I met with Jean-Marc Prunet, CEO of Myfox at CES 2015 to talk about the US launch of their self-monitored home security system. With my head spinning with thoughts of gadgets and gimmicks it was refreshing to see a company taking a different approach to sensors. Similar to iSmart, Myfox is a self-monitored home security system without monthly fees and backed by a smart phone app.
What is Myfox and how is different?
Myfox is foxy. It’s smart and pretty. It also uses the trusted circle methodology employed by other self-monitored security companies. There are many similarities with other self-monitored products but what sets Myfox apart is that they claim to be the “only security system that prevents break-ins BEFORE they happen”. They claim that prevention is possible through a patented technology called IntelliTAG™.
IntelliTAG™ is a technology built-into the sensors. Myfox calls them “anti-intrusion sensors”. The integrated technology measures vibrations. The measurement is made smarter through algorithms that help differentiate between a vibration caused by a knock at the door vs something more serious like an attack by a crowbar. As soon as the vibration is measured the 110db alarm will sound before the bad guy actually breaks in. Statistically speaking it is estimated that 74% of uncompleted intrusions can be credited to an audible alarm. According to Jean-Marc, “You avoid theft and you avoid damage to your home. An alarm is no longer something that tells you that somebody is in your house going through your stuff, it’s something that prevents someone from entering.”
You avoid theft and you avoid damage to your home. An alarm is no longer something that tells you that somebody is in your house going through your stuff, it’s something that prevents someone from entering.
In addition to sounding an alarm, the system will send a push notification to connected smart devices for added protection. If you are away from the house, you can use the new Myfox Security Camera as your eyes to determine if the alert is an emergency or not.
Myfox Hardware and Software
Myfox showcased multiple hardware components at CES. The Myfox Security System includes a siren, hub, one IntelliTAG sensor, and one key fob. Of course you can add more components including the Myfox camera. The system can support up to 50 IntelliTAGs, 50 key fobs, 1 siren, and 4 cameras.
Like most systems, all things spawn from the central hub which Myfox calls the Link. The Link works off of a proprietary encrypted RF signal and WiFi. The hub includes battery backup providing up to four hours of redundant protection and supports the MyFoxAround feature. If your system falls offline or if your power fails, MyfoxAround™ will look for another Myfox Security System to establish an anonymous, encrypted wireless connection. Right now this is sort of useless feature as the system is new in the US but as more and more people add the system to their home’s it could create an interesting approach to redundancy. The range of MyfoxAround will vary depending upon your environment. For example, in open air MyfoxAround can look for another system up to 2 miles away but the range in the city might be closer to 500 feet.
The IntelliTAG sensor is a small, one-piece sensor that you can place on doors or windows to measure vibration. The sensor is battery operated and is small enough that it can be placed on any type of door or window. The Myfox key fob can be used to remotely arm and disarm the system but it’s also a little smarter than the average fob. First of all, the fob can automagically arm and disarm the system. When you enter or exit your home with a fob, the system will recognize that you are home and automatically arm or disarm. For some, arm and disarm automation can be more worrisome than helpful so Myfox has included a speaker in the siren that plays a musical sound indicating that the system recognized the fob and that all is well.
Jean-Marc quickly demoed the new Myfox security camera for me at CES. The camera has a decent picture quality offering HD video, a wide-angle lens, night vision, and an integrated motion/sound sensor. There are three key features that set the Myfox camera apart from other IP cameras.
- It has an integrated battery that will run the camera for one hour.
- It has a secret shield that shuts automatically for privacy when you are at home.
- It offers a couple options for video storage.
With Myfox, recordings are stored on Myfox secured cloud servers for playback from anywhere but IFTTT integration offers even greater storage potential if linked to your Google Drive account.
The Myfox app has an easy user interface and works with iPhones and Androids. You can use the app to set custom rules, control the system, and setup your trusted circle. The app has multiple user levels including admin, a user, and a guest. An admin has full rights to the system and access to the hardware. A user can arm and disarm the system but cannot access the camera or event history EXCEPT in the event of an intrusion. If an intrusion is detected, a user will be granted full access for five minutes.
The Myfox mobile app communicates with key fobs to show who is home and who is not. On the app users that are home are in color and users that are away are grayed out. You can drill into coming and goings via the user history feature which shows a time/date stamp of the fobs entering and exiting your home. The event history combined with the fob is a smart way to track all of your family members, not just those with a smartphone.
Users can choose to customize the system via the Myfox app or via IFTTT. IFTTT is a free app that allows multiple smart devices to work together through recipes created in an “if this then that” format. For example, when your Myfox camera senses motion, you can have your Phillips Hue bulbs turn on.
I think that Myfox is a serious option for those that want a self-monitored home security system and I like their proactive vs reactive approach to home security. The Myfox Security System is easy to install, attractive, wireless, includes a free app, no monthly fees, and has most of the right components. The system is missing traditional sensors like glass break sensors, motion detectors (though there is one built into the camera), and other environmental sensors. This is because the system is designed to take a proactive approach while many traditional sensors are reactive or meant to detect an intrusion once someone is already in your home. If these sensors are important to you, you can expand using other hardware connected via IFTTT integration.
Myfox can be set up in minutes with no wires or drills. Users only need to download the free app, connect the products, and select their WiFi network.
Total score? 83% which is a 4 GEM projected rating. While we did get a hands-on experience at CES, we have not actually tested the unit. Once the unit launches this projected rating may change.
You can learn more at getmyfox.com. The system will be available for purchase in Q2 with a target retail price of $299.99.