September 2018 Archives

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Cellular communication is expected to make its next major leap forward later this year with the rise of 5G networks. This is exciting news for the security industry, as it will make alarm systems more versatile than ever. Let's take a quick look at how 5G will revolutionize alarm monitoring.

When a person says "5G", they are referring to the fifth generation of cellular communication. Most alarm systems today use 3G or 4G/LTE cellular modules for communicating. Inevitably, 5G communicators for alarm systems will eventually be released. Once the 5G networks grow and these new alarm communicators become available, end users and their home security systems will then be able to truly take advantage of what 5G offers.

The main benefit to 5G communication is how it will improve the end user experiencing with working with "Internet of Things" (IoT). This goes beyond simply streaming a video or downloading a file. IoT refers to a network of devices that goes beyond just phones and computers. In the world of alarm systems, this can include things like smart lights, thermostats, door locks and more. In other words, 5G technology will help alarm system continue their transition into becoming full-fledged smart home controllers.

There is a very large amount of activity that occurs when an alarm system controls a smart home device, such as a light. The command has to go from the system, to the interactive service, to the alarm system, and finally to the device itself. Although each action is relatively minor, the fact that there are multiple steps to this process can slow things down. By using 5G communication, almost every step of the process will be made quicker, and it will provide a better experience for the end user. Simply put, any action or command will become almost instant. The same principle applies when the command is initiated from another source, like a smartphone or smart assistant device.

When a user with a 5G connection pulls up the Alarm.com or Total Connect 2.0 Mobile App and runs a smart scene, they can expect that the command will reach the servers for the interactive platform in a matter of milliseconds. And then the service will send the command to the alarm system (or other smart home controller) also in a matter of milliseconds. From there, the only transmission left is the local communication between the smart home controller and the device itself. With the support of a 5G network a user can expect these processes to occur basically in the blink of an eye, as any noticeable transmission latency will largely become a relic of the past.

Alarm systems are quickly becoming more than just security tools. Many people have already embraced security panels as central hubs for useful devices in their homes. We expect this trend to continue with the rise of 5G. The future of the security system is for it to do more than just keep you and your family safe. We expect the equipment we feature to become even more useful tools that will greatly benefit your everyday life and make your household more connected. Alarm monitoring is about to become so much more than security and protection. We're ready for every step of the journey.

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Hi DIYers! Today we're taking a look at a classic Honeywell 5800 Series Sensor. The Honeywell 5820L Wireless Slim Line Door and Window Sensor is known for being one of the easiest to use and effective contacts around. Its slim profile makes it ideal for use with sliding doors and windows.

Honeywell 5820l super slim wireless door and window sensorThe 5820L provides the same function as virtually any wireless door and window sensor. But its long, thin profile makes it perfect for certain applications. The way that the sensor works is fairly standard. The sensor has an integrated reed switch, and it is installed alongside a separate magnet that comes included. When the door or window is opened, the magnet will separate from the sensor and cause the internal reed switch to activate. The sensor will then send an alert to the alarm system. As a 345 MHz sensor, the 5820L will work with most wireless Honeywell and 2GIG Panels. It will also work with the new Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus with 345 MHz daughtercard.

What separates the 5820L from other 345 MHz contacts is its slim profile. This makes it exceptional for use with sliding doors and windows where a smaller sensor is needed. Even better is that the sensor is extremely easy to install by mounting it with double-sided foam tape. This means that no drilling or nails are needed to securely mount the sensor. And since the device uses a single AAA battery with an average battery life of 10 years, keeping the 5820L powered is a breeze. The one downside to the sensor is that it features are relatively short wireless range of about 150 feet. But a user can effectively double this range to 300 feet with the use of a Honeywell 5800RP Wireless Repeater.

The Honeywell 5820L is available for purchase from Alarm Grid now. Protect your sliding doors and windows with this versatile sensor!

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Hi DIYers! Since its inception in 2012, Alarm Grid has prided itself in being the premier no-contract option for home security. We believe that the no-contract model provides a better experience and greater flexibility for customers. Let's take a look at why no-contract monitoring is ideal.

