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I've been hearing about Matter for a while now, and a new version was released this month. I haven't heard enough to give me a clear idea exactly what the fuss is about. So, I set out to educate myself, and hopefully I can educate you in the process. Here's what I've learned about Matter

Matter is a Protocol

Matter is a protocol and it officially launched on October 4, 2022 with Version 1.0. It is the official protocol of IoT (Internet of Things) devices. Equipment that uses Matter can do so using wired media (Ethernet) or wirelessly (WIFI, Thread). It is an open source protocol that is governed by the Connectivity Standards Alliance™ (CSA), formerly the Zigbee Alliance. Matter is being developed and promoted by some of the largest companies in the world including Amazon, Google, Apple, Ikea, LG, Resideo, Samsung, the list goes on (and on).

A big difference between Matter and technologies like Z-Wave and Zigbee is that Matter is a protocol only. It runs on existing IP infrastructure. By contrast, Zigbee and Z-Wave combine their networking and protocol elements. Since 2022, the CSA has released an update for Matter about every six (6) months, with the latest version, 1.3 being released on May 8, 2024.

Matter began as an idea back in December of 2019 when the "Project: Connected Home over IP" (CHIP) working group was created. The group was founded by Amazon, Apple, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance. As noted above, The Connectivity Standards Alliance™, formerly the Zigbee Alliance, is the governing body over development, certification, and promotion of Matter.

Matter Timeline Through May 2024:

  • December 2019 - Amazon, Apple, Google, Zigbee Alliance, and other companies go public with the CHIP initiative.
  • May 2021 - The name is changed to Matter. Protocol development is under way. At this time, the Zigbee Alliance also changes its name to the Connectivity Standards Alliance™ (CSA).
  • August 2021 - Delay 1. Due to the pandemic, along with some other issues, the Software Development Kit (SDK) is delayed from the end of 2021 to the latter half of 2022.
  • March 2022 - Delay 2. Additional testing is required, so launch will be later in the year.
  • October 4, 2022 - Matter 1.0 is released. Specifications are now available, and certification of devices can now begin.
  • Early October 2022 - Samsung SmartThings Hubs and Android Apps are updated to support Matter with a software upgrade. Apple iOS users have to wait a little longer.
  • October 24, 2022 - Apple introduces Mac OS 13.0, iOS, iPadOS, tvOS 16.1, and Watch OS 9.1. This gets Apple devices ready for Matter.
  • November 3, 2022 - CSA hosts a launch event in Amsterdam.
  • December 16, 2022 - Google's ecosystem now supports Matter. An Android Smartphone is required for installation.
  • December 19, 2022 - Amazon updates 17 Echo models to include Matter support for specific product groups (lamps, sockets, switches) via WIFI. Also, the Alexa App for Android is updated for the commissioning of Matter devices via phone.
  • May 2, 2023 - Amazon opens up Matter via Thread and makes the Echo 4, a border router for the Thread radio protocol.
  • May 18, 2013 - Matter version 1.1 is released with minor improvements.
  • Early September 2023 - Matter Bridges can now be added to Amazon Alexa and Samsung SmartThings apps. Finally, devices with Zigbee, Z-Wave and possibly other wireless protocols are accessible via all major Matter ecosystems.
  • September 19, 2023 - Phillips Hue Smartbridge gets Matter.
  • October 23, 2023 - Matter 1.2 is released. It includes nine (9) more product categories and other improvements.
  • May 8, 2024 - Matter 1.3 is released. This update brings energy management to Matter and adds more new product categories. One new product category is Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE). This allows you to control when an electric vehicle is charged, or how much charge it receives. You can even specify how many miles of range you want to charge to, and by what time. This update also adds product categories for home appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers, laundry dryers, and robot vacuums. Allowing you to control compatible devices through Matter.

