Home Automation Posts

Posted By

Taking a summer trip DIYers? You need peace of mind to maximize your fun. Knowing that your home is safe and operational is a great feeling. You have a lot of planning before you go on vacation, and we're here to help you get ready. Here are some ways you can prepare for your next vacation.


Get a Smart Thermostat

A smart thermostat is the perfect accessory if you plan on taking a trip during the summer months. It's hot out! You don't want to come home and suddenly discover that your HVAC system has stopped working. The last thing you need when you come home is an uncomfortable house. You can pair your smart thermostat with your security system and start using it with an interactive platform like Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com. While you're on the beach or lounging by the pool, you can check your home's temperature and make sure it's reasonable. You don't want to set the temperature too low; there's no reason to waste the extra energy. But you can check and make sure that it's at a reasonable level to know that your HVAC system is working properly. You can even set up automatic notifications if the temperature gets too high.

We actually just made a post showing-off some of the best smart thermostats on our site. Check it out!

Honeywell t6 z wave thermostat smart thermostat

Get a Smart Door Lock

Let's say that your smart thermostat shows a very high temperature, and you suspect your HVAC system might be broken. How are you gonna let the repair person inside? You're on vacation, and you triple-checked to make sure your doors are locked! Well with your smart door lock, you can let the repair person inside and then lock the door behind them when they leave. What about your plants or your puppy? Your friendly neighbor is going to need to get inside to take care of them. You don't have to give them a key. Just make them a guest code on your smart lock, along with a guest code on the panel. Or if you are extra cautious, you can always lock and unlock the door and arm and disarm your system from TC2 or ADC. This is the perfect way to make sure that your home stays in order while you're off relaxing somewhere far away.

We did a post a few months ago on some great smart door looks. Take a look!

August smart lock pro dark gray z wave deadbolt lock 3rd generat

Get Alarm Monitoring

You won't able to use your smart door lock and your smart thermostat without a hub. And what better hub than a brand-new security system? At Alarm Grid, we have all you need to make sure that your home is safe and secure while you are gone. If someone dares to break-in to your house while you're off on the vacation you worked hard for, we'll make sure that they pay the price. We offer monitoring plans that will connect your alarm system with a 24/7 central station for automatic police dispatch in these serious situations. The smart home control features are a nice touch, but keeping your home and your possessions safe is always a top priority. We have many alarm panels and security sensors to protect homes big and small.

We recently did a comprehensive post covering all our available monitoring plans. Here it is!

Qolsys iq panel 2 at and t 10 1 kit alarm system kit w slash 10

Get Environmental Sensors

Protecting your home from a robbery is important, but what about environmental conditions? There could be a water leak that causes a flood in your basement, or maybe a wildfire affects your property. It would also be a real bummer to come home to a natural gas leak. We have sensors for all these situations. You can get flood sensors, smoke and heat detectors, and natural gas detectors all from Alarm Grid. Your Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com service will send you a text and/or email alert so that you know about the activated sensor as soon as it happens. And if it's something serious like a fire, emergency help will be sent out if you have central station service. Alarm Grid has all the environmental sensors you need to know that your home is ready for your vacation.

We know what happens when people don't use environmental sensors. Don't let this happen to you!

2gig ft1 345 flood and temperature sensor

Contact Us!

You need to do one last thing before you Arm Away, lock your smart lock and set your smart thermostat schedule. That is contact Alarm Grid to let us know about your vacation plans! If you want any changes for the dispatching process, make sure to inform us. This could include something like having the central station call your neighbor or your friend instead of you while you're away. Letting us know about your vacation schedule is also extremely important if you plan on having someone else looking after your house while you are away. You should let us know that a neighbor or a friend will be using your system during this time. You might even tell us which user code they will be using so that we know to look out for anything unusual. This is really only necessary if you need temporary changes to your account while you are gone.

If you need to let us know about your vacation plans, you should send a quick email to support@alarmgrid.com. Our support team will check your email as soon as possible and put the necessary information on your account. Enjoy your vacation, and stay safe and relaxed with Alarm Grid on your side!

