With New Security System, Arlo Tries To Do It All

Arlo is not about just security cameras anymore. The company, recently spun off from networking giant Netgear, announced today (Jan. 7) that it was expanding its portfolio to include a DIY security system, as well as a program which would let it integrate other smart-home devices into its platform, and turn its system into a smart home hub.

All of Arlo's wireless cameras communicate with a central Arlo hub in your home, which helps with things such as battery life and processing. Its newest 4K camera, the Arlo Ultra, has a new base station with several other features baked in, such as Zigbee and Z-Wave, which will let it talk to other smart home devices, such as smart lockssmart lights, and more.

In addition, Arlo will release a DIY home security kit, which includes the same base station as its Ultra cameras as well as a smart sensor that can be used to detect motion, doors or windows opening, water leaks, temperature changes and smoke alarm sirens. The kit will also come with a wireless siren/strobe light and a key fob to arm and disarm the system.

Pricing has not yet been announced, but the system should be available in the second half of this year. Arlo said that other features, such as professional monitoring, should also be revealed by that time.

While Arlo cameras already work with a number of smart home platforms, such as SmartThingsAlexa, Google Home — and now HomeKit — the company wants to create its own ecosystem with a "Works with Arlo" program.

Similar to Nest products, this will allow Arlo owners to trigger other smart-home devices if an Arlo device is activated. For instance, your Philips Hue lights could turn on if an Arlo camera detects motion. Initial partners include Philips Hue, Leviton, Jasco, Lifx, Yale, Danalock, Schlage, Bose and Sonos, but the company plans to add more by the time the service is available in the second half of 2019.

Both the DIY security system and the Works with Arlo program seem like logical next steps for the company. Depending on how the company positions it, Works with Arlo could either be a direct competitor to Works with Nest as well as Samsung's SmartThings, but it feels like the former is a more likely scenario.

One advantage that Arlo could have over Nest is that by having a local hub, it will be able to control devices more directly without having to send commands up and down from the cloud. Of course, this all depends on how many partners Arlo can sign up, and how comprehensive its integrations are. 

Mike Prospero
U.S. Editor-in-Chief, Tom's Guide

Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.