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False security system alarms have been a hot topic in Georgia lately. A recent court ruling upheld the decision to allow the city of Sandy Springs, GA to charge monitoring companies for false alarms. Now, it appears that the city of Lawrenceville is looking to take similar action.

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Reports indicate that officials in Lawrenceville, GA are currently working with a third-party company to build a registry of all alarm systems in the city. This will include all alarm systems used in Lawrenceville homes and businesses. From there, an ordinance will be developed, with the goal of "cutting down on false alarms".

Specific details regarding such a proposed ordinance are not available at this time. However, it has been said that the ordinance would be designed to "bring revenue to the city". It is fair to expect that the proposed ordinance would include fines for causing false alarms, as well as fines for failing to register a system. It's also possible that Lawrenceville may take a page from nearby Sandy Springs, GA and invoke fines against monitoring companies.

As a general rule, Alarm Grid is against charging fees for permits to operate security systems. These fees only make it more difficult for users to lawfully install alarm systems to protect their homes and businesses. We understand the need to register alarm systems for false alarm prevention purposes. But charging fees makes the process harder for end users. Instead, we propose free system permits for those operating alarm systems responsibly.

Even worse is when a local jurisdiction charges a monitoring company for a false alarm caused by an end user. Any responsible monitoring company should give its customers the resources and tools they need to prevent false alarms. When a false alarm occurs, it is almost always due to a mistake made by the end user. Charging a monitoring provider for the actions of an end user is unfair. In recent times, both Tennessee and Iowa have passed laws to prevent local jurisdictions from charging monitoring providers.

Alarm Grid does not take false alarm prevention lightly. It does not make us look good as a monitoring provider if our customers are repeatedly causing false alarms. The last thing we want to do is waste the time and resources of local jurisdictions. That is why we strive to educate our customers so that they understand how their systems work and how to properly prevent false alarms. We know that most false alarms are innocent mistakes, and most users are not seeking to actively cause false alarms. We urge jurisdictions like Lawrenceville to consider these aspects.

From what we can tell, Lawrenceville, GA is looking into this matter very seriously. It is our hope that if and when they do pass an ordinance that it is fair for both end users and alarm monitoring providers. In our view, this should include no-cost permitting. If fines for false alarms are also included in the ordinance, then they should be reasonable and offer a no-fee warning for an initial false alarm. Additionally, no false alarm fines should be charged against the monitoring providers who are ultimately not the ones controlling the systems.

For more information on preventing false alarms, we strongly recommend checking out this helpful guide we wrote. It offers various tips and guidelines for preventing false alarms on security systems. If you have any further questions or concerns about preventing false alarms, or if you are wanting to learn more about Alarm Grid monitoring service, then please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. Our team looks forward to hearing from you!

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Alarm Grid has learned that Johnson Controls has acquired the remaining stake of Qolsys. Johnson Controls now fully owns Qolsys. The press release from Qolsys states that all key Qolsys leaders and founders will remain at the company's Silicon Valley headquarters in San Jose, CA.

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Jeff Williams, President of Global Products for Johnson Controls said of the acquisition:

"Qolsys has grown from a startup to a leading security platform provider with over 4,000 dealers and service providers worldwide. Johnson Controls sees long-term opportunities to bring Silicon Valley innovation and culture to our broader cloud-enabled IoT solutions in building management, fire and HVAC businesses... The opportunity to acquire Qolsys allows Johnson Controls to achieve operational efficiencies and scale across our global markets."

Johnson Controls had already owned the majority of Qolsys. This latest acquisition now puts the entire company under the ownership of Johnson Controls. In addition to Qolsys, the Johnson Controls banner also includes the likes of DSC, Bentel, Visonic, PowerG, and Tyco. The company has certainly assembled an extensive collection of security products and namesakes. Now with Qolsys fully under their control, their expansion should only continue.

