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Old 19.12.2012, 09:57
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Review: Swisscom Quing (home security / home automation system)

I'd been looking for a home automation solution for quite a while. However, I wanted something that I didn't have to get installed and that doesn't cost too much. A couple of weeks ago, Swisscom entered the market with their own solution called "Quing". After some consideration, I decided that this might be it and ordered the starter package + some additional power socket adapters.

Costs:

The starter package costs 689 Fr. plus 19 Fr. per month for the included phone service (I'll talk more about that below). Additional components run from 44 Fr. for additional window sensors to 169 Fr. for additional cameras.


What's in the package:

The starter kit comes with one window / door sensor, a motion detector, a wireless camera, a remote control, two socket adapters, a WiFi router (can only be used with the Quing system - more on that below) and the Quing Home Panel (the heart of the setup).


How it works and the benefits:

The included WiFi Router is hooked up to your ADSL or cable modem. It sets up a secure, additional WiFi network (additional if you already have WLAN at home) that can't directly be accessed by the customer. It only communicates with the Quing Home Panel and the security cameras. The Home Panel and the camera(s) are the only components that communicate via WiFi. The rest of the sensors and actors use the low-power Zigbee standard that uses 10mW (max. - the window sensors only use 1mW, as far as I can tell) output with the radio only working when the sensor receives a command from the Panel.

The Home Panel is the nerve center of the system. It serves both as a traditional alarm center and the home automation hub. If you've never had an alarm system at home: they work like the ones you see in the movies. You define security zones that are assigned to sensors - for example a sensor that detects when someone opens the front door, or when someone moves in the hallway - when the system is armed and one of the sensors is triggered, a predefined alarm is set off. At the moment, Swisscom isn't offering any managed / monitored alarm services. They will introduce these at 49 Fr. per month starting next year. For now, if an alarm is triggered, you can define what happens: the system can call you on a pre-defined number, send you an SMS etc.

In terms of automation, Swisscom offers power socket adapters. These go in your power socket and the device you'd like to remote control is plugged in the adapter on the other side. All devices plugged in to one of the sockets can be turned off and on remotely. Either through the Panel, the web interface or the smartphone apps Swisscom is offering (for Android and iOS, I'm hoping they'll soon come out with a WP8 app as well). Of course, the apps and the web interface can be used to arm and disarm the alarm system as well. In addition to simply being able to enable and disable devices, lamps, appliances etc., the socket adapters also measure the energy consumption of the devices that are attached to them. Apparently, they're also able to automatically detect when a device goes into standby mode and disable the device when that happens - I haven't figured out how to set that up yet.
The adapters also work as relays for the Zigbee signal and ensure that the whole house / apartment is covered.

Of course, manually turning things on and off isn't the only thing you can do with the adapters - you can also use the web interface to set up automation rules. For example, I set a rule that automatically disables WiFi in our home between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. and that turns off the media center at night to conserve energy. The rules system is quite elaborate - you can set intervals, disable and enable lights at dawn or dusk etc., which can be useful for when you're on vacation to simulate that someone's home.

The simplicity of the whole thing is quite striking - the rules are really easy to set up and work perfectly. Of course, you could also achieve some of that functionality by purchasing socket timers etc, but then you don't get the remote management part.

In order to ensure that the system always works, even in case power is lost or cut, the Home Panel also includes a GSM component with a pre-installed SIM-card. That's where your 19 Fr. per month go - the Panel has a backup battery that will keep it and the GSM modem running for several hours. If you have a monitored alarm system, you'll realize that this is quite cheap, actually. We now pay 25 Fr. per month for an additional phone line, 20 Fr. for the backup GSM modem that's included in our system as well, plus 50 Fr. a month for the monitoring service. Once Swisscom is offering the monitored surveillance option, I'll probably ditch my existing system and use Quing as my security system as well.


