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A small town in Texas may become the latest location to begin enforcing alarm system permits. Buda, TX, located south of Austin, TX, is considering a new ordinance that would require local residents and business owners to pay for permits to operate monitored security systems in city limits.

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The proposed ordinance includes fees for applying for alarm permits, as well as listed penalties for causing false alarms and/or operating a system without a permit. According to the proposal, a residential alarm permit would cost $25, while a commercial alarm permit would cost $50. Government and educational locations would be exempt from these fees. Similar alarm system policies currently exist in nearby San Marcos, TX and Kyle, TX.

The false alarm penalties mandated by the proposed ordinance are rather relaxed. The first three (3) false alarms within a 12-month period would result in warnings, provided that the user has a system permit. The fourth and fifth false alarms for a registered system within a 12-month period would each result in a $50 fine. The sixth and seventh false alarms for a registered system within a 12-month period would each result in a $75 fine. Any eighth alarm and beyond for a registered system within a 12-month period would result in a $100 fine. And any alarm from an unregistered system would result in a $250 fine.

The ordinance also lists some exemptions for fines and fees:

  • The false alarm was an "act of God".
  • The false alarm was the result of the telephone (POTS) company.
  • The false alarm was caused by a power outage of longer than four (4) hours.
  • An alarm dispatch was not the result of a false alarm.
  • The law enforcement response did not occur within thirty (30) minutes of the dispatch request.

Alarm Grid understands the need for certain jurisdictions to mandate and enforce security system permits. Preventing false alarms and preserving the resources of local emergency services is something we take very seriously. But it is also important to consider that these permits and mandates can make it harder for users to protect their homes and businesses. We ultimately hope that Buda, TX does not decide to pass this ordinance, but we will lawfully comply with whatever decision is made.

When you sign-up for monitoring service with Alarm Grid, we always make sure to check for such policies in your the local area where the system will be used. We want all of our customers to use their systems legally and within the guidelines of any mandates set within the confines of their local jurisdictions. We also work to empower our customers and help them understand their systems so that they can prevent false alarms. Alarm Grid customers are also encouraged to check out this guide on false alarm prevention.

For more information about signing-up for monitoring service and false alarm prevention, 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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The jurisdiction of Sandy Springs, GA will continue imposing monetary fines against monitoring providers for false alarms that occur on the properties they service. The controversial decision to uphold the prior ruling was recently made by the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

According to the court, false alarm fines imposed by the jurisdiction of Sandy Springs, GA against monitoring providers are justified. The decision to uphold the prior ruling was based on the grounds of preventing false alarms and reducing the waste of city resources. Sandy Springs, GA will continue to maintain its existing ordinance of escalating false alarm fines.

Based upon the current ordinance, the following false alarm fines in Sandy Springs, GA are enforced by the jurisdiction:

  • $25 for the 1st False Alarm
  • $250 for the 2nd and 3rd False Alarms
  • $500 for the 4th and Every Subsequent False Alarm

These fines are to be imposed against monitoring service providers, not actual end users. In addition, the public safety departments for Sandy Springs, GA will not respond to any alarm from a property that has had its fourth (4th) false alarm event within a two (2) year period. This no response period will last for one year after 4th false alarm event in the 2 year period.

Imposing fines for false alarms from security systems is nothing new. However, charging the monitoring company for a false alarm is rather unusual. Last year, the state of Tennessee outlawed fines against security companies for false alarms. The signed bill in Tennessee only allows actual end users to be charged for excessive false alarms, not monitoring providers.

At Alarm Grid, false alarm prevention is something we take very seriously. We strive to provide our customers with all the tools and resources they need to prevent false alarms. Some of the practices designed to prevent false alarms include setting appropriate Entry and Exit Delay periods, using panel Arm-Confirm features, and enabling Alarm Report Delay if needed. Alarm Grid also supports various security panels that meet the standards mandated by CO-01 of the Security Industry Association (SIA) for false alarm prevention.

