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Did you know that your Alarm Grid Security System most likely has smart home automation capabilities? While keeping your home or business safe with trusted monitoring service is the main function of an alarm system, the world of home automation is easily accessible and very exciting.

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As a quick recap for anyone who may not be familiar with automation or the concept of a "smart home", it refers mostly to two (2) somewhat related ideas.

1) Being able to control devices remotely (aka, while you are away from the premises).

2) Being able to have devices activate automatically based on a schedule and/or predetermined events, with no action required on your part.

These devices that we speak of are collectively referred to as "smart devices". There are all sorts of smart devices that you can integrate into your automation network. Some examples include:

  • Smart Lights - Illumination devices that you can control remotely and turn ON or OFF automatically. These come in many forms, including light bulbs, in-wall switches, plug-in modules, and even wall outlets. Smart lights are perfect for making it appear as though someone is present while away or on vacation.
  • Smart Door Locks - Access control devices that you can operate remotely and LOCK or UNLOCK a door automatically. These are typically deadbolt devices that prevent unauthorized individuals from gaining access to your home or business. In addition to remote operation, these devices can also be automated based on a schedule or the condition of other devices in your home.
  • Smart Thermostats - Temperature control devices that you can be adjusted locally or remotely and INCREASE or DECREASE the temperature. The operation of these devices can also be automated based on a schedule or event. These wire in directly with the HVAC system in your home or business. The setup is surprisingly simple, and it can be easily completed by a DIY user.
  • Smart Water Valves - Water shut-off switches that you can trigger locally or remotely. If you CLOSE the valve, then the flow of water will be stopped. If you OPEN the valve, then the flow of water will proceed when a faucet is activated. Smart water valves can be very important if the building is prone to flooding or water damage. These devices can be automated based on the activation of a flood sensor.

Now that you know a little more about smart devices, you're probably wondering how to get started. The first thing that we advise doing is selecting a smart protocol to build around. This refers to the type of wireless communication that the individual smart devices will use to speak with the centralized hub.

The smart hub, also known as the controller, is the single most important piece of equipment in any smart home. All of your individual smart devices will communicate their status with this centralized hub. And when you go to control your devices remotely, all incoming commands will pass through the hub before ultimately being forwarded to the individual device. Without the smart hub, home automation is impossible.

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When you select a smart hub, you are also selecting the wireless protocol for your network. All of the individual smart devices in your network must use that same wireless protocol to communicate successfully with the main hub. As a result, your smart hub determines which devices can (and cannot) join the network.

A great aspect of most security systems sold by Alarm Grid is that they can double as smart hubs for your automation devices. The panels that we sell support the Z-Wave wireless communication protocol. Virtually any Z-Wave device can be enrolled with an alarm system that supports Z-Wave communication.

Once you have a Z-Wave device enrolled with your system, a few things become possible:

1) Operate your programmed Z-Wave devices on the main system display. This is the same place where you arm and disarm your system.

2) Control your programmed Z-Wave devices remotely using the same platform you use for controlling your system, namely, Alarm.com or Total Connect 2.0. This requires monitoring service.

3) Build complete smart scenes, in which multiple Z-Wave devices are controlled simultaneously. This is done through either Alarm.com or Total Connect 2.0. Again, alarm monitoring service is required.

While all of this certainly sounds exciting, we understand that it may seem a little daunting at first. If you are already an Alarm Grid monitored customer, then there's a good chance that your system is already capable of serving as a central hub for your Z-Wave network.

The following systems readily support Z-Wave communication, with no add-ons being required:

Additionally, the following panels can be upgraded to support Z-Wave communication:

Of course, there are other options besides Z-Wave for home automation. If you are an iOS user, then you might consider getting a security panel that can support the robust and powerful Apple HomeKit automation platform. The Honeywell Lyric is a great option for this. You can learn more about HomeKit in this prior post.