Alarm grid inside security stickers

Tags: , , , , , ,

Comments


Posted By

Great news DIYers! The Total Connect 2.0 Service used with Honeywell and Resideo Alarm Panels now supports If This, Then That, otherwise known as IFTTT. This is huge for TC2, as a plethora of new integrations and features are now possible! TC2 users can visit this page to get started.


As you may know, Total Connect 2.0 is an interactive service platform used with Resideo Alarm Systems. The service can be used with any compatible panel that has an AlarmNet Cellular or IP Communicator installed and activated. Once a user has a Total Connect 2.0 account, they can access the platform through the Total Connect 2.0 website or through a mobile app on their Android or iOS device.

Accessing TC2 allows an end user to perform various system functions. These functions include Arming and Disarming their system, checking current system status, controlling connected Z-Wave smart home devices, viewing connected Resideo IP Cameras and more. The end user will need an active monitoring plan that includes access to the TC2 platform. Users who are not currently monitored should check out our monitoring page for more information about alarm monitoring service.

It was already possible to use Total Connect 2.0 to trigger security system and Z-Wave actions based around certain predetermined events and time schedules. But IFTTT support adds a world of new possibilities. Thanks to IFTTT, end users can now quickly and easily integrate peripherals like Lutron Smart Lights, Sonos Speakers, Phillips Hue Lights, Roomba devices, Rachio Sprinklers, MyQ Garage Doors, Somfy Blinds and more.

IFTTT works by using Triggers and Actions. Basically when a certain "Trigger" occurs, an "Action" will follow. A Trigger could be anything like Arming or Disarming your system, a certain time of day or week, a specific sensor faulting or your system going into alarm. An Action will be something like telling your Sonos Sound System to start playing music, your Lutron Lights to all turn off or your Rachio Sprinkler System to start watering the grass.

What's great about IFTTT is that it is ultra-customizable and offers nearly any possible combination of connected devices and responses. You can have multiple Actions corresponding to the same Trigger, or multiple Triggers to cause the same Action. And despite being extremely intricate in terms of possible combinations, creating individual commands in IFTTT is actually quite easy. We are sure that end users will love this new integration and the ease of use that it provides.

We expect to release new content in the near future to help users get started with IFTTT for TC2. This will likely include all-new FAQs and videos designed to walk users through the process of creating new Triggers and Actions for use with their Resideo Alarm Systems and their connected smart devices. Stay tuned for more content coming soon!

For now, if you want to learn more about IFTTT and how it can be used with TC2, the best way is to reach out to us. We recommend sending an email to support@alarmgrid.com with your question or concern. We will check your email at our earliest convenience and respond back as quickly as possible. If you prefer to call us, you can do so at (888) 818-7728 during our normal business hours of 9am to 8pm EST M-F. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you learn all about IFTTT.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments


Posted By

Hi DIYers! We have an very exciting and in-depth interview from ISC West 2019. Our team sat down with Mary Miller of the Z-Wave Alliance to discuss the latest in Z-Wave smart home technology. Users can expect diversified products, improved battery life, enhanced functionality and more.

Nearly every new alarm system hitting the market will utilize Z-Wave Plus technology, which is also known as the Z-Wave 500-Series chipset. This advanced protocol has provided great results for users looking to achieve complete and robust smart homes. Users can expect the upcoming 700-Series to further improve upon this excellent technology and make compatible devices even easier to use.

It's fair to expect that 700-Series compatible alarm systems and controllers are currently in the pipeline from various manufacturers. We will make sure to update you with the latest news as it becomes available. For now, we invite you to check out our in-depth interview for more information about the latest Z-Wave technology:


Keep checking the Alarm Grid blog for the latest security news and discussions. We will have more updates coming soon!

Tags: , , , ,

Comments


Posted By

It does not come as much of a surprise that the smart home industry is thriving right now. Recent reports suggest that the worldwide smart home devices market is set to grow 31% over the course of 2018. Just under 650 million smart home device shipments will be made by the end of the year.

