Peq: New Home Automation System Hits Best Buy

PEQ Home Automation App

What is Peq? It’s a smart hub, a home automation device that was announced by creator SmartHome Ventures and will be sold at Best Buy.

Alirght, but what does Peq actually do? Like many of the other smart home IDY services popping up these days, it has a hub device, but comes with a number of additional sensors for your home. Depending on what sensors you buy, you can add a number of smart features. The traditional devices are window and door sensors let you know if anyone is entering your house, especially without authorization.

Is Peq Different From Other DIY Smart Home Services?

Peq then adds a slew of other sensors for control of various home features. If you are really invested in security, you can add a camera and motion sensors for better control over your alarms. If you are willing to spend the money, you can put sensors on your lights and appliances to control them and set times for their activity. If you want to save money, you can buy a Peq smart thermostat and use it to regulate your heating and cooling attempts.

At this point Peq diverges a bit and offers some extra sensors for water and carbon monoxide, which not everyone has. These allow you to measure how much water you are using and find ways to cut back, or to merge your carbon monoxide detector into a larger system. All devices come with a mobile app that allows you to create custom schedules, receive texts or emails about intrusions, and receive updates on various devices.

So far, so good: This is pretty typical fare for home automation, and nothing that makes it stand out much beyond the water sensor. You can add new devices whenever you want and install everything yourself — it’s the expected DIY experience. The whole system runs on the Icontrol platform (Wi-Fi and Zigbee compatible), which you may recognize from the security system ADT Pulse. Icontrol is a big win for Peq, because it is involved in a lot of big name brands including Comcast and Cox Communications.

Let’s Talk About Prices

Peq sells its devices via bundles. The starter kit gives you the hub plus a door and window sensors, and sells for $120. You can get that package plus two remote lamp dimmers for $200. Paying $200 can also net you a security bundle that includes a door sensor, window sensors and a camera. If you want the complete package, you can get the window and door sensors, plus two lamp modules, two motion sensors, a water sensor and a smart thermostat for around $490. Of course you can also buy individual devices. The lamp controller alone costs $60, while the smart thermostat costs $130. A window sensor costs $35.

Now let’s turn to the monthly costs, because Peq also requires that you pay $9.99 per month for its service. This part is a little confusing. On one hand, services like Lowes Iris system also require similar monthly payments, so this puts Peq in direct competition with them. On the other hand, the monthly charge is a little weird for homeowners considering their smart home options. You can buy a Nest Thermostat from Google without have to pay a monthly fee. You can create a Belkin WeMo system (with less costly devices) to control your lights and appliances, also with the monthly fee. Systems like Canary combine multiple systems into one device…and avoid ongoing fees.

With all the alternatives in mind, Peq’s offering is interesting but weighs a little too heavy on the wallet. If you want to replace a traditional security system (which come with Peq and add home automation, it could be a great alternative. If you want to pick out a few smart features for your house at a lot cost, there may be better options available.

So Where Can I Find Peq?

Best Buy will be selling Peq at first, although, the product is likely to move to other stores as well. Perhaps Best Buy wanted first dibs on the device in a reaction to similar home automation services sold by companies like Lowe’s and Staples. You can find Peq devices in stores beginning September 2014, but there’s also an online store that you can use to purchase items, with a discount for purchasing additional sensors.

Photo Credit: Mervi Eskelinen