Another option for lighting control is the Lutron devices that use their own communications protocol. Lutron is known for their tight integration with Alarm.com, and they certainly make for a great starting point if you are looking to establish a smart lighting setup. More info on using Lutron with Alarm.com can be found here.


Alarm Grid is about more than just security. We can help you establish the perfect automation network for your home or business. Getting started with smart home automation is easy, and it's a fantastic way to get the most out of your security system. Whether you go with Z-Wave, Apple HomeKit, Lutron, or use a combo setup, we will be there to help you every step of the way.

If you aren't already monitored by Alarm Grid, now is a great time to get started. Smart home automation is included with all of our Silver, Gold, and Platinum Level Plans. This post will tell you all about our monitoring plans so that you can make an informed decision. Alarm Grid monitored customers are provided with free technical support online and over the phone. This includes helping you create the perfect smart home.

The best way for an Alarm Grid monitored customer to get help with all of their smart home questions is to email support@alarmgrid.com or call (888) 818-7728. Our support technicians will be happy to help you in building your smart home network. Remember that our business hours run from 9am to 8pm ET M-F, so make sure to plan accordingly. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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Hi DIYers! Today, we are very excited to talk about the all-new Z-Wave Plus lighting products from Resideo. These lights are very easy to use, and they will work with nearly any security system that supports Z-Wave. They will certainly make a great addition to any growing smart home.


Resideo (formerly Honeywell and Ademco) has been long-known for their alarm control panels, sensors, and thermostats. But they really haven't made much of a splash in terms of smart lighting equipment. But that should change with these brand-new lights. The lineup has everything you need to create a robust and capable lighting setup.

All of these products use Z-Wave Plus technology to communicate with a central hub. We strongly recommend making sure your Z-Wave controller is certified for Z-Wave Plus so that you get the maximum wireless signal range. Some systems that support Z-Wave Plus include the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus and the 2GIG GC3e. If you have monitoring service and access to Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com, then you can control your lights remotely and use them with smart scenes.

These devices are all super easy to program with your alarm system or other Z-Wave hub. When enrolling, you should always make sure to exclude the device from the network first. This will clear out any information and ensure that the device can be enrolled successfully. Then enroll the device by putting the controller into its inclusion mode and activating the inclusion function on the light. It should successfully pair with the network.

Now that you know a little bit about the lights in general, let's take a quick look at all of the new products individually:

  • Resideo Z5SWITCH - An in-wall light switch that is used to control hardwired lights or a ceiling fan. Replaces the existing in-wall switch.
  • Resideo Z5DIMMER - An in-wall dimmer switch that is used to control hardwired lights. The light bulbs must support dimming to be used in that manner. Replaces the existing in-wall switch.
  • Resideo Z53WSWITCH - An in-wall 3-way switch that is used with the Z5SWITCH and Z5DIMMER. You can use multiple Z53SWITCH devices to achieve up to a 6-way lighting configuration. Please note that a traveler wire is required for use.
  • Resideo Z5SWPID - A plug-in switch that is used for controlling a lamp or other connected device. It features a manual ON/OFF switch and a pass-through "non-Z-Wave" outlet.
  • Resideo Z5DIMPID - A plug-in dimmer module that is used for controlling a lamp. The light bulbs must support dimming to be used in that manner. It features a manual ON/OFF switch and a pass-through "non-Z-Wave" outlet.
  • Resideo Z5SWPIO - A plug-in switch that is suitable for outdoor use. Great for operating holiday lights or other outdoor lighting fixtures. It does not include a pass-through outlet.
  • Resideo Z5OUTLET - An in-wall AC outlet that provides Z-Wave Plus control to the connected device. The bottom port uses Z-Wave Plus, while the top port is always active. Replaces an existing outlet.

All of these smart lighting products are available right now from Alarm Grid! They're great for anyone looking to create a new smart lighting network or expand upon an existing one. If you have any questions about these new Resideo Lights, please reach out to us by emailing support@alarmgrid.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

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