In short:

- very easy to set up home automation and security system.
- the sensors can either be attached using screws or via double-sided tape
- the Home Panel is very easy to use and so are the web interface and the mobile apps
- the rules system is excellent.
- you can have a basic alarm system up and running in less than an hour without requiring an electrician who'll charge you an arm and a leg to install the components
- as the sensors can be installed without drilling holes in the wall, the system's also suitable for rented apartments.
- the camera can be coupled with other sensors, so, for example, it can be instructed to take a picture whenever the motion detector is triggered.
- the motion detector ignores pets (we have three cats…)
- Swisscom will be adding more optional components in early 2013: power adapters with an included dimmer, smoke detectors, water detectors etc. have all been announced.



Drawbacks / issues:


The biggest issue for me is that I don't really want an additional WiFi network running in my home, as we have a baby at home and we'd like to keep the radiation to a minimum. I'm afraid, Swisscom didn't really think very far in this respect: the supplied router has 4 ethernet ports and a button to disable WiFi - and the Home Panel can also be used over ethernet. However, Swisscom has chosen to disable the panel's port (it does have power, so it's not a hardware issue) so hooking it up to the router with a TP cable won't do you any good. This was almost a deal breaker for me, but in the end I decided to place the router in the basement to minimise exposure. We have reenforced concrete floors, so the signal is just strong enough to keep the panel running but is undetectable on the 1st floor where we sleep. The camera also communicates with the router - the signal's too weak for the camera in my setup, so I'm not using it. I'm not feeling comfortable with having surveillance cameras in my house anyways. I was looking for a home automation solution and not for a security system (we already have a monitored alarm system installed).

Apart form that, there are some minor quirks with the web interface. For example, every time I log in, I'm taken to the shop instead of the control panel and I have to click several times to get to the panel. Plus Swisscom is obviously still working on the system and it's now happened twice that the web center was offline (both cases were at night / very early in the morning, though).


In short:

- additional WiFi signal for your house / apartment. Would be completely avoidable if Swisscom chose to enable the ethernet port on the Home Panel.
- no WP8 app (only iOS and Android)
- The system's new and Swisscom's still working on it
- costs 19 Fr. per month (which, however, is nothing compared to a traditional alarm system).
- the components are quite expensive (44 Fr. for a window sensor is a bit steep - but it's in the same price-range as other wireless systems).


Would I recommend it:

Definitely yes. It's a great way to easily add an alarm system to your house / apartment. For those who already have one, the automation part offers enough benefits to justify the costs of the system.


Further info:

https://sso.quing.com/quing/


Disclaimer:

I'm in no way affiliated with Swisscom.
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  #2  
Old 24.12.2012, 00:01
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Re: Review: Swisscom Quing (home security / home automation system)

Hello dawiz,

Thanks for the info.

By the way, who are you using for your House Security system that you meantioned in the article?

Cheers
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Old 28.01.2013, 17:50
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Re: Review: Swisscom Quing (home security / home automation system)

Hi,

Thanks for the information.

One things that is raising for sure in Switzerland is also the number of thieves!!

I was thinking as well to subscribe to this offer. Currently some security companies (like Prodis for example) are charging about CHF 130/month for monitoring the home for you (plus the starter-kit which can be several hundreds francs).

But I was wondering if these Security Companies like Prodis do offer more value compared to the Swisscom Quing system.

They explained me that with these Security company, if somebody breaks in your house, the Prodis monitoring group will ask - via an interphone device located in your living/entrace that can hear everything - to identify by saying the agreed password.

If you dont say back the password, they understand that something is wrong and they send the police to your home.

Also, you have the chance to say a wrong password (in case you are assaulted before entering the home) and they answer OK, but they call the police anyways because they understood you are under threat.


I also heard that the police is not willing to come just because an alarm system has been triggred, but they would come if there is a security company which has got an interactive system in the house to monitor what happens.

Thanks for sharing your experiences

Giulio.
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Old 28.01.2013, 18:35
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Hi,



Thanks for the information.



One things that is raising for sure in Switzerland is also the number of thieves!!



I was thinking as well to subscribe to this offer. Currently some security companies (like Prodis for example) are charging about CHF 130/month for monitoring the home for you (plus the starter-kit which can be several hundreds francs).



But I was wondering if these Security Companies like Prodis do offer more value compared to the Swisscom Quing system.



