June 2013 Archives

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As the date that AT&T has committed to retiring the 2G and 3G communicators inches closer, Honeywell has been working to confirm their commitment to making sure consumers have what they need to keep their security up and running. On the consumer side of things, the iGSMV is one of the final communicators needing to be updated. So finally, with this week's replacement of the iGSMV with its newer part, the iGSMV4G, you can now have a dual path communicator that will help you meet the 2G sunset without a hiccup.

So while the iGSMV is no longer available, we say good riddance. And while it may be improper to speak ill of the dead, we are pretty sure you'll be happier with its replacement the iGSMV4G. You won't even miss the old unit.

So if what you're looking for is reliable, 3G / 4G coverage, then say goodbye to the iGSMV and hello to its replacement, the iGSMV4G!

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Ever since AT&T announced that they would be discontinuing their 2G cellular network, Honeywell security system owners have been eagerly waiting for a new 3G / 4G dual path alarm monitoring communicator. While the 7847i internet alarm communicator provides a sole path internet solution and the GSMX4G and GSMV4G devices provide an option for cellular communications, AlarmNet has been lacking a 4G capable dual path option to round out it's fleet of alarm communicators.

A LYNX Touch security system could use both an L5100-WIFI internet communicator and a GSMVLP5-4G cellular communicator for dual path alarm monitoring and a VISTA-21iP with an added VISTA-GSM4G module was available as well, but for anyone with a VISTA-15P or VISTA-20P security system, there hasn't been a good dual path option up until now. Considering the VISTA-20P is arguably the most popular security system in America, there were a lot of people relying on the discontinued iGSMV, wondering when their cellular back up would stop working. Now, all of those people can upgrade to the iGSMV4G with confidence knowing that the 2G / 3G / 4G capable device will continue to provide industry leading alarm communications for their systems for many years to come. 

At the same time, anyone that has been holding off on signing up for monitoring service because they couldn't decide between the faster internet alarm monitoring path and the more reliable cellular path can now order the iGSMV4G without having to make that decision. With both an internet and cellular alarm communicator built into one device, the iGSMV4G brings together the advantages of both communication paths. The internet communicator is the primary path and provides the added speed of IP communications for anyone that has Honeywell's Total Connect service. With an iGSMV4G, your Total Connect remote control commands and instant email and text messages notifications will come through faster than if you just have a cellular alarm communicator. At the same time, there is a back up cellular communicator ready to take over if the less reliable internet path fails for any reason.

Honeywell has not released a Total Connect 2.0 upgrade kit for the iGSMV4G but we anticipate that will be coming soon. In the meantime, if you want to add dual path alarm communications to your VISTA Series control panel and you also want to upgrade your system to be compatible with Total Connect 2.0, you can add a PROM chip upgrade to your iGSMV4G order. There is a chip upgrade available for the VISTA-15P and VISTA-20P panels so that you can bring your system up to speed with the latest technologies without having to change out any equipment or reprogram your entire system!

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If you have been lamenting Alarm Grid's indoor security stickers, longing for stickers that will stick to the outside of a building or door, then you will be ecstatic at this new piece of news. Alarm Grid now has outdoor security stickers in stock. They look just like the indoor security stickers, but the sticky side is on the back (like a normal sticker) instead of the front (like a weird sticker).

We have a simple, you might even say minimalist aesthetic, and we are glad we can give you our incredibly good looking security stickers and security yard signs for such a great price. We know that these stickers look really... really good, but we don't want you to get too excited. You don't NEED one for every window. But if you do end up buying too many, give them to your friends. Security stickers and signs are a great first deterrent from burglars, and if you're friend doesn't have a security sticker in their window... what do you think that says about you as their friend? Friends don't let friends go without security stickers on the windows of their home.

