Smart Home Posts

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According to a recent report, most Americans have yet to embrace smart home technology. Just 35% of US households have at least one smart home device. Needless to say, adding some automation devices to your home can really put you ahead of the game and make your life more convenient.

Gocontrol ws15z5 1 z wave smart light switch

The recent study included smart home devices such as security cameras, smart doorbell cameras, smart lighting devices, smart controllers, smart door locks, smart garage door controllers, smart thermostats, and more. The findings state that security cameras represent the most popular smart home item, as they are used by 15% of households. But doorbell cameras are showing the fastest growth, as their use has increased by 64% in the past year.

It should also come as no surprise that the study found high income homes more likely to feature smart home devices. Specifically, it was found that households with an annual income of $150,000 or higher are the most likely to own a broad portfolio of smart home devices. While it's true that smart home devices are generally seen as "luxury items", they are becoming increasingly affordable and accessible to more households than ever before.

While we suspected that the prevalence of smart home devices would be somewhat lacking, we did not expect the figures to be this low. It's clear that there is still much potential for the growth of the smart home industry. With about 65% of households reporting no smart home devices, we are sure that many people could really make their lives more convenient by adding just a few. Security-oriented devices like cameras can also provide major benefits.

What many people don't realize is that smart home devices are actually more accessible than ever. They aren't only restricted to the wealthy. Most middle class households can also get started with home automation. And it doesn't mean you need to deck out your entire house with smart home devices. Many users start small. Maybe you would just add some smart lights to an important room, or you could install a camera to monitor the entrance.

Alarm Grid offers many security systems that feature outstanding smart home integrations, such as the Honeywell Lyric and the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. And with the right monitoring plan, you can even control your smart devices remotely from virtually anywhere in the world. Whether your smart home plans are big or small, we're here to help you get started. There are all sorts of possibilities when you explore the exciting world of smart home automation!

If you want to learn more about how you can create an affordable and effective smart home to make your life more convenient, send an email to support@alarmgrid.com. Also check out our monitoring page to learn more about the services we offer. If you decide to email us, then keep in mind that our hours for responding via email run from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to helping you build a convenient smart home that you and your family will love!

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After our big return last week, we're back in a major way with 12 new videos this week! As our headquarters has only partially reopened, I had to try doing some videos again. But a familiar face has returned. We're sure you're eager to see who. Anyway, here come the new Alarm Grid videos!


Adjusting Z-Wave Device Limits On My Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus

I show you how to adjust the Z-Wave device limits on your Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus Security System. The Z-Wave device limits determine how many of each Z-Wave device type you can pair with the system. There are limits for thermostats, smart sockets, door locks, lights, garage doors, and "other" Z-Wave devices. The maximum total limit for all devices combined is 152 Z-Wave devices. You will need the Installer Code or Dealer Code (default 1111 and 2222, respectively) to change these limits. Also note that the Z-Wave device limit for Alarm.com is 122 Z-Wave devices.


Upgrading the Z-Wave Firmware for My Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus?

I show you how to upgrade the Z-Wave firmware for a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus System. This is something you may want to do if the system is running a Z-Wave firmware of less than 6.81.03. At that Z-Wave firmware, you unlock the Smart Start feature for quickly adding Z-Wave devices, and you upgrade the system to the S2 security protocol for automation devices. Any Qolsys IQ Panel 2 manufactured with System Firmware Version 2.4.0 or higher (upgrading later doesn't count) will already have this Z-Wave Firmware Version.


Overview of the Smart Start Feature on the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus

I talk about the Smart Start feature that can be used with any Qolsys IQ Panel 2 that is running Z-Wave Firmware Version 6.81.03 or higher. The Smart Start feature allows you to pair Z-Wave devices by scanning a QR code, instead of performing a traditional inclusion/exclusion process. As of June 2020, only a very limited selection of Z-Wave devices from Qolsys, Alarm.com, Eaton, and Danalock are compatible with the feature. But it can save you time if adding a large number of Z-Wave devices.


