While we're not all that keen on most smart home hubs, Lowe's is adding a service to its Iris hub that could be a differentiator between it and devices such as the Wink and Samsung SmartThings hubs. Starting today, the company will offer professional security monitoring, which will alert the authorities if its system detects a break-in, smoke or carbon monoxide alarm, or panic button press. The service, originally announced at the beginning of 2016, is provided by UCC, and will cost $14.95 per month.
In the event of an alarm, the Iris will send an alert to a customer's smartphone, where they can see what has been triggered, and receive a call from UCC. From there, homeowners can also see when first responders have been notified, and when they arrive on the premises. However, monitoring is only available in certain areas in 43 states, so you'll have to check on Lowe's site to see if it's available in your area.
Lowe's Iris smart home hub is a bit different than other do-it-yourself offerings. While you can use the system without any additional costs, Lowe's also offers a Premium subscription service for $9.99, which provides such features as 3GB of storage for security camera recordings, a 14-day log of security events, and the ability to have it notify up to 6 people. The Professional Monitoring service will include everything in the Premium package; you can also add on 4G cellular backup service for an additional $7.99/month, as well as the cost of the 4G/LTE device, which costs $109.
However, Iris has a much more limited ecosystem of compatible products than Wink and SmartThings; for example, it's not compatible with Philips Hue lights, the Nest Cam, or IFTTT. Iris Compatible products do cover all the bases, though, from door and window sensors to smart switches and plugs, security cameras, thermostats, smoke detectors, smart locks, and lights. And, you can control the Iris—and anything it's connected to—through Google Home and Amazon Alexa.