November 2012 Archives

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The resources we have available to us are incredible. When I look at how much our website can do, I'm amazed. But underneath the architecture, there are a ton of people we have to thank for making Alarm Grid a great place. So, as a thank you to all those companies that have made us who we are and who have contributed to making Alarm Grid a remarkable place for our customers, here's our salute to you.

Stripe

Stripe LogoWhile we offer a ton of free content, we do sell both alarm monitoring and security products. What that means is we needed a really really secure solution to make sure that your credit cards are safe form identity theft. While a lot of small businesses do some pretty insecure stuff with your information like put it into excel sheets on their computers, store it in a filing bin in their office, or pay really cheap unproven, unsecure solutions to funnel your most important data, we decided to splurge and make sure that we went with the most secure solution we could find. Stripe is that solution. They are responsible for your ability to pay Alarm Grid, and they are the reason you can be confident that your data isn't going to compromised.

OnSip

OnsipWhen you call Alarm Grid, our phone system is full-featured. It's one of those things that you probably won't see. But when a phone system doesn't work, you are going to know about it. In some ways, OnSip has done with business VOIP what we are trying to do with alarms. They provide businesses (and individuals if they wanted to use it), a DIY solution to managing and implementing a full-featured, complex phone system with tons of support. They provide FAQs, recommendations, and when we call them, they pick up right away and make sure that we are taken care of. Their technology is affordable, and the quality is excellent. We picked them because as Alarm Grid grows, they can grow with us. We picked all of our partners for that same reason. We want to make sure that the technology that they are offering is the kind of technology that we can use when we're supporting tens of thousands of clients at once and have tens or hundreds of employees.

Olark

Olark LogoYou see that little chat box at the bottom of the site? Some people get annoyed that it's there. But a majority of you really seem to love the feature. I'm going to be doing a lot of posts about how our Olark's chat has revolutionized the way we are doing business, but that's a different conversation. Just one quick little nugget for you to chew on: our average call volume since implementing Olark has dropped but the number of customer whom we are having conversations has more than doubled. For now, I just want to give Olark a shout-out, and say if you are going to be running an e-commerce store any time soon, we highly recommend implementing some sort of chat solution. We picked Olark and they are awesome. What are you using?

Highrise

Highrise by 37 SignalsEvery company needs a way to make sure that interactions with our customers are tracked. As a pseudo-CRM we picked Highrise. It's not as full featured as a Salesforce, but we didn't need all the functionality of something like that. We needed something simple that would allow us to make sure that our users were served well by any member of our staff.

For those of you who are curious let me give you some fun facts about Alarm Grid's traffic, then I'll get back to lauding the merits of Highrise.

  • During the month of November, 2012, 29% of Alarm Grid's traffic came from "Returning Visitors" but accounted for 47% of all of the site's pageviews.
  • Returning Visitors looked at 86% more pages during every visit than new visitors.
  • Returning visitors spent 160% more time on the site than new visitors.
  • Nearly 35% of all our on-site interactions (like those using the chat widget for example) were used by returning visitors.

Ok, so what does that all mean? Well, Alarm Grid is doing something right. Our ratio of new visitors to return visitors increases a little bit more every month. We're proud of that statistic because it means that people who come to our site are finding it to be an useful resource. We don't make any money when you are looking through product manuals. We provide them for you because we believe that their usefulness to you is invaluable and that when you need new products, services, or anything alarm related, you will remember the experience you had with us and come back. Whether that's one year from now or five years from now. To date, we've done our best to support everyone who has asked for help whether they are under contract with one of those other alarm companies ;) or whether they are our client. As we grow, we may have to start changing how we do support, but we promise that we will do our best to make sure anyone and everyone can get the resources they need.

So that brings me back to Highrise. Highrise is a simple, nearly featureless (I mean that, it's really scaled down) CRM. It has integrations with Olark, Onsip, and a bunch of other neat applications that we will probably be using. When you make a call to us, a note is made in Highrise and gets added to you if you are a returning visitor. When you are done chatting with us, that chat gets pulled into Highrise so that when you come back, we can pull it up and continue the conversation where we left off. And like I said, about 1/3 of our conversations are people who have been here before. People making decisions about purchasing an alarm system oftentimes take a few weeks to decide what they want to get out of their system. Whether they are looking for a brand new wireless security system or maybe they just want some new sensors for their Honeywell Vista 20P and are trying to decide how they could make it compatible with wireless sensors since it's a wired system, Highrise allows us to store your conversations with us so that when you return you don't have to re-explain yourself. When you make an order, it gets imported into Highrise, sends it to our shipping department, and they can take it from there to make sure that your orders are going out error-free(ish).

