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We have been patiently waiting for a slow news day to cover this story. After all, security systems are our top priority. But we also need to do something different every once in awhile. And so, we present to you our story of the Blazin' Wing Challenge at the nearby Buffalo Wild Wings.


This infamous event took place back in late June, before our headquarters fully reopened. While everyone at Alarm Grid was invited to take the challenge (whether they were working remotely or not), only three of us mustered up the courage to try and consume 12 ultra-spicy buffalo wings in six minutes or less. With the chicken wings doused in a sauce rated at 350,000 Scoville Units, and no napkins or drinks allowed, we knew we had our work cut out.

The three of us attempting the challenge included:

  • Joshua - One of the three Alarm Grid Co-Founders. He is obsessed with Fortnite and apparently lacks the gene to let him know when he is consuming something spicy.
  • James - The Alarm Grid Video Producer and Cameraman. He is ex-military and insisted that the wings stood "no chance".
  • Michael - Me. The guy at Alarm Grid who spends all day writing. Sometimes I voluntarily embarrass myself in front of the camera when Jarrett is having a bad hair day.

And with that, here is the shocking, uncensored footage of the events that unfolded:

As for some spoilers on how everyone fared, we'll accordingly go in order, from most triumphant to most failure.

As much as we wanted to overthrow our boss as the king of the wing, Joshua utterly destroyed the challenge with a time of 2 minutes, 10 seconds. He also earned major style points by consuming the 350,000 Scoville Unit wings without so much as breaking a sweat and truly consuming them like a refined gentleman. Truly a master of the wing-eating technique. Bravo Joshua. Bravo.

While Joshua consumed his wings like a decent human being, I, Michael, elected to take the opposite approach, instead choosing to attack the hot wings much like a ravenous animal. I earned absolutely zero style points and forever have video footage of myself eating like a buffoon. But it was all worth it, as I came out a winner, with a blazin' time of 4 minutes, 20 seconds. Coincidentally, this was twice Joshua's time. Oh well. A win is a win.

Last, and certainly least, poor James ultimately did not finish the challenge, dropping out about halfway through. Despite his mad trash-talking skills prior to the challenge, he could not back up his words, and he will forever be branded a failure at the game of eating hot wings. We are very disappointed, as we were all hoping for a clean sweep for Alarm Grid. But I guess two out of three isn't that bad.

For our efforts, Josh and I were awarded T-Shirts. Unfortunately, Josh was too busy to pose for a picture (he is an Alarm Grid co-founder after all). So you will just have to settle for a pic of me rockin' my new threads.


If you are interested in attempting the Blazin' Wing Challenge, contact your local Buffalo Wild Wings for more information. All in all, this was a ton of fun, and we're very grateful that we had the opportunity to come together and do something like this. The waitstaff at Buffalo Wild Wings was great, and we were very impressed with how accommodating they were.

While (some of us) enjoy eating spicy wings, we enjoy alarm monitoring even more! If you are interested in signing up for service with the best monitoring provider ever, please email support@alarmgrid.com. We check email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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We have learned that a new firmware update for the 2GIG GC2e is now available. Firmware Update 1.23 brings support for the 2GIG IMAGE3 Image Sensor (transceiver module required), the ability to program 6-digit codes, and enhancements for the 2GIG TS1 Keypad (transceiver module required).

2gig gc2e wireless encrypted alarm panel

It is important to note that although the 2GIG GC2e is updated in the same manner as its predecessor, the 2GIG Go!Control GC2, it has its own set of firmware updates. This new update, Firmware Update 1.23, is only available for the newer 2GIG GC2e System. You will not be able to apply this update to an original 2GIG GC2. Of course, you can always upgrade to the newer GC2e if you really want the update!