Alarm grid inside security stickers

No-contract alarm monitoring is exactly what it sounds like. It means that the customer is not locked into any contract, and they are free to terminate their monitoring service at any time. Alarm Grid also does not charge any fees for cancelling service. The only thing keeping a customer with us is the simple fact that we provide the best monitoring service and customer support at a fair price. If a customer no longer wants to receive monitoring service, or if they find another company who they believe can do it better, they can leave whenever they would like. It's this level of freedom and versatility that has helped make Alarm Grid what it is today.

At first glance, an alarm monitoring contract might not seem like a big deal. A customer might think that they can just wait out the duration of their contract and then take their system to a different alarm monitoring company later. Unfortunately, it isn't always this easy and simple. Some monitoring contracts can run for several years, and the only way to escape the alarm contract is usually to pay a potentially costly cancellation fee. Plus, many alarm companies use proprietary equipment that can only be used with that particular company. Or they may refuse to release the communicator or provide the Installer Code for the system if the customer leaves. Even if you received the panel for free, it might not do any good if the system only works with that company. Recently, we have even heard of monitoring contracts specifically stating that the company would not be legally required to release the communicator even after the alarm contract expires!

However, Alarm Grid does not play these games. The equipment that we offer is all non-proprietary. It can be used with any alarm monitoring company that is willing to register it. We also encourage our customers to use the default Installer Codes for their systems so that they are empowered. They won't get locked out of programming, and they will be able to take their system to a new monitoring company if they choose to do so. And if a customer ever does decide to leave Alarm Grid, we will absolutely release the communicator for their system so that it can be easily reused. This is your system, not ours. You are free to do whatever you would like with it.

The one thing Alarm Grid will never do is trap its customers. We know that our service is the best, and we don't need to force our customers to stick with us. If an Alarm Grid customer wakes up one day and realizes that our service isn't for them, they are free to leave. We won't hold it against them. But they won't have that level of freedom with alarm monitoring companies that use contracts.

Make the smart choice. Choose Alarm Grid no-contract monitoring so that you are in control of your monitoring service. We're sure that you'll love what we have to offer. And if you don't, then you can leave at no cost. Please check out our monitoring page for more information about our no-contract monitoring plans.

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Imagine you and your family are away from home. An intruder decides to take this opportunity to forcefully enter your house. But luckily, they trigger a contact, a motion sensor or a glass break sensor, and an immediate alarm is sent to a central station. They flee the scene immediately.

At first glance, this might seem like a favorable situation. The intruder left your property immediately, the police arrived on the scene shortly thereafter, and any property damage was minimized. But now there is a criminal on the loose, and the police don't necessarily have any leads for identifying the individual. That is where home security cameras can greatly assist with a police investigation. Even just one camera can mean the difference between a successful arrest and an unsolved crime.

Honeywell lyric c1 wifi indoor 720p hd total connect security caA home security camera is exactly what it sounds like. It is a camera that captures footage inside the home for security purposes. Sure, you might capture some cute and heartwarming moments of your family on your security camera from time to time. But their real purpose is to keep you and your loved ones safe. In the previous scenario, a single camera could have provided police with a detailed physical description of the intruder. This can eventually lead to the arrest and conviction of the guilty party. Thanks to your camera, the police managed to take a dangerous criminal off the street, and your area is now safer as a result.

The modern security cameras of today don't feature the grainy, black & white footage of older models. New cameras from Alarm.com and Honeywell capture video in full-color, HD quality. With these cameras, you'll be able to see any unwanted intruder in exceptional detail. This will make it easier for the police to identify the intruder later. Most modern security cameras also used infrared (IR) night vision to detect criminals in the darkest of environments. There are event specially designed low-light cameras created for this purpose. And outdoor security cameras can capture footage that specifically occurs outside your home.

Alarm dot com adc v722w frontBut there's another important reason to get security cameras for your home. Not every bad guy breaks into the home. As scary as it sounds, many burglars, vandals and even sex criminals works right under the nose of the homeowner. They can operate under the guise of a repair person or a cleaner or any trusted individual. Once inside, they can rob you of your belongings or perform disgusting acts that can leave you speechless. Just a few days ago, a "repairman" in Los Angeles was caught on a home security camera sniffing a young girl's underwear while he was "working". Just imagine how many of these crimes go undetected in homes due to a lack of security cameras!