However, charging monitoring providers fees for false alarms only makes it more difficult for companies like us to do business. We do our part to empower customers and help them fully understand their system so that they can prevent false alarms on their own. From there, it's up to the end user to implement these advised best practices so that false alarms can be avoided. Ultimately, rulings like this can punish Alarm Grid for mistakes that are not our own.

Alarm Grid believes that preventing false alarms and unnecessary emergency dispatch is the shared responsibility of both the monitoring provider and the end user. The last thing we want is to waste the time and resources of local police departments. Our technicians are trained to set up systems so that false alarms are kept to an absolute minimum. And we are more than happy to provide assistance to any monitored customer in false alarm prevention.

Preventing false alarms entirely is the best solution for everyone involved. It prevents local authorities from wasting time and resources. And it prevents Alarm Grid and end users from receiving unwanted fines and penalties. We understand that mistakes are occasionally made. But it is our goal to minimize any false alarms. As a home and/or business owner using an alarm system, that should be your goal as well. It takes a committed effort from all parties.

But strict false alarm policies like those enforced by Sandy Springs, GA do not help in the matter. The vast majority of end users are not looking to cause false alarms or intentionally create inconvenience for their local authorities. Almost every false alarm or unnecessary dispatch is an innocent mistake that can be prevented with more careful planning and better attention to detail. Punishing alarm providers like us is an ineffective solution to the issue.

If you have central station monitoring service through Alarm Grid, then we invite you to reach out to us for false alarm prevention tips to prevent unwanted fines and wasted resources. You can also view this guide on false alarm prevention. We have many tips to share, so please reach out to us by emailing 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 has learned that Qolsys has uncovered some issues with their current Z-Wave firmware (6.81.03) for the IQ Panel 2 and IQ Panel 2 Plus. They are currently working on a new patch tag update to replace 6.81.03. However, the new update patch has not yet been made available.

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Qolsys released Z-Wave Firmware Update 6.81.03 to provide the IQ Panel 2 with the Smart Start feature and to upgrade the system's Z-Wave security protocol to S2. Alarm Grid previously covered the 6.81.03 Z-Wave Firmware Version in this prior blog post. Our post specifically focused on the Smart Start feature, but it did provide information on the required Z-Wave firmware version.

Unfortunately, there have been compatibility issues between Z-Wave Firmware 6.81.03 and various Z-Wave devices. The only device that we know for sure has experienced issues with the system is the August Smart Lock Pro. But it is certainly possible that other Z-Wave devices may be affected. We have also confirmed that the August Smart Lock Pro will work fine on IQ2 Systems that have not yet had the 6.81.03 Patch applied.

With the issue in mind, we recommend NOT upgrading to Z-Wave Firmware Version 6.81.03. In fact, Qolsys has removed the 6.81.03 Patch Tag from their servers, making it virtually impossible to apply this update. But if you were planning to apply the update using a different method, such as an SD card, please do not proceed with that action. Just hang tight on the current Z-Wave firmware until the new patch is available.

We also understand that many people have already applied the 6.81.03 Patch. We are disappointed to say that there is no way to "roll-back" or "downgrade" the Z-Wave Firmware to an older version. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause. But it is our understanding that most Z-Wave devices should not experience any problems on 6.81.03. If your Z-Wave network is still working as normal, then you should have nothing to worry about.

Alarm Grid does not currently have an ETA on when the new Z-Wave patch tag will be made available. However, we expect that it will be fairly soon. Qolsys is usually very quick and diligent about rolling these things out, and we're sure it is a top priority for the. We will post an update blog after the update has been made available. We then recommend upgrading your system's Z-Wave firmware to the new version as soon as you can.

If you have any questions about the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 or its Z-Wave firmware versions, you can reach us for support@alarmgrid.com. That email is also great if you are interested in starting new monitoring service. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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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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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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