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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.

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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! 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!

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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!

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