Using the Smart Start Feature on the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus

I show you how to use the Smart Start feature on a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus to add new Z-Wave devices. If your IQ Panel 2 is on Z-Wave Firmware Version 6.81.03 or higher and you have a compatible Z-Wave device, then you can use the Smart Start feature to add it to the Z-Wave network. Depending on the Z-Wave device, the QR code may be on the packaging or on the device itself. Some may have the code on both the packaging and the device.


How Many Z-Wave Devices are Supported on the 2GIG GC2 or GC2e?

I discuss the Z-Wave device limits for the 2GIG GC2 and the 2GIG GC2e. The classic GC2 has a standard Z-Wave controller, while the newer GC2e has an upgraded Z-Wave Plus controller. Both support the same Z-Wave devices, though Z-Wave Plus devices will get an extended range and battery life when used with the GC2e. The Z-Wave device limit for both systems is 232 Z-Wave devices, though it should be considered that adding a very large number of Z-Wave devices can diminish system performance.


How Many Z-Wave Devices are Supported on the 2GIG GC3 or GC3e?

I discuss the Z-Wave device limits for the 2GIG GC3 and 2GIG GC3e. Both of these systems have built-in Z-Wave Plus controllers for building an automation network of smart devices. Just like the "lower-end" 2GIG Systems, the GC3 and GC3e can support a maximum of 232 Z-Wave devices, though usually far fewer are actually used in practice. You should also keep in mind that Alarm.com has its own Z-Wave device limit of 122 devices. This means that only the first 122 Z-Wave devices paired with the system will get pushed over to Alarm.com.


Excluding the Kwikset Z-Wave Lock from the Lyric Controller

I show you how to exclude a Kwikset Z-Wave Lock from a Z-Wave network using a Honeywell Lyric Alarm System. Clearing the lock from the network will wipe out all of its residual Z-Wave data. This is normally done before adding the lock to the Z-Wave network, or when you need to delete it from the system. The Lyric can be used to clear the Z-Wave network data in the lock, even if the lock wasn’t paired using the Lyric to begin with.


Including the Kwikset Z-Wave Lock from the Lyric Controller

I show you how to pair a Kwikset Z-Wave Lock with your Honeywell Lyric Alarm System. This will allow you to control the lock from the panel and remotely from Total Connect 2.0 if the system is monitored and set up with the service. Normally, an exclusion process is performed before the inclusion process. Most Kwikset Locks have a simple button that is used for including and excluding. Pressing this button while the system is in its inclusion mode will include the lock into the Z-Wave network.


Excluding a Schlage Z-Wave Lock with the Honeywell Lyric

I show you how to exclude a Schlage Z-Wave Lock from a Z-Wave network using the Honeywell Lyric Alarm System. Just like most other Z-Wave devices, an exclusion process is normally performed either before adding the device to the Z-Wave network, or when deleting the device from the Z-Wave hub. For a Schlage Lock, you must access the programming code that is found on a white sticker underneath the lock's main cover. You will need a screwdriver to remove this cover.


Including a Schalge Z-Wave Lock with the Honeywell Lyric

I show you how to include a Schlage Z-Wave Lock to the Lyric's Z-Wave network. A Schlage Lock will follow the same process for inclusion as it does for exclusion. However, you will normally want to exclude the lock first to wipe out any residual Z-Wave data. To include the lock, simply enter the programming code on the lock's sticker, followed by the [0] key while the Lyric System is in the appropriate Z-Wave inclusion mode.


Enrolling a Z-Wave Lock to My Qolsys IQ Panel 2

In his triumphant return, the always fantastic Jorge shows you how to enroll a Z-Wave door lock to your Qolsys IQ Panel 2 System. This is done by putting the IQ Panel 2 into its Z-Wave inclusion mode and then activating the inclusion function on the lock. For most locks, you will want to clear the lock from the network to wipe its residual Z-Wave data before completing the inclusion process. The lock can then be controlled from the panel, as well as from Alarm.com if the system is monitored with access to the service.


