May 2019 Archives

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Hi DIYers! We're here with another alarm system tip today. This time, we would like to remind everyone tests their systems at least once per year. It is important to make sure that your sensors are working correctly and reporting to the panel. It is very easy to test your system yourself.

Alarm grid inside security stickers

Alarm Grid recommends testing all the sensors on your system. This includes all intrusion sensors, environmental sensors and life-safety sensors. Each sensor will follow a unique testing process, so it's important to refer to your instruction manuals for more information. You might consider testing your life-safety sensors like smoke detectors and carbon monoxide sensors twice per year because of their importance. Always place your system on test mode before testing your equipment.

The reason it is important to test all of your sensors every year is because it's possible that they may have gathered dust or shifted slightly in position. Little things like that may prevent these devices from working properly. Taking the time to perform a complete test will provide you with peace of mind in knowing that all your equipment is working correctly. And if you do find a sensor that isn't working, you will be very glad you performed a test.

Additionally, an annual test is required for Alarm Grid customers who obtain Certificates of Alarms (CoA) to receive homeowner's insurance discounts. Any CoA received from Alarm Grid will only be valid for one year from the testing date. A customer should perform a new test before their current CoA expires in order to maintain any discounts offered by their insurance provider. Alarm Grid will provide CoAs for burglary, fire, carbon monoxide, flood and freeze.

The process for performing a CoA test is very simple. This process involves contacting Criticom Monitoring Services, putting the system on test mode and then testing certain Zone Types. Alarm Grid monitored customers can login to their accounts on our website and press the designated button to receive an email about performing a system test. If you are having trouble finding the button, you can see its location in the picture below:

Alarm Grid customers can also email us at support@alarmgrid.com if they need to put their systems on test mode. Keep in mind that our business hours are 9am to 8pm EST M-F. We will check your email at our earliest convenience and respond as soon as possible. Do not test your equipment until you have received verification that your system is on test mode.

If you have any questions about testing your equipment, the best way to reach us is at the aforementioned email. You may also call us at (888) 818-7728 during normal business hours. We look forward to answering any questions you might have.

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As may know, Alarm Grid started charging sales tax in most states earlier this year. If you have been approved for tax exempt status, then you must send us a copy of your tax exempt certificate to avoid being charged sales tax. You must also send an updated copy before your status expires.

Alarm grid inside security stickers

Our sales tax policy varies between different states. For some states, Alarm Grid charges sales tax for both website purchases and monthly monitoring service. For other states, Alarm Grid only charges sales tax for website purchases. And there are some states where Alarm Grid does not charge any sales tax at all. The best way to determine the policy in your state is to check this helpful post. Please note that Alarm Grid does not charge sales tax for international orders.

Any customer who has qualified for tax exempt status should send us a copy of their tax exempt certificate before placing an order or starting monitoring service. We will charge sales tax for any customer who fails to do this. Your tax exempt status certificate provides us with proof that you have qualified for tax exempt status. We will retain this information and make sure not to apply sales tax on future orders, as long as your tax exempt status is still valid.

Additionally, customers receiving tax exemptions should make sure to send us updated copies of their certificates as soon as possible. We strongly recommend sending a new copy before the old one expires. This is very important for customers who have monitoring service with Alarm Grid. Failure to provide us with an updated copy before your old one expires may result in you being charged sales tax.

The best way to send us to send us a copy of your tax exempt certificate is to scan the certificate and email it to support@alarmgrid.com. We will make sure to reply as soon as possible. You may also contact us at that same email address if you have any questions or concerns about our tax exemption policy. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Hi DIYers! We're happy to announce that a new product is now available on our site. Introducing the Honeywell 5819S Wireless Shock Sensor and Transmitter. This device is great for any Honeywell or 2GIG user looking for a reliable shock sensor to monitor a door or window for forced entry.


The 5819S offers many great features that help to make it one of the premier wireless shock sensors on the market today. The device is omni-directional, meaning that it can be mounted from any position for reliable performance. This is very useful if you need to mount the sensor horizontally to fit it next to the bottom pane of a double-hung window. Please note that the sensor should not be mounted on the glass itself. The sensor offers four (4) distinct sensitivity levels for use as a shock sensor.