As far as new functionality is concerned, Firmware Update 1.23 has a few things to offer. The biggest addition is the new ability to use the 2GIG IMAGE3 Image Sensor (ADC-IS-300-LP) with the 2GIG GC2e System. Traditionally, this image sensor was only compatible with the 2GIG GC3 and 2GIG GC3e. But now you can use it with the GC2e as well. Another big aspect of Firmware Update 1.23 is that it includes various enhancements and upgrades for the 2GIG TS1 Touchscreen Keypad when used with the 2GIG GC2e System.

It is important to note that the TS1 Keypad, as well as any image sensor used with the 2GIG GC2e, will require that the panel has a 2GIG XCVR2-345 Transceiver Module installed. This add-on allows the 2GIG GC2e to support the 2-way communication needed to interface with the TS1 Keypad and image sensor units. However, adding a 2GIG XCVR2-345 Transceiver Module to a 2GIG GC2e will remove the panel's ability to interface with 2GIG eSeries Encrypted Sensors. Instead, only non-encrypted 345 MHz sensors, such as 1-way Honeywell 5800 Series Sensors and 2GIG 345 MHz Sensors, will be supported.

According to 2GIG, an update patch for the 2GIG XCVR2-345 will soon be made available to allow the GC2e System to simultaneously support encrypted 2GIG eSeries Sensors, as well as compatible 2-way devices like image sensors and the TS1 Keypad. At the time of this writing, the update patch is not yet available. However, we will provide an update once more information is made available.

Other than that, any new additions from 2GIG GC2e Firmware Update 1.23 are relatively minor. The only other new function is the ability to program 6-digit user codes for the panel and compatible Z-Wave door locks. And like most firmware updates, GC2e Version 1.23 will provide general stability fixes and improvements in performance. Therefore, we recommend that all 2GIG GC2e owners download the update at their earliest convenience.

The easiest way to receive Firmware Update 1.23 is to have it pushed down to the panel from Alarm.com. You can contact your monitoring provider to receive the update. If you are monitored by Alarm Grid, you can email us at support@alarmgrid.com to request the update. You should have your GC2e System powered on an connected with the Alarm.com servers. Since the GC2e does not support IP connectivity and can only connect with Alarm.com across cellular, a small fee will be required to push the update from ADC. This charge will be applied to your next monitoring bill.

Of course, you can also provide the update locally using the 2GIG UPCBL2 Firmware Updater Cable or the 2GIG UPDV Easy Updater Tool. If you are monitored by us and have questions about updating your monitored GC2e locally, or if you have questions about the update in general, please contact us at the same email, 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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Update July 13, 2020: There has been a delay in the release of the update. We are hopeful that it will be made available soon. Stay tuned for further updates and information.

Update July 23, 2020: The update now appears to be available.

A new Alarm.com Mobile App update, Version 4.13.1 should be made available in the coming days. This comes approximately a month after the previous update. The update will be available for free download from both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. We recommend downloading ASAP.


There are a few minor new inclusions with Alarm.com Mobile App Version 4.13.1. For one, customers enrolled in any cost-saving Give Back, Get Back demand response programs for smart thermostats will be able to know more easily when such energy-saving events are taking place. Alarm Grid has discussed these cost-saving programs before. In particular, we have posted about the demand response program for Baltimore Gas & Electric, as well as one for LADWP. We recommend checking with your local power supplier to see if any similar programs are available for you.

Another change is that iOS users with video monitoring service will now be able to swipe down with two fingers to quickly select multiple saved video clips at once. This is done conveniently from the Video and Doorbells Menu screen. Meanwhile, Android users are also getting their own update that makes their experience when adding a new video device identical to that of the Alarm.com iOS platform. Users will need to update the WIFI settings for the Android device outside of the ADC App to find the WIFI network for the video device.

Lastly, the update includes some bug fixes and some general minor enhancements for both Android and iOS versions. This should result in a smoother experience overall. Like we said, the update, Version 4.13.1, should be made available in the coming days. If you have any questions about this update, or if you are looking to get started with alarm monitoring service with access to Alarm.com, 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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Back in mid-March, our headquarters shut down due to health & safety concerns from COVID-19. The vast majority of our support, planning, and content teams transitioned to working from home. Well today marks a big step forward, as our headquarters has fully reopened with everyone returning!

