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We have learned that Alarm.com now allows users to receive two-factor authentication (2FA) links via email when logging into the Alarm.com website. This is in addition to the two-factor authentication via text message when accessing the Alarm.com platform. You can set up the feature in ADC.


When two-factor authentication is enabled for your Alarm.com account, your login process will have an added layer of security. Upon logging into your Alarm.com account via the website or mobile app on a device that you haven't saved, you will need to verify yourself by providing a secret access code. You will get this code via text message or email, depending upon how you have set up the 2FA feature. In other words, accessing your Alarm.com account on a new device will require your username, password, and access to either your phone or email. This is great for keeping your Alarm.com account as secure as possible.

Remember, 2FA will only be required when you access Alarm.com from a new device. For example, if you frequently access Alarm.com using the same web browser on your computer, and you tell Alarm.com that the device can be safely trusted, then you will only need to perform 2FA the first time you login, as well as anytime you login after clearing your cookies. Some users are hesitant to enable 2FA, because they don't want to have to go through the inconvenience of entering a secret code every time. Fortunately, that isn't a concern, as Alarm.com can remember your usual devices and skip the process for these trusted devices. You can also tell Alarm.com to trust your phone so that you will only need to perform 2FA if you get a new phone or if you are using a different mobile device than usual to access your account. Whenever you access Alarm.com through a new device, after completing the 2FA process, Alarm.com will ask you if you want to save that device so that you do not have to complete 2FA every time. This protects your account, while still maximizing convenience.

If you want to enable two-factor authentication for your Alarm.com account, start by logging into the Alarm.com website. Choose Settings on the left-hand side of the screen, then choose Login Information, and then Two-Factor Authentication. Then set up the feature through email address or text message by following the on-screen prompts. If you have questions, email us at support@alarmgrid.com. This email is also great if you are interested in starting new monitoring service for access to Alarm.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

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A few months ago, we made a post stating how a recent batch of Encore FF345 Smoke and CO Detector Listening Modules were not compatible with Honeywell Alarm Systems. It now appears that this issue has been fixed, and new units should properly work with Honeywell Systems as intended.

Due to the original issue, FF345 units with a date code of 01/2020 are unable to enroll with Honeywell Alarm Systems. These units will work properly with 2GIG Alarm Panels, but they are incompatible with the Honeywell Systems that they are advertised to work with. These units may also be incompatible with the 345 MHz Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, which should also support these units, but this has been neither tested nor confirmed. Additionally, FF345 units with date codes ranging from 02/2020 to 08/2020 are likely also affected, but we are unable to confirm this.

Starting with date code 09/2020, a fix was implemented to make these units once again compatible with Honeywell Alarm Systems. Any FF345 unit with a date code of 09/2020 or later should be able to enroll with compatible Honeywell Panels. We have tested units with the 09/2020 date code, and we found that they were able to enroll with Honeywell Lyric and Honeywell LYNX Touch Systems as intended. However, our testing revealed that using these sensors may result in an E380 Sensor Trouble Condition occurring. The trouble condition may appear after a Fire Alarm or CO Alarm has been cleared on the system. The alarm condition is cleared by disarming the system twice. Upon further investigation, we found that the trouble Condition may clear on its own after some time, or a user can get it to clear manually with a third system disarm. This shouldn't have a major impact on performance, but it is important to keep the issue in mind if you intend on using an FF345 device manufactured from 09/2020 onward with a Honeywell Security System.

Remember, FF345 units with a date code older than 01/2020 should have no issue working with Honeywell Security Systems. Units with a date code of 01/2020 are known to not work with Honeywell Systems, and any unit with a date code from 02/2020 to 08/2020 is believed to be impacted as well. Units with a date code of 09/2020 or newer should work with any compatible Honeywell System, but they may experience the E380 Sensor Trouble Condition after an associated Fire Alarm or CO Alarm has been cleared. To check the date code on an FF345 unit, please refer to this helpful FAQ. That guide will tell you everything you need to know about checking the manufacture date on your FF345 so that you can determine if the unit is affected by the aforementioned issue.

If you have any questions about the FF345, or if you are looking to set up monitoring service for fire and/or CO detection, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Alarm Grid is here with a video recap as usual! We only have a few videos this time around, and all feature yours truly. But don't worry, as we have some more videos featuring Jorge and Jarrett on the way soon. But for now we hope you enjoy these videos from October 28th. Let's take a look!


