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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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Earlier this week, we talked about the new look that will be coming to Apple HomeKit with Apple iOS 14. Well we have more exciting news regarding Apple HomeKit, as it appears that HomeKit-compatible cameras will soon be gaining facial recognition capabilities. This is super exciting stuff!


According to Apple, the face detection feature will be used to identify family members and make sure that there are no unidentified individuals inside the house. If the camera sees a face that it does not recognize, then the user can get an alert through HomeKit regarding the activity. We're sure that this could also work quite well in a small business environment.

As this is a very newly announced feature by Apple, we're not sure whether or not facial recognition will be available for any HomeKit Camera, or if it will only work with certain camera models. We also have no timetable as for when this new feature will be available, though we have heard possibly September. You would need to check with Apple support to receive more specific information.

Unfortunately, Alarm Grid does not offer any Apple HomeKit Cameras at this time. However, we do offer the Honeywell Lyric Alarm System, which offers a great HomeKit integration. Many users will use a Lyric with Alarm Grid monitoring service, while setting up a separate network of HomeKit Security Cameras for video surveillance. This is certainly a viable option.

Another, though admittedly less robust, option is to get a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus System with Alarm.com Security Cameras. Although these cameras are not equipped with facial recognition, they do have powerful Video Analytics features to keep your home or business safe. And the IQ Panel 2 has a built-in camera that uses facial recognition for disarm photos.

Although we don't have much information on the HomeKit Camera Face Recognition feature right now, please stay tuned to our blog, as we will be updating as we learn more. And like always, you can reach out to us for information about our monitoring plans by emailing 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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Apple HomeKit will soon be getting a new look to go along with the upcoming Apple iOS 14. This new, refreshed look brings a side-bar to the left-hand side of Apple HomeKit. The functionality should remain largely the same as the current version. But you're sure to love this sleek, new look!


As you know, we are big fans of Apple HomeKit when paired with the Honeywell Lyric Alarm System. By pairing your Lyric System with your Apple HomeKit Network you can control the system from pretty much anywhere using Siri Voice Commands. We have a guide to setting up the Lyric with HomeKit, which you can view here. We also recommend checking out this other guide to setting up HomeKit Automations.

As you can see above, the new look for Apple HomeKit will feature a new side-bar on the left-hand side to make navigation a bit easier. This layout will better utilize the space available on the iPad. However, we still expect the general principles to using Apple HomeKit to remain the same. It's nice to see that Apple hasn't totally overhauled Apple HomeKit, but they are changing it up enough to keep things fresh. From the picture shown at the top of this post, it looks great!

This new HomeKit look won't be arriving until Apple iOS 14 is available. Unfortunately, we don't have a firm release date available quite yet. It is our understanding that it will come out sometime in September. You would need to check with Apple for more info. However, we can assure you that the Apple Home App will automatically update once iOS 14 is installed on your Apple device. Until iOS 14 is out, you'll just have to wait patiently for the time being.

Like we said, we really don't know too much about what Apple is planning for their iOS 14 release. But we can say that we are really excited about the new "change" coming to HomeKit. If you want to learn more about using the Lyric with HomeKit, or if you are interested in 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!

Note: We have learned that this new look for HomeKit for Apple iOS 14 will only be visible for the Apple iPad. The Apple iPhone version of HomeKit will not be getting the same makeover.

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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 are looking for a wireless sensor solution that comes fully integrated into a door or window, then Andersen Doors and Windows might be for you. There are many Andersen Doors and Windows that come with integrated 345 MHz wireless sensors for using with a compatible alarm system.

Qolsys iq panel 2 plus verizon lte with powerg and legacy honeyw

The wireless sensors that come built into Andersen Doors and Windows are commonly referred to as Andersen Verilock Sensors. For a complete list of Andersen Doors and Windows that utilize these integrated sensors, please see this FAQ as a reference. While we are specifically using this post to highlight the compatibility between the Andersen Verilock Sensors and the 345 MHz Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, there is no reason why you couldn't also use these sensors with a different 345 MHz system, like the Honeywell Lyric or one of the Honeywell LYNX Touch Panels.

The 345 MHz Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus serves as a great system for the integrated Andersen Door and Window Sensors, specifically due to the fact that the IQ2+ supports a large number of wireless zones (up to 128). This is important because each Andersen Verilock Sensor will typically use two (2) wireless zones for full system operation. One zone (Loop 1) will monitor for the door or window being opened/closed. The other zone (Loop 2) will monitor for the door or window being locked/unlocked. These sensors have a wireless range of roughly 500 feet when used in an open air environment. Remember that obstacles like thick walls and large metal objects can reduce wireless range.


One very important thing to note about Andersen products is that they are typically only sold through licensed Andersen dealers. Alarm Grid cannot sell these sensors directly. Also, Andersen mandates in its terms of service that their integrated door and window sensors only be installed by professional installers who are certified and approved by Andersen. Failure to comply with the Andersen terms of service can result in the warranty for your door or window being terminated. It is strongly advised that you visit the Andersen website and contact a dealer in your area if you are serious about installing these doors and/or windows.

While Andersen does have strict policies regarding the sale and installation of their integrated sensors, they also have an extensive YouTube Channel with lots of informational and how-to videos involving their products. It is truly a great resource for everyone from the DIY weekend warrior looking to complete their own installation, to the professional installer certified by Andersen. We posted a general informational video from Andersen above, but there are plenty more to check out if you are hoping to learn more about these products.

The best complement for Andersen Security Doors and Windows is alarm monitoring service. And that is a job for Alarm Grid! We offer monitoring plans for all needs and budgets so that you can have an automatic response if your Andersen Door or Window detects activity. If you are hoping to get started with Alarm Grid monitoring service, feel free to email us at support@alarmgrid.com. Our technicians and security planners will be happy to help you get started with monitoring service for your home or business. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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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.

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.

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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About a month ago, Alarm.com started a special demand response program for Baltimore Gas & Electric customers who use Alarm.com for smart thermostat control. We are now proud to say that a similar cost-savings program is now open to customers of LA Dept. of Water & Power (LADWP).


Demand response programs, such as the one between ADC and LADWP, are designed to help mitigate demand for electricity during peak hours. Alarm.com customers who enroll in this new program can earn valuable rewards, including credits that go towards their energy bills. These savings will be in addition to the cost-saving benefits of owning a smart thermostat in the first place. This program is virtually identical to the previous partnership between Alarm.com and Baltimore Gas & Electric, which you can read about here.

By enrolling in this program, you will be allowing LADWP to make small temperature adjustments to any smart thermostat that has been enrolled with your Alarm.com account. These temperature adjustments are expected to be very small and only occur during peak demand hours, such as during a hot summer afternoon, when nearly everyone is expected to be running an AC system. This program is completely optional, and no additional equipment is required. You just need to be both an LADWP customer and an Alarm.com customer with a smart thermostat enrolled on your system.

All Alarm.com customers who use one or more smart thermostat devices with their accounts should soon be receiving a notification about this new programming through both the Alarm.com website and mobile app sometime in the near future. This will include information on getting started. If you sill have any additional questions about this program, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. You might also want to contact your energy provider directly to see if there are any similar demand response programs available in your area. We look forward to hearing from you!

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