As part of this projection, smart speakers, video entertainment devices, smart lights, smart thermostats and home surveillance products are included. By 2022, it is expected that 1.3 billion smart home devices will be shipped annually. This is a compound annual growth rate of 20.8%. Smart speakers, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, are set to experience the largest compound annual growth rate during this period at an astounding 39.1%.

These figures help to confirm the belief that alarm monitoring and home security is no longer just about security, life-safety and intrusion support. Smart home functionality is quickly becoming an integral feature of owning and operating a complete security system. The same system that keeps you and your family safe also works to control your lights, heat and cool your home and help you save money on your energy bills. And we fully expect for a user's smart home devices to become even more integrated with their alarm systems in the next few years.

Indeed, the future is now for security systems and smart home devices. Countless people operate their home automation devices and their alarm systems with the press of a button or a simple voice command. And while your security system will always be there to protect you and your loved ones, it will soon be doing so much more. Alarm monitoring and home automation are no-longer mutually exclusive. We've recognized this for a few years now, and it is just becoming more and more apparent over time. This trend is only going to increase as smart home technology continues to develop.

If you haven't already gotten started with smart home automation, the time is now. Alarm Grid isn't just your home for industry-leading security and protection. Our services are also here to make your life easier. We're constantly working to expand our smart home lineup and help our customers get the most our of their home automation functionality, whether it's through Apple's Siri, Google Home or Amazon Alexa. Just last month, we added Lutron Smart Lighting to our offerings. Even before that, we already offered a great lineup of Z-Wave devices that are compatible with the vast majority of our alarm panels. And we're only looking to grow from here. In the next few years, smart home automation will truly become just as important to us as providing the best alarm monitoring services possible.

Alarm Grid will always strive to provide users with reliable and dependable home and business monitoring for when they need it most. But smart home automation is something we feel extremely passionate about, and we recognize that the future of connectivity between security systems and smart functionality truly is now. Alarm Grid is proud to be your home for both alarm monitoring and smart home services. And we look forward to continuing to serve you and your family in the future.

Alarm grid inside security stickers

Tags: , , , ,

Comments


Posted By

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.

Tags: , , , , ,

Comments


Posted By

Hi DIYers! Today we're talking about Z-Wave mesh networks. A Z-Wave mesh network is essentially a collection of Z-Wave smart home devices that work together to create a stronger wireless connection amongst themselves. The more devices that are used, the stronger the mesh network will be.

Before understanding a Z-Wave mesh network, it's important to understand the basic functions of Z-Wave devices. A Z-Wave device is a wireless appliance that can be controlled remotely using an interactive service, such as Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com. It can also be setup to activate automatically based on a set schedule or with predetermined system events on an alarm system. Some popular types of Z-Wave devices include lights, locks and thermostats.

As the name implies, a Z-Wave device will communicate using wireless Z-Wave technology. Z-Wave signals operate at 908.42 MHz, which prevents it from interfering with any higher-frequency WIFI signals and the lower-frequency used with most security sensors. Z-Wave devices have a range of about 328 feet between devices in open air. But this range can be greatly reduced because of the presence of walls, large metal objects and other obstacles. However, this is not the end-all range for Z-Wave.

In a mesh network, Z-Wave devices act as repeaters for one another. A Z-Wave device will send its communication signal to other Z-Wave devices, and these devices will send out the signal again to reach Z-Wave devices that are further away. This will continue until the signal reaches its ultimate destination, the Z-Wave hub, or controller.

Every time a Z-Wave device sends its signal to another Z-Wave device in the mesh network, it is referred to as a "hop". Up to four hops can be used with any given Z-Wave signal. By using hops, the communication range for a Z-Wave device can be greatly increased. The estimated maximum range away from the central hub for Z-Wave devices that are utilizing four distinct hops is up to 600 feet!