We're not telling you to be afraid of every person you let into your home. There are plenty of trustworthy and honest people left in this world. But in today's day and age, you can never be too sure. As extreme as it sounds, it is absolutely critical that you know exactly what goes on in your home. Home security cameras are the best way to do this. And with advances in technology, these cameras are easier to use and install than ever before. In fact, many can even be rested on a table, no installation needed!

Alarm dot com adc v522ir indoor 1080p fixed camera with night vi

When used with an alarm system and an interactive service platform like Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com, you can even view the live footage for your security cameras from virtually anywhere in the world at any time. And even if you don't ever catch an intruder breaking-in or a creep repairman going through the belongings of your family, nothing beats the peace of mind of being able to see exactly what is going on inside your home while you are away.

Alarm Grid offers a wide selection of security cameras designed for use with the Total Connect 2.0 and Alarm.com services. All that's needed to get started is a Platinum Level Alarm Monitoring Plan. Protect your home and your loved ones with a security camera setup from Alarm Grid.

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Hi DIYers! Today, we're taking a look at the DSC PG9914 PowerG Wireless Motion Detector. This is a passive infrared (PIR) motion sensor that uses highly advanced technology to reduce false alarms. But it still offers the reliable performance that you need for your security system.

Dsc pg9914 powerg 915mhz out wireless motion detector

The main operation for the DSC PG9914 takes place through its fresnel and cylindrical lenses. These lenses require no adjustment during the easy installation process. And they are designed with special Target Specific Imaging and Advanced True Motion Recognition to distinguish between human intruders and other sources of motion. A user can rest assured that the device will reliably respond if an intruder is ever present. But it also won't cause false alarms when mounted correctly. Its detection range is rated for sensing motion from up to 39 feet away.

The DSC PG9914 also offers pet-immunity for animals weighing up to 85 pounds. This makes it perfect for users who have pets running around their house. But remember that pet-immunity only works properly when the motion sensor has been mounted correctly. We usually recommend a mounting height of about 7 feet for this purpose. It should also not be facing any objects that a pet could climb upon to get within the detection view of the sensor.

As a PowerG Sensor, the PG9914 has a wireless range of 2 kilometers when used in open air. It also uses highly secure 128-bit AES encryption to prevent any wireless takeover attempts. The sensor is truly one of the most secure wireless motion sensors available today. It operates at a frequency of 915 MHz, making it compatible with the DSC PowerSeries Neo Systems and the all-new Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus Systems.

The DSC PG9914 is available from Alarm Grid now. Get one to protect your home!

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Hi DIYers! We have another product highlight for you today. We're taking a look at the Obsidian Touchscreen Z-Wave Lock from Kwikset. There are many things to like about this convenient and easy to use door lock, and we can wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone looking to secure their home.

The first thing a user will notice about the Obsidian Lock is smooth and glossy black touchscreen. With its sleek and modern appearance, the lock will fit in with virtually any decor. Its simplistic design makes it very easy to use, and users will have no trouble operating the device on a daily basis. The lock uses no physical keys, and all tasks are completed using the touchscreen. Once the device has been enrolled, with the system, it can then be unlocked using any programmed panel codes.

A unique aspect of the Obsidian is its special SecureScreen technology to prevent unwanted entry. When the lock is activated after a long period of inactivity, two numbers will be displayed on the screen. The user must press both of these numbers in order to display the complete touchscreen. Only after the two numbers have been pressed will the complete keypad be displayed. The screen will display different numbers every time, meaning that every keypad button will be pressed after a few uses. By doing this, every button will have fingerprints on it. This means that a potential intruder won't be able to look at the glossy keypad with fingerprints on specific keys to easily determine the code.

Another feature of the Obsidian is its 128-bit AES encryption that will prevent any wireless hacking attempts that intruders may use to try and thwart the lock. The deadbolt lock itself is also extremely secure, as it meets the BHMA Grade 2 Deadbolt Operational and Security Standards. The user can also create new codes for the lock directly from its touchscreen keypad. This is done by setting up a lock master code for code management.

