ADT has confirmed to The Verge that it’s rolling out a big upgrade to its ADT Plus home security system. The all-new hardware and software platform for ADT Plus features new ADT hardware, deeper integration with Google Nest hardware, and the ability to automatically disarm using facial recognition to let trusted neighbors into your home when you’re away. 

I first reported on the new system last October, but until now, ADT had declined to comment despite publishing multiple support pages about it on its site. This week, ADT spokesperson Ben Tamblyn confirmed to The Verge the new ADT Plus system has started rolling out to some states and will be available nationwide in the coming months. The system can be self-installed or professionally installed and can work with ADT’s professional monitoring service.

Also coming soon is an update to the ADT Plus app, which enables a new feature called Trusted Neighbor. This leverages the capabilities of devices like Google Nest cameras and doorbells — including facial recognition and package detection — and devices like smart door locks, to grant automated, secure, and temporary access to “trusted” people when you’re not home but need some help.

“For security emergencies, ADT monitors and calls the professionals, but for day-to-day, non-security needs, ADT enables your trusted neighbors to be there.” 

Tamblyn said Trusted Neighbor uses both time- and event-based access, tapping into the new Google Home APIs Google announced at I/O this week to allow the security system to react to nonemergency events in your home. For example, if the Google Nest doorbell detects a package, Trusted Neighbor can execute an automation that disarms the ADT security system when the Google Nest doorbell recognizes your neighbor approaching, then rearms it once they’ve left.

Tamblyn said Trusted Neighbor can also be set to respond to sensors, so if a water leak is detected, it can automatically let a neighbor in. The ADT app will notify you about these events, and if you’re not comfortable with automatic access, you can choose to initiate the automation manually, according to Tamblyn.

There is also time-based automation for regular events, such as letting the dog walker in if they are recognized by the camera between 10 and 10:30AM on weekdays. The automations are all managed by the user and can be disabled at any time.

“Trusted Neighbor is a service that builds upon that universal feeling of giving your trusted neighbor a key to your house to help when you’re out of town,” said Tamblyn. “It will allow users to easily grant and automate secure and temporary access to their homes for neighbors, friends, and helpers. For security emergencies, ADT monitors and calls the professionals, but for day-to-day, non-security needs, ADT enables your trusted neighbors to be there.” 

Images: Google / ADT

The Trusted Neighbor feature requires the new ADT Plus system, which takes some design cues from Nest Secure, Google’s home security system it shut down after investing $450 million in ADT. (Nest Secure users were offered a free ADT system, but that offer expired last month and is not applicable to this new system. However, Tamblyn said some existing ADT hardware will be upgradable to work with Trusted Neighbor.)

The new hardware includes upgraded door and window sensors with the same bypass button found on Nest Detect sensors and a backlit circular base station that looks a lot like the Nest Secure version. ADT hasn’t released any new information about ADT Plus’ hardware, but it did confirm that my reporting from last year was accurate, where you can see all the details on new ADT hardware and its functions.  

Tamblyn said Trusted Neighbor should be available this summer “to ADT subscribers whose service tier includes Nest Aware and who have the ADT + platform and hardware, and the other required hardware such as Nest cameras.”

It will also work with hardware from other manufacturers, including smart locks and sensors. Tamblyn said smart locks will allow inputting a code to both unlock the door and disarm the system as an alternative to facial recognition. But ADT hasn’t announced which locks will work with the system.

Google Nest’s familiar faces feature regularly confuses me with my UPS driver

Of course, if you have a smart home, you can already do much of what Trusted Neighbor offers yourself. If you’re on a beach in Bali and get an alert that there’s a water leak in your laundry room or a package on your porch, you could text your neighbor, unlock your smart lock in the app, and disable the security system to let them in (or give them the codes so they can do it themselves). The idea behind Trusted Neighbor is to make this process easier and more automated. 

While this could certainly be useful, there are some obvious downsides. First, you need to get your neighbor to download and use the ADT Plus app for them to be an authorized user. Second, if you want to use the facial recognition aspect, you’ll need to store their face in your familiar faces database, which you will want to ask their permission for. 

Third, and most worryingly, that might not always work. I personally use Google Nest’s familiar faces feature, and it regularly confuses me with my UPS driver. I would be hesitant to trust the security of my home to those smarts. Tamblyn said there are safeguards in place to prevent accidental triggering but wasn’t able to share details.

Still, this is an intriguing new feature for a security system. With Google opening up its Home APIs, I’m excited to see what other innovations smart home companies come up with to leverage the platform’s devices and intelligence. I could certainly see a future where your entire home can respond to your face. Walk up to the front door, and the doorbell recognizes you, turns off the alarm, unlocks the door, sets the temperature to your preference, and starts playing your favorite playlist. Is it a little creepy? Yes. Is it smart? Very.


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