May 2024 Archives

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On the last Monday in May, we here in America celebrate Memorial Day. This tradition started after the Civil War. Known then as Decoration Day, it was meant as a day to decorate the graves of those who had died in battle. The tradition may have changed over the years, but each May, we pause.

For the younger crowd, Memorial Day means school's out, summer is starting, the pool is open, and there's going to be a cook-out or some other type of food-centric get-together. But the older folks among us know that this began as a more solemn holiday.

On May 30, 1868 the first official "Decoration Day" was held at the newly formed Arlington National Cemetery. It was meant as a way to honor those who gave their lives during the Civil Way. James A. Garfield, Ohio senator, former Union Major General and future President of the United States spoke, beginning a yearly tradition. Below is a portion of his speech:

"I am oppressed with a sense of the impropriety of uttering words on this occasion. If silence is ever golden, it must be here beside the graves of fifteen thousand men, whose lives were more significant than speech, and whose death was a poem, the music of which can never be sung."

At this point, Decoration Day was not an official holiday. However, by 1890, every union state had adopted a Decoration Day. As years passed, and other wars were fought, Memorial Day began to be the preferred name and people went forth on Memorial Day to honor those who had fallen in any war or conflict.

In 1968, the United States passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. This act put major holidays on particular Mondays so that federal employees could have three-day weekends. Memorial Day, Washington's Birthday, Labor Day and Columbus Day were among these Monday holidays. The same act also officially named the holiday "Memorial Day".

We at Alarm Grid pause to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Our offices will be closed on Monday May 27, 2024 and will reopen the following Tuesday at 9:00 am. If you have a support question or need to make adjustments to your account, the monitoring station cannot assist you with that type of request. Instead, send an email to with details about what type of assistance you need. Remember that when we return after the holiday, there may be a slight support backlog. Please be patient while we work through any issues as quickly as possible.

Of course, our central station partners, Criticom Monitoring Service (CMS) and Rapid Response, will be available 24/7. All signals sent by your Alarm Grid monitored system will be handled as usual during the holiday, unless you've requested a change beforehand. If you need to contact the central monitoring station, to cancel a false alarm or verify a signal, customers in the US can contact Criticom Monitoring Services (CMS) by dialing (888) 818-7728 and choosing Option [9].

Our Canadian customers can contact Rapid Response at (800) 932-3822. Remember when you call either monitoring station, you will need to provide your name, address, and your false alarm password or phrase. Providing incorrect information when asked will result in the dispatch of authorities.

We hope the weather is beautiful, the food is delicious, and the pool is cool and inviting. Just remember, there is a reason we have this day of reflection. So spare a moment to think of those who aren't here so that we can be. Say a quiet "Thank you" to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of these United States.

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I've been hearing about Matter for a while now, and a new version was released this month. I haven't heard enough to give me a clear idea exactly what the fuss is about. So, I set out to educate myself, and hopefully I can educate you in the process. Here's what I've learned about Matter

Matter is a Protocol

Matter is a protocol and it officially launched on October 4, 2022 with Version 1.0. It is the official protocol of IoT (Internet of Things) devices. Equipment that uses Matter can do so using wired media (Ethernet) or wirelessly (WIFI, Thread). It is an open source protocol that is governed by the Connectivity Standards Alliance™ (CSA), formerly the Zigbee Alliance. Matter is being developed and promoted by some of the largest companies in the world including Amazon, Google, Apple, Ikea, LG, Resideo, Samsung, the list goes on (and on).

A big difference between Matter and technologies like Z-Wave and Zigbee is that Matter is a protocol only. It runs on existing IP infrastructure. By contrast, Zigbee and Z-Wave combine their networking and protocol elements. Since 2022, the CSA has released an update for Matter about every six (6) months, with the latest version, 1.3 being released on May 8, 2024.

Matter began as an idea back in December of 2019 when the "Project: Connected Home over IP" (CHIP) working group was created. The group was founded by Amazon, Apple, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance. As noted above, The Connectivity Standards Alliance™, formerly the Zigbee Alliance, is the governing body over development, certification, and promotion of Matter.

