Home Security Blog

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For the last 2 years, the LYNX Touch L5100 has been Honeywell's state-of-the-art wireless security system. But as advancements in technology have come a long way, it has finally come time for them to begin obsoleting the system and putting out two new systems that are a little bit bigger and little bit better. There has been very little data released about the new L7000 and L5200 they are planning on releasing, though we are attempting to report everything that comes across our desk, which is why we were so excited to see what was in the notes on this morning's Total Connect 2.3.40 update.

Along with a host of bug fixes and updates, Honeywell has an entire section outlined in the "What's New" section under the heading: "The following features also available; supported only with LYNX Touch 5200 or LYNX Touch 7000 series systems." The following is the list of L5200 and L7000 only features that were just added to Total Connect.

  • Solar Scheduling (Sunrise/Sunset)
  • Ability to turn something on/off triggered off sunrise/sunset
  • Schedule Randomization
  • Ability to randomize a fixed schedule to turn something on/off +/- 30 minutes
  • Night Stays
  • Ability to Arm system in “Night Stay”
  • Selectable via panel to include a PIR(s) that will be active when armed in that mode
  • Automation Services – Door Lock Jam
  • Ability to detect when a Zwave controlled door lock is in a “Jammed” state
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One of the things I've blogged about before is the onslaught of companies attempting to fix the hardware problems in the home security industry. Generally it's outsiders looking in, and viewing the industry's problems as an un-nuanced set of issues that are easily solved.

Well, I hate to say it, but hardware isn't where home security companies or consumers, for that matter are lacking in choices. While, at the moment, Alarm Grid retails exclusively in Honeywell products, there are an incredible number of other brands producing high-quality security systems: 2GIG, GE, DSC, Napco, and more. While each of these systems differs slightly in functionality, the reality is that they are all very very similar. The industry has, for the most part, decided on what is needed on the security side and made them work.

In recent years, these systems have begun to do much more than just security as well. Some of them can be used as pool controllers, full-functioning home automation controllers, garage door controls, and more. Being an old-time Minnesota boy, I know about obscure companies like Val, which make a system called the Gain-Trac that monitors and controls poultry houses. Some of the technology that these little shops are making are really neat - the Lockitron comes to mind. But most of them fail to actually solve any of the problems that they claim to be solving. The Lockitron remotely locks and unlocks your doors, which is an amazing feature. They even give you a smartphone app if you want to do it remotely.

So what's wrong with that?

Well, it's fine, if all you want to do is expensively open and close the deadbolts on your house. There are a hundred reasons I can think of that a person might want to do that. But if you're going to spend the money to do that, why wouldn't you purchase a Yale Z-Wave lock and use an app that integrates all your devices? Do consumers really want one app for every single device in their home? The answer, to date, has been a resounding "no." That said, with relatively little effort companies like Lockitron could open up their technology to be Z-wave compatible. The fact that they haven't done that indicates to me that they don't intend to open their product up to that market. And while we wish companies like them the best of luck because we like the quality and kind of product they are making, their model is narrow minded and the result is that they have solved a problem that is too niche to matter to very many people.

In the last year, I can think of four different projects that have been crowd-funded to solve the problems inherent in the alarm industry. For the most part, however, the problems they are attacking are not that significant. Some of them claim they are making aesthetically pleasing security systems, others claim that they are giving you power over your devices. But almost none of them are UL certified, almost none of them can be turned into an actual monitored system, and in numerous small-market systems, you have to change the batteries in your sensors multiple times a year. Other companies that claim they are solving problems in the security system do it by making a proprietary system that can ONLY be monitored by them. So while they seem to have a good understanding of the industry's breakdowns, their solution is nothing more than veiled participation in the industry's problems. If they claim that the industry suffers from dishonest alarm monitoring contracts that require a fee when you try to get out of them, how have they solved anything by forcing you to buy a system that is useless if you don't use their service? What do you think happens when you leave them? You have to buy a brand new system. $500 to get out of a contract... $500 for a brand new system.... Their customers seem to feel better about the proposition, but the math is the same, and on the other end, the amount of money spent to get out of the service is almost the same. Those companies will say that they are "doing away with contracts." But they don't tell you that they are trapping you with a system that is a no better than a brick if not being used on their network.

So why does it matter?