Resetting an Interlogix Simon XT to Factory Defaults

This is an update from a previous video shot more than a year ago. Jorge shows you how to reset an Interlogix Simon XT System back to its factory default settings. This will reset the Master Code (1234) and the Installer and Dealer Codes (both 4321), delete any added codes and system zones, and restore all settings and configurations to their default values. It is important to note that if the option for "Phone Lock" in system programming is enabled, then certain settings will not be affected by the default.

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After a long hiatus, our video recap makes its triumphant return! With our headquarters only partially reopened, all the new videos feature myself. We promise your favorite video stars Jorge and Jarrett will be back soon. But for now, check out these four (4) new videos about Z-Wave locks!


Including the August Smart Lock Pro to the Lyric Controller

I show you how to pair the August Smart Lock Pro with the Honeywell Lyric Alarm System. All Z-Wave operation for the August Smart Lock Pro is accomplished through the August Home App. You will need to first set up the lock through the app before you will be able to pair it with the Lyric System. The app can be downloaded for free from both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.


Excluding the August Smart Lock Pro to the Lyric Controller

I show you how to exclude the August Smart Lock Pro from the Honeywell Lyric Alarm System. Just like with the inclusion process, the exclusion process is done through the August Home App. The app will know whether or not the August Smart Lock Pro is currently paired with a Z-Wave network. Unlike most Z-Wave devices, you do not need to perform an exclusion before attempting to pair the August Smart Lock Pro with a Z-Wave network.


Including the Yale Z-Wave Door Lock to the Lyric Controller

I show you how to pair a Yale Z-Wave Door Lock with the Honeywell Lyric Alarm System. Pairing a Yale Lock with your Lyric Panel will offer several advantages. For one, you can control the lock locally at the panel. And if your system is monitored with access to Total Connect 2.0, then you will also be able to control the lock remotely using a phone or web browser, as well as include the lock with Total Connect 2.0 smart scenes.


Exclude the Yale Z-Wave Door Lock to the Lyric Controller

I show you how to exclude a Yale Z-Wave Door Lock from the Honeywell Lyric System. Excluding a Z-Wave device basically means deleting, or clearing, it from a Z-Wave network. Once you do this, you will need to pair the device with a new Z-Wave network before you will be able to use it with a Z-Wave controller. Unlike most Z-Wave devices, you do not need to exclude a Yale Lock from a Z-Wave network before performing the inclusion process.

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If you're looking for a versatile and effective smart lock solution, then August Smart Lock devices might be for you! There are all sorts of useful integrations you can set up using August Smart Locks, and you can certainly find an option that works for you with the right equipment!

August smart lock pro dark gray z wave deadbolt lock 3rd generat

The easiest way to interface an August Smart Lock with a security system is through Z-Wave. Many wireless alarm panels readily accept Z-Wave devices, and the pairing process is actually very easy. The important thing to remember though is that only the August Smart Lock PRO offers Z-Wave functionality. The PRO is the version of the August Smart Lock sold by Alarm Grid. If you have a non-PRO model, then it won't be able to do Z-Wave.

The advantage to pairing an August Smart Lock PRO with your security system as a Z-Wave device is that it will be automatically pushed over to an interactive automation platform used with your system. This is typically Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com depending on the system you are using. By having your August Smart Lock PRO on the same platform as your other automation devices, you can create robust smart scenes for automatic operation. This truly is a great way to get the most out of your August device!

But let's say that you have the non-Z-Wave, "standard" model. There are still ways in which you can include your August Lock with your automation network. The August Connect WIFI Bridge will allow you to connect your August Smart Lock with a local WIFI network. This is possible for both the PRO and non-PRO models. By doing this, you can complete a server-to-server integration with Total Connect 2.0. We have a handy FAQ on the subject that you can view here. Please note that this WIFI integration is only available for TC2. If you want to integrate an August Lock with Alarm.com, then it has to be through Z-Wave. And if you need to buy both the August Smart Lock PRO and the August Connect Bridge, then make sure to scope out this bundled package that includes both!