Alarm Grid Outdoor Sticker

Hopefully by now you know that at Alarm Grid, we are alarm system geeks. We are pretty darn knowledgable about the Honeywell line of product in particular, but know quite a bit about other sundry things as well. We believe that serving our customers best involves giving them incredibly detailed information that they are seeking, for free. Likewise, we enjoy working with companies that are geeks in their own right. So we thought it would be a good time to give a little shout-out to the sticker geeks over at Sticker Mule (did you even know there was such a thing?) who made these wonderful stickers. They are weather proof as well as durable, and they look really great, to boot.

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Honeywell's L5000 security panel was in its day the most state of the art wireless security system on the market. We have been proud to offer it  along with its various parts throughout its life cycle, and are glad to be putting it to rest. The L5000 was an incredible piece of equipment, allowing users some of the simplest programming options available, and Honeywell's now-familiar and simple to use "Advanced User Interface" (AUI). This was one of the company's first touch-screen panels, and its legacy is seen in the modern design of Honeywell's current line of consumer AUI panels.

It's close cousin, the LYNX Touch 5100, is everything that it was and more. The L5100 can do home automation with the simple addition of a Z-WAVE module, which is something the L5000 was never capable of. This huge improvement makes the L5100 a wonderfully versatile panel that makes your security system more powerful than a security system has ever been. So while we thank the L5000 for paving the way to the newest line of Honeywell consumer-facing security products, we understand Honeywell's decision to retire the much-loved panel.

In the meantime, feel free to pay your respects to the wonderful work of the L5000, but know that the old panel is moving on to greener pastures.

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There are a few different security industry conferences held throughout the country each year. At these conferences, new products are showcased and security companies get a chance to meet and interact with the security manufacturers. It's a great way for new technologies to be introduced and for us dealers to let our manufacturers know what our customers are looking for.

The Electronic Security Expo (ESX) is a unique conference because it is owned by the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) and the Electronic Security Association (ESA). The CSAA and ESA are independent organizations looking to further the industry and all proceeds received at ESX are used to improve the overall industry. Whether it's developing new programming parameters to reduce false alarms or working with legislators to ensure police continue to dispatch on alarm systems monitored by a central station, you can be confident that both the CSAA and ESA have the security industry's best interests in mind.

Also, the ESX Maximum Impact Awards program is the first and only program to place a critical perspective on the impact that new and recently introduced products and services have on security integration and  monitoring businesses.

Therefore, when a product is recognized by the panel of judges at ESX, it is definitely something consumers should pay attention to. This year's expo was help in Nashville and wrapped up today. We are very proud to announce that Honeywell was the unofficial MVP of the expo.


The amazing L5100 LYNX Touch security system took home the Best Overall award at this year's show and as a company that specializes in supporting the LYNX Touch we are not at all surprised! Winning the Best Overall award I'm sure would have been enough for Honeywell to feel like they were successful at the expo, but they weren't done there. The Honeywell Security Group also won the Best Alarm Equipment award in the Wireless Alarm System category because of the LYNX Touch L5100. Anyone looking for a new wireless security system can stop looking. The LYNX Touch is the best in the industry and it's not just us saying it anymore!

For those that still prefer a wired VISTA Series alarm control panel over the easier to install, all-in-one wireless systems, should note that the Honeywell Security Group also took home the Best Alarm Equipment award in the Intrusion Alarm Control Panels category for their Tuxedo Touch keypad. The Tuxedo Touch has revolutionized the wired alarm control panel market in just the same way that the LYNX Touch has done to the wireless market. By integrating Z-Wave home automation with a beautiful touchscreen keypad, Honeywell now has a powerful 1-2 punch behind the Tuxedo Touch and LYNX Touch.

With the Total Connect remote home automation feature coming in the next week or so, Honeywell will have finally tied in all of their products with their amazing interactive monitoring services. We are proud to be a Honeywell dealer and these awards help prove what we've been saying all along - Honeywell is truly the best in the industry!

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If you're like Jose from Florida, and looking to replace the battery in your Honeywell 5811 door or window sensor, we have the perfect video for you in this week's installment of Ask Sterling.