And the discussion of the Obsidian wouldn't be complete without mentioning that it's a Z-Wave Plus device! This means that it can use all of the technology of Z-Wave Plus when used with a certified Z-Wave Plus controller. Also referred to as the 5th generation of Z-Wave of the "500 Series", Z-Wave Plus has superior range and reliability over standard Z-Wave devices. And when another Z-Wave Plus device "hops" through the the Obsidian, the signal that is sent out will also use Z-Wave Plus connectivity. This makes the Obsidian great for expanding upon a Z-Wave Plus mesh network. Two alarm panels that serve as Z-Wave Plus controllers include the 2GIG GC3 and the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus.

The Kwikset Obsidian Lock is available from Alarm Grid now. Protect your home with this versatile and useful Z-Wave lock!

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Hi DIYers! Today, we're taking a look at the LTE cellular communicators for the Interlogix Simon XT, Simon XTi and Simon XTi-5 Alarm Systems. These cellular communicators are used for getting a new or existing Simon Security System connected with the Alarm.com interactive service.

Interlogix 600 1048 xt lte vz back of verizon lte cellular commu

When it comes to LTE cellular communicators for the Simon XT, XTi and XTi-5, users have three options to choose from. These are the following options:

The decision between AT&T, Verizon or Telus should depend on which cellular service tends to work best at the location of the system. This has nothing to do with a user's personal cellular service provider. For example, even if a user has a Verizon Phone, they can still get an AT&T communicator for their alarm system.

But regardless of which cellular network is used, there's no denying the benefits of connecting to an LTE network. LTE stands for "long-term evolution", and it represents some of the fastest and most reliable cellular networks that are being used today. Cellular service providers have promised that they will continue to support their LTE networks for many years into the distant future. So by choosing an LTE communicator, a user is essentially future-proofing their alarm system.

Adding a cellular communicator is perhaps the most important upgrade that a user can make for their Simon XT, XTi or XTi-5 System. Without a cellular communicator, these systems can only use telephone service for alarm monitoring. But this practice is almost always discouraged due to the slow communication speeds and unreliable service associated with phone line monitoring. For the Simon XT, XTi and XTi-5, cellular is almost always the way to go.


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Interlogix simon xti front view of wireless security system

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With cellular monitoring on a Simon XT, XTi or XTi-5, the user will enjoy fast and reliable communication. They will also be able to rest easy in knowing that their system will still remain monitored even when the power goes out. This can be very important for providing a user with proper peace of mind. And a cellular communicator will allow the system to connect with the Alarm.com interactive service.

A user can access the Alarm.com service at any time to arm and disarm their system, control Z-Wave smart home devices, check the current status of security sensors and more. The service can be accessed through a web browser or remotely using the Alarm.com Mobile App on iOS and Android devices. And since these cellular modules double as Z-Wave controllers, adding an LTE communicator will instantly make the Simon Systems Z-Wave ready for use with Alarm.com.

The LTE cellular communicators are compatible with all versions of the Simon XTi and Simon XTi-5 Systems. But the Simon XT System will need to be running firmware version 1.3 or higher. A user can check the current firmware version on their Simon XT by scrolling down on the main menu screen until the firmware version is displayed. It is important to keep this in mind when adding a cellular communicator to a Simon XT.

But not everyone who needs a cellular communicator necessarily has a brand-new Simon XT, XTi or XTi-5 System. A user will often purchase a cellular communicator to takeover their existing Simon Panel from a different alarm company. Many alarm companies use proprietary communicators, and they will not work with other companies. By removing the old communicator and replacing it with a new one that is unregistered, the system can be successfully taken over and used with a new monitoring company. We have already had many users do exactly this to receive alarm monitoring services from Alarm Grid, without having to replace their old Simon Panel.

The Interlogix Simon LTE Cellular Communicators are available from the Alarm Grid website right now. Get one so that you can receive top-quality cellular monitoring service for your Simon XT, XTi or XTi-5 System!

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Hi DIYers! If you have a smart home setup, then you know how exciting it is when you add a new smart device. Now you have brand-new equipment that you can integrate into smart scenes and control from anywhere! But what about the central hub that serves as the "brains" of the setup?

The smart home hub is the unsung hero of a smart home network. The way that it works is that all smart home devices will connect with the hub. Whenever a command is sent out for one or more smart home devices, it will pass through the hub first. In that sense, the hub is what connects all of the devices in the network together. So without a hub, a true smart home network will not be possible.