Whenever one of these companies comes to market with a security product, I'm regularly asked, "what is going to happen to Alarm Grid?"

This is what I say: "Alarm Grid is setting out to solve the industry's real problems: dishonest sales techniques, bad customer service, a lack of access to information about your system, constant scams, and more. We are not focused on competing with companies to create a new piece of neat hardware or forcing companies to use our service."

And we stand by that. Check out our reviews. You will see that Alarm Grid's only goal is to make our customers very happy with the service they have received. Our website is replete with information, not because we don't want you to call or ask a tech, but because most of the time, you don't need to. Our goal is to advocate for our consumers, by empowering them with information. How can you make a good decision about what hardware you should use to protect your family and property if you don't know anything more than how to arm and disarm your system?

And that actually is the reason that most of these hardware companies never get off the ground in a significant way. Their systems are nowhere near as advanced as the systems that already exist. The problem with the systems that exist is that consumers don't know how to use them.

Luckily for all of you, Alarm Grid is out to change all that!

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Last week, Yahoo made a change to their DMARC policy. DMARC stands for Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance. It is an email authentication method meant to curb spoofing of email addresses and other abuses. On the surface, this change seems like it might be a positive one. After all, who among us does not hate email abuse? But in practice, the change had a lot of unintended consequences.

The change that Yahoo made no longer allows their emails to be sent from outside of their system. What that means in practice is that if you send an email from a yahoo address to an email address whose provider checks against DMARC (which is most reputable email providers), the email will not get through.

You may never be affected by the DMARC change, then again, you may have already been affected and not even known about it. If you sent an email from a yahoo email address in the last week to Alarm Grid, for example, we didn't get it. The reason is that when you send an email to support@alarmgrid.com, the way it works is that it goes from your email to a ticketing system, that ticketing system then forwards your email to our techs who use Gmail. Gmail sees that your email was sent from a Yahoo address, but that it was forwarded from our ticketing system, checks the DMARC policy, then rejects your email because it wasn't sent directly from the Yahoo address.

As you can imagine, this has been a major headache for us being that we are absolutely 100% about customer service, and this change has caused us to miss a massive numbers of questions and requests from our customers. So we wanted to apologize to anyone who sent us an email in the last week from a Yahoo address. We were not trying to ignore you, we simply did not see your email. If you are one of Alarm Grid's customers that this affected, you should be receiving a response to your message promptly as they are sitting in our ticketing system and we are auditing missed messages as we speak.

That said, since Yahoo seems to be uncommitted to resolving the havoc-wreaking issue caused by their change, even lauding this adjustment as a pioneering change that the rest of the industry is sure to follow, we recommend that you strongly consider changing your email from Yahoo to a provider that, as of yet, has not made unilateral decisions that break the way most people use the internet. Internally at Alarm Grid, we use Gmail. It is free, its storage capacity is incredibly large, and it's functionality is better than any paid service we have yet seen. Even so, there are plenty of other services out there that are both free and very functional. Going forward, while we will do our best to make sure that all emails are answered, it is our belief that your life will be made much easier if you begin the search for a new email provider.

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As you know, we take security very seriously at Alarm Grid. Both home and internet security. So we wanted to speak on the Heartbleed vulnerability the Internet has been buzzing about since yesterday.

For those of you that are unaware, Heartbleed is the codename of a serious bug that was exposed in OpenSSL, a popular implementation of the SSL protocol. SSL is the security protocol that secure sites, like e-commerce stores, use to make sure your information is encrypted as you go to make purchased and give sensitive information.

Like most of the Internet, Alarm Grid's servers do use OpenSSL and thus we were susceptible to this bug. We have already fixed the issue in less than 24 hours of notice by patching our servers and replacing our SSL certificates.

Though, there is a hypothetical chance that your password on Alarm Grid could have been compromised. There is zero evidence that it has been, but as a precautionary method we recommend you change your password on Alarm Grid and any site you have used in the last two years. Yes, that's how long this bug has been present, even though it was just discovered yesterday.

It's important to note that we are fully PCI-compliant and do NOT store your credit card information, so there is no chance that your credit card information could have been compromised from our site. We also do not store any passwords or codes from your home security system. So luckily, there is very little risk to you as an Alarm Grid customer.