Oh, and again, as we grow, the beauty of a good CRM is that as we bring competent people into the Alarm Grid fold, you can receive tech support from any of our techs and it won't be like starting from scratch. If we can achieve that goal, my guess is that far more than 29% of our sites traffic will be return visitors. I'm hoping that we see a community form around Alarm Grid and that number creeps up to somewhere around 40%! I think we're about a year away from those kind of numbers, but I'll be sure to keep you updated.

Scribd

ScribdA lot of the alarm system documents are a bit hard to find for some reason. We decided to change that. We try to post a complete set of every single products pdfs: their manual, data sheet, install guides, and whatever else might come with the unit. That way, when you are at home getting ready to install your brand spankin' new alarm, when you need help, you can jump right into the manuals. The truth is, we want to make sure to support you in the way that is best for you. If you want to talk to someone, you can call us and ask questions; if you just want a quick answer to a simple question, the chat is very helpful; if you have a question that is pretty popular, we've probably posted a short FAQ about it, and you can either read the FAQs or ask us directly (we're just going to read the FAQ to you); on the other hand if you're the kind of person who starts a road trip in Minnesota to get to Florida, accidentally ends up in Oregon, nearly gets eaten by a bear, and still refuses to ask for directions because your so fiercely independent we have these manuals. For you, you do not need to ask any person any questions. You can maintain your dignity by anonymously perusing the documents of whatever product your having trouble installing. What's more, the manuals are beautifully displayed, functional, and they will work on any device you are using on Alarm Grid. All of that is thanks to Scribd! Now, we're not going to be held liable if Mr. Fiercely Independent accidentally sticks his screwdriver into the wall's electrical socket before setting the breaker to off... but it's good to know that the documents are there if you need, or even just prefer them.

Spree

SpreeWe gotta give a big online high-five to Spree. Our developer is in love with Ruby on Rails, and for good reason. Spree out of the box is like a beautiful factory made corvette. It's got a lot of horsepower, but it's rims aren't really chromed and it doesn't open up quite the way we want to. As we've customized it to our needs, it's becoming an unique, aftermarket, roaring machine that could win in a street race against any of those chintzy Ferraris.

I'll admit, I know nothing about cars. But what has been done with this site is nothing short of remarkable. As our new design is being prepared (we're putting racing stripes on the site), the awesomeness of what we have built will become more and more apparent. While a lot of companies build solutions for their stores from the ground up, we have received the incredible benefit of the internet's open source community. The store you see in front of you is the result of the Alarm Grid development team's hard hard work and many hundreds of hours of development, as well as the thousands and thousands of semi-anonymous developers who have contributed to the Spree project. So while Spree is listed lowest here, it's hard to express how highly we think of the project and its contributors. Of our partners, this is probably the most important reason Alarm Grid can do what it does. it is the backbone of our store, and your experience.

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Here at Alarm Grid, we know first hand how effective a security system can be. There is nothing more rewarding than getting a call or email from a new customer telling us about a successful apprehension or a thwarted burglary.

However, it's also nice to have some statistical proof that burglar alarms really do prevent burglaries. We just read about a recent study conducted in three different Pennsylvania suburbs that concluded that homes with a security system installed had 1.4% chance of burglary. The homes without a security system in those same suburbs had a 2.3% chance of burglary. Aside from the conclusion that Pennsylvania suburbs appear to be pretty safe, it's clear the security systems are helping. The study did not look at the differences between security systems that are monitored by a central station and security systems that are not monitored. I would be willing to bet that homes with a monitored security system have virtually no chance of being burglarized.

Another interesting finding from the same study, was that businesses in the same Pennsylvania suburbs had much higher likelihood of burglary. The businesses with a security system had a 4.2% chance of burglary, while the businesses without a security system had an 18.2% chance of burglary. We find it very interesting that businesses in these areas seem to benefit even more than homes from having an installed security system.