Duress Code Function On the 2GIG GC2e

I explain how the duress code works on the 2GIG GC2e Security System. The duress code feature is useful if you have a system that is monitored with central station service. When you enter the duress code, a secret alert is sent to the central station to indicate that you need help right away. Nothing appears on the GC2e Panel, so it's a great way to discreetly request immediate assistance. The duress code is hard-coded to user slot 8 on the GC2e.


Different Alarm Types On Security Systems

I explain how there are different types of alarms on security systems. The alarm types that can occur on a security system include burglary/intrusion alarms, police panic alarms, life-safety alarms, and auxiliary alarms. The response provided by a central station operator will depend on what type of alarm occurs on the system. For example, a very different response is warranted for a life-safety alarm like a fire alarm or CO alarm, than what is needed for a burglary/intrusion alarm.


How an Alarm System Backup Battery Works

I explain the purpose and function of a backup battery on a security system. The backup battery keeps the system running when AC power is lost due to an electrical outage or the plug-in transformer being disconnected. The battery slowly stores power while the system is running on AC power. That way, it is ready to activate as soon as primary power is lost. Batteries vary in terms of how long they can keep a system running. Some batteries can maintain alarm system power on their own for at least 24 hours.

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Security, Sales, & Integration recently published an article outlining the 3G Sunset and the importance of upgrading to LTE. One question we are often asked is how long LTE networks will be kept in-service. Thanks to this informative article from SSI, we now have a pretty good estimate.


According to the information presented in the article, LTE networks are expected to have a lifespan that extends through at least the mid-2030s, if not longer. We have said many times before that LTE networks should be kept in service well into the very distant future, and now we have somewhat of a more precise timeline. It is also important to note that we understand this "mid-2030s" estimate to be on the conservative side. There is a good chance that the LTE networks might be supported even beyond that point in time. But given that we are in the year 2020, and have a "mid-2030s" estimate for the LTE lifespan, we can say that anyone who purchases an LTE communicator for their security system at this point in time should expect it to work for at least the next 15 years.

We need to stress here that this is nothing official. This is just information being published in an SSI article. This is not an official statement from a cellular service provider, and we advise taking it with a grain of salt. But given our understanding on the subject, this mid-2030s estimate strikes us as legitimate. The article also states that all 3G cellular networks will be shut down no later than December 31, 2022. This also lines up with what we have been hearing. At the time of this writing in late October 2020, we are slightly more than two (2) years away from the final end of 3G. We have said it many times before, and we will say it again. You need to upgrade to LTE as soon as possible to avoid a loss of monitoring service.

On that note, it's also fair for us to begin thinking about what lies beyond LTE. It's no secret that 5G networks are being rolled out across the country, and they will soon become the norm for cellular communication. At this time, we have not heard of any alarm manufacturer offering a 5G communicator, though we wouldn't be surprised for it to happen soon. But it's not a sure thing that a 5G communicator would be available before the end of 3G. That is why we are pushing so hard for users to make the upgrade to LTE. We don't want any of our monitored customers to be left behind in the transition. While the eventual promise of 5G might seem exciting and flashy, the important thing here is keeping your security system working and having your home or business stay protected. And from what we can tell, LTE will provide exactly that until at least the mid-2030s, possibly even beyond that.

If you are interested in getting starte with alarm monitoring service, or if you are needing to upgrade your existing system to LTE, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. Our team is here to check email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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2GIG has recently updated their logo to provide a more "modern" look. The change is very subtle, as it only includes thinner text, with virtually no other adjustments. This comes ahead of the release of the new 2GIG Security System, the 2GIG Edge, which should be available in February 2021.


Our main takeaway here is that 2GIG is really trying to invoke a "modern" and "clean" image, without making any major changes that may result in a loss of identity or brand recognition. The company most likely wants to refresh its branding ahead of their new panel release. We're sure 2GIG is hard at work on their new alarm panel, though it will take an incredible effort to overthrow the existing Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus as the top security system option for use with Alarm.com. It seems 2GIG is holding nothing back ahead of the anticipated release.

Unfortunately, we don't have any new details on the 2GIG Edge at this time. We promise to check-in with 2GIG soon to see if we can learn more. We also have no word on how the new Edge will affect the existing 2GIG GC2e and 2GIG GC3e Security Systems. It's fair to expect that the 2GIG Edge will have a completely revamped programming setup, so it may or may not replace their existing offerings. For now, we strongly recommend checking out our prior post with an in-depth discussion on the 2GIG Edge, which can be seen in its entirety here.