Lastly, if you are a frequent user of iOS devices and Apple HomeKit, then you might be interested in pairing your August Smart Lock PRO with your HomeKit network. This can technically be accomplished without any extra equipment, as any August Smart Lock PRO is capable of communicating with a dedicated HomeKit hub across a Bluetooth connection. However, we usually recommend using the August Connect Bridge for this job, as the connection will be more reliable. Using WIFI instead of Bluetooth also allows the lock and the Apple HomeKit hub to be located further apart. For more info on using your August Lock with HomeKit, check out this FAQ.

The August Smart Lock PRO and the optional Connect WIFI Bridge are both available for purchase from Alarm Grid! If you have any questions about the August Smart Lock PRO, or if you want to learn more about monitoring service for access to Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com, send us an email to support@alarmgrid.com. We're always happy to help you explore your options so that you can make an informed purchasing decision. Our support and planner teams check email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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With Father's Day right around the corner (Sunday, June 21st), we thought it'd be a good time to suggest some security and automation gifts to surprise the dad in your life. You don't need to get your dad another neck-tie this year. We've got some neat gifts that dad is sure to love!


The Gift of Security!

If dad doesn't have a security system yet, then he's really missing out. You can have peace of mind in knowing that his home is safe while he's out doing dad stuff like golfing, fishing, or going to a bbq. Maybe your dad thinks he doesn't need security? Well, you could remind him of a big fat insurance discount that he could get by getting his home monitored. That will excite him even more than a weekend trip to the hardware store.

We have lots of great panels available, though the most popular right now are the Honeywell Lyric and the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. These are both wireless panels that are very easy to set up, even for the dad who doesn't know his way around a tool-kit. You won't hear any swear words coming out of the work shed when dad goes to set up his new system. And he'll probably want to show it off to all the neighbors.

Honeywell lyric controller encrypted wireless security system


Shopping on a Budget?

Okay, totally understand if you're strapped for cash and can't drop a few hundred dollars on a brand-new security system. But just because you're looking to spend $30 rather than $300 doesn't mean you can't make dad smile. If your dad already has a system, then why not get him a new sensor or two? Door and window contacts are always affordable. Just get a model that works with dad's security system. The VERSA-2GIG and the VERSA-GE are both extremely popular, and they won't break the bank!

Maybe you've already surprised dad with a contact sensor before? You could always check out some motion sensors. These are great for knowing if someone is snooping around the basement or the garage. Again, you want to make sure you get a model compatible with dad's system. Popular options include the Honeywell SiXPIR, the 2GIG PIR1-345, and the DSC PG9914. And if you aren't sure which models will work with your dad's system, just reach out to us, and we'll be happy to help!

2gig pir1 345

Automation Excitement!

If dad already has a wireless system, then chances are that it doubles as an automation controller. You can surprise dad with some new Z-Wave automation devices for him to pair with his system. Lighting devices are always a great choice. Your dad will be able to turn the lights ON and OFF without getting up, and he can create smart scenes for automatic control. And a great thing about smart lights - they don't break the bank!

Your dad might like an in-wall switch as a nice weekend installation project. Some of our favorite in-wall switches include the GE 14318 and the Resideo Z5SWITCH. Or if your dad is not into wiring, you can get him a plug-in lamp module like the GE 28170 or the Resideo Z5DIMPID. And the great thing about these Z-Wave devices is that they are universally compatible and will work with any system that operates as a Z-Wave controller!

Maybe the smart lighting game has already been introduced to dad's house? In that case, you could make his day with a different automation device like a Z-Wave thermostat. Our favorites right now are the Honeywell T6 PRO and the Alarm.com ADC-T3000. Or if you really want to get your dad something a little more unique, then you could try a smart water valve like the Alarm.com ADC-SWV100. This can be very useful in preventing dad from experiencing the headache of a flooded basement or laundry room.

