As “smart” functionality transforms American homes, ordinary household gadgets and appliances are getting major upgrades. No improvement is more impressive than the doorbell camera, which turns a simple button into something so much better.
Doorbell security systems don’t just announce the arrival of visitors: They show you who’s approaching your door with and allow you to interact with them through two-way audio. Whether you’re home at the time or not, a doorbell camera helps you keep an eye on the front entrance of your home, with a live feed streamed directly to your smartphone.
But while these gadgets are impressive in their own right, they’re most powerful when paired with other smart technologies. Doorbell cameras can be integrated with comprehensive home security systems, providing seamless protection across your entire property.
Of course, these awesome integrations have one key requirement: compatibility between your doorbell security system and the other components of your smart home.
Assessing compatibility can feel pretty complicated. Doorbell cameras are fairly intricate gadgets, and so are your other smart devices and security products. How can you make sure they’ll all play nice together, giving you the integrated functionality you’re looking for?
This guide is designed to tackle these topics, walking you through common questions and concerns about doorbell security system compatibility.
Doorbell Security System Basics: Features and Functions
Video doorbell cameras can differ significantly, with some providing superior perks and performance. That being said, they tend to use similar technologies and share some fundamental features. When considering compatibility, it’s helpful to have a basic sense of what video doorbells do – as well as their basic technical requirements.
Key features you want in a doorbell camera include:
Reliable power source
Connection to Wi-Fi
Real time HD video streams
Access to video recordings
Door Chime, Motion Sensors, and Two-Way Audio
Like classic doorbells, smart doorbell cameras alert you to the arrival of visitors. There’s still a button for visitors to announce their presence, but that’s pretty much where the resemblance ends.
That’s because video doorbells are equipped with motion sensors, detecting when someone approaches your home. When a visitor shows up, your doorbell camera sends you an alert on your smartphone, allowing you to open a live video feed of the front of your home. Through two-way audio functionality, you can then talk with your visitor, welcoming them, responding to their request, or asking them to leave.
These abilities come in handy whether you’re at home or away: You can answer your front door from virtually anywhere. Have a package delivered while you’re at work? You can tell the delivery person exactly where to leave it. A friend stops by while you’re playing with the kids in the backyard? Let them know you’ll be there in a second.
Compatibility With Your Home’s Wiring
Perhaps the most basic compatibility concern involves your home’s wiring. Before buying a doorbell camera, you’ll need to understand whether your current electrical setup will support it.
Doorbell cameras require electrical power. In most cases, they can be connected to the existing doorbell wires supplied through your old doorbell with an electric current. In some instances, such as with Blue by ADT’s doorbell camera, this is so simple that you can do it yourself.
If your home’s wiring does need to be altered in any way to support a doorbell camera, the changes required should be minimal. That being said, it would be wise to seek out expert help, rather than experimenting haphazardly with your electrical system.
You could opt for a battery-powered doorbell camera, rather than connect your device to your home’s electricity. These models can last up to three months with normal use before needing to be recharged, and the recharging process takes six to eight hours, on average.
However, you don’t want your doorbell camera to lose power at an inopportune time, such as when you’re expecting company. Accordingly, it’s important that the app associated with your device alerts you when the battery gets low so that you can charge it overnight (when you’re least likely to get visitors).
Once the wiring is sorted out, you can consider other compatibility aspects, including smart home integration.
Doorbell Integration: Understanding Smart Systems
A single smart device can be a great addition to your home. But the true potential of smart home connectivity lies in larger systems. When multiple devices can communicate with each other and be managed via the same platform, you can really reap the benefits of home automation.
Smart home systems can incorporate security technologies with other parts of your home, such as lights, thermostats, garage doors, and more. The ADT Smart Home Security System unifies a ton of devices and features in a single interface, which you can control through a touchscreen panel or a smartphone app.
|Wired Security Cameras vs. Wireless Security Cameras
Compatibility With Your Home’s Wi-Fi
Your current home Wi-Fi network will probably provide ample bandwidth for your new doorbell camera. Connecting it to your network should be simple, whether your camera has a DIY setup process or requires professional installation.
While maintenance is typically minimal, you may have to do some troubleshooting if your Wi-Fi signal fails, just as with any internet-connected gadget.
That being said, you want to ensure that your Wi-Fi network covers your front door area completely. Especially for those who live in larger homes, your signal could be fairly weak when you’re standing on your porch. One simple solution is buying an affordable Wi-Fi range extender, which you can plug in near your door to ensure strong network coverage.
These devices utilize protocols like Z-Wave wireless technology to communicate with each other, interacting via an integrated wireless network. Thankfully, you won’t need to run new cables or spend hours teaching your devices to talk to each other.
With Z-Wave-enabled devices, your gadgets can be controlled through one simple interface, whether you’re standing in your kitchen or halfway across the country. Adding new devices is easy, and troubleshooting is simple as well.
Doorbell security systems work on a slightly different basis: Because Z-Wave can’t transmit high-definition video, these devices rely on Wi-Fi to transmit their video feeds. The same is true for other kinds of security cameras, whether they’re positioned outside or indoors.