For detection range, the 5819S covers about 10 to 12 feet total. This is roughly a five (5) to six (6) foot radius from the sensor. The exact coverage area can differ due to the mounting surface. For shock detection, you will want to have the sensor programmed using Loop 1. The sensor has three loops in total. The other two (2) loops allow the programmed zone to function strictly as either a wireless contact or as a wireless transmitter for hardwired contacts. Loop 2 is for a contact, and Loop 3 is for a transmitter.

Loop 1 includes the option to have the programmed zone function as both a shock sensor and a wireless contact. This is enabled by setting DIP Switch 4 to ON. If you set DIP Switch 4 to OFF, then Loop 1 will function strictly as a shock sensor. You can also program the sensor to multiple zones using different Loop Numbers if desired. The sensor operates at 345 MHz, and it includes a small magnet for use as a door and window contact. The sensors operates at 345 MHz. LED lights assist with shock sensor testing.

The Honeywell 5819S is available for purchase now on the Alarm Grid site. If you have any questions about this sensor, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com.

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Hi DIYers! We have learned that Resideo has updated Total Connect 2.0. The update is Version 2.12.4. The biggest offering from this update is the ability to control smart home devices more easily. It is also now easier to see the status for smart home devices across multiple locations.


Any Total Connect 2.0 user with multiple locations can see the status for their programmed smart locks and smart thermostats from the Locations Menu. This feature allows users to more quickly review the current status for these smart devices all at once. If you have multiple homes or businesses, this is a great way to easily check your various smart locks and thermostats all at once.

Additionally, the System Administrator and Master Users can now access TC2 to modify the ability for Panel Only Users to control Z-Wave Locks. Before this most recent update, this ability could only be modified directly from the panel. Now you can access TC2 to give a Panel Only User the ability to control Z-Wave locks using their code or take the ability away.

Update 2.12.4 also provides various fixes. This includes correcting a problem that prevented Internet Explorer users from using the New Users Spreadsheet to create multiple new users at once. The update also fixes a problem on the Camera Settings page where the WIFI signal strength indicator for C-Series HD Cameras was displayed incorrectly. Finally an old problem with the End User License Agreement (EULA) on Internet Explorer has been corrected.

You may also notice a new design from the login screen:


If you have any questions about this new update, please reach out to us at support@alarmgrid.com. We look forward to answering any questions you might have.

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Hi DIYers! We're here with a small video recap, covering May 16 & 17. It was a quiet week for our video team, as we only had five new videos. But we gotta give some credit to Jorge, as he cranked out four videos. Jarrett also came through with one. Let's take a look at the videos.

Adding a Profile Image to a Total Connect 2.0 Account

Jorge shows users how to add a profile image to their Total Connect 2.0 account. Each user on a TC2 account can have their own profile image. This helps to add a nice personalized touch to Total Connect 2.0. Any uploaded image will only be visible from TC2. It will not be visible from the panel. If you have multiple users on the same Total Connect 2.0 account, then each user can have a unique picture.


Adding a Location Image to a Total Connect 2.0 Account

Jorge teaches users how to add a location image to a Total Connect 2.0 account. Each location on a TC2 account can have its own picture. You will have a different location for each system on your Total Connect 2.0 account. This is great for users with multiple homes or businesses. Adding a unique image for each location can be a great way to differentiate them. This way, you can be sure that you are controlling the correct system when you use TC2.


Smart Home Items That are Compatible with the Honeywell Lyric

Jarrett talks about smart home items that are compatible with the Honeywell Lyric Controller. The system has a built-in Z-Wave controller for operating Z-Wave devices. Any Z-Wave device can be operated through Total Connect 2.0. The Lyric is also one of the few systems on the market that is compatible with Apple HomeKit. You can have your HomeKit devices set to respond based on activity that affects your system. It is also possible to control your Lyric through your iOS device.