Please, make sure you change your password everywhere on the Internet and hope the sites you frequent are as crazy about security as we are!

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As Honeywell gets ready to release their newest security system, there has been very little released regarding its functionality. Fortunately, ahead of schedule, we have received one of their beta version of the L5200, which we are excited about testing at the Alarm Grid lab.

Since we have yet to test it out, we have very little data about it, so far. What we know is pretty rudimentary, though we will report more as we get a chance to test the unit out.

But as you can see by the picture at the bottom of this post, the L5200's hard buttons have been reduced from four to two: the home and the panic buttons are the only press-able buttons on the unit. It came with the same power supply as the L5100, and battery as well.

According to the spec sheet we were given, the 4.5 inch Graphic touch display screen supports Alarmnet's IP video cameras, the L5100-WIFI and a GSMVLP5-4G will work with the new units as well as the L5100-ZWAVE module. The spec sheet indicates, however, that in order for the WIFI module to work in the L5200, it must be revision 4.97 or higher.

The L7000 has some significantly different specs, though we will report on that as soon as we receive our beta unit.

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Our headquarters is in Lighthouse Point, FL, not so far from the quaint little city of Boca Raton. Alarm Grid has clients all throughout Florida, and in much of the United States. We are proud of how we treat our clients, and do whatever we can to serve them well.

Part of serving you is making sure that our municipal registrations are up to date, a daunting task, as you can imagine considering there are around 9,000 municipalities in the United States.

But that, combined with our state of the art equipment, like the Honeywell L5100, our reliable alarm monitoring service, are what ensure that you get an expeditious response from Boca's friendly police force if your property is being compromised.

Alarm Grid has received its permit to provide alarm monitoring services in Boca Raton under account #581.

If you are a resident of Boca Raton, you are responsible for knowing your city's ordinances and regulations. While we are permitted to monitor your system, you are responsible for paying any municipal fees that are owed to the city of Boca Raton or filling in any required registration forms.

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We're proud to announce a brand new alarm monitoring checkout here at Alarm Grid. Before we go into the details of our fancy new system, let's go over a quick little history of the old checkout.

We love our e-commerce software, Spree - perhaps more than people should love any software. It let us launch and grow incredibly quickly, all while be very flexible. Maybe a little too flexible to the point of letting us building build original monitoring checkout in it.

Spree was designed for purchasing and shipping physical products. It's amazing for people looking to buy security systems from us. It's helped us tackle complex e-commerce problems like taxation zones, fulfillment, shipping, handling of RMAs and many other things that don't apply to a service like monitoring.

But for our users looking to sign up for alarm monitoring? It was a little silly to have them adding a "Monitoring Plus" product to their shopping cart and going through a whole multi-step checkout process.

Plus it meant you had to pay for your first month of monitoring before we even had you activated. That always bothered us and was one of the primary driving factors behind the new system.

Now? We're proud to announce a single-page checkout for Alarm Monitoring. But beyond that, it has plenty of tricks and features up its sleeve!

For instance, now if you have an account with us and previously purchased equipment we'll automatically fill in your address for you.

And if you're a security enthusiast like us? We're porud to announce our credit card system is powered by Stripe.js. That means your credit card information never even gets sent to us or stored by us.

Perhaps the biggest change? Our new activation setup page. After you complete your checkout you'll be taken to an activation page you can always return until activation under "My Account."

This amazing page is loaded with information for you and let's you send information to your alarm technician before your activation, saving both of us a ton of time.

So please, direct any and all comments and suggestions about the new monitoring checkout in the comments below. We'd love to hear your thoughts.

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Ever worked for a startup? Want to?

While Alarm Grid is a new alarm company, this is not a traditional alarm tech job for the traditional alarm technician. We are looking for someone who is interested in building a career and who strongly believes in Alarm Grid's Do-It-Yourself business model.

While a traditional alarm tech job requires hours of intensive labor, Alarm Grid's techs work from the comfort of an office. Our goal is to build the most customer-centric company that has ever existed in the home security space, and we want someone who desires to be a part of that.

If you think that you would be a great fit for Alarm Grid, please send us your resume. We are giving preference to applicants from Florida. We are also looking for individuals with a good amount of experience in the industry. Knowledge of Compass software, AlarmNet Direct website and Honeywell wired and wireless security system programming is strongly desired.