Integrating your doorbell security system with your other smart devices will depend on the capabilities of your overarching system. It will need to use both Wi-Fi and Z-Wave technologies (or a similar communication protocol), giving you the benefits of both. Fortunately, the right smartphone app or security panel can give you the seamless control you seek.
Compatibility With Your Smartphone
Mobile connectivity is a significant advantage of any doorbell camera: The ability to receive alerts and view videos on your smartphone is massively handy wherever you happen to be. Accordingly, before buying a doorbell camera, it’s important to ensure that your phone and operating system are compatible with your device’s associated mobile app.
At ADT, we’ve made compatibility a priority: Our doorbell cameras work with Apple iOS 10 or higher and Android 4.4 or higher. If you’ve purchased an Apple or Android phone in the last few years, you should be fine. Better yet, our apps don’t cost a thing: They’re free and easy to download from the Apple Store or Google Play Store.
The ADT Control app puts total control of your smart home gadgets right in the palm of your hand. This includes Z-Wave compatible devices, such as your smart thermostat, smart light bulbs, smart plugs, and smart locks. But it also gives you access to your doorbell camera, which uses Wi-Fi to transmit a live video feed when you have a visitor.
This mix of capabilities adds tremendous value to your doorbell camera. For example, you could program your porch lights to turn on whenever your doorbell camera detects a person approaching your front door.
The ADT Control app lets you command it all through a simple interface.
Compatibility With Your Security Technology
Home security technology is continually evolving, transforming what protection means for the modern family. Motion sensors can tell pets from possible intruders. Door and window sensors can trigger a smart smartphone alert when someone comes inside. Smart safety gadgets now sense threats earlier than ever, from smoke and carbon monoxide to potential water damage.
These devices provide a powerful array of protections, but you’ll need a unified platform to make the most of them all.
While you’re at home, a security panel can serve as your command central, giving you total control of your system’s various components. Similarly, your system’s smartphone app can access all of your home’s security tools.
If your doorbell camera is compatible with your larger security system, you can access its features alongside all your other devices. But if it isn’t, you’ll need to use a separate app, accessing your doorbell camera separately.
For plenty of practical reasons, this separation could be pretty frustrating. But it also poses challenges in terms of protection and potential costs. If you’re paying for professional security monitoring, but your doorbell camera is incompatible, they won’t be able to use that tool to watch over your home. In that scenario, you’re stuck choosing between monitoring your front door yourself and paying for two separate monitoring services.
Compatibility With Your Smart Home Gadgets
Just as with your security devices, your home’s other smart gadgets are most impressive when they work together. Who wants to deal with separate apps for your lighting, thermostat, garage door, and speakers? The more unified your home’s smart devices, the more you’ll be able to enjoy them.
Your doorbell camera can be part of your cohesive smart home, with everything managed through a single app or control panel. Program lights to turn on when a visitor arrives at your door, or set the thermostat to adjust to a new temperature when your kids arrive home from school. The key is seamless integration: You won’t need to switch between incompatible apps to make your smart homework for you.
Plus, there’s another possible perk: Integration with your favorite voice assistant. For example, ADT’s home security systems are compatible with Alexa, allowing you to control your smart devices via spoken commands.
Imagine this common scenario: Your doorbell camera announces that your guests have arrived, but you’re still putting the finishing touches on dinner. You tell your guests to come in and ask Alexa to unlock your front door for them. You then tell Alexa to play some music and dim the lights a bit. You can bet that your guests will be impressed by your high-tech hosting.
Check Compatibility Before You Buy
These examples speak to the benefits of buying all or most of your smart security system from a single company. When you’re working with various brands, you can run into various compatibility headaches. And if you can’t get your devices to talk to each other, you’ll find yourself using multiple apps, struggling to coordinate your gadgets’ different functions.
This is a particular concern with doorbell cameras, which are often sold separately from comprehensive security systems. That’s why it pays to consider compatibility before buying a doorbell camera, assessing many factors prior to your purchase. =
To help you out, we’ve created the following list of compatibility concerns to keep in mind when purchasing a doorbell camera. By evaluating compatibility in these areas, you’ll be able to buy a video doorbell that works well within your home and with your other smart gadgets.
Compatibility Consultation: Expert Advice and Assistance
As we’ve explained in this guide, compatibility is a crucial concern when choosing a doorbell security system. Additionally, you’ll need to evaluate compatibility from several perspectives, assessing how a video doorbell might fit with your existing security and smart home technologies.
While we hope the information we’ve provided is helpful, you may have more specific questions related to your own home. Thankfully, you don’t need to choose solutions alone. Expert advice is available and may alleviate your worries about choosing the wrong device.
ADT has the country’s largest team of security experts ready to help you make a great decision. On average, our installers and technicians have worked for ADT for nine years, so you can trust that they bring passion and experience to every consultation.
Whether you’re already a customer or want to explore ADT services for the first time, we’ll be happy to advise you on solutions that suit your home. We’ll help you choose the perfect doorbell camera and make sure it’s compatible with the other gadgets that make your home smart and safe.