Changing the Installer Code Using a Tuxedo Touch Keypad

Jorge explains how to change the Installer Code for a Honeywell VISTA Alarm System using a Tuxedo Touch Keypad. The Installer Code is the code used to enter programming and make system changes. We encourage most users to keep the code at its default of 4112. This will prevent users from being locked out of programming later. If you forget the default Installer Code, you can always look it up later. If you change the code and forget it, you will need to use the backdoor method to get back into programming.


Features Added in the 2GIG GC2 1.19 Firmware Upgrade

Jorge discusses Firmware Version 1.19 for a 2GIG Go!Control GC2 System. Upgrading to the latest firmware is very important for getting the most out of your system. Firmware Version 1.19 added support for various cellular communicators. If you want to use an AT&T LTE communicator, then you need Firmware Version 1.19.3. You can have a firmware update pushed down automatically to your panel from Alarm.com for a small fee. If your panel is not connected with Alarm.com, you will need an upgrade cable or an upgrade tool to complete the process.

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Hi DIYers! We're here with another Alarm Grid Tip. We're going to cover the proper technique for mounting your door alarm sensors. Many people have trouble getting a faulted zone to disappear when their sensors are not aligned properly. Mounting your sensors correctly will fix this issue.

Honeywell 5800mini interior wireless door and window sensor

First, It's important to understand how door and window contacts work. There are two (2) parts. These are a sensor and a magnet. The sensor is the larger component and usually represents the listed product dimensions. The magnet is the smaller component. In a proper installation, the sensor (larger) should be mounted on the door frame. The magnet (smaller) should be mounted on the actual door. Ideally, the magnet and the sensor should be in direct contact when the door is closed. The magnet should also be aligned with the metal reed switch inside the sensor. The sensor will most likely have indentations to indicate the location of the reed switch.

The idea is that when the door is closed, the magnet will be in contact with the sensor. This is why these sensors are often called "contacts". When the door is opened, the magnet will become separated from the sensor. This will release its internal metal reed switch. When this happens, the sensor will transmit a signal to the alarm control panel. The system will respond based on the programming settings for the corresponding zone.

When you mount your door contacts, you should make sure that the magnet and the sensor are in proper alignment when the door is closed. If not, then the reed switch inside the sensor will stay open. As a result, the zone will still be shown as faulted on the panel. You want proper alignment so that the zone functions consistently. Whenever the door is opened, the zone should appear as faulted. If it's closed, then you should not see any faults.

Walk testing your contacts is extremely important! This is the best way to make sure that the sensor and magnet are in proper alignment. Sure, it might pass the eyeball test, but does it pass the system test? Always, always, always test your equipment! We don't care if you are a novice DIYer or a seasoned professional installer - your job is not finished until you have completed the walk test.

Again, the ideal door sensor and magnet will be IN DIRECT CONTACT when the door is closed. This will provide the best possible results. We have seen customers stack multiple pieces of double-sided foam tape to make this happen. This is pretty unusual, but it works! It might look funny if you have to do that, but it will get the job done! As long as the sensor and magnet are in correct alignment, then the sensor will work.

If you absolutely must leave the contact and magnet separated, do not do so from more than one-half (0.5) of an inch, unless the manual specifically says that the sensor-magnet gap can be further. And make sure to test extra thoroughly if you decide to try and get these sensors to work with a wider magnet spacing.

Also remember to check sensor for indentations that indicate which side to place the magnet. If you are unsure, then check the device manual. Many answers can be found in the installation instructions. Unfortunately, many end users choose to ignore them. Read the manual!

Keep in mind that some door sensors may be equipped with LED lights that help the installer make sure that the sensor and magnet are indeed in proper alignment. If your sensor has this feature, then definitely use it! This is an easy and convenient way to make sure they are aligned correctly. Check your device manual for more information. An example of a door sensor that is equipped with this feature is the Honeywell 5800MINI.

Below is an example of what a properly installed contact looks like. In this case, it is the 2GIG DW10. Note how the sensor and the magnet are in direct contact and properly aligned. Normally, the battery tab at the bottom of the sensor would be removed, but for this example, it's okay.