As part of the move, Qolsys CEO Dave Pulling will transition to the role of Vice President and General Manager of Global Intrusion Products for Johnson Controls. According to Pulling, Johnson Controls will remain committed to serving existing Qolsys users, while also setting their sights on potential global growth. As for the Qolsys namesake, it shouldn't be going anywhere, and it will continue to represent various panels, sensors, and accessories.

Interestingly, the bottom of the press release from Qolsys hints at a "fourth generation IQ Panel", with a very vague release date of 2021. The press release states that the Fourth Gen IQ Panel will feature a "Qualcomm Chipset with support for AI, M2M, and Next Generation Connectivity". This is the first we've heard about a 4th-gen IQ Panel, but it really sounds like exciting news. We don't have any other details about a 4th-gen Qolsys IQ Panel at this time, but we will definitely keep our eyes open for more news.

Qolsys is currently known for their state-of-the-art IQ Panel 2 Plus. The company is set to release the lower-cost Qolsys IQ Hub later this year, which will represent the "third gen" in the IQ Panel lineup. Also on the roadmap for Qolsys is the upcoming Qolsys IQ Router. And last month's release of the DSC PowerG Wired to Wireless Converter was big news for many Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus users. It goes without saying that the company has been frequently making some big waves in the security industry.

Alarm Grid has frequently praised Qolsys Panels for their intuitive designs and simple user interfaces (UIs). We have found that the IQ Panel 2 serves as a great option for new users who aren't necessarily accustomed to, or experienced in, operating alarm systems. We hope that this will continue for Qolsys, even as they are now operating fully under the Johnson Controls banner. Many end users appreciate having easy-to-operate security systems greet them in their homes and businesses. Our hope is that Johnson Controls and Qolsys do not lose sight of that vision.

If you have any questions about the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, or any other security product from Johnson Controls, or if you want to learn more about monitoring service, please send an email to our team 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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We have learned that Qolsys has released a fix for the 6.81.03 Z-Wave Firmware for the IQ Panel 2 and IQ Panel 2 Plus. With this fix, the 6.81.03 Z-Wave Firmware is once again available for download for any Qolsys IQ Panel 2 or IQ Panel 2 Plus running System Firmware Version 2.4.2 or higher.

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The saga regarding Z-Wave Firmware 6.81.03 for the IQ Panel 2 has been ongoing for quite awhile now. For anyone who isn't fully in the loop, we will provide a brief recap of the events.

In September of last year, Qolsys released IQ Panel 2 Firmware Version 2.4.0. Any newly manufactured IQ Panel 2 Plus System with 2.4.0 or higher pre-installed would have the 6.81.03 Z-Wave Firmware already pre-installed out of the box. Those with an older IQ Panel 2 or IQ Panel 2 Plus System that had been upgraded from a lower system firmware version would need to separately update the Z-Wave firmware for the system if they wanted to use the associated features.

To be clear, updating the Z-Wave firmware on an IQ Panel 2 or IQ Panel 2 Plus is optional. The 6.81.03 Z-Wave Firmware only provides the Smart Start feature for enrolling compatible devices via a scanned QR code, and it upgrades the panel's automation security protocol from S0 to S2. If a user doesn't need and/or doesn't care about these features, then skipping the update is fine. Unlike panel firmware for the IQ2, the system's Z-Wave firmware isn't as important to have on the latest version. Many users chose to skip the update entirely. And that remains the case now. If you do not want the update, then you do not need to apply it.

Later, in July 2020, Qolsys discovered problems with Z-Wave Firmware Version 6.81.03. Once this happened, Qolsys took the associated patch tag off the network so that it could no longer be downloaded. But now that Qolsys has corrected the associated issues, the update is once again available for download. Anyone who performs the upgrade now will download an updated version of the 6.81.03 Z-Wave Firmware to the panel. This updated version does not have the problems and issues that were associated with the earlier version, even though they are both referred to as Z-Wave Firmware 6.81.03.

