Industry News and Discussions Posts

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AT&T has been announcing a deprecation of the 2G radios for a number of years. At midnight January 1, 2017, the network was turned off.

If you're one of the many Americans who has a 2G alarm system, and you've been caught flatfooted for one reason or another, Alarm Grid is here to help. For those who upgrade their 2G radio programmed to a different company's service to a new radio, Alarm Grid will provide 2 months of free monitoring.

If you have a bf error showing on your panel or a Check 103 error, we have some great FAQs explaining what you need to do to fix the error. Additionally, below, you will find a guide explaining how to go about fixing the problems. Generally you will need to replace your radio - a move that is dependent on the type of system you have. The following alert is on our FAQs pertaining to this issue, and will walk you through what you need to do to upgrade.

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The last few weeks, we have been hearing rumblings that Home Security Store has not been answering their phones or emails. We have to date not commented on it, since we really don't know anything at all about their financial situation. That said, we know they have sold a lot of product over the years, and that there seems to be a lot of customers feeling a little bit like they are caught in the lurch. And after this CEPro story came out, we thought it was probably time to say something.

While we can't offer advice for those who are waiting on product, other than to say that we offer many of the same products as HSS sells, we can certainly speak to the service/monitoring side. If this is your first time at Alarm Grid, you probably don't know anything about who we are. We are a well-reviewed alarm monitoring provider that happens to sell high quality home security equipment. Most recently, we've begun selling the Honeywell L7000 and L5200 security systems, which are some of our favorites, and which we highly recommend to anyone looking for a system. We pride ourselves on the free tech support we provide to all of our customers. In the last year, we have been over-run with the tech support needs of DIYers who love us!

So for those of you stuck in the middle of the HomeSecurityStore.com mess, we would love to hear from you. Please email support@alarmgrid.com (it's the best way to contact us), or call 888-818-7728. If you call in and don't get an answer, leave us a message. We are quick to respond, and will call you back ASAP. We've been inundated the last few weeks with calls about this Home Security Store situation. So forgive any waiting, and let us help you get the help you need for the products you have received.

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Honeywell has released the newest revisions for the Tuxedo Touch WIFI, and there are some really exciting new additions. The most notable, perhaps, is the much anticipated voice command feature. When announced at ISC, most of us thought that the Tuxedo Touch with Voice control was going to be an altogether new Tuxedo Touch much like the other voice-enabled keypads in the Honeywell wired series like the 6162V. Instead, Honeywell is making the feature available to anyone with a Tuxedo Touch WIFI installed in their home.

For now the feature is pretty limited, but it is neat, nonetheless. Using commands such as "Bedtime," "Evening Time," "Leaving the House," "Returning Home," "Wake Up," and "Cameras," an user can arm the system, control scenes, and summon Zombies....

Ok, maybe not zombies, but the other stuff is all true.

The new revision update has a lot more than just voice capabilities though. Local video recording lets an user record 2 minute videos using the installed SD card. As much video as the card has capacity to store can be put on the system. Perhaps the most value-add feature is the increase in scenes from 10 to 30. Accompanying the increase is the ability to group like-Z-Wave devices, which makes scenes way more powerful and the programming of Z-wave devices much more intuitive and fast (a really good feature if you've ever had to do it.

We are working on some articles on how to install the new update, so check back here in a little while. We will have more information as we get it.

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For the consumer looking to get the most out of their security system, the Honeywell L7000 is the most highly anticipated security system ever released by Honeywell. The L7000 is the biggest, most comprehensive system ever issued by the company, and it boasts more features than any consumer security panel has ever contained out of the box. For those reasons, the panel has already won plenty of the industry's most important awards, even being named the winner of ISC's 2014 Best in Intrusion Detection and Prevention Solutions.

While the L7000 is not yet out, we at Alarm Grid are very excited about the panel, and are eagerly awaiting the day that it is made available to the general public. For those who do not need a 7-inch screen, and do not need the extra camera or zones available in the L7000, the already released L5200 has almost the exact same feature set. It's a little bit smaller, and does not have the capability to monitor as many zones as the L7000, but it is ready to go, and every bit as functional.

That said, for those who are interested in a rundown of the unit, we have prepared a short video describing the L7000's incredible array of features.