Matter Timeline Through May 2024:

  • December 2019 - Amazon, Apple, Google, Zigbee Alliance, and other companies go public with the CHIP initiative.
  • May 2021 - The name is changed to Matter. Protocol development is under way. At this time, the Zigbee Alliance also changes its name to the Connectivity Standards Alliance™ (CSA).
  • August 2021 - Delay 1. Due to the pandemic, along with some other issues, the Software Development Kit (SDK) is delayed from the end of 2021 to the latter half of 2022.
  • March 2022 - Delay 2. Additional testing is required, so launch will be later in the year.
  • October 4, 2022 - Matter 1.0 is released. Specifications are now available, and certification of devices can now begin.
  • Early October 2022 - Samsung SmartThings Hubs and Android Apps are updated to support Matter with a software upgrade. Apple iOS users have to wait a little longer.
  • October 24, 2022 - Apple introduces Mac OS 13.0, iOS, iPadOS, tvOS 16.1, and Watch OS 9.1. This gets Apple devices ready for Matter.
  • November 3, 2022 - CSA hosts a launch event in Amsterdam.
  • December 16, 2022 - Google's ecosystem now supports Matter. An Android Smartphone is required for installation.
  • December 19, 2022 - Amazon updates 17 Echo models to include Matter support for specific product groups (lamps, sockets, switches) via WIFI. Also, the Alexa App for Android is updated for the commissioning of Matter devices via phone.
  • May 2, 2023 - Amazon opens up Matter via Thread and makes the Echo 4, a border router for the Thread radio protocol.
  • May 18, 2013 - Matter version 1.1 is released with minor improvements.
  • Early September 2023 - Matter Bridges can now be added to Amazon Alexa and Samsung SmartThings apps. Finally, devices with Zigbee, Z-Wave and possibly other wireless protocols are accessible via all major Matter ecosystems.
  • September 19, 2023 - Phillips Hue Smartbridge gets Matter.
  • October 23, 2023 - Matter 1.2 is released. It includes nine (9) more product categories and other improvements.
  • May 8, 2024 - Matter 1.3 is released. This update brings energy management to Matter and adds more new product categories. One new product category is Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE). This allows you to control when an electric vehicle is charged, or how much charge it receives. You can even specify how many miles of range you want to charge to, and by what time. This update also adds product categories for home appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers, laundry dryers, and robot vacuums. Allowing you to control compatible devices through Matter.

Glossary of Common Terms

  • Matter Device - Smart Home products that support Matter.
  • Matter Fabric - This is the name for the virtual network Matter devices are connected through. All of the devices in a fabric share the same Trusted Root. A Matter Fabric forms a star topology.
  • Trusted Root - In a Matter Fabric, a Trusted Root Certificate Authority (TRCA) anchors the fabric. The Root of Trust is the owner of the Trusted Root CA Certificate. Each node's Node Operational Certificate (NOC) connects back to this Trusted Root.
  • Commissioning - The process of assigning Matter Credentials to a new device on the fabric.
  • Attestation - During commissioning, each Matter device must prove that it is what it claims to be. This is attestation. Only devices that have gone through the certification process outlined by the CSA and have a Device Attestation Certificate (DAC) will be able to join the fabric.
  • Thread - Thread is a wireless networking technology. It was designed from scratch but is based on the Internet Protocol using the IEEE 802.15.4 radio technology. It was designed to meet the following requirements:
    • Low power requirement.
    • Low latency.
    • The ability to work with any, and multiple, application layers.
    • A strong, reliable, self-healing mesh network with no single point-of-failure.
    • Easy setup with no need for a hub or gateway.
    • Must not be restricted to a particular application standard. Thread works with Matter, HomeKit, Weave, and numerous other applications.
  • Thread Group - The organization responsible for developing, maintaining, and promoting Thread.
  • Application Agnostic - Thread was developed to be application agnostic. As long as a device's application layer is based on the Internet Protocol, it should be able to support Thread.
  • Border Router - Based on the IEEE 802.15.4 radio technology, a Thread network can be formed and operated completely by itself, without any bridge or hub. This is how it prevents a single point-of-failure. If the Thread network needs to communicate with the WIFI or Ethernet network, it does so using IP-based routing. This routing is done by a Thread Border Router. There can be multiple of these in a Thread network. The border router is usually not a stand-alone device, but rather something like a cable modem, WIFI router, TV Streaming device, smart TV, or smart speaker.
  • IPv6 - Matter, as mentioned above, uses the Internet Protocol (IP). Specifically, it uses IPv6 for its operational communication and takes advantage of the multicasting capability it provides.
  • Bridge - A network device used to allow access to devices that don't support Matter to the Matter Network. An example would be a Zigbee device. Bridged devices can then work with Matter devices within a fabric, and communicate on different application layers.

What's New in Version 1.3

So, Matter is an open source protocol that uses the IPv6 standard, which supports multicasting. It's intended to unite all smart home devices, allowing users to create a mesh network, or fabric of devices from different manufacturers.