And of course, Z-Wave signals can be sent in multiple directions. So if you have a Z-Wave hub in the center, you can have signal hops going in opposite directions to have a complete Z-Wave mesh network that is up to 1,200 feet in diameter. That's almost a quarter of a mile! And since the signals are constantly being repeated off of different Z-Wave devices, the more devices you add, the stronger your mesh network will be.

But that's just for standard Z-Wave. There's a newer technology known as Z-Wave Plus that is very similar to traditional Z-Wave, but with a further range. A Z-Wave Plus device can communicate with another Z-Wave Plus device or a Z-Wave Plus controller from up to 550 feet away in open air. Just imagine how far your Z-Wave mesh network can extend with Z-Wave Plus! It's also worth mentioning that a Z-Wave Plus controller can support traditional Z-Wave devices as well. So you won't have to worry about backwards compatibility not being an issue.

A Z-Wave controller is designed to provide support for a maximum of 232 different Z-Wave smart home devices. Each time you add a new device, your Z-Wave network will become that much stronger. If a device goes down for any reason, the other Z-Wave devices can pick up the slack and ensure that signals are still reliably sent out across the network. So if you want the strongest and most reliable mesh network, simply add more Z-Wave devices to your setup.

Z-Wave devices of all kinds are available on the Alarm Grid website. Get some for your smart home automation setup now! Pretty soon you'll have a mesh network of unparalleled strength!

Tags: , , ,

Comments


Posted By

Hey there DIYers! We've got another product highlight for you. Today, we're taking a look at the L5100 ZWAVE for Honeywell Lynx Touch Systems. This add-on provides Z-Wave smart home capabilities for any L5100, L5200, L5210 or L7000, and it is great for getting the most out of a Lynx Touch.

Honeywell l5100 zwave lynx touch z wave controller anteriorAlthough there are newer systems on the market, like the Honeywell Lyric Controller, 2GIG GC3 and the Qolsys IQ Panel 2, the Honeywell Lynx Touch Panels are still very capable alarm systems. They provide easy-to-use touchscreen control, and they can use a WIFI connection with an L5100 WIFI add-on. There's even an LTE cellular communicator available for the L5210 and L7000 Systems! At the end of the day, these systems can do virtually anything that a brand-new, state-of-the-art alarm system can do. They just need a little support to get there.

One great add-on for a Lynx Touch is the L5100-ZWAVE. With Z-Wave smart home automation devices being more popular than ever, an L5100-ZWAVE will add many options to a Honeywell Lynx Touch Systems. Some of the most popular Z-Wave smart home devices include Z-Wave lights, locks, thermostats, garage door controllers and more. Any of these devices can be used with the panel once the L5100-ZWAVE has been installed. So if a user wants to turn on their lights or operate their thermostat, they can do so directly from their panel.

But the real benefit to using an L5100-ZWAVE is the ability to control Z-Wave devices from Total Connect 2.0. If a user is away from home, they can use the Total Connect 2.0 Mobile App on their iOS or Android device to control their Z-Wave devices from across the street or across the globe. Total Connect 2.0 also allows users to create smart scenes for their Z-Wave devices. This way, they can activate automatically with certain system events or on a pre-determined schedule. For example, a user could have their Z-Wave lights turn on and their Z-Wave thermostat activate when they return home and disarm their system. This can help the user save money and make their life super convenient.

The L5100-ZWAVE is available from Alarm Grid right now. Get one for your Lynx Touch System today!

Tags: , , ,

Comments


Posted By

Hi DIYers! Did you know that you can control Z-Wave smart home devices right from your Android or iOS device by using Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com? In fact, this is how most users control their smart home devices, because it is super convenient. Let's take a closer look at this feature.

One of the biggest benefits of smart home devices is their ability to be controlled remotely. Whether you're across the street or across the globe, you can have Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com send a command to your system to operate your Z-Wave devices. This is possible both for individual Z-Wave devices, such as door locks, thermostats and lights, as well as entire scenes.

The process for controlling Z-Wave devices is very easy across both platforms, but the steps do differ slightly. If you are using Total Connect 2.0, simply click the "Automation" tab from the main screen. You will then be able to control any individual home automation devices, as well as any programmed scenes. Remember, Total Connect is used exclusively with Honeywell Systems.