We hope this tip has been helpful for anyone setting up their first alarm system. Please email us at support@alarmgrid.com if you have any questions. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Hi DIYers! We are happy to announce that we are now selling encrypted IQ Panel 2 Plus Kits. Each kit includes a brand-new IQ Panel 2 Plus with built-in LTE communicator, two (2) IQ DW MINI-S Encrypted Contacts, a single IQ Motion-S Encrypted Motion Sensor, a transformer and a power cable.

Qolsys iq panel 2 plus at and t lte with powerg s line and legac

Last week, we announced that we are now offering IQ Panel 2 Plus Kits that feature the Versa-GE Door and Window Contacts. While these are excellent door and window sensors, they do not offer encrypted communication. Users who want added security will want to use encrypted sensors whenever possible.

The encrypted sensors included with the encrypted IQ Panel 2 Plus Kits use rolling code encryption. When these sensors are enrolled with compatible encrypted systems, they become synced with the panel. This allows a rolling code to be established. Only the panel and that exact sensor will know what the next rolling code transmission will be.

Currently, we are offering two versions of the encrypted IQ Panel 2 Plus Kits. There is an AT&T LTE option and a Verizon LTE option. Both kits are listed below:

The version of the IQ Panel 2 Plus included in these kits is compatible with the Qolsys S-Line Sensors that use this rolling code encryption. Additionally, it is also compatible with the PowerG Sensors that use 128-bit AES encryption. Both the PowerG Sensors and the Qolsys S-Line Sensors are nearly immune to wireless takeover attacks.

Encrypted sensors like these are perfect for users who want protection against possible hacking attempts. The included system is also backwards compatible with non-encrypted 319.5 MHz sensors. This includes the legacy Qolsys and Interlogix/GE Sensors. Each encrypted Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus Kit listed on our site comes pre-packaged by Qolsys. As a result, we cannot make substitutions for these kits.

At this time, we do not have kits for the 345 MHz IQ Panel 2 Plus or the 433 MHz IQ Panel 2 Plus. If you want either of those systems, you will have to purchase all the components individually. The only encrypted sensors that can be used with those systems are the PowerG Sensors. Both systems include a transformer and a prepared cable for providing power.

We are sure that many customers will love these new encrypted kits! If you have any questions please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. You may also call us at (888) 818-7728 from 9am to 8pm EST M-F to speak to one of our alarm system planners. We look forward to helping you design the perfect system for your home!

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Hi DIYers! We have learned that a new law has been signed in Tennessee that disallows local governments from charging security companies fines for false alarms. The law also prohibits any fees for alarm permits The bill was signed by Tennessee Governor William "Bill" Lee on May 8th, 2019.

Under the new law, alarm monitoring companies cannot be charged fines for any false alarms that occur. Additionally, local governments cannot charge end users fees for alarm permits or alarm permit renewals. End users may still be charged by local governments for causing excessive false alarms. The law goes into effect June 19, 2019.

Alarm Grid strongly supports this new law, as it makes it easier for us to provide customers with quality service. Preventing false alarms is the responsibility of both the alarm monitoring company and the end user. Alarm Grid does its part to ensure that customers cause as few false alarms as possible. We accomplish this by educating our customers about the best practices for reducing false alarms. The vast majority of end users do not actively seek out ways of causing false alarms. Most will do whatever they can to prevent them.

Some of the practices used to reduce false alarms include setting appropriate Entry and Exit Delay times, enabling Alarm Report Delay (if needed), and encouraging the use of Arm-Confirm features. Alarm Grid also offers certain panels that are compliant with the standards mandated by CP-01 of the Security Industry Association (SIA) for reducing false alarms.

At Alarm Grid, one of our top goals is to empower the end user. We strive to help our customers understand how their systems work so that false alarms occur less frequently. End users should also make sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for installation and panel programming.

We are also pleased that Tennessee customers will not longer have to worry about alarm permit fees. Alarm Grid believes that anyone who wants alarm monitoring service should be able to receive protection without paying added fees to local governments. Many people avoid getting alarm monitoring service because they do not want to pay permitting fees. We believe that the prohibition of these fees will encourage more people to sign up for monitoring.