The L5100PK LYNX Touch wireless security system is a great fit for a home or a business so if you have a business that is not protected now, please call us today at 888-818-7728 to speak with a security expert that can help you design the perfect Honeywell security system for your business.

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We are proud to now be a member of Telular's Telguard Advantage Program (TAP). 

Telular's Telguard division has been providing wireless alarm communications to homes and businesses for over 25 years. While Telular does not manufacture alarm control panels or security systems, they are experts in alarm communications. Telguard has a complete line of cellular alarm communicators that provide a wireless link between a security system and a central station. Cellular is the most secure and reliable method of alarm monitoring available as there are no lines that can be cut by the intruder, and the cellular communicators use the alarm control panel's backup battery so that a power outage will not stand in the way of your alarm signals reaching their destination. Also, as cellular phones continue to push regular phone lines to extinction, the nationwide cellular network will only get larger and stronger. 

Telguard stands apart from other alarm communication providers because of their focus on educating alarm dealers about the upcoming changes in cellular technology. Nearly all cellular alarm communicators installed today operate on the older 2G cellular network while the current cellular phones use the 3G and 4G cellular network. Cellular phones require so much bandwidth that cellular carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile are being forced to cannibalize the older 2G network to be able to provide the necessary throughput. In fact, AT&T has formally announced that the 2G network will be completely shut down by the end of 2016. While other alarm communication providers continue to sell 2G cellular communicators, Telguard has been exclusively selling 3G/4G communicators since the beginning of 2012 to protect all alarm owners that choose to go cellular.

Here at Alarm Grid, we recognize that the 2G shutdown will be a major event in the alarm industry and we feel that every alarm owner deserves to know the truth about cellular. That is why we have partnered with Telular's Telguard division and why we recommend the TG-1 Express cellular communicator to all customers that do not have a Honeywell security system. The TG-1 Express is compatible with the 3G and 4G cellular networks so you can be confident it will work well into the future. Also, the TG-1 Express is compatible with Telguard's interactive service which allows you to remotely control your security system from a computer or a smartphone and provides you with instant emails and/or text messages directly from your security system. The Telguard interactive service is compatible with nearly any alarm control panel so that you can now get the next level interactive services that were once only available with the top brands in the industry.

Alarm Grid's partnership with Telguard is an important step for us as we aim to provide the most advanced and secure alarm communications to every alarm owner in the country!

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While wireless security systems like the L5100PK LYNX Touch are easier to install then traditional wired security systems, there are some applications where the LYNX Series control panels will not be the right fit. When you have an older existing wired security system and you want to upgrade it to take advantage of today's  technology, the VISTA-21iP-6160KT is a great choice. 

The VISTA-21iP-6160KT includes a VISTA-21iP alarm control panel and a 6160 alphanumeric alarm keypad. You can use the VISTA-21iP control panel to replace any existing wired security system and the 6160 will provide a keypad that you can use to program and control the VISTA-21iP. If you need additional alarm keypads because your existing wired system has more than one keypad, you can add any of the Honeywell wired alarm keypads. Every Honeywell security system needs at least one alphanumeric alarm keypad to access the more advanced programming menus. The 6160 that is included with the VISTA-21iP-6160KT will provide you with ability to program the system but you can use regular fixed English alarm keypads like the 6150 for places in your home that you'd want regular system control. 

The VISTA-21iP is different than most wired alarm control panels, because it has a built-in AlarmNet internet alarm monitoring communicator that you can use to get central station monitoring. The VISTA-21iP is also compatible with AlarmNet's Total Connect interactive service. By signing up for an alarm monitoring plan that includes Total Connect, you will be able to remotely arm and disarm your VISTA-21iP from any computer or iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ or Blackberry® device. You can also setup the VISTA-21iP to send you instant emails and/or text message notifications when different security system events occur. 

You can save over $100 by designing your new wired security system around the VISTA-21iP-6160KT instead of ordering the VISTA-21iP alarm control panel and the 6160 alarm keypads separately. Call us at 888-818-7728 to speak with a security expert who can advise you on which security products to add to your VISTA-21iP-6160KT so that you can get the perfect security system for your property.