Version 1.3 has added some exciting advancements, here's a list of a few of them:

  • Support for Energy and Water Management - This addition allows any device type to report both estimated and actual measurements. This includes things like power, current, voltage, and other readings in real time. It can also report energy consumption or creation over time.
  • Electric Vehicle Charging - Matter 1.3 adds the new Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) device type. Now, EV charging equipment manufacturers can provide a way for users to control how and when they charge their vehicles. With this addition, users can now manually start or stop charging. They can also adjust the charging rate, or specify the number of miles of range to be added by a particular departure time.
  • Water Management - Matter 1.3 adds support for leak and freeze detectors, rain sensors, and controllable water valves. This allows users to monitor and control water within their space.
  • New Appliance Types -
    • Microwave Ovens - Control cooking time, power level, and mode of operation. Also, receive notifications when food is ready. For range hood style microwaves, control of a fan and light can also be achieved.
    • Ovens - Oven-types such as built-in, stand-alone, or as part of a range with a cooktop are included. Each oven can be controlled individually. This can include the operational mode (standard, convection bake, roast, steam, broil/grill, proofing) and the temperature, and information related to the state of the oven (i.e., preheating or cooling) is also available. Notifications such as preheating and target temperature reached can be provided.
    • Cooktops - With Matter 1.3, cooktops can offer remote access and control (typically this would be used with induction-based cooktops). The cooktop’s individual elements (presumably burners) allow for temperature control and measurement (this may be subject to regulation).
    • Extractor Hoods - Range hoods, or vent hoods over a range can now include support for Matter. This integration will allow control of the fan and light, and if there is a filter with an end-of-life notification, Matter can provide that notification.
    • Laundry Dryers - Matter 1.2 added Laundry Washers, and Matter 1.3 adds Laundry Dryers. Users will be able to set the dryer mode and target temperature. Depending on local safety regulations, they may be able to start and stop the dryer remotely. Notifications for the end of drying cycle as well as any manufacturer specified warning messages, i.e., door open can also be provided.


What have we learned? Well, for one thing, it seems that Matter has more acronyms than a government agency. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it will take some getting used to. In my opinion, as a new standard it's moving along and developing nicely. With so many large (and small) companies being involved I have a good feeling about Matter. Although I believe it will be like any system, labor (and probably cost) intensive to set up once the initial configuration is done, I think it'll be smooth sailing. I can't wait to find out if I'm right!

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Users with Lyric Controllers still installed are trying to use PROSIX PROSeries sensors with the Lyric panel. This is a mistake as the Lyric does not support any PROSIX devices. Instead, those users should be purchasing either SiX Series or 5800 series wireless sensors for the Lyric panel.

Below you can see the PROSIXGB, glass break detector. It is compatible only with PROSeries systems:

This has apparently become such an issue that Resideo put out a MyWebTech Technical Notification advising dealers what will and won't work with the Lyric. If you have a Lyric Controller, be sure that you only purchase SiX Series devices, 5800 Series uni-directional devices, or 2GIG Non-encrypted devices to work with your panel.

As always, we recommend that you update your panel to the latest firmware. If you are an Alarm Grid customer and you need help with a firmware upgrade, send us an email to

From the images shared above, you can see how easily PROSIX and SiX Series devices can be mixed up. Even people that are very familiar with these products can easily get them confused if they aren't careful. But notice in the bottom image, there is a notice that shows the SIXGB is compatible with the Lyric. The image at the top makes no mention of the Lyric.

Based on the Technical Notification, I believe the PROSIX sensors must be capable of pairing with the Lyric. However, once that happens, things don't go as planned and the PROSIX sensor learned in with the Lyric doesn't behave as expected. For that reason, Resideo and Honeywell Home want to be sure everyone understands the following:

  1. PROSeries or PROSIX sensors are not compatible with the Lyric and are not intended for use with the Lyric Controller.
  2. SiX Sensors are packaged and labeled for use with the Lyric. PROSIX and SiX are different protocols. A SiX Series sensor that was used on a Lyric can be added to a PROSeries panel. At that point it will be updated, and will become a PROSIX Sensor. From that point forward, it will never work with a Lyric again.
  3. The Lyric panel also supports 5800 Series uni-directional wireless and non-encrypted 2GIG 345 MHz sensors.
  4. If you need a sensor for a Lyric and cannot find a SiX Series sensor that suits your needs, find a 5800 Series sensor that will. Do not attempt to make a PROSIX sensor work with the Lyric.

You can see in the images above that the SiX and PROSIX devices are packaged differently. SiX Sensors carry a badge on the packaging that clearly identifies them as compatible with the Lyric. PROSIX do not. Another way you can tell is by checking the device firmware.