You may also recall that the parent company of 2GIG also performed its own rebranding, as Nortek Security & Control simply became Nortek Control. We're not entirely sure if that name change has anything to do with 2GIG revamping its logo, or with the upcoming release of the 2GIG Edge in February 2021, but we wouldn't rule out that possibility. You can learn more about the name change for Nortek Control in this prior blog post.

Remember to please email us at support@alarmgrid.com if you have any questions about the upcoming 2GIG Edge System, any of the other great systems we support, or about alarm monitoring services in general. We check email during our usual business hours of 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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We actually missed this about a month ago, but it appears Alarm.com has updated their website camera video feed viewer to use native browser streaming. This replaces the old Adobe Flash video viewer. This change does not come as a surprise, as Adobe Flash will soon reach its end of life.


Being able to live-stream the video feed for Alarm.com Security Cameras is one of the most important features of these devices. This can be done using the Alarm.com website or the mobile app. The change being discussed here affects streaming through a web browser and the Alarm.com website. Before, it was only possible to stream Alarm.com Cameras on the website by using the Adobe Flash video viewer. The update provides support for native browser streaming. This will make it easier for most viewers to access their camera feeds.

With Adobe Flash reaching its end of life by the end of the year, this update was basically a no-brainer for Alarm.com. Users will still have the ability to view their cameras using Adobe Flash until the end of the year. At that point, only native browser streaming will be supported for camera streaming through the Alarm.com website. Native browser streaming is easier to maintain, and it does not require users to install and update a Flash plug-in. Native browser streaming support was actually made available towards the end of September, but we never covered the news in our blog prior to now.

When you access your Alarm.com account through the website, the Video section will appear on the left if Video Surveillance has been added to your account. By clicking on this section then Live Video, you will be able to choose a camera for streaming. In the upper-right corner there will be a toggle bar for you to enable or disable the "New Viewer. When the bar is blue, the New Viewer is enabled, and native browser streaming will be used. This is the default option. You can click the toggle bar to turn off the New Viewer and use Adobe Flash streaming. This will only be available until the end of the year. After that, no Flash streaming will be available.


Please note that the New Viewer and native browser streaming only allows the live video stream to be maintained for a few minutes at a time. After that, you will get a message that the stream has "timed out". You will need to refresh the stream to resume viewing. This is normal, and it's just a limitation that comes with Alarm.com Camera streaming. Simply click the "Play" button that appears on the screen to refresh the stream and continue watching.

Also note that while the camera viewer now has native browser streaming available, the streaming video recorder (SVR) timeline page still uses Adobe Flash. Native browser streaming is not yet available for SVR functions on the Alarm.com website. We expect that to change in the near future, as Alarm.com continues to make their transition away from Flash. We do not have an ETA on when that will become available, but we will be sure to provide an update once we learn more.

If you have any questions about Alarm.com Camera streaming, or if you are interested in monitoring service to gain access to Alarm.com, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. Remember that Alarm Grid customers need either a Platinum Level Plan or a Video-Only Plan to gain access to Alarm.com for camera streaming. Our team is happy to address any questions or concerns you may have via email. We check our email during our usual business hours of 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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If you have been keeping up with Z-Wave home automation lately, then you have likely at least heard about the S2 Security Protocol. The security suite offers an advanced level of protection to keep smart home devices safe. Today, we're checking out the S2 Protocol to learn more about it.


Before we get into the specifics of Security 2 (S2), it is important to understand which Z-Wave setups will support it. In order to achieve a proper S2 setup, the Z-Wave controller and the paired device itself must both support the S2 Protocol. If either end is not S2-compatible, then the protocol will not be used. If you pair a non-S2 device with a controller that supports S2, then the device will simply pair using the S0 Protocol instead. Likewise if you have a hub that does not support S2, then none of the devices on the network will use S2, including those that technically are capable of supporting the protocol. Not to worry, if you do have an S2-compatible controller, then it is certainly possible to have a mixture of S2 and S0 devices on the same Z-Wave network.