Glossary of Common Terms

  • Matter Device - Smart Home products that support Matter.
  • Matter Fabric - This is the name for the virtual network Matter devices are connected through. All of the devices in a fabric share the same Trusted Root. A Matter Fabric forms a star topology.
  • Trusted Root - In a Matter Fabric, a Trusted Root Certificate Authority (TRCA) anchors the fabric. The Root of Trust is the owner of the Trusted Root CA Certificate. Each node's Node Operational Certificate (NOC) connects back to this Trusted Root.
  • Commissioning - The process of assigning Matter Credentials to a new device on the fabric.
  • Attestation - During commissioning, each Matter device must prove that it is what it claims to be. This is attestation. Only devices that have gone through the certification process outlined by the CSA and have a Device Attestation Certificate (DAC) will be able to join the fabric.
  • Thread - Thread is a wireless networking technology. It was designed from scratch but is based on the Internet Protocol using the IEEE 802.15.4 radio technology. It was designed to meet the following requirements:
    • Low power requirement.
    • Low latency.
    • The ability to work with any, and multiple, application layers.
    • A strong, reliable, self-healing mesh network with no single point-of-failure.
    • Easy setup with no need for a hub or gateway.
    • Must not be restricted to a particular application standard. Thread works with Matter, HomeKit, Weave, and numerous other applications.
  • Thread Group - The organization responsible for developing, maintaining, and promoting Thread.
  • Application Agnostic - Thread was developed to be application agnostic. As long as a device's application layer is based on the Internet Protocol, it should be able to support Thread.
  • Border Router - Based on the IEEE 802.15.4 radio technology, a Thread network can be formed and operated completely by itself, without any bridge or hub. This is how it prevents a single point-of-failure. If the Thread network needs to communicate with the WIFI or Ethernet network, it does so using IP-based routing. This routing is done by a Thread Border Router. There can be multiple of these in a Thread network. The border router is usually not a stand-alone device, but rather something like a cable modem, WIFI router, TV Streaming device, smart TV, or smart speaker.
  • IPv6 - Matter, as mentioned above, uses the Internet Protocol (IP). Specifically, it uses IPv6 for its operational communication and takes advantage of the multicasting capability it provides.
  • Bridge - A network device used to allow access to devices that don't support Matter to the Matter Network. An example would be a Zigbee device. Bridged devices can then work with Matter devices within a fabric, and communicate on different application layers.

What's New in Version 1.3

So, Matter is an open source protocol that uses the IPv6 standard, which supports multicasting. It's intended to unite all smart home devices, allowing users to create a mesh network, or fabric of devices from different manufacturers.

Version 1.3 has added some exciting advancements, here's a list of a few of them:

  • Support for Energy and Water Management - This addition allows any device type to report both estimated and actual measurements. This includes things like power, current, voltage, and other readings in real time. It can also report energy consumption or creation over time.
  • Electric Vehicle Charging - Matter 1.3 adds the new Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) device type. Now, EV charging equipment manufacturers can provide a way for users to control how and when they charge their vehicles. With this addition, users can now manually start or stop charging. They can also adjust the charging rate, or specify the number of miles of range to be added by a particular departure time.
  • Water Management - Matter 1.3 adds support for leak and freeze detectors, rain sensors, and controllable water valves. This allows users to monitor and control water within their space.
  • New Appliance Types -
    • Microwave Ovens - Control cooking time, power level, and mode of operation. Also, receive notifications when food is ready. For range hood style microwaves, control of a fan and light can also be achieved.
    • Ovens - Oven-types such as built-in, stand-alone, or as part of a range with a cooktop are included. Each oven can be controlled individually. This can include the operational mode (standard, convection bake, roast, steam, broil/grill, proofing) and the temperature, and information related to the state of the oven (i.e., preheating or cooling) is also available. Notifications such as preheating and target temperature reached can be provided.
    • Cooktops - With Matter 1.3, cooktops can offer remote access and control (typically this would be used with induction-based cooktops). The cooktop’s individual elements (presumably burners) allow for temperature control and measurement (this may be subject to regulation).
    • Extractor Hoods - Range hoods, or vent hoods over a range can now include support for Matter. This integration will allow control of the fan and light, and if there is a filter with an end-of-life notification, Matter can provide that notification.
    • Laundry Dryers - Matter 1.2 added Laundry Washers, and Matter 1.3 adds Laundry Dryers. Users will be able to set the dryer mode and target temperature. Depending on local safety regulations, they may be able to start and stop the dryer remotely. Notifications for the end of drying cycle as well as any manufacturer specified warning messages, i.e., door open can also be provided.