Alarm grid inside security stickers

As you may recall, we did a partial reopening last month, with our management and content staff returning to the office. Meanwhile, our support technicians and security system planners continued diligently working from home. But today represents the final step of our transition back, as the rest of our team will return to the office and resume business as usual.

We understand that many American businesses have struggled making a safe and efficient transition during this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. However, we are thrilled to say that Alarm Grid handled this transition beautifully, with minimal disruption and inconvenience. Our team continued providing the best support in the industry to protect homes and businesses of all kinds. We are very proud of our entire staff for the role they played in making this possible.

Now that we are all back in the office, we highly doubt that you (the end user) will notice anything different. We will continue answering phones and emails just like we have been while we were working from home. The only difference is that we will be wearing proper office attire instead of our pajamas. And hopefully, we'll have some more videos ready for you soon, with some familiar faces returning!

The COVID-19 Pandemic has really been an eye-opening for all of us. But we feel extremely fortunate and grateful that Alarm Grid was able to push full-steam ahead without missing a beat. We even helped many homeowners, who were bored to tears hanging around their houses, finally set up their alarm panels that they had been putting off installing. And you can bet they were surprised to learn it was super easy. See, there are positives in every situation!

If you want to join the thousands who have already taken control of their security systems with DIY monitoring from Alarm Grid, or if you are an existing customer with questions about your system, please reach out to us by emailing support@alarmgrid.com. Our team (now back in the office) checks email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. You may also call us at (888) 818-7728 during those same business hours. We look forward to hearing from you!

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There has been some big news coming out of Apple from the World Wide Developers Conference 2020 regarding HomeKit. First it was the refreshed look for HomeKit in iOS 14. Then it was the facial recognition for HomeKit Cameras. Now we have learned about the HomeKit Control Panel in AppleTV.


Just like with the other recent HomeKit news, we have to be somewhat vague on the details, as we're not the authority when it comes to Apple HomeKit. But from what we can tell, the feature will be available with the AppleTV of iOS 14, otherwise known as tvOS 14. We do not have a firm timetable on the iOS 14 release, but we expect it to drop sometime in September.

According to an Apple user who has beta tested tvOS 14, the AppleTV interface will have a new control panel that essentially serves as a HomeKit controller for compatible devices. This control panel will let users quickly perform HomeKit Scenes, as well as view the live feed for a HomeKit Camera. The Honeywell Lyric supports an awesome HomeKit integration and can be used with HomeKit Scenes. You can learn more about the Lyric-HomeKit integration in this prior blog post.

Again, we're sorry we cannot offer more details on the soon-to-be-available HomeKit Panel inside of AppleTV. We advise reaching out to Apple for more information. But the AppleTV Gen 4 or higher makes for a great HomeKit Hub for use with your Lyric System. Using a dedicated HomeKit Hub with your Lyric will let you control the system through Siri Voice Commands from pretty much anywhere in the world.

If you haven't gotten started with the Honeywell Lyric and Apple HomeKit yet, then we can certainly help with that! We offer the Lyric System on our website, and we will be happy to help you set it up for alarm monitoring service. You need monitoring to activate HomeKit on the system and integrate it with your HomeKit network. To learn more about our monitoring services, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. We check email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Resideo has made an exciting new addition to Total Connect 2.0, as users can now live-stream their Total Connect 2.0 HD Cameras from the TC2 website. Previously, this was only possible from the Total Connect 2.0 Mobile App. This is a super convenient way to look-in at your home or business!

All of the HD Cameras for TC2 can be streamed in this way. This includes the 720P Honeywell IPCAM-WIC1, the 1080P Honeywell IPCAM-WIC2, and the 1080P Outdoor Honeywell IPCAM-WOC1. The sample picture above shows the IPCAM-WIC2, and we gotta say that the image quality looks fantastic!