Of course, there are some users who still have the faulty version of the 6.81.03 Z-Wave Firmware on their panels. For these users, the problem can be corrected by performing a system firmware update for the IQ Panel 2. In other words, upgrading to the latest system firmware (2.5.2) with the 6.81.03 Z-Wave Firmware already installed will update the panel's Z-Wave firmware from the faulty version of 6.81.03 to the newly updated version that has the fixes applied. Users who were already running 2.5.2 at the time they applied the faulty Z-Wave firmware patch, will need to wait for the next firmware release to fix the problem. According to Qolsys, their IQ Panel 2 System Firmware Version 2.5.3 will be made available later this month. More information on IQ Panel 2 System Firmware can be found on this helpful page.

We understand that this may be a bit confusing, so we have broken IQ Panel 2 and IQ Panel 2 Plus users into three (3) categories. Find the bold statement below that applies to you, and follow the corresponding instructions. It may also be helpful to check and see whether or not your IQ Panel 2 is on Z-Wave Firmware 6.81.03. To do this, press the small grey bar at the top of the main screen, and choose Settings > Advanced Settings > enter Installer Code (default 1111) > About > Z-Wave. You should see the current Z-Wave Firmware listed.

1. My IQ Panel 2 is NOT on Z-Wave Firmware 6.81.03.

If your IQ Panel 2 is not on Z-Wave Firmware Version 6.81.03, then that tells us two things. For one, it means that the panel was originally manufactured with a system firmware version of less than 2.4.0. Second, it also means that no updates to the system's Z-Wave firmware have ever been applied.

Since you haven't updated the Z-Wave firmware for the system before, you can apply the update as normal. You will be downloading the newly updated 6.81.03 that has the proper fixes applied. Please see this helpful FAQ for more information about applying the patch tag.

Remember, your IQ Panel 2 must be on at least System Firmware Version 2.4.2 to apply the 6.81.03 Z-Wave Firmware. If your system is not on a high enough firmware, then now is a great time to update to the latest system firmware version, which is Version 2.5.2. Alternatively, you might choose to wait a few weeks for System Firmware Version 2.5.3, since it's coming so soon.

Another option is to just skip the Z-Wave update entirely. The older "pre-6.81.03" Z-Wave firmware versions are very stable, and they generally work great. All you are getting by updating the Z-Wave firmware is access to the Smart Start feature and an upgrade for your system's Z-Wave Security Protocol (from S0 to S2). If you do not care about these updates, then you can simply take no action.

2. My IQ Panel 2 is on Z-Wave Firmware 6.81.03, but I'm not on the latest System Firmware 2.5.2.

Your panel is on Z-Wave Firmware Version 6.81.03 either because it was manufactured that way, or because a Z-Wave firmware update was manually performed. In either case, the 6.81.03 Z-Wave Firmware Version your system is running is flawed, and we strongly advise applying a fix. There is no way to "downgrade" to an older Z-Wave firmware, so you must apply the newly fixed 6.81.03 Z-Wave Firmware to the panel.

Luckily, Qolsys made it very easy to fix the issue for users in this situation. All you need to do is update the system firmware to the latest version. By updating to System Firmware 2.5.2 with the 6.81.03 Z-Wave Firmware already installed, the appropriate fix will be applied so that your system's Z-Wave firmware will work in the proper manner. We recommend checking our IQ Panel 2 Plus System Firmware Updates Page for more information.

3. My IQ Panel 2 is on Z-Wave Firmware 6.81.03, AND I'm already on System Firmware 2.5.2.

Since your system is already on the latest firmware, you cannot perform a firmware update to fix the issue. Any user in this situation will not be able to take any action towards fixing their faulty Z-Wave firmware until Qolsys releases IQ Panel 2 System Firmware Version 2.5.3. Once 2.5.3 is available, you can download that Z-Wave firmware, and the updated 6.81.03 Z-Wave Firmware will also be automatically applied at that time. Qolsys says that System Firmware 2.5.3 will be made available later this month. Alarm Grid will post an update blog once 2.5.3 is available, so make sure to stay tuned.