Summary

What have we learned? Well, for one thing, it seems that Matter has more acronyms than a government agency. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it will take some getting used to. In my opinion, as a new standard it's moving along and developing nicely. With so many large (and small) companies being involved I have a good feeling about Matter. Although I believe it will be like any system, labor (and probably cost) intensive to set up once the initial configuration is done, I think it'll be smooth sailing. I can't wait to find out if I'm right!

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Users with Lyric Controllers still installed are trying to use PROSIX PROSeries sensors with the Lyric panel. This is a mistake as the Lyric does not support any PROSIX devices. Instead, those users should be purchasing either SiX Series or 5800 series wireless sensors for the Lyric panel.

Below you can see the PROSIXGB, glass break detector. It is compatible only with PROSeries systems:

This has apparently become such an issue that Resideo put out a MyWebTech Technical Notification advising dealers what will and won't work with the Lyric. If you have a Lyric Controller, be sure that you only purchase SiX Series devices, 5800 Series uni-directional devices, or 2GIG Non-encrypted devices to work with your panel.

As always, we recommend that you update your panel to the latest firmware. If you are an Alarm Grid customer and you need help with a firmware upgrade, send us an email to support@alarmgrid.com.

From the images shared above, you can see how easily PROSIX and SiX Series devices can be mixed up. Even people that are very familiar with these products can easily get them confused if they aren't careful. But notice in the bottom image, there is a notice that shows the SIXGB is compatible with the Lyric. The image at the top makes no mention of the Lyric.

Based on the Technical Notification, I believe the PROSIX sensors must be capable of pairing with the Lyric. However, once that happens, things don't go as planned and the PROSIX sensor learned in with the Lyric doesn't behave as expected. For that reason, Resideo and Honeywell Home want to be sure everyone understands the following:

  1. PROSeries or PROSIX sensors are not compatible with the Lyric and are not intended for use with the Lyric Controller.
  2. SiX Sensors are packaged and labeled for use with the Lyric. PROSIX and SiX are different protocols. A SiX Series sensor that was used on a Lyric can be added to a PROSeries panel. At that point it will be updated, and will become a PROSIX Sensor. From that point forward, it will never work with a Lyric again.
  3. The Lyric panel also supports 5800 Series uni-directional wireless and non-encrypted 2GIG 345 MHz sensors.
  4. If you need a sensor for a Lyric and cannot find a SiX Series sensor that suits your needs, find a 5800 Series sensor that will. Do not attempt to make a PROSIX sensor work with the Lyric.

You can see in the images above that the SiX and PROSIX devices are packaged differently. SiX Sensors carry a badge on the packaging that clearly identifies them as compatible with the Lyric. PROSIX do not. Another way you can tell is by checking the device firmware.

PROSIX sensors will have firmware versions that begin with the digits 2, 4, 5, or 6. On the other hand, SiX Series devices will have a firmware version that begins with the digit 0 or 1. You can find the firmware version by checking in the Zone Programming screen of the panel. Your alarm dealer can also check it by looking in AlarmNet360.

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We first told you about the First Alert® VX5 Indoor Camera in our ISC West blog earlier this year. The VX5 debuted at the trade show. However, it's still not available for purchase. That's pretty routine, announcing a product that nobody can get yet. But, here's what we know about it so far.