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The Honeywell L5100PK-WIFI-4G is the perfect choice for anyone that wants the most secure and reliable alarm monitoring communications available. In the past, Honeywell did not have an option for dual path alarm monitoring using the wireless all-in-one LYNX Series alarm control panels. There was no dual path alarm communicator compatible with the LYNX Series alarm control panels and you could not install both an internet alarm communicator and cellular alarm communicator inside a single LYNX system. Therefore, you had to choose between the faster, less expensive internet communications and the more reliable cellular communications. This was a disadvantage of the easier to install LYNX Series wireless alarm control panels and forced people over to the VISTA Series alarm control panels which were compatible with the discontinued 7845-iGSM and the iGSMV dual path alarm communicators.  

Now however, with the Honeywell L5100 LYNX Touch system, you can use the L5100-WIFI internet communicator in conjunction with the GSMVLP5-4G cellular communicator for a true dual path alarm monitoring option using a LYNX Series wireless alarm control panel. If the internet connection ever goes down (due to a power outage or service interruption), the system will switch over to the GSMVLP5-4G and your alarm signals will go out over the AT&T cellular network. 

The L5100PK-WIFI-4G includes the same (3) 5816 wireless door and window contacts, 5800PIR-RES wireless motion detector and 5834-4 wireless key fob that are included in the L5100PK LYNX Touch security system kit, but it also comes with the L5100-WIFI and GSMVLP5-4G AlarmNet communicators so you can get the peace of mind that only dual path alarm monitoring can provide. 

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In conjunction with our AlarmNet partnership, we are proud to announce that we are now accepting new monitoring clients! 

We are offering three unique alarm monitoring plans which you can customize with add-on features to build the perfect monitoring plan for you and your family. Starting at only $10 per month, you will be amazed to find that you can get the same services other alarm monitoring companies are offering but at a fraction of their price. The best part of all is that here at Alarm Grid, we never make you sign an alarm monitoring contract! Enjoy the cost savings and enhanced security features that come with our alarm monitoring plans while enjoying the freedom of knowing that you are not locked into a contract. We are so confident in our central station and our customer service that we know, once you sign up with us, you will never have any reason to shop your alarm monitoring service again. 

Choose from our Self Monitoring, Basic Monitoring and Monitoring Plus plans.

The Self Monitoring plan includes an interactive service that allows you to remotely arm and disarm your security system from any web enabled computer or even from an app on your iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ or Blackberry® device. The Self Monitoring plan also includes instant emails and text message notifications that are sent direct to you from your security system so that you will know right away when an alarm occurs.

The Basic Monitoring plan includes traditional central station alarm monitoring services and is backed by our award winning network of UL-listed central stations. Our three central station facilities are spread out across the country but are also virtually connected at all times so that we can spread out our alarm traffic to ensure that no operator will ever be too busy to give your alarm signal the immediate response it requires. 

The Monitoring Plus plan is our best offering as it includes central station service and interactive control of your security system. With the Monitoring Plus plan, you can rest easy knowing that when an alarm occurs, the proper authorities will be notified. In addition, you will be able to control your security system no matter where you are. Starting at only $20 per month, the Monitoring Plus plan is the best alarm monitoring value in the industry!

As the Basic Monitoring and Monitoring Plus plans include UL-listed central station monitoring, you get the added bonus of a homeowner's insurance discount as insurance companies across the country recognize Alarm Grid as a provider of the highest quality alarm monitoring service available.

Once you choose the plan that works for you, you are able to include extra features like secure cellular communications, remote home automation control and even live video access. In fact, the Video Monitoring plan can even be ordered as a standalone service for someone that may not have a security system. Here at Alarm Grid, we give you the flexibility to design your ideal alarm monitoring plan. Don't forget, with Alarm Grid, you can always try out new features without the risk of signing up for a contract.

Give us a call at 888-818-7728 to speak with a security expert that can get your security system activated today!

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My name is Joshua, and I'm in charge of making sure that every single person in the world knows about Alarm Grid.

Ok, maybe that's a little bit ambitious, but I'm excited to see what we can do to achieve our goals, even if they are a bit big.

