Geo-Fencing Arming Reminders for TC2 & ADCPosted By Michael Goris
One feature that we really haven't discussed in great detail before is Geo-Fencing. This is a service that you can use to get a reminder to arm your alarm system if you forgot to do so whenever your designated smartphone device is determined to have exited a pre-configured "Geo-Fence" area.
Both Total Connect 2.0 (TC2) and Alarm.com (ADC) offer their own Geo-Fencing services. We will discuss the details for each platform later in this post. But for now, let's talk about some of the basics of Geo-Fencing. The first thing to understand is that a Geo-Fence established for an alarm system is an area surrounding the system. In theory, the system should be at the center of the Geo-Fence, and it extends out in a circular pattern. In other words, a Geo-Fence consists of the location of the security system, plus a certain radius outward. The actual location and size (radius) of the Geo-Fence is set by the end user.
If you enable optional Geo-Fencing services for Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com, then the platform will use your smartphone for GPS tracking. The idea is that if your phone is located inside of the Geo-Fence, then you must also be inside of the Geo-Fence, and you are likely inside the building where your system is used. But if your phone is taken outside the Geo-Fence, then it's fair to assume that you have left the building, and you should have armed your system. If TC2 or ADC determines that your phone is not inside the Geo-Fence, and your system is not armed, then you can receive a reminder to arm your system remotely using the TC2 or ADC Mobile App. This can be really useful for anyone who may have forgotten to arm their system when they are going to be away for the day, or even longer.
Now that we have discussed the basics of Geo-Fencing, let's dive a little deeper and explain how the service differs between TC2 and ADC. We won't cover full details in this post, but this should serve as a quick guide for setting up the feature. First for Total Connect 2.0, Geo-Fencing Arming Reminders are sent in the form of Push Notifications. Therefore, you must have Push Notifications enabled on your smartphone device before you can set up the feature. Each Location on your Total Connect 2.0 account can have its own Geo-Fence. By default, a Geo-Fence is one (1) mile in size. You can make the Geo-Fence smaller or larger when you configure it, but creating a Geo-Fence of less than 1 mile in size is not recommended.
The process for configuring a Geo-Fence on TC2 differs a bit between iOS and Android. For iOS, you must enable Push Notifications by logging into the app and choosing More (the 3 horizontal dots) > Settings (wrench & screwdriver) > Notifications. Make sure the Push Notifications toggle is green for ON. Then you must also enable Location Services for TC2 in your iOS device settings. To do this, choose the Settings App on your iOS device, followed by Privacy (the hand), and then Location Services (the arrow). Make sure Locations Services is enabled for your device, and also scroll down to the TC2 App, and adjust its setting to Always.
For TC2 on Android, login to the App, and choose the three (3) horizontal bars, also known as the Menu button. Then choose Settings (the Gear), followed by Geofence. You will be asked to choose a Location if there are multiple Locations on your account. Set the option for Geofence Arming Reminders to On (blue for enabled). You can then press Edit Geofence to adjust the location and the size (radius) of the Geo-Fence. Enter your address in the field at the top of the screen to choose the location, and touch and drag the blue dot to set the radius. Press Save at the bottom of the screen, followed by OK when finished. You will also need to adjust the Android device settings. In the phone's Settings Menu (usually a Gear icon), find Location settings (it may be under Connections or Personal, depending on your Android device), and make sure that Location is ON (toggle blue). You should set Location Method to High Accuracy. Do not choose options like "Battery Saving" or "Tablet Only", as they do not work as well. You should also not choose options for WIFI Scanning or Bluetooth Scanning. Lastly, enable the feature for the TC2 App. If you see a shortcut labeled TC2, then click on it. You may need to look within the Apps Section or the Apps Manager. Find TC2, and then select Permissions. Make sure that Location is Enabled (toggle blue). Finally, go to the Battery Settings for the device (may be under Device Maintenance), and set Power Saving Mode to OFF. You must allow the TC2 App to run in the background, and it should never be allowed to sleep.
Meanwhile, Alarm.com also offers their own version of Geo-Fencing, which they refer to as Geo-Services. In their nomenclature, your smartphone is referred to as a Geo-Device. You must designate your smartphone as the Geo-Device within the Alarm.com Mobile App on that device. You can use an Android Phone (Android OS 4.2+), an iOS iPhone (iOS 9.0+), or a Windows OS Phone (Windows OS 8.1+) for this job. To enable your phone as an Alarm.com Geo-Device, login to the Alarm.com App on that device, choose the three (3) horizontal bars (Menu Button), followed by Geo-Services, and then toggle the switch orange to enable. You may be asked to give permission, in which case select Turn On.
The actual process for building a Geo-Fence is done through the Alarm.com Website, not through the Geo-Device itself. Hop on your computer, and login to Alarm.com through the website. Choose Settings > Geo-Services > +Add a Fence. You can enter a specific address in the "Move Fence Location To" field. Enter a name in the "Fence Name" field, and adjust the Geo-Fence radius by dragging the anchors on the map overlay. Alternatively, you can also enter the desired radius (in miles) in the "Radius" field. The minimum size for the Geo-Fence is one (1) mile, and the maximum size for US users is 100 miles. Remember to click Save when finished adjusting the Geo-Fence. In addition to Arming Reminders, Alarm.com Geo-Services can also be used for Thermostat Override, Pausing Video Recordings, and Automating Light Rules.
These are merely the basics for Total Connect 2.0 and Alarm.com Geo-Fencing services. If you have any questions about Geo-Fencing for TC2 or ADC, please do not hesitate to email our support team at email@example.com. We're here to check your emails from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!