Jose simply wants to know which battery to use when replacing the default Panasonic CR2032 that ships with the Honeywell 5811

In our video, we go over the various acceptable replacements for the Honeywell CR2032 coin cell 3V lithium cell battery and even how to install it. Watch below:


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Yahoo recently ran an article titled "5 Key Words of Advice from the World's Most Famous Customer Service Representative". The article had five quotes from Sir Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group., taken from various interviews he's given over the years. 


While we're not sure that Yahoo's title of World's Most Famous Customer Service Rep is 100% official, we certainly do applaud Mr. Branson's obvious commitment to customer service. And if Sir Richard Branson is crediting customer service as the key to his companies' success, all companies should listen up and do what they can to follow in his foot steps.

In the alarm industry, where all companies are selling the same products and services, customer service isn't just the key to Alarm Grid's success, it's every reason we've been successful!

Let's take a look at the 5 key words of advice and how we try to live that example at Alarm Grid.

Branson's first quote was "The key is to set realistic customer expectations, and then not to just meet them, but to exceed them — preferably in unexpected and helpful ways." 

When we created Alarm Grid, we decided that we wanted people that dealt with us to feel like we were a totally different alarm company than any they'd dealt with before. From our no-contract alarm monitoring services, to the wealth of information we gladly give away on our site, we hear all the time how people love the fact that we are fair and upfront. While we think that should be expected, we are lucky to be in an industry where simply being honest actually exceeds customer's expectations.

His second quote was "To achieve consistently terrific customer service, you must hire wonderful people who believe in your company’s goals, habitually do better than the norm and who will love their jobs."

We are still a new company with just a few employees. Most of our customer's deal with me and they almost always comment on how they are impressed with my enthusiasm and in-depth knowledge of alarm systems. Of course, as an owner it's easy for me to care so strongly. I know that as we grow, our continued success will rely on our ability to foster that same enthusiasm in the people we hire and we are committed to making that a reality. I see proof everyday that happy employees equal happy customers and therefore we have a training and management style that empowers employees which leads to their happiness.

The next quote is especially important in our business. "A successful business must never lose its focus on its customers and its standards. When an issue turns up, a company’s response can have a big impact on its reputation and its long-term success."

Because we provide safety and security, we can never "take it easy" and get back to a customer's request on our own time. We know that people need their security systems to work and when they don't work, we know it's our job to get them working again as soon as possible. Extremely long hold times and unanswered emails and voice mails leave a customer that has a malfunctioning system wondering what they are paying for each month. Alarm companies that hide behind contracts can get away with slow customer response but at Alarm Grid, where our customers can choose another company at any time, we treat every email or phone call as another chance to prove our dedication to customer service so that our client's will never need to look for another company again.

The fourth quote was “In business, creating a favorable impression at the first point of customer contact is an absolute imperative. Though everyone knows this, many companies still only manage to do a mediocre job at best."

“But what isn’t widely understood is… the customer’s second impression of the brand can be even more important than his first. The second interaction a customer has with your business usually involves something that has gone wrong — they’re having trouble using the product or service. Handled correctly, this is a situation in which a company can create a very positive impression. Sadly, it’s where things often go terribly wrong.”

I couldn't agree more with this idea. I see everyday how executing on this critical point leaves a favorable impression with customers. We do always look to wow our first time callers with our expert alarm knowledge and, more often than not, that is the reason people credit when they are asked why they chose Alarm Grid. However, signing up new clients is only half the battle for us since we don't use contracts. Making sure our customers stay customers takes much more time and effort. But, just like I said before, we believe that every time there is an issue with your alarm system, it's really just another chance to remind you why you chose us in the first place.

Sir Branson's final quote was “Look, I think that when we started Virgin Atlantic 30 years ago, we had one 747 competing with the airlines that had an average of 300 planes each. Every single one of those have gone bankrupt because they didn’t have customer service. They had might, but they didn’t have customer service, so customer service is everything in the end.”