Ge 28170 side of z wave plug in smart dimmer

Help Dad Keep an Eye on the Neighbors

We all know that dads like to know what's going on outside. That is why we'd be foolish not to recommend some outdoor security cameras. These devices are actually easy to install, and they can give your dad a good look at the front lawn while he's tucked away in his man cave. You'll want to consider whether his system supports Alarm.com or Total Connect 2.0. For ADC, we like the Alarm.com ADC-V723. If dad has TC2, then go with the Honeywell IPCAM-WOC1.

Maybe dad isn't ready to upgrade to video monitoring quite yet? Don't worry! He can still make sure the neighbor kids stay off the lawn with a different type of camera. One popular option is to use a SkyBell Video Doorbell. These can be used without needing to upgrade to a full-on video monitoring plan. There are models for Total Connect 2.0, and others for Alarm.com. Another possibility is to look into the Arlo Cameras that do not use monitoring service through ADC or TC2.

Honeywell lyric oc1 standalone wifi outdoor 1080p hd total conne

The Best Gift of All!

We've saved the best gift idea for last. It isn't something you can hold in your hand, but it's something that every dad will love, even if they have all the security gadgets under the sun. That is the gift of alarm monitoring service! Why not offer to cover dad's monitoring bill for the next year? That is truly the gift that keeps on giving. Talk it over with dad, and when you're ready, the two of you can contact us to make the arrangements. We'll charge your card every month, with no added fees or sudden surprises. Meanwhile, your dad will be able to spend his money on other important things like new golf clubs or something. Oh dads....

If you haven't already, make sure to check out our monitoring page. This will teach you about the different plans offered from Alarm Grid so that you can choose the perfect one for your dad's needs. Once you're ready, shoot us an email at support@alarmgrid.com or call us at (888) 818-7728 to set things up. Remember that our business hours run from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. Our team will be thrilled to help you give your dad the gift of home security! We look forward to hearing from you!

Alarm grid inside security stickers

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One feature on the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus that we have never discussed before is the Smart Start feature. This feature is used for conveniently enrolling compatible smart home automation devices by scanning a QR code. It is a nice alternative to the traditional inclusion process.

Qolsys iq panel 2 plus verizon lte with powerg s line and legacy

The Smart Start feature was quietly included back in Qolsys IQ Panel 2 System Firmware Version 2.4.0. As it is a relatively minor feature, it was largely overlooked, and we never covered it in great detail. If your Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus had System Firmware Version 2.4.0 or higher installed when it was brand-new, then it already has the Smart Start feature. If the system was running a lower firmware version when brand-new, then you need to upgrade the Z-Wave firmware for the system to unlock the feature. Upgrading the system firmware will not automatically update the Z-Wave firmware and provide access to the Smart Start feature. We wrote a comprehensive FAQ on upgrading the Z-Wave firmware on a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, which you can view here.

The required Z-Wave firmware version for using the Smart Start feature on the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 is Z-Wave Firmware Version 6.81.03. In addition to providing access to the Smart Start feature, upgrading to this Z-Wave firmware version will also upgrade the Z-Wave security protocol for the system to S2. This protocol is more advanced and offers better security than the Z-Wave security protocol previously used with the system. You won't notice any real changes with the S2 protocol, but it is still a nice addition.

UPDATE: Qolsys has identified issues affecting IQ Panel 2 Z-Wave Firmware Version 6.81.03. They are currently working on a new Z-Wave firmware version to fix these issues. But as of July 2020, the new Z-Wave firmware version is not yet available.

Before we continue any further, we do want to stress that updating the Z-Wave firmware for an IQ Panel 2 System is completely, 100%, optional. This isn't nearly as important as updating the system firmware to the latest version. We mention this fact because updating the system's Z-Wave firmware often requires clearing all of the Z-Wave devices from the network and then re-adding them once the update is complete. This can be extremely inconvenient if you have a large Z-Wave network. And since all you're really doing here is gaining access to the Smart Start feature and making a slight improvement to the security for your automation network, we totally understand if you just decide to skip this process. Also note that you can attempt the updating process without clearing your Z-Wave network first. It's just that this may result in errors that can only be solved by ultimately clearing the network and then re-adding the devices. You should only clear the network and re-add the devices if devices that were working fine previously are later giving you issues after the update.