The S2 Security Protocol is optional for 500-Series Z-Wave Plus devices and hubs. In other words, some 500-Series Z-Wave Plus smart home devices and controllers will support S2, while others will not. You need to check the specifications for the exact device and hub that you are working with to see if it is supported. In some cases, it may be possible to perform an over-the-air (OTA) update for a 500-Series accessory or controller so that it can support the S2 protocol, even if it did not previously. An example of this is when you upgrade the Z-Wave firmware on the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus to Version 6.81.03. That is the first Z-Wave firmware version for the system that supports S2. Older versions do not. The panel firmware should be on version 2.5.3 or higher when using S2.

But for 700-Series Z-Wave Plus V2 equipment, support for S2 is required. In order for a device or hub to be certified as 700-Series by the Z-Wave Alliance, it must support the S2 Protocol. Therefore, if you see equipment listed as 700-Series, then you will know for certain that the technology is supported. As of October 2020, we have not seen many Z-Wave Plus V2 controllers or devices available. One 700-Series device that is available now is the 2GIG STZ-1 Thermostat. We hope that more 700-Series equipment will be hitting the market soon.

Looking at what S2 actually entails, you should understand that it isn't just one aspect or factor that makes the protocol what it is. There are many different components coming together to create a single protocol that is extremely secure. But perhaps the single most crucial aspect of S2 is that it is readily built into the Z-Wave framework for use by software developers. This makes it very easy for a developer to implement the technology into any given Z-Wave Plus device. Prior to the introduction of S2, there was no security built into the Z-Wave framework. The only option for a developer was to implement their own security protocol, and this was completely optional. Many develops would elect not to provide any security and just leave automation devices vulnerable. But when a device is listed as S2, you can be absolutely certain that it is meeting an advanced standard of security and protection.

Just like many other secure protocols, S2 makes use of an asymmetric key exchange, which at the simplest level involves a public key and a private key. Any command can be encrypted using the public key, but only the specific private key can unlock it. This ever-crucial private key is protected using Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellman (ECDH) technology. Thanks to this advanced method, the task of deciphering the key is all but impossible. Additionally, different devices on the same network can be separated into different groups. Each device group can be assigned its own set of encryption keys. Often, devices that require greater security, such as door locks, are included with more secure groups that also require authentication during the network inclusion process. Meanwhile, the support of a highly secure TLS 1.1 Tunnel for all Z-Wave Over IP (Z/IP) traffic removes almost any possibility of cloud vulnerability. For the record, the S2 Protocol is rated at 128-bit AES in terms of overall security level.

One other big factor for the S2 Protocol is that it makes use of a single-frame transmission, which is a massive improvement over the three-frame transmission used by the S0 Protocol. Simply put, single-frame transmission is significantly more efficient than three-frame transmission. The improvement in efficiency allows for extended battery life, enhanced reliability, and a huge cut-down on latency. This means that a device using S2 technology will require less maintenance, including fewer battery changes. It will provide more consistent performance, and experience shorter operation delays. This alone makes S2 vital for anyone looking to achieve the most efficient automation network possible.

Understanding this technology in advanced detail may seem a bit daunting. But you just need to know that S2 makes Z-Wave home automation more secure, faster, and more efficient than ever before. If you have any further questions about S2, or if you want some tips for getting started with home automation, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. We check our email from 9am to 8pm Eastern Time M-F. Also remember to check our monitoring page if you are interested in learning more about the monitoring services we offer. We look forward to hearing from you!

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It's time for our weekly video recap! And this might be our biggest one yet! We have a few videos back from the 16th that didn't make it into the last recap, as well a bunch of new videos from last week. We have videos featuring Jorge, Jarrett, and myself. Let's check out the videos!

Properly Replacing a Bad Sensor On a 2GIG GC3 or GC3e

Jarrett demonstrates the correct process for replacing a bad sensor on a 2GIG GC3 or 2GIG GC3e. The steps to follow for replacing a bad sensor on the GC3 or GC3e include clearing out the zone and then reprogramming it from scratch. Simply deleting the Serial Number (SN) and providing the new one can result in a "bypassed at device" error message. This will result in the sensor not working correctly. Other unusual system behavior may also occur.


Alarm.com Limits for Z Wave Devices

I explain the Alarm.com limit for the number of Z-Wave devices per account. Up to 122 devices from the panel will be pushed over to the Alarm.com platform for remote access and control. All Z-Wave devices numbered 123 and beyond will only be available at the panel for local operation. You can delete older Z-Wave devices that are still paired with Alarm.com to make room for new ones. You should pair the 122 devices that you want to use remotely first, allow Alarm.com to sync, and then add additional sensors for local control only last.