Alarm Grid wants to help you avoid false alarm dispatches. But we also want you to know that your home or business will receive help in a real emergency. That is one of our top goals as an alarm monitoring company. If you want to learn more about how we work to prevent false alarms, please reach out to us. The best way to contact us is through email at support@alarmgrid.com. We will check your email at our earliest convenience and respond as soon as possible. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Hi DIYers! We have many customers who wonder what happens if their security system is destroyed when an intruder breaks into their home. Fortunately, alarm manufacturers considered this possibility. They put protective measures in place to deal with this issue. Enter Crash & Smash and APL.

2gig gc3 diy wireless security system w slash 7 screenCrash and Smash (C&S) for Alarm.com and Advanced Protection Logic (APL) for Total Connect 2.0 are both features designed to provide an added layer of protection in case an alarm panel and/or its communicator are destroyed during a home invasion. These features help ensure that the police are still dispatched and that the end user receives the help they need. An intruder might think they're okay because they have destroyed the panel, but the system is smart enough to overcome this issue.

Just last week, we made a post covering Entry and Exit Delays. Well it turns out that the Entry Delay period plays a big part in C&S and APL. As we discussed last week, if an Entry/Exit Zone is faulted while the system is Armed, an Entry Delay countdown begins. This period gives the end user a chance to Disarm their system before an alarm occurs. But what if the panel gets destroyed during this countdown? After all, the panel won't be able to send out an alarm signal. But this is where Crash and Smash and APL take priority. How they do this is actually quite smart.

Whenever a system goes into Entry Delay, it immediately sends out a signal to the Alarm.com Servers (ADC) or the AlarmNet Servers (TC2). This signal just lets the server know that the system is now in an Entry Delay period. The servers are smart enough to know that since the system is now in an Entry Delay period, a Disarm or an Alarm must follow. If neither event follows, then logically the panel must have been destroyed. The server will then know to send a signal to the central station to let a trained dispatcher know that the panel has been destroyed and dispatch is needed right away.

Please note that the Alarm.com Servers and the AlarmNet Servers do not send signals to the central station as soon as the usual Entry Delay period expires. These servers also account for delays in sending signals. A little more than a minute of additional time is added beyond the normal Entry Delay period before a C&S or APL signal is sent to the central station. This is done to prevent false alarms.

Advanced Protection Logic and Crash & Smash also work during alarms that do not follow Entry Delay periods. If the system has Alarm Report Delay enabled and an intrusion alarm occurs, then the system will not actually alert the central station the very instant that the alarm occurs. The system will actually enter into a short Alarm Report Delay period that is usually less than a minute in length. This delay period gives the user a chance to Disarm the system and cancel the alarm to stop the signal from being sent out. If an intruder destroys the system during this Alarm Report Delay period, APL or C&S will ensure that emergency dispatch is still sent out. Alarm Grid encourages users to disable Alarm Report Delay on their panel if possible.

It's also worth mentioning that the Alarm.com Servers and the AlarmNet Servers send all C&S and APL signals directly to the central station. The end user does not receive an alert from Alarm.com or Total Connect 2.0 when these signals are sent out. In other words, C&S and APL do not work with self-monitored customers. You need a central station monitoring plan to use these features. Additionally, C&S and APL do not work with phone line monitoring. You need an IP communicator or a cellular communicator.

If you have any questions about Crash & Smash or Advanced Protection Logic, or if you want to learn more about our monitoring service, please reach out to us! The best way to contact us is to send an email to support@alarmgrid.com. We will check the email at our earliest convenience and respond as quickly as possible. If you prefer to speak on the phone, we are available from 9am to 8pm EST M-F at (888) 818-7728. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Hi DIYers! We hope you had a great Mother's Day weekend. Last week, our video team put up a bunch of new videos, 9 to be exact. All were posts on Thursday and Friday. We love helping users get the most out of their alarm systems and smart home networks. Let's take a look at the new videos!