PROSIX sensors will have firmware versions that begin with the digits 2, 4, 5, or 6. On the other hand, SiX Series devices will have a firmware version that begins with the digit 0 or 1. You can find the firmware version by checking in the Zone Programming screen of the panel. Your alarm dealer can also check it by looking in AlarmNet360.

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Posted By will soon add a Discover tab to both the customer app and website. This page will educate you, the customer, about the features and capabilities of your system. It will also show recommendations for new features you can set up, or that you can add after discussing with your dealer.

Below, the Discover Tab is shown as seen in the Customer App: continues to innovate constantly. They'll soon be rolling out another innovation in the form of the Discover tab. This will show up as a new menu selection in both the customer app and website. Within the Discover tab, you will see short-form content that empowers you to take full advantage of all the features currently available with your system.

Below, the Discover Tab is shown as seen in the Customer Website:

In addition, the content provided will introduce new features and recommendations for you based on your current system configuration. This will highlight new or additional features you may want to take advantage of. If a feature is currently available with your existing plan, you will see a "Setup" button at the bottom of the section where you can configure the feature. Some cards provide information only. Those cards won't have a "Setup" option.

There will be four (4) categories of information provided in the Discover Tab. They are:

  • New: This section will contain information about new products and features that are available in Any featured item with a "Setup" button is available to you currently, without adding any equipment or changing your monitoring plan.
  • Recommended: This section will contain ten (10) recommended products and features that you're currently not using. If a card has a "Learn More" button, clicking it will take you to the knowledge base, where you can learn more about the feature. These options may require a plan or equipment update.
  • Features: Here, you can view general products and features available to use with
  • Expand My System: This section will highlight products and features that you can add to enhance your system and better secure your home or business. These options will usually require you to add products or update your plan.

We don't have a firm date on when the Discover option will be rolled out. Presumably, it will require an app update, so that's one way to be on the lookout for it. So far, my app is showing that it's up to date, so I'll be on the lookout for an update in the near future. If you try out this new educational resource, drop a comment below and let us know what you think. As always, we look forward to hearing from you!

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We first told you about the First Alert® VX5 Indoor Camera in our ISC West blog earlier this year. The VX5 debuted at the trade show. However, it's still not available for purchase. That's pretty routine, announcing a product that nobody can get yet. But, here's what we know about it so far.

For one thing, it looks like that ⬆. It is attractive and unobtrusive. This is an indoor camera that can be mounted to the ceiling, wall, or can sit on any flat stable surface. It requires a wired connection to power, but is otherwise wireless. Using Total Connect 2.0, live video and clips can be viewed from any location where the user has access to either a cellular or WIFI connection to the internet.

Advanced Event Detection

The VX5 Indoor Camera offers advanced event detection using state-of-the-art AI. It can tell the difference between a person, animal, or vehicle, and can alert you to the same. This AI capability will no doubt pay dividends down the road, and I can foresee new features being added that also capitalize on it.

Offers Video and Audio Capabilities

The VX5 is capable of 2MP resolution, which gives sharp, detailed images in both day and night vision situations. The ability to both hear and communicate with anyone in the camera's vicinity allows the user to engage with those being viewed. This can be used as a deterrent if you catch a person (or animal) lurking in an area where they don't belong.

Automated Privacy Mode

Privacy is on everyone's mind these days. The VX5 offers both a manual privacy setting, as well as automated privacy settings. Privacy Mode can be selected from the Total Connect 2.0 app or by pushing a button on the camera itself. Privacy Mode prevents the camera from recording any video or audio. When integrated with one of the PROSeries security panels, the privacy shield will come on automatically when the system is disarmed and turn off when the system is armed.

Remote Access Using Total Connect 2.0

The new First Alert® VX5 Indoor Camera leverages the user's Total Connect 2.0 subscription, giving remote access and notification capability to any of the VX cameras associated with the account. For Alarm Grid customers, a Platinum Plan (Self or Full) will support up to eight (8) VX cameras with 30-days of recording capability. If you need more than eight (8) cameras, you can add a Video-Monitoring Plan, which doubles this support.

In Summary:

The First Alert® VX5 Indoor Camera is a much-needed addition to Resideo's Total Connect 2.0 camera lineup. It offers a fresh look and modern features that consumers want in a camera. They're taking a "one-size-fits-all" approach so far, so let's hope this camera performs in the way we expect.

This camera is still considered to be in the Beta stage of development. That means:

  • It could still be a while before it's released.
  • Anything we've been told about it so far could be changed before it's released.

One thing that's not likely to change is how it looks, so the picture above should be accurate. As for everything else, we'll just have to wait patiently for it to be released then hopefully, we'll see.

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