Clip Limits With Alarm.com Video Service

I explain the clip limits for Alarm.com Video Service. In order to get true video surveillance with Alarm Grid, you must have either a Platinum Level Plan (Self or Full) or a Video-Only Plan. At the base level, a true video plan will offer support for 1,000 monthly and total clips, as well as four (4) cameras and an SVR device. But by upgrading to Video Analytics, your monthly and total clip limits will both increase from 1,000 monthly and total clips to 3,000 clips of both types.


Changing the SiXCOMBO Batteries

I show you how to replace the batteries for the Honeywell SiXCOMBO. This wireless sensor uses four (4) lithium CR123A batteries for power. Its expected battery life is about five (5) years. You must open up the SiXCOMBO by twisting the sensor counterclockwise against its back plate. When closing the sensor, make to align it properly, and twist clockwise to secure. You get a low battery message on the panel to let you know when replacements are needed.


Self-Monitoring a Honeywell L3000

I explain how you can self-monitor a Honeywell L3000 System. Self-monitoring means that the system is not connected with a central station, and all system alerts are sent to the end user via text and/or email. For an L3000, this is possible using the Total Connect 2.0 service from Resideo. You will need a compatible AlarmNet Communicator for the L3000 System to make this possible. Both the Honeywell LTE-L3A and the Honeywell LTE-L3V work great for this job when used with the L3000.


Enrolling a PowerG Wireless Sensor to an Alarm Panel

Jorge shows you how to enroll a PowerG Sensor with a compatible alarm panel. PowerG Sensors are wireless devices that offer a fantastic signal range and 128-bit AES encryption. Compatible systems for PowerG Sensors include all versions of the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, the DSC Iotega, and any DSC PowerSeries NEO System with an added PowerG Module. Most PowerG devices can transmit a signal for auto-enrollment by either powering on or by pressing and holding a device enrollment button until its LED light turns solid orange.


Connecting the 2GIG GC3e to WIFI

Jarrett shows you how to connect the 2GIG GC3e to a local WIFI network. The 2GIG GC3e System will use its WIFI connection to communicate with Alarm.com. However, Alarm.com requirements mandate that the system also has an active cellular communication path set up. This will require an added cellular communicator. The WIFI connection will just work as an additional pathway for facilitating communication between the GC3e and Alarm.com. Remember that you will need the WIFI network password to complete the connection.


Checking Zone Faults on a Tuxedo Touch Keypad

Jorge shows you how to check for faulted system zones using a Honeywell Tuxedo Touch Keypad. A faulted zone refers to a programmed sensor that is in a non-restored or "active" state. A common example is a contact sensor in a faulted state due to a door or window being left open. The Tuxedo will display a message at the top of its main screen to indicate when there is at least one faulted zone. You must bypass or restore faulted zones before the system can be armed.


Scenes From Alarm.com Won't Be Pushed to GC3 or GC3e

I explain how when you build a smart scene in Alarm.com, that scene will not be pushed down to a 2GIG GC3 or GC3e Panel for local operation. Instead the scene will only be available for remote access through the Alarm.com website or mobile app. Likewise if you build a scene on the GC3 or GC3e, then it will not be pushed over to Alarm.com. You can include various smart home devices with scenes, including programmed lights, locks, thermostats, and more.


Checking the Firmware Version on a Tuxedo Touch

Jorge shows you how to check the firmware version for a Honeywell Tuxedo Touch Keypad. The Honeywell Tuxedo Touch is both a touchscreen keypad for a Honeywell VISTA System and a Z-Wave automation controller. Firmware updates for the Tuxedo may be periodically released to provide new features and improve device performance. The Tuxedo Touch receives firmware updates from an SD card slot. You must download the update to the SD card and then apply it to the Tuxedo Touch.


Getting Into the Z Wave Programming Section of a Tuxedo Touch Keypad

Jorge explains how to access Z-Wave programming for the Tuxedo Touch. Z-Wave functionality is one of the key features for this wired touchscreen keypad. You must access the Z-Wave Programming Menu for the Tuxedo Touch to begin enrolling Z-Wave smart home devices. It is advised that you clear any Z-Wave device from the network before attempting to enroll it with the Tuxedo. This is true even if the device is brand-new and you have never paired it with a Z-Wave network before.