Duties and Responsibilities:

As a Remote Alarm Technician, you would:

Answer calls and emails from customers who have questions about their current system. Help customers install and service their equipment and activate monitoring accounts over the phone and through email support. Provide advice to customers who are thinking of purchasing a system.


Education and Experience

  • Minimum of a high school diploma, or GEDrequired
  • At least one year of experience installing and servicing security systems in the field
  • Experience with home automation systems is a plus

  • Skills

  • Strong writing abilities
  • Comfort with using a computer
  • An intimate knowledge of Honeywell's wired and wireless security systems (knowledge of other brands is a strong plus)
  • Excellent customer service and communication skills.
  • Attention to detail

  • Compensation will be commensurate with experience.

    Fill out my online form.
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    We're proud to say that as of today, we are making available the 10-sensor kit. It will come, complete with everything that is in the L5100PK, but it will include 7 additional wireless door/window sensors, and all of the sensors will be 5811s instead of 5816s. These kits are being release din four different configurations to ensure that they meet your needs.

    Honeywell LYNXZ-KT57 base kit

    This is a standard kit without a communicator. If you already have a communicator, want to use the old-school phone line you still have installed in your home, or if you just want to use your system as a local alarm with no central station backup, this kit is perfect for you!

    Honeywell LYNXZ-KT57

    Honeywell LYNXZ-KT57-WIFI

    For homes with reliable WIFI/IP, this kit is amazing. While WIFI isn't as secure as cellular communication, for most alarm system users, the security it provides is completely adequate. And with our 24 hour supervision, we will know whether your WIFI is down for significant periods of time. This is the perfect kit for those looking to get affordable alarm monitoring in a big home.

    Honeywell LYNXZ-KT57-WIFI

    Honeywell LYNXZ-KT57-4G

    The 4G communication pathway is often regarded as the most secure pathway available. This kit provides its owners with the ability to take advantage of AT&T's amazingly reliable cellular network. These networks are difficult to disrupt, and will ensure that even the most cunning James Bond-like criminals will be kept at bay.

    Honeywell LYNXZ-KT57-WIFI-4G

    For Fort Knox level security, this kit ensures that your home is a fortress of safety. The dual path communication makes this a wireless security system that is virtually impossible to take down. In situations where cell networks are flooded (very rare events like Hurricanes), the system will automatically fail over to the WIFI connection. In situations where your WIFI is down, it will fail over to the cellular network. Relying on the redundant communication should give an user piece of mind that their system will be communicating 99.9% of the time.

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    Alarm Grid has begun selling the Honeywell 5800C2W, a new wired system to wireless system conversion kit. “This marks a real sea change in the alarm industry,” said Joshua Unseth, spokesperson for the company, “it shows a shift in focus from the old wired panels to an industry dominated by wireless technologies.” Years ago, the industry was reticent to accept new RF wireless sensors, since they were regarded as notoriously unreliable. Nowadays, however, wireless installations dominate the market. “It is hard to convince hardwired installers that the new wireless systems are just as good,” Unseth said. “The technology was as of yet unproven just 5 or 10 years ago. But now, these systems have now shown that they can do just as good a job at protecting the lives and the property of everyone who installs them in their home. Anyone who isn't convinced yet is going to be left in the dust by these emerging technologies.”

    Honeywell's most popular security system is the LYNX 5100, a touchscreen system that is capable of home automation and home security. While marked down at an affordable price, compared with what a security system used to cost, perhaps the biggest story when it comes to the Honeywell LYNX is the ease of installation. While customers have traditionally relied on professional, licensed installers to put wire panels into a home, these new systems allow access to state-of-the-art home security equipment that runs using simple A/C power, which means that individual homeowners can install a unit on their own, without the help of a professional. That said, until the introduction of the 5800C2W, customers have not had a reliable way to use their already installed wired contacts, which would prompt users who would have been good candidates for a wireless security system to purchase and install one of the wired systems since changing out sensors can be extremely expensive.

    “We want to make sure that wireless security is available to anyone that wants it.” Unseth believes very strongly in the implications of wireless technologies to Alarm Grid's future. “Wireless systems are cheaper, at least as reliable, and much more simple to install and use than any wired system on the market.” If that is in fact the case, then there is little doubt that Alarm Grid's future looks very bright.

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