If you take a look at our about us page you'll see that our goal is to be a completely different type of alarm monitoring company. Part of that includes having incredible content for our users who want to buy a system and have their alarm system monitored. My part of that means contributing to an entirely different kind of community. While I want to make sure our site is flooded with the kind of people that want to purchase our equipment and our service, I also want to use this opportunity to give back to the community that has given me the ability to get Alarm Grid where it needs to be. So I'm going to make sure to share data, explain what we're doing, and give you generalizable principles that will allow you to go into any sector your working with and implement some of our fun ideas. Most of what we are doing isn't that unique, but it's never been done in this industry.

It's like when Gary Vaynerchuck started making videos about wine. It revolutionized his industry. He figured out a way to turn wine into something that the internet could enjoy. That same mindset is how we're attacking the alarm industry. We want to "revolutionize" it by making sure that we're providing useful information to people who are thirsty for it.

If you're a marketer, or just an owner of another company that wants to see some fun data, find out what you can do with it, help us brainstorm, or just learn a little bit about how to market your own company, follow my Alarm Grid feed. I'll be posting pretty regularly, and I think you'll have a blast learning from what we do (both our mistakes and successes).

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We are very excited to announce the exciting partnership between Alarm Grid and AlarmNet.

AlarmNet is Honeywell's communications division which has been providing alternative alarm communications to the security industry since 1986. As a security leader that continually revolutionizes the industry, even back in the 80s Honeywell had the foresight to see that phone line communications would not be around forever. They developed numerous different communication networks that are all backed by their powerful Network Control Center so that alarm dealers across the country would have a way to provide alarm monitoring services to their customers even when phone lines eventually become extinct. 

Now, internet and cellular are the preferred technologies for sending alarm signals to a central station and AlarmNet has many different internet and cellular alarm communicators that are designed to work with Honeywell security systems. Whether it's the L5100-WIFI for the L5100 LYNX Touch or the GSMV4G for the VISTA Series alarm control panels, security system owners now have secure and reliable options for making sure that when their alarm goes off, an operator will receive their signal and be able to dispatch the proper authorities.

As an AlarmNet dealer, Alarm Grid is also able to support AlarmNet's next generation interactive service, Total Connect. Total Connect allows a user to remotely arm and disarm their security system from a computer or a smartphone as long as their security system is equipped with an AlarmNet alarm monitoring communicator. Also, Total Connect allows a user to get instant emails and/or text message notifications whenever a new security system event occurs. Not only does AlarmNet provide alarm communications that do not require a traditional phone line, but now with Total Connect, a security system can do things that were never possible with a phone line. 

Stay tuned to learn about the great alarm monitoring plans that are available through Alarm Grid, now that we are connected to AlarmNet's advanced alarm communications network.

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Alarm Grid now offers the Altronix SMP3 auxiliary power supply which works great when adding multiple Tuxedo Touch or Tuxedo Touch WIFI keypads to a Honeywell VISTA Series alarm control panel. A Honeywell VISTA-20P alarm control panel has 600mA of auxiliary power supply. Each Tuxedo Touch draws up to 310mA and each Tuxedo Touch WIFI draws up to 350mA. Also, any alarm keypadwireless receiver or AlarmNet alarm monitoring communicator connected to your VISTA-20P will also need power from the available 600mA auxiliary. That means that there is very little power left over for your Tuxedo Touch keypads. While the Honeywell AD12612 is an auxiliary power supply with 1.2A of power output, you will need a larger power supply like the SMP3 which puts out 2.5A if you have lots of devices drawing power or you have multiple Tuxedo Touch keypads.

Here at Alarm Grid, we recommend connecting all of your Tuxedo Touch and Tuxedo Touch WIFI keypads to an SMP3 power supply to make your alarm installation as easy as possible. You will need to hook up a Honeywell 1361 AC transformer to your SMP3 and you should also connect an Ultratech 1240 backup battery so that your Tuxedo Touch keypads will work even during a power outage. With a VISTA-20P alarm control panel, you should be able to fit the SMP3 and the extra backup battery inside the same alarm cabinet that houses the VISTA-20P. Powering your Tuxedo Touch keypads is easy with an SMP3 auxiliary power supply.

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