Converting a Wired Alarm Into Wireless

I explain how you can convert a wired alarm system into a wireless alarm system by using a wired to wireless converter module. With a wired to wireless converter, you can take your existing hardwired sensors and use them with your new wireless security system as wireless devices. This can save you money by not having to purchasing as many wireless sensors. When choosing a wired to wireless converter, you must make sure that the module communicates at a wireless frequency that is compatible with your new wireless system.

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Our team came across an interesting website that seems to suggest that there will be a new alarm panel from Nortek Control and 2GIG in February 2021. The 2GIG Edge is expected to be a cutting edge (pun intended) wireless security system, with all of the latest features and capabilities.


On the 2GIG Edge Website, we are only presented with small glimpses of the 2GIG Edge Panel. The system appears to be black in color. This is in contrast to the older 2GIG Panels, which have all been white. The user interface (UI) looks to be completely redesigned from the 2GIG GC3e and 2GIG GC2e. It's too early to make any guesses, but 2GIG may be finally introducing more intuitive end user programming to make their systems more accessible.

It's hard to make many interpretations from the little information we're presented, but there are some takeaways. The upper-right corner has the 2GIG logo, which will likely be a button for accessing menus, system settings, and programming. We also see a gear icon in the bottom-right corner, which should have a similar function. Directly to the left of the gear icon is a button that we think might be used for accessing different system partitions.

The bottom-left corner has a red asterisk (*), and we expect that to open a panic menu for use in emergencies. The center of the main screen has large buttons that will likely be used for arming, disarming, and performing smart home functions. At the panel's bottom, there is a large speaker that should provide chime and voice annunciation functionality. We also see a prominent camera at the top of the panel's front, and we're excited about what that entails.

Also on the main screen are displays for time, date, and a local weather forecast. There is also an LED light in the upper-right corner. Our guess is that this light will change color to indicate the current system arming status. One observation is that the panel appears to be very thin, and it should be extremely unobtrusive when mounted on a wall. We have no word on how power will be provided to the system or what type of backup battery will be supplied.

We reached out to 2GIG to try and obtain more information about the 2GIG Edge. We were informed that there will be inter-company training held in the near future, and more info should be available after that time. However, we were informed that the camera will support some type of facial recognition feature. This sounds similar to what is currently supported by the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus System. You can learn more about IQ2+ facial recognition right here.

A 2GIG representative was also able to confirm that the 2GIG Edge Security Panel will be compatible with Alarm.com, and it should be backwards compatible with non-encrypted 345 MHz sensors, including 2GIG 345 MHz Sensors and Honeywell 5800 Series Sensors. No word on whether the 2GIG Edge will be backwards compatible with the encrypted 2GIG eSeries Sensors, or if it will have its own new lineup of encrypted wireless sensors.

Other questions we have about the 2GIG Edge include its display screen size, whether it will support the 700-Series of Z-Wave Plus and if its Z-Wave card will be replaceable, whether a cellular communicator will come built into the system and if there will be some options for 5G cellular connectivity, and whether the system will be able to interface with various automation platforms. We would love to see another Apple HomeKit-compatible system!

The 2GIG Edge website has a countdown timer that we assume represents the release date of the system. According to the countdown timer, the panel should be released in very early February 2021. That's just a few months away, so it's fair to get a little bit excited and hyped up for the release. Of course, that release date could change, especially considering the uncertainty of today's world. But right now, we're expecting the Edge by February 2021.

Unfortunately, we don't have any pictures or detailed information about the 2GIG Edge at this time. But we do plan to follow up with 2GIG again soon to try and learn more. For now, you can email us at support@alarmgrid.com to submit questions. We will try our best to provide information about what we know. Keep in mind that we check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. Also remember to check out our monitoring page to learn more about our monitoring services. We look forward to hearing from you!

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We have discussed many times before how a Certificate of Alarm (CoA) can save you money in homeowner's insurance. Today, I want to talk about my personal experience in this aspect and explain how my security system literally pays for itself. This is a huge benefit of owning an alarm system.

As I mentioned before, I became a first-time homeowner earlier this year. Like many homeowners with a mortgage, my loan requires me to maintain active homeowner's insurance. This meant that I had to obtain homeowner's insurance for the first time ever. Installing an alarm system and activating it for monitoring service is one way that I was able to reduce my homeowner's insurance premium. As someone with specific knowledge of the security industry, setting up an alarm system was one of my first priorities when moving into my home.