What makes a smart hub unique is that it communicates with multiple types of wireless protocols. This should not be confused with a bridge, which only communicates with one type of wireless protocol. An example is the Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge, as it will only send commands to devices running the Lutron protocol (Clear Connect). That's not to say that bridges can't represent a useful part of a smart home setup. There are many great protocols that are operated through some type of smart bridge. But having a dedicated central hub can make controlling your smart home devices as easy as possible.

Naturally, it makes sense that many users want to integrate their alarm systems into their smart home networks. This way, they can have certain smart home devices respond to predetermined security events. An example could be having smart lights turn on automatically when a user walks into a room and sets off a motion detecting sensor. This type of setup is has become a reality for many users in recent years, as smart home technology continues to grow and evolve.

Unfortunately, it isn't as simple as just taking any security system and any smart home hub and having them suddenly work together. There are many compatibility issues and rules that must be kept in mind when integrating an alarm system into an existing smart home network. Some smart home hubs are easier to work with than others. And as this type of technology is still fairly new, there are still some issues to be worked out. But the beauty of integrating a security system with a primary smart hub, or even using the security system itself as the smart hub, is that it will facilitate a true connection between smart home devices and security devices.

We have already seen many users experience great success in using the Honeywell Lyric Controller as a secondary Z-Wave controller with a Samsung SmartThings Hub or as an integrated device with Apple HomeKit. In these situations, SmartThings or HomeKit will serve as the primary home automation controller. However, the user will still be able to have their Z-Wave devices respond based on actions taken by the Lyric. This could involve adjusting the thermostat automatically when a sensor is triggered or having a door lock itself when the system is armed. But keep in mind that the system may not be able to interact with every wireless protocol that is supported by the primary hub.

Many users are fine with having the security system itself serve as the primary hub for their smart home devices. Depending upon the wireless protocols involved, this can work quite well. For example, both the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus and 2GIG GC3 Systems are Z-Wave Plus controllers that can be used as hubs for security devices and Z-Wave devices. When doing this, a user can control their Z-Wave devices directly through the panel or through the Alarm.com service. The Alarm.com Mobile App will even allow users to operate their Z-Wave devices from virtually anywhere in the world. The weakness here is that the user will be limited to using only wireless protocols that are supported by the alarm system. This might not be as many protocols as a dedicated home automation hub like Samsung SmartThings.

Alarm Grid will keep you up to date with new and advanced smart home automation technology and capabilities as it becomes available. We look forward to bringing you the latest news about this exciting technology and how it can help you get the very most out of your security system.

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Hi DIYers! We're here with the Alarm Grid video recap for September 10th thru 17th. Our support technicians Joe, Dylan and Jorge are all back and here to teach you how to use your alarm system. We have seven new videos this time, with most of them focusing on the Interlogix Systems.

Disabling Chime on an Interlogix Simon XT

Dylan demonstrates how to disable the chime for an Interlogix Simon XT System. By disabling the chime, the panel will not produce any sounds when sensors are faulted. There is an option accessible from the main screen that is used with toggling the chime On and Off. If the option is set to Off, the chime will be disabled for the entire system. Alternatively, muting the system will also stop the panel from producing chimes. However, this will stop all system sounds, except for sirens.

Self Monitoring a Simon XT

Dylan talks about using a Simon XT with a self-monitoring plan. A self-monitoring plan means that the system is not connected with a central monitoring station. As a result, a user will be unable to receive automatic emergency dispatch. But a user will still be able to receive system alerts and notifications through text and/or email from Alarm.com. A user can take these notifications and contact the authorities when needed to keep their home or business safe.


Adding a Wireless Motion Sensor on an Interlogix Simon XTi

Jorge shows users how to add a wireless motion sensor to an Interlogix Simon XTi System. This is the same process that is used for enrolling a wireless sensor to an Interlogix Simon XTi-5 System. A motion sensor will actively search for any motion that is present in an area. If the device detects motion while the system is armed, an alarm will occur on the system. This makes these devices great for keeping the inside of a building protected and secured. The Simon XTi supports 319.5 MHz motion sensors.