There are thousands of alarm companies to chose from. We don't wish bankruptcy on any of them but we do know that the only way to ever stand at the top of the mountain is to consistently bowl our customers over with a higher level of customer service than they have ever experienced. Not just compared with other alarm companies, which happens to be fairly easy to do, but compared with ANY company.

If you haven't experienced Alarm Grid yet, we invite you to give us a call today at 888-818-7728 so that you can find out what it's like to be treated by a company that truly cares. For those that have worked with us already, we pledge that the service that won you over originally is ready for you the next time you need us!


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During the last few days, Alarm Grid customers who are using AT&T as their cell phone service provider have indicated to our support team that the messages are coming in from different phone numbers. While not a huge inconvenience for most Total Connect users, for those who have setup alerts based on the phone number from which the message is coming are probably not getting the audible notifications that the audible notification of a message from Total Connect has stopped. The way to get around the issue is to change your AT&T SMS email recipient in your Total Connect 'Users' settings to an email address instead. Use the email address of your 10-digit number@mms.att.net. As the Total Connect SMS radial button option is really just a front end that tells the AlarmNet service to send an email to your 10-digit number@txt.att.net, this email setup is essentially doing the same thing as the SMS radial button. However, the key difference, and the reason is solves the problem of the ever changing contact on the Total Connect messages is that by sending it as an email you are having the messages come through AT&T's MMS gateway instead of their SMS gateway. For whatever reason, this solves the problem and all your messages will come from the same contact: totalconnect2.0@alarmnet.com so that you can setup a unique ring tone for your critical Total Connect notifications.

EDIT (Nov 1): We have noticed that a number of Alarm Grid customers have stopped receiving Total Connect messages if they are using the AT&T SMS setup on Total Connect. This was just an inconvenience before, as the messages would come through but they just would come from a different contact every time. Now it seems it has turned into a more serious issue where the messages don't come through at all if they are set up as SMS.

We're not sure what is causing this to happen, but we are aware of the problem and are working with AlarmNet to implement a solution for anyone who is experiencing the outage. We will give an update here as soon as we hear more. In the mean time, if you do the MMS email trick that we posted above, the messages will come through.

EDIT (Jan 13): Unfortunately, we have received reports that now even with the AT&T emails being set up to go to the @mms.att.net email gateway, customers with AT&T cell phones have stopped getting their Total Connect messages. We are still waiting for a fix from AlarmNet but in the mean time, we have developed a workaround. If you add your Gmail address as a Total Connect email recipient (and validate it), you can then use Gmail's filtering and forwarding features to have the emails pass through the Gmail account on their way to the cell phone. For some reason, this seems to bypass whatever was blocking the messages originally. If you are familiar with setting up Gmail filtering in your account, feel free to do it. If you are not, or would rather we help you with it, please give us a call (888-818-7728) or email support@alarmgrid.com, and we will work with you to make sure that you can get your email and text alerts.

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One of the problems with installing a system that has been designed to be put in by a professional is that sometimes, the company assumes you have certain tools that you probably don't have lying around. The L5100, our most popular wireless security system, for example comes with a 300-04705 transformer, but it doesn't come with any of the necessary wiring.

We do everything we can to explain in detail what's in each box we send, but sometimes, there is a little bit that gets lost in translation. So if you're getting ready to install a Honeywell L5100, we just wanted to make sure that you remembered to get the on thing that will save you from having to make a trip to a hardware store. The LT-Cable will make your installation a breeze, and you won't regret getting it.

In our installation video of the L5100, you can see just how much easier the LT Cable makes installation:



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A security system with just a control panel won't get you very far. That's why we're happy to answer Jordan's question in this week's Ask Sterling - how do you add a sensor to a Honeywell L5100 control panel?

On this week's installment we use a Honeywell 5811, a thin door and window sensor, as our sample sensor as we show you how to learn the device to the Honeywell LYNX Touch 5100.

So get your installer code ready and watch the following Ask Sterling video to learn how to add your sensors to your Honeywell L5100 control panel:


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