Note: We have noticed issues when using the August Smart Lock Pro with a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 System running a Z-Wave Firmware Version of 6.81.03. If you intend on using the August Smart Lock Pro with a Qolsys IQ Panel 2, then do NOT upgrade the panel Z-Wave firmware! This is expected to be fixed in a future Z-Wave firmware release.

If we haven't scared you away yet, let's take a look at the feature! Once your IQ Panel 2 is running a high enough Z-Wave firmware version, you will find the SMART START icon within the Z-Wave Devices Menu of Installer Programming. This menu is accessed by clicking the small grey bar at the top of the main screen and choosing Settings > Advanced Settings > enter Installer Code (default 1111) > Installation > Devices > Z-Wave Devices > SMART START.

Choosing SMART START will cause the panel to pull up the front camera for the IQ Panel 2. There will be a red square inside which you will position the QR code for the device. The QR code can be found either on the device itself or on its packaging. Simply position the QR code inside the red box, and the system will begin scanning.

Once the scan is successful, powering up the Z-Wave device will complete the setup process automatically. And just like that, you have saved yourself the trouble of performing the traditional exclusion/inclusion process for adding a new Z-Wave device. Petty cool!

At this time, the list of devices that can be added in this way is still very small. Here is the current list of devices that we know work with the feature:

For even more information regarding the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus Smart Start feature, we strongly recommend checking out this comprehensive FAQ we wrote on the feature. It will tell you pretty much everything you would want to know about using Smart Start on the IQ Panel 2.

If you have any additional questions about the Smart Start feature or the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, including the system's Z-Wave firmware version, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. This email is also great if you want to contact us about starting monitoring service. Our team checks email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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A minor update was recently made on Alarm.com to allow end users to view the recent activity history for their smart lights. Any Z-Wave light programmed with your Alarm.com Security System will now appear on the Activity page when it is turned ON/OFF or has its brightness level adjusted.


If you are not familiar with the Activity page on Alarm.com, it is a useful tool that lets you see recent events involving both your security system and your Alarm.com account. You can check this page to see when your system was armed, disarmed, or went into alarm mode. And thanks to a new update from Alarm.com, users will now be able to see the activity history for their smart lights.

According to Alarm.com, their Activity page will now display events for lights being turned ON and OFF. Alarm.com will also display when a dimmable light has had its brightness level adjusted. Each documented lighting event will include the exact hour and minute of the day when it took place. If you ever need to prove that the lights were Turned ON or OFF at a specific time, Alarm.com can now serve as hard evidence.

While this new feature might not seem like big news, it can be quite useful for monitoring your home or business. A light being turned ON or OFF at an unexpected time could be something worth investigating. And having the exact timestamp for the lighting activity can serve as strong evidence in many situations.

Accessing the Activity page on your Alarm.com account is super easy. Simply login to your Alarm.com account through a web browser. Then click the Activity button on the left-hand side. This will take you to the Activity page so that you can review all recent system activity. Remember that other events like Arming, Disarming, Alarm Events, and logging into your Alarm.com account will also be displayed on this screen.

The picture below shows the activity page for our demo account. As you can see, it now shows light activity for a light named Office and another called Hallway.


You can also use the Activity page to search for specific events and download your Activity log in PDF or CSV format. This is a great place to quickly review all the activity on your alarm system. It can be really useful for determining a true timeline of the events that occurred in your home or business.

If you have any questions about the Alarm.com Activity page, or if you are interested in signing up for monitoring service, 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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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.

Qolsys iq lightbulb dimmable z wave lightbulb for iq and iq pane

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.

Honeywell lyric controller encrypted wireless security system

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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One of the best perks of owning a home security system is that it can also serve as an automation hub for controlling compatible smart devices. Apple HomeKit is an excellent platform to build around if you are a frequent iOS or Apple user. And a new Lyric System can make a great addition!