To access the camera streaming feature from the TC2 website, simply log-in to your Total Connect 2.0 from a web browser, then choose Cameras on the left-hand side. Find the camera you want to stream, and then click the play icon in the center of the preview you image. The live-stream should begin after connecting to the camera. Two-way audio is also supported if your camera supports the feature.

One thing that particularly impressed us is just how little of a delay there was between the camera and Total Connect 2.0. This delay is only 1 or 2 seconds at most. I actually had to get one of our support technicians to help me take the picture above so that I could give the camera a nice thumbs-up!

If you are interested in adding video surveillance to your existing Alarm Grid account, or if you are interested in signing-up for new monitoring service, please email our support team at support@alarmgrid.com. We will be happy to help you explore your options so that you can make an informed purchasing decision. Our hours for checking email run from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Alarm Grid is now offering bundled versions of the Honeywell Lyric Alarm System that include the panel and a compatible LTE cellular communicator. The LYRICUPGRADE-A will have the LYRICLTE-A AT&T LTE Communicator, and theLYRICUPGRADE-V will feature the LYRICLTE-V Verizon LTE Communicator.

Honeywell lyric controller encrypted wireless security system

If you hang around our website regularly, then you probably already know that Lyric System Kits are nothing new for us. But these are fairly unique in that they offer just the system and communicator, without any new sensors. You might want to get one of these kits if you are upgrading from an older LYNX Touch System that can't receive a firmware update, such as a Honeywell L5100 System. The Lyric can support the vast majority of the Honeywell 5800 Sensors used with the older LYNX Touch Systems.

The reason why we decided to release these new Lyric Upgrade Kits is due to the 3G sunset that will be happening in 2022. Older cellular networks are being shut down, and many users are scrambling to find LTE options for their systems. With one of these new kits, you will be getting a Lyric System that is dual-path ready with both WIFI and LTE cellular connectivity. This is the best way to ensure that your panel stays reliably monitored, keeping any potential downtime to an absolute minimum.

The Lyric System offers some great features, such as a 7-inch touchscreen display, support for encrypted Honeywell SiX Series Sensors, connectivity with Total Connect 2.0, the ability to interface with Apple HomeKit, built-in Z-Wave functionality, a 2MP camera for taking disarm photos, and so much more. It truly is a state-of-the-art security system, and it can make a great addition to your home or business.

If you are interested in learning more about the Honeywell LYRICUPGRADE-A or Honeywell LYRICUPGRADE-V, or if you want to know more about monitoring service in general, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. We check new email from 9am to 8pm M-F, and we always do our best to respond as quickly as possible. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Last week, it was announced that the in-person event for ISC West 2020 has been cancelled. An all-virtual event will take place from October 5 - 7 in its place. An in-person event for ISC West 2021 is tentatively scheduled for March 23 - 26 next year at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas, NV.


Originally, ISC West had been scheduled for March 18 - 20. Due to health and safety concerns, it was pushed back to July 20 - 22. It was then postponed again to October. Postponing it any further would cause significant conflict with ISC West 2021. Therefore, it was ultimately decided to just have everyone stay home.

Will Wise, Vice President of event organizer Reed Exhibitions said, "While we are very disappointed to not be able to meet face-to-face this year in Las Vegas, we look forward to continuing to help the ISC West community engage via digital programs, resources and connections. Our team, along with our valued venue partner, Sands Expo and Venetian, is working on detailed planning and protocols for ISC West 2021, which will take place March 23-26, 2021."

While we're disappointed that the event is cancelled (who doesn't like a trip to Vegas???), we're sure that the virtual event will still be informative, and we look forward to covering it so that you know what is coming in the security industry. We will have all the coverage on this blog like always, so stay tuned!