UPDATE: Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus Firmware Version 2.5.3 is now available! Please see this blog post for more information.

We understand that this is a lot of information to take in for a relatively simple issue. If you need any clarification regarding the issue, or if you want to learn more about our monitoring services, 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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We have some important security news out of Iowa. A new statewide law now prevents local jurisdictions from fining alarm monitoring companies for false alarms caused by end users. Only end users can now be fined. The legislation was signed by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds on June 30, 2020.

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According key language within the newly enacted law, a local jurisdiction can no longer fine or penalize a monitoring company for any of the following occurrences:

  • False Alarms
  • Emergency Dispatch Resulting from a False Alarm
  • Permits Relating to Monitoring Service and/or System Installation

Regular readers of the Alarm Grid Blog may recall a very similar law being put into place last year for the state of Tennessee. Alarm Grid approves of these protection laws, as we provide all our central station customers with the resources and tools they need to prevent false alarms. As long as end users operate their systems carefully, false alarms should not occur.

Unfortunately, not every jurisdiction agrees with the principle of protecting alarm companies against false alarm fines. Sandy Springs, GA was recently in the headlines for the decision of the US Appeals Court to uphold the city's policy of fining monitoring companies. At Alarm Grid, we find laws that punish monitoring providers to be an ineffective solution in stopping false alarms. Most false alarms are innocent mistakes, and they are not intentionally caused by end users. So when we see protection laws like those that have been put into place by the states of Iowa and Tennessee, it's certainly some well-appreciated good news.

As an alarm monitoring company, preventing false alarms is always one of our top concerns. We never want our customers and end users to inconvenience or waste the resources of their local authorities. That is why we put together some handy content in the prevention of false alarms. We strongly recommend reviewing and following this guide to help ensure that false alarms do not occur on your security system.

If you have any questions about alarm monitoring service or false alarm prevention, please reach out to us! We are happy to answer any questions or concerns that you might have. Remember, preventing false alarms is a team effort that involves both the alarm company and the end user. We take responsibility by doing our part to provide you with the all of resources and tips you need to stop false alarms. The best way to contact us is to 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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Alarm Grid noticed a new addition to the AlarmNet360 platform for alarm dealers. There is now a banner counting down to the end of the respective AT&T 3G and Verizon CDMA network shut downs. It's another indication that the 3G Sunset is indeed a very pressing matter in the alarm industry.


If you are not familiar with the 3G/CDMA Sunset, it refers to quickly approaching dates at which the AT&T 3G Cellular Network and the Verizon CDMA Network will be permanently shut down and deactivated. Other cellular service providers also have their own dates for when they will decommission their older networks in favor of faster and more reliable LTE and 5G cellular networks. But for the alarm industry in the United States, the AT&T and Verizon shutdowns are particularly important, as many alarm systems rely on communication through these networks.

According to the banner shown on AlarmNet360, the AT&T 3G Sunset is set to occur after January 31, 2022. Likewise, the Verizon CDMA Sunset, according to the banner, will occur after December 31, 2022. We want to make it very clear that Alarm Grid is NOT stating that these are "official" dates for the respective network shutdowns. This is just what AlarmNet is displaying on their dealer portal. But it is our understanding that these dates are accurate and very important for end users to consider.

When a cellular network is shut down, any device communicating across that network will stop working. This includes many cellular alarm monitoring communicators that security systems depend upon for providing trustworthy and effective monitoring service. Inevitably, there will be many homes and businesses that fail to make the proper transition and get left behind during this period of adjustment. Our goal is to ensure that this happens to as few Alarm Grid customers as possible.

In preparation for the 3G/CDMA Sunset, AlarmNet has stopped allowing activations for these older cellular modules. Similar measures have also been taken by Alarm.com. But just because new activations are no longer permitted does not change the fact that there are many existing communicators out there.

