Review of the BeOn Home Protection System
At first glance, the BeON Home Protection system looks like a trio of odd-looking smart LED bulbs. But BeON's Home Protection System (3 bulbs: $225, discounted to $199 on Amazon) is actually a sophisticated early warning system for your home, disguised and doubling as smart bulbs.
In most respects, BeON's soft-white 60-watt equivalent (800 lumen) bulbs to work like a standard smart bulb; you can turn them on and off singularly or in groups via the app. And, like most LEDs, the BeON bulbs have a lifespan of around 25,000 hours, or around 23 years if used an average of three hours a day.
Once you insert the yellow BeON peg module through the bulb and screw them into a standard A21 (Edison base) lighting fixture, each BeON bulb becomes a listening post that can hear and react to your front door bell ringing or your smoke/CO alarm sounding. When the BeONs hears one of these, the bulbs light up in an automatic or programmed sequence to either make it appear as if you're home to scare off intruders, or light your way to escape potential danger. The BeOns are UL certified for use outside and in enclosed fixtures, so you can use them just about anywhere you have a regular fixture.
All the BeON bulbs act together thanks to smart Bluetooth mesh technology. Once one bulb hears a noise, all the bulbs know it, and therefore act as a preventative to potential problems. Keep in mind that because Bluetooth has a maximum range of 100 feet, you'll need to ensure each bulb is within 100 feet of at least one other bulb to keep them all connected. And, since the system is Bluetooth only, you won't be able to access it from outside your home.
"The goal of the system is to get inside a potential intruder's head days and days in advance and put doubt in their mind that your house might not be the one they want to try and break into," a BeON spokesperson explained. "The system picks up on your natural lighting habits so that there's seamlessly no noticeable difference between you being home and away. Since the goal of the system is preventative security, BeON wants the system to act as a deterrent days in advance, rather than as a reactive security system."
Perhaps the most innovative aspect of the BeON bulbs is their built-in rechargeable battery. Unlike standard smart bulbs, which require power from the light fixture being turned on, the BeONs can run on their rechargeable battery. That means BeON bulbs can continue to perform their protective functions for days after you turn off the lights or when the power goes out . In fact, if you're home, you are encouraged to simply act as if the BeONs are normal bulbs and just turn them on and off from the lamp or wall switch, which you'll want to do because using the app takes 15 or more seconds to connect to the bulb to relay the command. And thanks to the battery, you'll also get at least four hours of lighting in case of a power outage.
Setting up your BeOn Home Protection System
Once you download the BeON app (free for iOS or Android), push and click-in the yellow peg modules through the BeON bulb, screw the bulb into a socket and turn on the light. Then, you then pair it with your home network. Along the way, there are video tutorials within the app to help guide you along.
Once installed, BeON's bulbs can be renamed, then programmed or used in three operational groupings –
- Security Lighting
- Welcome Home
- Safety Lighting
– with each grouping enabling its own set of options.
Swipe up from these three options to get status and control over each individual BeON bulb – turn each on or off, dim it, and see each bulb's battery charge condition and level.
Security Lighting's primary purpose is to have your lights go on and off on an erratic, non-predictable schedule pattern while you're away, to make it appear as if someone is home. Front and center of the Security Lighting pane is a giant Home/Away touch toggle. "Away" is what activates the three options below this toggle.
"Lighting," gives you a scrollable or time lapse preview of this "Away" lighting schedule. Sliding a vertical day/hour scroll bar, your BeON bulbs will go on and off as they would if they were actually in "Away" mode; green shading in the hourly scale indicates when a bulb will turn itself on. If a lighting fixture is switched off, you'll be prompted to turn it on so an illuminated BeON bulb doesn't burn out its battery before you get home.
The far right option on the Security Lighting screen is "Activation," which lets you disable specific bulbs from participating in the Away sequence.
Currently, the Away schedule is pre-programmed; the bulbs then learn your lighting habits over a seven-day period and adjust the default schedule so your actual lighting habits are mimicked, instead of the lights coming on on a predictable programmed schedule the way most other smart bulbs work. The next BeON app update will include a customization tool so you can create your own on/off Away lighting schedule, as you can see in the screen shots below. You can either modify the schedule the app has learned or develop a custom schedule for every day of the week.
Between "Lighting" ("Preview" would be a better name since this is what this feature actually is) and "Activation" is "Doorbell," one of BeON's most fascinating functions.
Apparently, according to BeON via security experts, potential burglars who suspect no one is home will actually ring your doorbell as a final confirmation of the lack of current occupation, nine times out of 10. If you happen to answer the door, they'll have some made-up excuse for why they rang the bell, but BeON presumes it won't get this far.
You can train your BeON bulbs to hear your doorbell, and you can set a sequence of which BeON lights go on in reaction. For instance, you can set the sequence so the BeON bulb in the bedroom comes on after a couple of seconds of hearing the doorbell, followed by a downstairs light some seconds later to mimic the length of time it would take you to descend the stairs. Hopefully, once the lights pop on to mimic your responding to the doorbell, the potential burglar would beat a hasty retreat rather than wait for you to answer (or not) the door.
Unfortunately, the doorbell functions only in "Away" mode; you can't use it to create a visual alert to someone ringing the bell while you're home. This would be a nice feature for the hearing impaired or for those of us who can't hear the doorbell from certain distant spots in our home.
When training your BeON to hear the doorbell or smoke detector, it's not your phone that's listening, which is what the instructions and video tutorial imply – it's the BeON bulbs inside that are listening. The phone and app just let you know if the bulbs have been accurately trained to hear. BeON has said it would adjust the instructions to correct this misconception. It did take me a couple of tries to successfully train BeON to hear my Manhattan apartment buzzer.
Welcome Home and Safety Lighting
"Welcome Home" is a far simpler construct. As you pull into your driveway or walk-up your walk, you can illuminate all or some of your BeON bulbs for three minutes so you don't walk in to a dark house – whether each bulb's physical light switch is on or off. BeON has said it will, at some point, add geofencing so your lights turn on automatically when you get to within a certain, specified distance from your abode.
Like doorbell detecting, you can train your BeON bulbs to hear your smoke/CO detector alarm, under the "Exit Lighting" option on the "Safety Lighting" pane. Unlike the programmable doorbell sequence reaction, all your BeON bulbs will light up automatically if it hears the alarm so you can find the door in case of blinding smoke, God forbid.
Under "Power Outage," you can manually turn on all or some of the BeON bulbs for up to four hours; "Slow Fade" lets you dim some or all of your BeON bulbs to completely off over 10 minutes, presumably when you're just leaving the house.
The big benefit is the BeOn Home Protection system's ability to hear your doorbell or smoke/CO detector, alert you and provide emergency lighting. The lighting system providing lighting to the nearest exit in case of fire, and when the doorbell rings while you're away, both mimics someone approaching the front door and mimics your typical lighting patterns so you appear to be at home.
Once you understand that the BeON Home Protection system puts safety, rather than lighting control, first, you'll appreciate your BeON bulbs as much as I do. You won't have the remote or instant control you get with other smart bulbs, like the Philips Hue that are always connected to your home Wi-Fi, but you also won't have to change the way you currently use your lights to get the benefits of smart bulbs. You can still use your existing switches without knocking out the system's smarts. And BeON has more capabilities coming soon that will make its Home Protection System even smarter. It will recognize new trigger sounds, think crying baby or dog barking, and there are new modules in the works.
BeOn Home Protection System
[Image credits: Stewart Wolpin/Techlicious, BeON Home]