Remember, if you have any questions about alarm monitoring or security systems in general, then you should 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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After our big return last week, we're back in a major way with 12 new videos this week! As our headquarters has only partially reopened, I had to try doing some videos again. But a familiar face has returned. We're sure you're eager to see who. Anyway, here come the new Alarm Grid videos!


Adjusting Z-Wave Device Limits On My Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus

I show you how to adjust the Z-Wave device limits on your Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus Security System. The Z-Wave device limits determine how many of each Z-Wave device type you can pair with the system. There are limits for thermostats, smart sockets, door locks, lights, garage doors, and "other" Z-Wave devices. The maximum total limit for all devices combined is 152 Z-Wave devices. You will need the Installer Code or Dealer Code (default 1111 and 2222, respectively) to change these limits. Also note that the Z-Wave device limit for Alarm.com is 122 Z-Wave devices.


Upgrading the Z-Wave Firmware for My Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus?

I show you how to upgrade the Z-Wave firmware for a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus System. This is something you may want to do if the system is running a Z-Wave firmware of less than 6.81.03. At that Z-Wave firmware, you unlock the Smart Start feature for quickly adding Z-Wave devices, and you upgrade the system to the S2 security protocol for automation devices. Any Qolsys IQ Panel 2 manufactured with System Firmware Version 2.4.0 or higher (upgrading later doesn't count) will already have this Z-Wave Firmware Version.


Overview of the Smart Start Feature on the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus

I talk about the Smart Start feature that can be used with any Qolsys IQ Panel 2 that is running Z-Wave Firmware Version 6.81.03 or higher. The Smart Start feature allows you to pair Z-Wave devices by scanning a QR code, instead of performing a traditional inclusion/exclusion process. As of June 2020, only a very limited selection of Z-Wave devices from Qolsys, Alarm.com, Eaton, and Danalock are compatible with the feature. But it can save you time if adding a large number of Z-Wave devices.


Using the Smart Start Feature on the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus

I show you how to use the Smart Start feature on a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus to add new Z-Wave devices. If your IQ Panel 2 is on Z-Wave Firmware Version 6.81.03 or higher and you have a compatible Z-Wave device, then you can use the Smart Start feature to add it to the Z-Wave network. Depending on the Z-Wave device, the QR code may be on the packaging or on the device itself. Some may have the code on both the packaging and the device.


How Many Z-Wave Devices are Supported on the 2GIG GC2 or GC2e?

I discuss the Z-Wave device limits for the 2GIG GC2 and the 2GIG GC2e. The classic GC2 has a standard Z-Wave controller, while the newer GC2e has an upgraded Z-Wave Plus controller. Both support the same Z-Wave devices, though Z-Wave Plus devices will get an extended range and battery life when used with the GC2e. The Z-Wave device limit for both systems is 232 Z-Wave devices, though it should be considered that adding a very large number of Z-Wave devices can diminish system performance.


How Many Z-Wave Devices are Supported on the 2GIG GC3 or GC3e?

I discuss the Z-Wave device limits for the 2GIG GC3 and 2GIG GC3e. Both of these systems have built-in Z-Wave Plus controllers for building an automation network of smart devices. Just like the "lower-end" 2GIG Systems, the GC3 and GC3e can support a maximum of 232 Z-Wave devices, though usually far fewer are actually used in practice. You should also keep in mind that Alarm.com has its own Z-Wave device limit of 122 devices. This means that only the first 122 Z-Wave devices paired with the system will get pushed over to Alarm.com.


Excluding the Kwikset Z-Wave Lock from the Lyric Controller

I show you how to exclude a Kwikset Z-Wave Lock from a Z-Wave network using a Honeywell Lyric Alarm System. Clearing the lock from the network will wipe out all of its residual Z-Wave data. This is normally done before adding the lock to the Z-Wave network, or when you need to delete it from the system. The Lyric can be used to clear the Z-Wave network data in the lock, even if the lock wasn’t paired using the Lyric to begin with.