Updating the Firmware on a Lyric Alarm System's SiXFOB

Jarrett kicks things off by showing you how to update the firmware for a Honeywell SiXFOB Key Fob. This key fob is designed exclusively for use with the Honeywell Lyric Controller. Unlike most SiX Series devices, the SiXFOB needs to receive firmware updates manually. The Lyric should be running the latest firmware version before performing the update. Updating the firmware for the SiXFOB will ensure that it works as effectively as possible. Updating the firmware will affect any zones associated with the SiXFOB.


Including a Schlage Z-Wave Lock

The ever friendly and helpful Joe shows you how to include a Schlage Z-Wave Lock into your local Z-Wave network. Pairing your Z-Wave lock is necessary for getting the most out of the device. You need to do this to control the lock remotely and to use it with smart scenes. Pairing a lock with an alarm panel is often a great option. You can then use it with an interactive service platform like Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com. Please note that you will need a monitoring plan with access to one of these services.


Excluding a Schlage Z-Wave Lock

Joe helps you some more by showing how to exclude your Schlage Z-Wave Lock from a Z-Wave network. This is an important step if you plan to transfer the lock from one Z-Wave hub to another. You should also do this before completing the initial pairing process. Many Z-Wave smart home devices are paired with Z-Wave networks before they even leave the factory for testing purposes. Clearing the lock first will ensure that you can pair it successfully.


Adding a Siren to the Qolsys Hardwire 16-F

Joe is back again, and this time he's gonna show you how to add a siren to a Qolsys IQ Hardwire 16-F. This is a wired to wireless converter that allows you to use hardwired sensors with a wireless 319.5 MHz system. The module was specifically designed with the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus in mind. What's unique about the Qolsys IQ Hardwire 16-F is that it includes siren terminals and a built-in siren relay which can be controlled wirelessly by the panel. No external relay is needed for the connected siren, as long as the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 has a hardware RF PIC version 11.1.4 G2 or higher.


Powering the Honeywell Vista-20P

If you just can't get enough of Joe, then you're in luck! He will show you how to provide power to your Honeywell VISTA 20P Hardwired Security System. The panel receives power through two sources. Its primary power source is a plug-in transformer, specifically the Honeywell 1321. If the electricity goes out, then the system can remain powered on through its backup battery. We recommend using an UltraTech 1240 for this purpose. All of this equipment can be purchased from the Alarm Grid site.


How Alarm Systems Work

Hey look, it's Jorge! He's going to explain how alarm systems work. The centerpiece of every alarm system is the control panel. This panel receives signals from sensors that are used throughout the premises. There are sensors for letting the system know if a door or window is opened, if there is movement in the area, if glass is broken, if there is a fire, or really almost any troubling condition that warrants your attention. The system then responds based on the zone configuration and its current arming state.


The Tuxedo Touch - Not An AlarmNet Communicator

If you think the Tuxedo Touch WIFI is an AlarmNet Communicator, then you are sorely mistaken. Jorge is here to set the record straight and explain that the Tuxedo Touch is not a communicator. It is just a touchscreen keypad used with VISTA Series Systems. The keypad uses WIFI connectivity to transmit Z-Wave home automation signals to and from Total Connect 2.0. But you will still need a separate communicator for connecting your system with the AlarmNet Servers.


Programming Report Codes For a Self Monitoring Plan With Alarm Grid

Let's say you sign-up for a self-monitoring plan with Alarm Grid. Great! But since you are self-monitored, you don't need your system reporting out to a central monitoring station. Jorge will show you how to disable the reporting codes for your system so that it functions properly. This process is only necessary for self-monitored systems that use Total Connect 2.0. You do not need to disable report codes for Alarm.com Systems, since Alarm Grid can do it from their end.


Defaulting a Schlage Z-Wave Lock

Joe returns to tell you how to default a Schlage Z-Wave Lock. By performing a factory reset, the lock will be restored to its factory default settings. This will clear any Z-Wave settings, as well as any codes programmed for the device. You will need to re-add the lock to your Z-Wave network. You should check the programming sticker on the lock to find the default user codes. The programming sticker is found underneath the device's main cover.

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