DIY Security: Novi Offers the Ideal Apartment-Friendly Device


Smart security systems, with their impressive array of sensors and smartphone-ready apps, do have one issue: Few are created with the smaller apartment or loft in mind, where landlord rules and a lack of space render many security systems inapplicable. Here DIY security devices — a more flexible, friendly solution that owners can build out at their own pace — find their niche.

Out of these DIY options, the Novi stands apart as one of the simplest. If you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars expanding your system into multiple sensors, this small multisensor is worth a look. Actually, if you’d rather forget about designing a security system altogether and just buy one device that does it for you, this might be exactly what you’re looking for.

A Spot On Security Solution

Interestingly, the Novi had its start on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter, an appropriate origin story for such a DIY security solution that caters to a younger, mobile-oriented crowd. Created by Novi Security, the Kickstarter campaign was an enormous success, rolling over its $80,000 goal and its $150,000 stretch goal to reach around $175,000.

The basic package has a base station and a sensor device. The sensor is designed to look like a fairly average smoke detector, but in addition to detecting smoke it also detects motion. If it sees motion where there should be no motion, the system immediately goes into high alert. It snaps a picture of the area the sensor is facing (the sensor also comes with a small HD camera), sounds on alarm on the base station, and immediately texts you the image that was taken.

You will then be able to view the image and agree or decline to call the police about an intrusion. The base station also includes an SD card to store pictures. Only the base station needs a power supply and Internet connection, although it also comes with a backup battery that will run if your power goes out — or is disabled. The detector-like sensor runs on batteries and can be placed nearly anywhere in the home.

By the App, for the App

Novi is ideal for the on-the-go tenant or homeowner whose security needs are relatively simple. Almost all activity is controlled or monitored through the accompanying smartphone app, which makes installation a 5-minute breeze. It also forgoes awkward placement of multiple and sometimes painfully obvious sensors…although for those who want to upgrade, the base station can indeed handle multiple sensors, so placing them by multiple doors is a possibility.

The app is more than passive monitoring software, too. You can bring it up and take a picture on demand whenever you want, making it a passable nanny cam as well. It works on both iOS and Android platforms with a minimum amount of fuss. According to the Kickstarter page, the company is also in talks with companies like Pebble to bring integration to smartwatches for even easier updates (no word yet on Samsung smartwatches or other brands).

Joining the Project

If this is the DIY security solution you’ve been waiting for, pre-ordering a Novi is easy but requires a bit of patience. Because the project is based in Kickstarter, it takes some time to complete the development phase. The first models are expected to ship at the start of 2015.

However, you have the option to act now. You can preorder from the Novi Security website, decide kind of product package you want, and wait for your delivery. There is one option for a starter package, which includes the app, the base station, and the detector/sensor for $199.00. There’s another option to order additional sensors, which cost $89.00 each.

Of course if you have to wait for months to receive a security system, it isn’t exactly helping you right now. But if you are contemplating a long-term move to a new apartment or are in no hurry to adopt security services, an investment in the future may be worth your while.

Photo Credit: Jaysin Trevino