They explained me that with these Security company, if somebody breaks in your house, the Prodis monitoring group will ask - via an interphone device located in your living/entrace that can hear everything - to identify by saying the agreed password.



If you dont say back the password, they understand that something is wrong and they send the police to your home.



Also, you have the chance to say a wrong password (in case you are assaulted before entering the home) and they answer OK, but they call the police anyways because they understood you are under threat.





I also heard that the police is not willing to come just because an alarm system has been triggred, but they would come if there is a security company which has got an interactive system in the house to monitor what happens.



Thanks for sharing your experiences



Giulio.
In a couple of weeks, Swisscom is going to launch a monitored security service that does exactly what you just described above. They'll charge 39 Fr. per month for that - which is a total steal as that includes the mobile phone line for the security system. We're having our home monitored by another company and they charge around 70 Fr. per month but then we also have to pay for a phone line.



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  #5  
Old 08.03.2013, 17:46
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Re: Review: Swisscom Quing (home security / home automation system)

Any news on this?
Still not started?
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  #6  
Old 08.03.2013, 17:48
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Any news on this?
Still not started?
Nope, they only said they'd start the service in March
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  #7  
Old 08.03.2013, 18:27
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Re: Review: Swisscom Quing (home security / home automation system)

great post. thanks for all the info!
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Old 12.04.2013, 11:21
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Re: Review: Swisscom Quing (home security / home automation system)

Thanks for the review - looking like an interesting service! A few questions for you:

1) How have you found the Wi-Fi strength: does it reach all of the various devides located throughout your home?

2) How did you wire up the camera so as to hide the power cable?

3) How are the motion sensors and door/window sensors powered?

Thanks a lot!
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  #9  
Old 12.04.2013, 11:28
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Re: Review: Swisscom Quing (home security / home automation system)

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Thanks for the review - looking like an interesting service! A few questions for you:

1) How have you found the Wi-Fi strength: does it reach all of the various devides located throughout your home?

2) How did you wire up the camera so as to hide the power cable?

3) How are the motion sensors and door/window sensors powered?

Thanks a lot!
Signal strength is fine. It's too good for my taste, as a matter of fact. As we have a 13-month old baby, I'm trying to keep EM radiation in the home to a minimum. I ended up placing the WiFi router in the cellar. That way, the signal is just enough to reach the panel and the camera (which are the only two components that use WiFi - the rest use the ultra-low-power Zigbee standard).
Anyway - as the signal only has to reach the camera and the panel, it doesn't have to cover the entire building in most cases anyway. We have steel-enforced concrete floors and the signal is still strong enough to pass through the basement ceiling and cover the first floor.

As for the camera: the power cable is behind our coffee machine.

The motion sensors and door/window sensors are battery-powered. The Zigbee standard uses extremely low power and only emits a signal when the sensor is triggered (also keeping EM emissions to an undetectable minimum). According to Swisscom, the batteries last about 3 years. I already had a wireless alarm system before and can confirm that this is pretty accurate.

The socket adapters work as signal repeaters - as long as you have one adapter per floor, the window and door sensors reach the panel from anywhere in the building.
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Old 14.07.2013, 17:51
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Re: Review: Swisscom Quing (home security / home automation system)

Seems that SWISSCOM have removed half of the QUING's products and the Professional Service abo.
Has anyone heard if QUING is on its way out or being revamped?

Cheers

Paul
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  #11  
Old 15.07.2013, 05:39
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Re: Review: Swisscom Quing (home security / home automation system)

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Seems that SWISSCOM have removed half of the QUING's products and the Professional Service abo.
Has anyone heard if QUING is on its way out or being revamped?

Cheers

Paul
According to Swisscom, they couldn't get the technical quirks ironed out and couldn't get the system certified with the alarm notification service. They then decided to market the package as a home automation system only and get rid of the alarm components. I'm very disappointed about this development :-/
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Old 24.07.2013, 13:59
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Re: Review: Swisscom Quing (home security / home automation system)

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According to Swisscom, they couldn't get the technical quirks ironed out and couldn't get the system certified with the alarm notification service. They then decided to market the package as a home automation system only and get rid of the alarm components. I'm very disappointed about this development :-/
What a shame...