Alarm Grid has promised to continue providing support for these modules as long as possible. We know that there are many people who aren't necessarily in a position to purchase a new communicator and/or an entirely new alarm panel right away. We're doing our best to accommodate everyone. But once an associated cellular network is shut down, there is nothing we can do. This is completely in the hands of the cellular service providers, and it is entirely out of our control. We fully understand the need to decommission older networks in favor of better technology, and we know that cellular service providers are making these decisions in the best interest of everyone involved. But we need to urge our customers. Do not get left behind.

The 3G/CDMA Sunset is not something to take lightly. There will be some homes and business that do not get the memo and/or decide to not take any action. They will be left vulnerable and unprotected. That is an unfortunate reality of the situation. But you do not need to let that happen to you or those around you. Most systems will allow you to replace an existing 3G or CDMA Communicator with a newer LTE communicator.

The term LTE stands for "Long-Term Evolution". Cellular service providers like AT&T and Verizon are planning to keep their LTE networks active and in-service for many, many years into the future, possibly even decades. The LTE networks will serve as a reliable backup for the new 5G networks, for which the infrastructure is still being rolled-out. Even as cellular technology continues to evolve and change, the LTE networks will remain as a stronghold, keeping millions of security systems monitored and protected. Cellular service providers will not let their LTE infrastructure go to waste. These networks will be there for your home or business when you need them the most.

If you haven't upgraded to LTE yet, please contact us. We will help you explore your options so that you can make an informed decision. Depending on your current equipment, you might only need to buy a new communicator. Others will need to replace entire alarm panels. Our technicians can provide more detail once we know exactly what you are working with. We understand that it might be difficult or impossible for you to purchase new alarm system equipment right now. That's fine. You still have time. But time is running out. You need to start preparing and thinking about these things now. That's why AlarmNet has slapped a giant banner marking the countdown dates. Take action now, if possible, so that you aren't racing to make an upgrade at the last minute.

For Alarm Grid customers it is important to note that, in most cases a communicator replacement will require that you work with one of our trained technicians. In some cases, this can be done without an appointment, but in many cases an appointment will be required. So please, also keep this in mind when you're planning to upgrade your equipment. If everyone who needs an upgrade waits until the last minute, the wait for an available appointment time may get longer than usual.

The best way to contact us regarding any questions or concerns you might have about the 3G/CDMA Sunset is to email support@alarmgrid.com. Please let us know about the security system equipment you currently have so that we can provide the most comprehensive and complete support possible. We may even ask for pictures of your panel and/or communicator so that we can help you to the best of our ability. Remember that our support hours for checking email run from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you and ensuring that your security system is kept monitored for many years to come!

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Just weeks after their last update, Alarm.com is already touting a new mobile app version for both Android and iOS. This time, it's Version 4.14. It will offer some new features and stability fixes. Users should upgrade as soon as possible once available. The update should be released soon.


The main upgrade featured in Alarm.com Mobile App Version 4.14 involves the Alarm.com Doorbell Cameras. Specifically, these are the SkyBell ADC-VDB101 and SkyBell ADC-VDB102 Round Doorbell, as well as the SkyBell ADC-VDB105 and SkyBell ADC-VDB106 Slimline Doorbell. Mobile App Update 4.14 adds new actions to the Doorbell Call Menu within the app. This will allow users to more quickly respond to visitors.

Through the Doorbell Call Menu, users will be able to adjust their lighting devices, control their garage doors, and even arm their systems. Previously, the Doorbell Call Menu only allowed users to disarm their systems and operate Z-Wave door locks. We expect that this increased functionality will prove to be very useful for end users who have video doorbells set up for use with the Alarm.com.

And like always, a new update should provide general stability improvements and a more consistent end user experience overall. That is why we recommend updating to the latest version as soon as it is available. Alarm.com tends to have somewhat of a delay between announcing new app updates and actually releasing them. Don't be surprised if Version 4.14 isn't released for several days from now.

If you have any questions about Alarm.com, or if you are interested in starting Alarm.com monitoring service, please reach out to us! We would be happy to help you get started with your own Alarm.com Security System for your home or business. The best way to contact us is to 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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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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