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Honeywell's much anticipated L5200 has finally been released. The L5200 is the sister panel to this year's ISC "Best in Intrusion" winner, the Honeywell L7000, which is expected to be released in the latter half of 2014. Like the predecessors of these two panels, Honeywell has designed the L5200 to be an integrated system that combines state-of-the art wireless security features such as Advanced Protection Logic (APL) and Interactive services that allow an user to control the system from any smart device, with the incredible convenience afforded by modern home automation products

With this release, Honeywell has gone far to address many of their consumers' demands, and it's clear that with this panel the company is furthering its commitment to improved user experience. They have removed many of the disparaging limitations of the old L5100 panels: the Honeywell L5200 comes with more zones of protection, the ability to display a camera on screen, and one of the most exciting developments in Honeywell's technology comes with the announcement that the L5200 is flash upgradeable.

This feature, which allows the panel to download the latest software updates that have been released for the unit, addresses one of the chief complaints consumers have had about the old panels - no updates means no access to new features.

The release of this panel is met with another incredible development in the security industry: the rise of DIY. Since vaulting to prominence in mid-2012, Alarm Grid has set the standard for DIY home security by providing resources to DIYers that they never had access to previously. The Honeywell L5200 is the first panel to have been released since this DIY culture has become widespread. As such, the Alarm Grid team believes that it will be a great test of this new, up-and-coming model: "Do-it-yourselfers have really taken up the reigns in this industry. These panels are easy to understand, they are simple to program, and they are simple to install," said Joshua Unseth, Alarm Grid's director of marketing. "We believe that the L5200 is a great addition to Honeywell's already stellar line of products. It's a great step forward, and we think that DIYers will be quick to embrace it."

While the release of a security system like the L5200 would generally mean big money for installers who bank on consumers knowing very little about how these systems work, Alarm Grid has already released the L5200 manuals, they have begun writing L5200 frequently asked questions, and they have even released a L5200 DIY installation video, which they say shows just how simple installing this system yourself can be.

"We don't think you have to be an experienced DIYer to install a security system," said Sterling Donnelly, President of Alarm Grid. "I'm always amazed by the range of people who call us and decide to try DIY security. A lot of consumers don't even know that a self-installation is an option when they start looking at security equipment. Our goal is to make it easy. For those who want to give it a try, our tech team patiently guides them through every step of the way."

When asked how non-professionals can purchase the equipment, Unseth replied, "Alarm Grid has made it easy to get your hands on this equipment. We are committed to making sure that end users have the same access to this equipment as installers have, and we want to make sure that they have access to as much information as any professional installer would have. Not only that, but we are committed to making sure that this high-quality Honeywell equipment is affordable enough for anyone who wants a security system in their home. All an user has to do is visit our site, and purchase an L5200. We send it on, it gets delivered, the end-user can watch a few videos to figure out how to install and configure it, and should they run into trouble, they can always call us at no cost."

Alarm Grid has released 9 pre-configured kits that include the brand new wireless security system, each coming with a bevy of sensors and communicators. Regarding the quality of their hardware, Unseth points out that lots of other DIY companies have built their business on consumer hatred of this industry. "It's a well known fact that big players in home security are not well loved. But those DIY companies generally make sub-standard equipment." Alarm Grid's equipment is the same product a consumer would get if the system had been installed by ADT or another big-company installer. "With us that's what you get, great hardware at a great price, and alarm monitoring with a company you can trust and that will treat you well. We treat our customers the same on day one as we do after they have installed the system and are monitored. After all," Unseth smiled a little before adding, "since Alarm Grid doesn't believe in contracts, we have to work to win the business of our customers every single month."

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It's not compatible with the L5100, and as far as we know there are no immediate plans to make it compatible, but the technology is pretty awesome! The new WIFI Smart Thermostat that Honeywell is, reportedly, releasing in October takes interactivity to a whole new level, allowing users to actually talk to the device.

While it is the first consumer device that Honeywell will be releasing with such a capability, if it is successful, we're sure that the tech will begin seeping its way into some of Honeywell's popular security systems, ZWAVE thermostats and the like.'

CNET did a little video, and we thought it would be a great little introduction to the future. Hope you think it's as neat as we did, and let us know what you think in the comments below:

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Honeywell L7000It hasn't even been released yet, but Honeywell's newest intrusion detection system, the Honeywell L7000 is already making waves at ISC West winning this year's award for Best in Intrusion Detection and Prevention Solutions. The award is nothing to sneeze at considering the stiff competition presented by others at the security industry's biggest, most important conference.

While the system itself has yet to be released, this reward speaks volumes to the quality of hardware and software that Honeywell is putting out. Simply put, what it means is that when assessed against every other major security system, the L7000 comes out on top.

We still have no indication from Honeywell when the L7000 and the very similar, but slightly less full-featured L5200 are going to be released for public consumption, but the instant that they are, we will make the products available here. If you would like to be notified personally when the L7000 is released, please sign up for the newsletter on its page.

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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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