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New software platforms, such as alarm. com and iControl allow you to send commands, program home systems, view surveillance video, and receive alerts on a smart phone or computer—whether you’re at home or away. When shopping for a system, review software platforms first. Alarm. com and iControl are the two biggest. The former has partnered with more than 2,500 dealers and the latter with ADT and Comcast.

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99/month expands the basic plan controls and adds video storage. The professional monitoring plan $14. 95/month adds cellular backup and links your home to a certified monitoring station that can send emergency responders to your home. This professional monitoring plan is the cheapest among the systems we tested, tied with SimpliSafe. For cellular backup, you need to buy a modem that plugs into the Smart Hub. The keypad in the Security Pack has a built in siren, but it's one of the quietest we tested. This system is compatible with more smart home devices than the others we tested. You can connect Z Wave, ZigBee, Alexa, Nest and Google Home and over 70 other devices. Read the full reviewBest User ExperienceAbode$279 View at AmazonCheck Walmart?Most user friendly system we testedStrong smart home compatibilityEasy to installMost expensive professional monitoring feeCellular backup requires additional feeOne year warrantyThe thing we liked most about abode is that it's more user friendly than other DIY home security systems we tested. You can set up different modes such as home, vacation and away and specify which devices are active in each mode. There's no monthly fee for self monitoring, but you pay extra if you want cellular backup and security camera backup $10 for your system.