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If you aren't familiar with Apple HomeKit, it is an app for iOS devices that allows you to control and automate compatible devices around your home. What's really cool is that you can perform various actions from virtually anywhere in the world using spoken Siri voice commands. Possible actions include arming or disarming your security system, controlling Lutron Smart Lights, or performing a complete HomeKit scene in which multiple devices are controlled at once.

In order to get started using a Lyric with Apple HomeKit, you must have a Lyric System that is set up for alarm monitoring service automation control. For Alarm Grid monitored customers, this means that you will need a Silver Plan or higher. More information is available on our monitoring page. Your alarm monitoring company can then activate the HomeKit feature for your Lyric System. Then just follow this simple FAQ to get it set up.

Remember that having a dedicated HomeKit Hub as part of your automation network is strongly recommended. This can be an iPad, an Apple HomePod, or an AppleTV Gen 4 or higher. You might also want to check out this FAQ on creating HomeKit Automations. That is how you will have your HomeKit compatible devices activate automatically with certain system events or based upon a set schedule.

When expanding upon your HomeKit network, make sure to look for devices that feature the Apple Home logo or other marking identifying them as HomeKit-compatible.

The only way to get your Honeywell Lyric set up for use with Apple HomeKit is to get it monitored. Please email us at support@alarmgrid.com for more information. We check our email Monday thru Friday from 9am to 8pm ET. Our team will be happy to help you find new HomeKit devices and build a robust and powerful HomeKit network that you can control from anywhere using your voice. Getting started is super easy, and we will be there every step of the way!

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There's much more to the potential of your security system than just protecting your home or business. Most modern alarm panels offer the necessary built-in hardware to establish a complete smart automation network that you can control from virtually anywhere in the world using your phone.

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In the world of smart devices and Internet of Things (IoT), an automation refers to an action that occurs automatically. The trigger for an automation to occur could be something like a sensor faulting on your security system, your system going into alarm, or even the time of day. Automations can also be triggered manually either at the panel or through a mobile app on your smartphone. Most Alarm Grid customers use the Total Connect 2.0 App or the Alarm.com App depending on which system they have. Remember, remote automation control is only included with the Silver Level Plans and higher for Alarm Grid.

There are all sorts of automation devices you can pair with your system and control remotely. Smart lights are a great place to start. It's very easy to replace an existing in-wall switch or dimmer module. There are also plug-in lamp modules that can be set up with needing to use any special tools or equipment. Just plug in the unit, enroll it with your automation hub, plug in a lamp to the designated socket, and enjoy. Setting up automations for your smart lights is perfect for those absentminded moments where you forget to turn off the lights before leaving. You can even have light turn on designated times while you are on vacation to make it look like you are home!

Smart door locks also represent a population automation option. These allow you to lock or unlock your door even while you are away from home. This can be very useful if you forgot to lock up before heading out for the day, and you can also use it to let trusted people inside, such a scheduled maintenance worker, a house maid, or your friend who arrived just a little too early. Many users also set up locks to respond automatically. For example, you might have your back door set to automatically lock whenever you set your security system to Arm Away.

Last and certainly not least, smart thermostats offer some really cool functionality, and they can provide you with tremendous savings in your energy expenses. You are most likely already familiar with programmable thermostats that you can use to have the temperature adjusted automatically at set time intervals. But smart thermostats take things to the next level. You can have your thermostat automatically switch to a more energy efficient level as soon as you arm for the system and leave. And if your automation platform allows for geofencing, then you can have the thermostat activate automatically once you back within a certain distance from your home. It's also really nice to be able to adjust the temperature remotely if needed, in case you have some invited guests arrive while you are away. You can easily monitor your energy usage.

Getting started with home automation for security systems is super easy. You should start by finding out if your panel already has a Z-Wave controller built-in. Most new wireless panels have this functionality. If your panel doesn't support Z-Wave, then there may be an add-on to provide the capability. Then you can start building the perfect smart home! If you have any questions about home automation, or if you would like to learn more about or monitoring plans, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. We check emails from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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