Peq smart home aims to take on SmartThings

Another day, another smart home system, with Peq believed to be Best Buy's attempt to jump on the home automation bandwagon. Peq – pronounced "peek" – follows in the footsteps of similar systems like SmartThings, Revolv, and Staples Connect, with a central hub that wirelessly connects to various cameras, door and window sensors, thermostats, and more.

However, Peq does step away from the usual routine in at least one place. There'll be a monthly service charge, currently $9.99 though with no minimum contract, in order for the functionality to remain active.

Coughing up ten bucks a month enables the ability to make custom rules, and receive SMS and email alerts. It'll also allow users to stream live vide and record & store videos and pictures, in addition to giving access to a dedicated customer care team.

It's worth noting that there are still limits, however, even if you're paying. Peq can send unlimited email alerts but only up to 20 SMS a day, while it can store up to 20 video clips and capture up to 40 images a day.

A system like this to a large extent lives or dies by the range of sensors and add-ons it works with. Peq will kick off with a basic starter kit, including the hub and a single door & window sensor for $119.99, while adding two remote lamp sockets to that in the "Illumination" bundle takes it to $199.99.

Alternatively, $199.99 gets you the hub, a door & window sensor, and a single wireless camera. Finally, the "House & Home" package is $489.99 and comes with the hub, two door & window sensors, two lamp modules, two motion sensors, a water sensor, and a smart thermostat.

Peq cameras will be $129.99 apiece, while lamp modules will be $59.99 and appliance modules $54.99; Zatz Not Funny is told that Best Buy is counting on sensor sales to help offset the low hub pricing. The smart thermostat is $129.99, while the door & window sensor is $34.99.

Motion sensors come in at $44.99, water sensors at $49.99, and carbon monoxide detectors at $89.99. Motion sensors are $69.99. It's unclear what third-party brands might eventually be supported, though at least one SMC water sensor will work with Peq, and the carbon monoxide detector is provided by Visonic.

The DIY smart home space is getting crowded, and Peq is arguably at a disadvantage with its contract pricing scheme. Most of the rival systems intended to be installed by the user themselves are free to run beyond the initial setup fee; despite that, some – like Staples Connect – are even cheaper than Peq.

Meanwhile, alternatives that do charge a fee, like Vivint's recently announced Sky system, ask for more than $10 a month, but in return promise full installation and remote monitoring.

When, exactly, Peq will make its official debut is unclear, though we'd expect it to be soon, especially with Apple's HomeKit fast approaching.

VIA Zatz Not Funny