Including the Kwikset Z-Wave Lock from the Lyric Controller

I show you how to pair a Kwikset Z-Wave Lock with your Honeywell Lyric Alarm System. This will allow you to control the lock from the panel and remotely from Total Connect 2.0 if the system is monitored and set up with the service. Normally, an exclusion process is performed before the inclusion process. Most Kwikset Locks have a simple button that is used for including and excluding. Pressing this button while the system is in its inclusion mode will include the lock into the Z-Wave network.


Excluding a Schlage Z-Wave Lock with the Honeywell Lyric

I show you how to exclude a Schlage Z-Wave Lock from a Z-Wave network using the Honeywell Lyric Alarm System. Just like most other Z-Wave devices, an exclusion process is normally performed either before adding the device to the Z-Wave network, or when deleting the device from the Z-Wave hub. For a Schlage Lock, you must access the programming code that is found on a white sticker underneath the lock's main cover. You will need a screwdriver to remove this cover.


Including a Schalge Z-Wave Lock with the Honeywell Lyric

I show you how to include a Schlage Z-Wave Lock to the Lyric's Z-Wave network. A Schlage Lock will follow the same process for inclusion as it does for exclusion. However, you will normally want to exclude the lock first to wipe out any residual Z-Wave data. To include the lock, simply enter the programming code on the lock's sticker, followed by the [0] key while the Lyric System is in the appropriate Z-Wave inclusion mode.


Enrolling a Z-Wave Lock to My Qolsys IQ Panel 2

In his triumphant return, the always fantastic Jorge shows you how to enroll a Z-Wave door lock to your Qolsys IQ Panel 2 System. This is done by putting the IQ Panel 2 into its Z-Wave inclusion mode and then activating the inclusion function on the lock. For most locks, you will want to clear the lock from the network to wipe its residual Z-Wave data before completing the inclusion process. The lock can then be controlled from the panel, as well as from Alarm.com if the system is monitored with access to the service.


Resetting an Interlogix Simon XT to Factory Defaults

This is an update from a previous video shot more than a year ago. Jorge shows you how to reset an Interlogix Simon XT System back to its factory default settings. This will reset the Master Code (1234) and the Installer and Dealer Codes (both 4321), delete any added codes and system zones, and restore all settings and configurations to their default values. It is important to note that if the option for "Phone Lock" in system programming is enabled, then certain settings will not be affected by the default.

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Earlier this week, we talked about the new look that will be coming to Apple HomeKit with Apple iOS 14. Well we have more exciting news regarding Apple HomeKit, as it appears that HomeKit-compatible cameras will soon be gaining facial recognition capabilities. This is super exciting stuff!


According to Apple, the face detection feature will be used to identify family members and make sure that there are no unidentified individuals inside the house. If the camera sees a face that it does not recognize, then the user can get an alert through HomeKit regarding the activity. We're sure that this could also work quite well in a small business environment.

As this is a very newly announced feature by Apple, we're not sure whether or not facial recognition will be available for any HomeKit Camera, or if it will only work with certain camera models. We also have no timetable as for when this new feature will be available, though we have heard possibly September. You would need to check with Apple support to receive more specific information.

Unfortunately, Alarm Grid does not offer any Apple HomeKit Cameras at this time. However, we do offer the Honeywell Lyric Alarm System, which offers a great HomeKit integration. Many users will use a Lyric with Alarm Grid monitoring service, while setting up a separate network of HomeKit Security Cameras for video surveillance. This is certainly a viable option.

Another, though admittedly less robust, option is to get a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus System with Alarm.com Security Cameras. Although these cameras are not equipped with facial recognition, they do have powerful Video Analytics features to keep your home or business safe. And the IQ Panel 2 has a built-in camera that uses facial recognition for disarm photos.

Although we don't have much information on the HomeKit Camera Face Recognition feature right now, please stay tuned to our blog, as we will be updating as we learn more. And like always, you can reach out to us for information about our monitoring plans by emailing us at support@alarmgrid.com. We check email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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