About a month back, I got an email that Lowe’s smart home platform Iris was shutting down on March 31st. We don’t have as many devices as some, but we’ve got lights, locks, cameras, security and more on the platform and were pretty invested. What was my best plan of action to accommodate all we had before?
Turns out, it’s not that easy. No one platform, as far as I could tell, took care of everything that Iris did in one package.
One of the things Lowe’s did was provide a gift card for the original full retail value of all devices you have that are not compatible with another platform. We had quite a few since we were early Iris adopters. This was fantastic and unexpected. Lowe’s did not have to do this, but it definitely goes a long way towards turning a bad situation into a slightly easier pill to swallow. I filled out the form for the redemption process and the card arrived about a month later. I planned to use this card to help replace everything.
From my initial research it seemed best to replace our security and cameras with Ring. Our Schlage door locks and carbon monoxide/smoke detectors would also integrate with their platform.
For our lighting, outlets, other devices, and general home automation it seemed like Samsung’s SmartThings was a no brainer as it supported a number of our existing devices. The interesting thing of note is it seemed no one platform integrated all of this into one product, it really is a shame that no one picked up Iris or Lowe’s didn’t want to keep it going.
We were lucky to pick up the 10 Piece Ring Alarm Security Kit from Costco at a discounted price of $200. This was our entry point into the system with a hub, keypad, range extender, motion detector, and six contact sensors.
I was able to setup the system quickly as it’s entirely wireless. The hardware looks great and works fantastic as well. Our Schlage door locks and smoke/co detectors paired up without any trouble and can be accessed from the Ring app. My only minor grip is with the size of the contact sensors. They are tremendously larger than the Iris ones they replaced.
We had 2 cameras on the Iris system. One indoor, and one outdoor. I never put a camera out front because I was too lazy to run the cable for electric or POE as it would require climbing into the attic. Ring solves this problem by offering battery powered cameras that can be supplemented with a solar panel. I purchased a Flood Light Camera for our back driveway area, a Wireless Stick Up Camera with a solar panel to watch our front yard (or back yard; I haven’t decided yet), and a Ring Doorbell Pro to cover the front entryway/yard/driveway.
The quality of these cameras is far and beyond anything we had on Iris. Granted, the Iris cameras were Gen 1 and quite old at this point but I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves:
The difference between the two cameras is tremendous. With Ring, I can actually get a full view behind our house in the driveway area where with Iris, I only had a small window into that world.
It’s only been a week, but I’m thoroughly impressed with the Ring system. The security piece is working great, and the cameras are as well. From a price stand point, Ring is a much better value. We were paying $10 a month for Iris, which just allowed some of the automation features. $10 at Ring gets us unlimited video, and a monitored security system. Iris charged more for monitoring on top of our $10. Ring also has built in cellular backup, while Iris wanted us to buy a modem and then pay extra monthly.
I highly recommend Ring for security and cameras if you’re looking for those type of services.
For the rest of our devices, we went with Samsung’s SmartThings.
I carefully unpaired each device left on Iris one at a time, and immediately paired it to SmartThings. This process went off without a hitch and I had no trouble. The pairing process seemed easier overall than Iris. Creating rules, scenes, or automation also seemed easier and potentially more flexible at first glance, but only time will tell as we get a chance to use the system more.
Amazon Echo seems to help bridge some of this for us as it can control Ring, as well as our SmartThings devices. It can also turn our bedroom TV off and on which is great since our toddler lost the remote long ago and I’ve yet to purchase a new one.
While I do wish that one platform was able to house all of our hardware, I don’t regret my purchases so far. The two systems work great for what we need and will allow us to expand to some items Iris simply wasn’t offering. Iris shutting down was a blow, but this was an eye opener to what devices are out there currently and how much better they are when companies are actively looking to produce quality software and hardware. Lowe’s started strong with Iris, but I noticed as time went on that the store displays were not being taken care of, were not stocked, and weren’t displayed or pushed as prominently as they should have been. I’ll miss Iris, but I’m excited to see what’s on the horizon with all of these companies and products.