AT&T LTE coverage. Lyric has an AT&T LTE card available now, but the Verizon card is supposed to be introduced soon. 2Gig and Qolsys have both AT&T and Verizon LTE cards available.
12. "Smash & crash" protection because the controller is not locked away in a steel structured wiring panel.
13. DIY installation.
14. Voice Commands. We are an Apple ecosystem house, so I would prefer Siri voice integration rather than Amazon Alexa. But the breadth of products that work with Alexa is amazing (see "The Ultimate Guide to Smart Home Compatibility").
15. Integration with Apple Homekit
I don't particularly care for the thickness of the modern panels, especially when used as a keypad on a wall by an exit door. Worse, you have to power the panels with a huge, ugly plug-in transformer that must be located near the panel. At our primary residence, the Elk M1G and power supply is in a closet and I have recessed the Elk KP2 keypad for a sleek, simple look. I'm thinking of putting the new panel in a desktop stand in the kitchen (which isn't that far away from the exit doors) and skipping arming keypads or panels at the doors. We can always arm the system on our phones if we forget to arm it when leaving. I might put a remote panel in the upstairs master bedroom.
For lighting, my main interests are having the house look lived in when we are away; lighting that goes into away mode when security is armed; and lighting scenes. I haven't settled on a lighting system yet. There aren't many Apple Homekit switches available yet (and few oddball suppliers), so I'm leaning towards Z-Wave which is built into the three security panels (Z-Wave Plus in Qolsys and 2Gig; only Z-Wave in Lyric). I would love to use UPB again, but cannot find a way to integrate it into the panels. Is such an integration of UPB into these panels possible? I'm thinking about using Samsung SmartThings as a secondary Z-Wave Plus controller for improved speed and reliability at home. Would I be able to control the secondary SmartThings controller via phone app through the Lyric? I briefly considered Lutron RadioRA 2, but the prices are astronomical. Lighting is very confusing to me. Both GE/Jasco and Leviton have extensive product lines that meet my needs, but I'm concerned about light reaction speed and communications reliablity.
All three manufacturers meet all of the above requirements. For mail, text and alerts, I think I have to subscribe to Alarm.com (Qolsys and 2Gig) or Honeywell Total Connect because I cannot send my own text and emails directly from the panel like I can on my Elk M1G with the XEP card.
Should I replace the existing wired smokes (2) and heat detector (1) with the new Honeywell Six Smokes (they are combined photoelectric / rate of temp rise / temp detector)? Or should I continue with the wired smokes and heat detector and route them through a wired to wireless conversion module? I haven't looked, but the existing wired smokes are probably 20 years old and need to be changed anyway (the existing smoke alarms all say "change by 2007"!!). Can I use a combined photoelectric / rate of temp rise / temp detector in a utility room with a furnace and water heater?
Some strengths and weaknesses I've garnered:
* Honeywell's new 2.4 gigahertz SiX Sensor line looks solid. I've been told it operates on channels not used by WiFi so it will not cause congestion on WiFi networks. both SiX and legacy 5800 which can be used with Lyric.
* Only Honeywell has Homekit integration.
* Honeywell Lyric does NOT use Z-Wave Plus. If they introduce a new panel with Z-Wave Plus, I'd probably have to throw away the old panel. 2Gig and Qolsys are Z-Wave Plus controllers
* Qolsys is built on Android. I've never used Android OS products and, frankly, I'm leary about having a security panel built on the Android OS.
* Honeywell seems to be slower to introduce new features and firmware updates, but they have a strong history and presence in both residential and commercial security systems. Qolsys is a newcomer, but has good reviews for product quality and feature releases and updates.
* Setting up a system based on 2Gig, Qolsys or Lyric is cheaper, less labor intensive and faster than setting up another Elk M1G system.
Right now I'm leaning toward Honeywell Lyric because of company reputation, the SiX and 5800 sensor lines, the Lyric Thermostat compatibility, the 2.4 GHz encrypted sensor RF comms, and company reputation. I would miss out on Alarm.com, but could use Total Connect. I'm also very concerned about the original Z-Wave instead of the more robust Z-Wave Plus.
Lastly, there is a brand new August 2018 wildcard -- Honeywell's "Smart Home Security" system and Alexa speaker, an all-in-one security setup with a built-in smart speaker, camera, and accessories for $450. Should I put this in the mix?
What are your thoughts? Can you smart security and automation guys help me sort through this? This is so much more confusing than six years ago when I bought our Elk M1G system. So much has changed in a few short years!
What to buy??? Is Lyric the right solution for us?
If you read all the way to the end, I thank you (and say "congratulations for sticking with it!")