If have a system from a different manufacturer, like 2GIG or Qolsys, then you most likely have access to the Alarm.com service. Once you login to your Alarm.com account, you should see menu from the main screen for controlling various scenes. You can also press the menu button at the top to control individual smart home devices by type. We definitely recommend setting up some smart scenes for easy access!

If you don't already have a monitoring plan that includes home automation control, now is a great time to get started. Please check out our monitoring page for more information. All of our Silver, Gold and Platinum level plans (full and self) include this functionality. We hope that you'll enjoy using home automation to make your life easier just as much as we do!

Tags: , , , , ,

Comments


Posted By

I'm sure many people were disappointed to see the Lyric MR4 firmware get released last month and have the firmware update NOT include the Lyric / Apple Homekit integration that has been promised since the Lyric first debuted at ISC West back in 2015. We've been as frustrated as our users and potential customers have been that have been waiting anxiously for the Homekit integration to the Lyric system, and since Honeywell was at the mercy of Apple releasing the approval for the functionality to be made available, even Honeywell wasn't sure exactly when it was coming.

With all that said, we're excited to announce that as of this week, a Lyric running MR4 firmware can now integrate with Apple's Homekit!

We just found out about the release and we haven't been provided with all the details on the functionality the integration allows but once we get more information from Honeywell and do some testing ourselves, we'll be posting more about this awesome update to the Lyric system!

In the mean time, if you want to confirm your Lyric can do Homekit, just press Security > Tools > enter Master Code > Advanced and if you're on MR4, you should see a Homekit Reset button that wasn't there previously.


If you aren't seeing that button, you should check the System Information tab to see if you're on the MR4 firmware (01.04.07178.491) and if you aren't you can either ask your alarm monitoring company to remote upgrade you or if you have the right firmware version to allow a local firmware update request, you can go to Security > Tools > enter Installer Code to see an option for 'Update firmware' which will get you up to the latest version.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Comments


Posted By

Now that Honeywell has finally made Total Connect home automation control available for Tuxedo Touch keypads, people with existing VISTA Series alarm systems can finally take full advantage of all of the great features Total Connect has to offer. In the past, only the LYNX Touch wireless security system supported remote home automation control through Total Connect. If you had a VISTA system, you could add a Tuxedo Touch or Tuxedo Touch WIFI if you wanted to use Z-Wave home automation devices in your home, but if you wanted to remotely control those devices, you had to setup complicated port forwarding. Unless you were knowledgeable about networks and router setup, you were left controlling your home's Z-Wave lights, Z-Wave locks and Z-Wave thermostats just from your Tuxedo screens.

Thankfully, Honeywell has finally released the long-awaited software update for all existing Tuxedo Touch WIFI units. If you go to the Tuxedo Touch Toolkit website, you will find the software update and steps on how to run the update for your Tuxedo Touch WIFI controller. With the new software downloaded and installed on your Tuxedo Touch WIFI, your Tuxedo Touch WIFI will work better locally even if you don't choose to sign up for the Remote Home Automation monitoring service.

You can now have Z-Wave scenes activated by a security system alarm, a security system event or even a specific zone status change. You can also setup Z-Wave lights to activate and then run for a programmed length of time. You can even program your lights to turn on at sunset and off at sunrise.

Of course, the real advantage of the new software update is the ability to control your Tuxedo Touch WIFI using your Total Connect interactive account. Once you setup your remote home automation control on your Total Connect account, you will have full access to your smart home for remote system control and notifications.

Unfortunately, as non-WIFI Tuxedo Touch keypads use a different operating system and circuit board, the software update will not work on those devices. If you have one of the non-WIFI Tuxedos and you want to get Total Connect home automation control, you will need to purchase a new Tuxedo Touch or Tuxedo Touch WIFI.

Please call us if you are interested in adding the remote home automation feature to your Alarm Grid monitoring service.

Tags: , , ,

Comments