Did they give any indication that this was a short-to-medium term situation or that they have outright cancelled the additional services? I was quite keen on the idea of having both the smoke and water detectors...
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  #13  
Old 24.07.2013, 15:22
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Re: Review: Swisscom Quing (home security / home automation system)

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What a shame...

Did they give any indication that this was a short-to-medium term situation or that they have outright cancelled the additional services? I was quite keen on the idea of having both the smoke and water detectors...

It sounded quite definitive to me - but who knows. Considering that they haven't updated the smartphone apps in over half a year (and that the app has been broken for Android 4.2 devices for months now) I'd say they're going to pull the plug on it sooner rather than later - but that's just my guess. The problem is that there isn't exactly an abundance of alternatives. As a matter of fact, there doesn't seem to be a single one for the Swiss market. There's RWE smart home but that only comes with German converter plugs which makes the entire thing pretty useless :-(
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  #14  
Old 29.07.2013, 12:25
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Re: Review: Swisscom Quing (home security / home automation system)

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What a shame...

Did they give any indication that this was a short-to-medium term situation or that they have outright cancelled the additional services? I was quite keen on the idea of having both the smoke and water detectors...
I've decided to switch to RWE Smarthome. It's a German solution - I asked them if Switzerland will be supported for future subscription plans and was told that this is the case. I bought the home central and some sensors on eBay (they're also available from some Swiss online shops). Seems to be a much more complete solution than Quing and costs considerably less (no subscription necessary for the first 2 years, after that it's 15 Euro per year). Of course, they don't offer a backup system via mobile phone etc. but considering the fact that Swisscom's mobile phone thingy never actually works (that's probably the reason why they abandoned the entire home security idea), I can live with that.

RWE also offers optional light switches (need to be installed by an electrician, though), smoke detectors, interfaces for the heating system etc.
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Old 29.07.2013, 12:49
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Re: Review: Swisscom Quing (home security / home automation system)

dawiz, why did you look into a ervicelike the one in the OP? Were you burgled? It just seems and expensive and unnecessary waste unless you live in a very high risk area... certainly higher than I imagine the vast majority of Switzerland represents.
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Old 29.07.2013, 13:00
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Re: Review: Swisscom Quing (home security / home automation system)

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dawiz, why did you look into a ervicelike the one in the OP? Were you burgled? It just seems and expensive and unnecessary waste unless you live in a very high risk area... certainly higher than I imagine the vast majority of Switzerland represents.
Several homes on our street were broken into over the last couple of years - we live in an upscale, rural area near the border - apparently that's an easy target for burglars (lots to get, disappear across the border before the police arrive).
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Old 29.07.2013, 15:31
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Re: Review: Swisscom Quing (home security / home automation system)

Bummer. So you spent up to Fr.1000 on Quing and then they decided to abandon you. Can you get your money back?
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Old 01.08.2013, 09:23
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Re: Review: Swisscom Quing (home security / home automation system)

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Bummer. So you spent up to Fr.1000 on Quing and then they decided to abandon you. Can you get your money back?
I sold most of the adapters on ricardo - so the damage is relatively small
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Old 02.08.2013, 01:06
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Re: Review: Swisscom Quing (home security / home automation system)

Surely their must be a system our there that you can access remotely without having to go through a provider website and paying a subscription. It's relatively easy to set up a gateway modem/router to send request on a specific port to a specific device.

Last edited by Markarina; 02.08.2013 at 01:06. Reason: typo
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Old 04.08.2013, 06:20
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Re: Review: Swisscom Quing (home security / home automation system)

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Surely their must be a system our there that you can access remotely without having to go through a provider website and paying a subscription. It's relatively easy to set up a gateway modem/router to send request on a specific port to a specific device.
Homematic springs to mind. But unless your'e an electrician or know someone who is, you might want to stay clear of that.

RWE is only free (except for the first 2 years) when requests come from your local network. You can simply set up a VPN gateway on your Synology, of course, and use the system for free.
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