Prior to my home purchase, I had heard first-hand accounts of how an alarm system can fully pay for itself thanks to savings in homeowner's insurance. But to see it for myself in my own personal practice is really something incredible. I'm realistic, and I wouldn't call these savings anything life-changing. But I can say with complete honesty that there is absolutely no reason for anyone in a similar situation as me not to purchase an alarm system and get it monitored. Not only am I essentially operating an alarm system for free, I actually have a net gain in the overall equation.

In my personal experience operating a monitored security system in South Florida, my savings in homeowner's insurance is approximately $320 annually. This equates to a little bit less than 10% of my total homeowner's insurance premium. Since I have a Honeywell Lyric Security System on IP-only with a monitoring plan that includes central station service and access to Total Connect 2.0 (the Alarm Grid Silver Plan), my monitoring expenses equate to $25 per month, or $300 annually. This results in a net gain of $20 annually. This $20 net gain itself isn't anything to write home about, but the fact of the matter is that I am receiving top-of-the-line monitoring service and protection for my home at no cost to me. You could even argue that I'm being paid to have a security system in my home!

For reference, my homeowner's insurance provider is Citizens. The $320 in savings just represents what Citizens offered to me based on the cost of my home, its location, and the type of monitoring coverage listed in my CoA. I cannot promise that Citizens, or any other insurance provider for that matter, will offer similar savings on your personal policy. Your savings may absolutely vary, and you will need to check with your insurance provider to see what you can qualify for. We have heard of cases where an insurance provider may not offer any savings for maintaining a monitored alarm system, so keep that in mind.


To provide a bit more detail, my savings offered from Citizens come from having a system that is certified for burglary/intrusion monitoring and fire monitoring, with central station service. Citizens only requested proof that my system is actively monitored with central station service, and they did not ask which communication path my system was using (Phone Service, IP/WIFI, and/or Cellular). They also did not provide any indication to me that I would receive increased savings by upgrading to a cellular communicator. Upgrading to cellular is something that I plan to do in the near future, as I know the benefits. I know that making the upgrade will increase the cost of my monitoring service to $420 annually and put me at a net negative in terms of savings, But that is a personal choice that I will make in the interest of protecting my home.

Again, I need to stress that my savings are unique to me. A different insurance provider, or even the same insurance provider in Citizens, might offer you savings that are completely different from mine. That remains true even if you bought a home of identical value as mine in the same zip code. I am not trained in actuarial sciences, and I do not know the process Citizens used for determining my savings. Additionally, your insurance provider may require you to receive monitoring service through a cellular communication path. The only thing I can do is report on what Citizens offered for me personally. Your experience may be completely different. Really, you should be prepared to not receive any savings from your insurance provider. Just consider any offered savings to be a nice bonus to having a security system.

Just like anyone with a proper CoA, I am required to test my system annually. Alarm Grid must receive proof at least once per year that my system is capable of transmitting alarm signals to the central monitoring station. This is required by law, and I am not treated any differently as an Alarm Grid employee. But testing my system once per year to have it fully pay for itself is completely worth it, in my opinion. I would say that the biggest obstacle to any homeowner looking to get started with a CoA and homeowner's insurance savings would be the upfront cost of actually buying a security system and the associated hardware. You can absolutely shop around and possibly buy a used system elsewhere to minimize costs. Just remember that we cannot vouch for the quality or performance of any system not sold by Alarm Grid. Anyone who does decide to purchase a used security system and/or communicator should make sure that the equipment is capable of being used for alarm monitoring service.


Remember that obtaining a legitimate CoA and receiving a discount in your homeowner's insurance does not necessarily entail using your security system. All we need to see is proof that your security system is able to successfully transmit alarm signals for whatever types of alarms are to be listed in your CoA (Intrusion, Smoke/Fire, Carbon Monoxide, Water/Flood, and Temperature). While we certainly encourage you to use your system as intended, we aren't here to monitor or report on its usage. If you have no intention of using your system, and you are just getting it for the insurance discount, then you don't need to let us know that, but we won't be any wiser. Just make sure to keep up with your monthly payments and perform a CoA test annually so that the certification stays legitimate.

If you want to get started with a security system so that you can save money in homeowner's insurance, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. We will be happy to work with you and help you determine the ideal monitoring plan for your needs. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. You may also want to reach out to your insurance provider to learn more about what savings are available to you. Remember, your savings may vary drastically, and only your insurance provider can give you an accurate estimate or quote. But we'll be here to work with you once you're ready to get started. We look forward to hearing from you!

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