Resetting an Interlogix Simon XTi and XTi-5 to Factory Defaults

Jorge demonstrates how to reset an Interlogix Simon XTi or XTi-5 System to factory default settings. Once the system has been defaulted, all programmed codes and sensors will be deleted. The Master, Installer and Dealer Codes will all be reset to the factory default values. All system settings will be restored to the default. A user will basically need to reprogram their entire panel after a factory default has been performed. Therefore, we usually only recommend a default if it is absolutely needed.


Adding Hardwired Zones to an Interlogix Simon XT

Dylan shows users how they can use hardwired sensors with the Simon XT System. There are a couple of ways that this can be done. The panel has two hardwired inputs for supporting two normally closed hardwired sensors. This is a great option if a user only needs to use a couple of sensors. The other option is to use a compatible wired to wireless converter. This is good for using several wired sensors. A good converter to use is the Qolsys IQ Hardwire 8 or 16.


Sensors Compatible with a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Alarm System

Joe talks about which sensors can be used with the Qolsys IQ Panel 2. The standard IQ Panel 2 contains a wireless receiver for supporting 319.5 MHz sensors. This includes all Qolsys Sensors and Interlogix/GE Sensors. If Qolsys S-Line Sensors are used, then they will be encrypted. Additionally, the upgraded Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus can support 915 MHz PowerG Sensors, plus one type of legacy sensors. This depends on which legacy daughtercard is installed. There are legacy options for 319.5 MHz, 345 MHz (Honeywell 5800 Series & 2GIG) and 433 MHz (legacy DSC).


Demonstrating Installer Code & Dealer Code on a Simon XTi and XTi-5

Joe explains the differences between the Installer Codes and Dealer Codes on the Simon XTi and XTi-5 Systems. Both of these codes are set to 4321 out of the box. However, they can be individually programmed if desired. The Dealer Code can do a few things that the Installer Code cannot. These mostly deal with the dialer for the system. Other than that, these codes serve exactly the same purpose. We generally recommend leaving these codes set to their default of 4321 so that the user does not get locked out of programming.

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Hi DIYers! We are excited to announce that Lutron Smart Lighting Devices are now available for purchase on the Alarm Grid website. Lutron is one of the leaders in smart lighting and home automation. Their products are perfect for users who want to achieve an automated home lighting setup.

Lutron uses its own smart wireless communications protocol that is different from WIFI and other home automation signals like Z-Wave and WIFI. The Lutron signal is specifically designed to not interfere with these communication signals. We have found that the Lutron wireless protocol is one of the most reliable and consistent signals for use with smart lighting and home automation. These devices can truly make a user's life easier, giving them complete and total control of their lights.

The centerpiece of a Lutron Smart Lighting System is the Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge. This is what makes remote access and control possible for a Lutron device. All Lutron Lighting Devices will integrate with this central hub for access and control. Some of the smart home assistants and platforms that can be used with Lutron include Apple HomeKit, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Nest and Sonos. Whenever a command is sent out through one of these platforms, it will first pass through the Lutron Bridge before being forwarded to the specific device. Voice commands for Lutron Devices are possible when used with Apple HomeKit, Google Home and Amazon Alexa.

Some of the Lutron Devices that can connect with the Lutron Smart Bridge include the Lutron In-Wall Light Dimmer Switch for hardwired lights (no travel wire required) and the Lutron Plug-In Lamp Dimmer Module for lamps and floor lights. These devices can all be controlled remotely from virtually anywhere using the Lutron App or Apple HomeKit. They can also be operated by on-site users by using a Lutron Pico Remote. There's also an audio Pico Remote specifically designed for use with Sonos Sound Systems. And with the Lutron App, a user can even have their lights activate based on the Geofencing location of their smartphone!

By using a Lutron System with a Honeywell Lyric Controller (MR7 firmware update required) and Apple HomeKit, a user can even have their Lutron Devices activate with certain security events. For example, a might have all of their Lutron Smart Lights set to turn on when they return home and disarm their Lyric Alarm System. This is the best way to integrate a Lutron Smart Lighting System with a home security system.

Please note that Lutron integration with Alarm.com is only possible with the L-BDGPRO2 Smart Bridge PRO. We do not sell the PRO Bridge at this time. However, if you purchase a Smart Bridge PRO from another retailer, we can go ahead and enable Alarm.com integration.

Lutron Products are available now on the Alarm Grid site. Obtain a robust and complete smart lighting setup for your home!

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