For one thing, it looks like that ⬆. It is attractive and unobtrusive. This is an indoor camera that can be mounted to the ceiling, wall, or can sit on any flat stable surface. It requires a wired connection to power, but is otherwise wireless. Using Total Connect 2.0, live video and clips can be viewed from any location where the user has access to either a cellular or WIFI connection to the internet.

Advanced Event Detection

The VX5 Indoor Camera offers advanced event detection using state-of-the-art AI. It can tell the difference between a person, animal, or vehicle, and can alert you to the same. This AI capability will no doubt pay dividends down the road, and I can foresee new features being added that also capitalize on it.

Offers Video and Audio Capabilities

The VX5 is capable of 2MP resolution, which gives sharp, detailed images in both day and night vision situations. The ability to both hear and communicate with anyone in the camera's vicinity allows the user to engage with those being viewed. This can be used as a deterrent if you catch a person (or animal) lurking in an area where they don't belong.

Automated Privacy Mode

Privacy is on everyone's mind these days. The VX5 offers both a manual privacy setting, as well as automated privacy settings. Privacy Mode can be selected from the Total Connect 2.0 app or by pushing a button on the camera itself. Privacy Mode prevents the camera from recording any video or audio. When integrated with one of the PROSeries security panels, the privacy shield will come on automatically when the system is disarmed and turn off when the system is armed.

Remote Access Using Total Connect 2.0

The new First Alert® VX5 Indoor Camera leverages the user's Total Connect 2.0 subscription, giving remote access and notification capability to any of the VX cameras associated with the account. For Alarm Grid customers, a Platinum Plan (Self or Full) will support up to eight (8) VX cameras with 30-days of recording capability. If you need more than eight (8) cameras, you can add a Video-Monitoring Plan, which doubles this support.

In Summary:

The First Alert® VX5 Indoor Camera is a much-needed addition to Resideo's Total Connect 2.0 camera lineup. It offers a fresh look and modern features that consumers want in a camera. They're taking a "one-size-fits-all" approach so far, so let's hope this camera performs in the way we expect.

This camera is still considered to be in the Beta stage of development. That means:

  • It could still be a while before it's released.
  • Anything we've been told about it so far could be changed before it's released.

One thing that's not likely to change is how it looks, so the picture above should be accurate. As for everything else, we'll just have to wait patiently for it to be released then hopefully, we'll see.

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What 2GIG brought to the table at ISC West this year is a lineup of new sensors for the Edge panel. These sensors use the 900 MHz frequency band for extended wireless range. They also offer encryption for secure transmission. 2GIG boasts they will have a 2km or 1.2 mile transmitting range!

The new 2GIG E+ extended range sensors are not yet available, and we don't have an ETA yet on when they will be released. In addition, 2GIG Edge panels require a firmware update to version 1.3 (3.1.3.xxx) in order to support the new lineup. When the firmware is released, we'll update our 2GIG Edge Firmware Update Page with the new information. Hopefully, the firmware will be available just before, or simultaneously with the sensors.

We don't have all the details on this new sensor lineup, but what we do know we'll share with you here:

2GIG DW10E-900 Door Window Sensor:

With a two-way transmitting range comparable to that of the DSC PowerG sensors, these E+ extended range transmitters are sure to be a hit. The DW10E-900 is the redesigned door/window sensor in the lineup. The exterior lines are rounded while the interior lines, where the magnet and sensor come together are squared. With a built-in spacer, the DW10E-900 is meant to fit in more diverse locations. Dimensions: 2.42" x 1.07" x 0.58" (6.14cm x 2.71cm x 1.47cm). Expected battery life: eight (8) years. Data Sheet.

2GIG PIR1E-900 Motion Sensor:


The 2GIG PIR1E-900 has a coverage area of 30' x 50' (9.14m x 15.24m). It has an attractive and low profile appearance and is pet-friendly for pets up to 85 lbs (38.55kg). The PIR1E-900 boasts a quad sensing element and has a 100° maximum horizontal sensing angle. Dimensions: 3.53″ x 2.35″ x 1.63″ (8.96cm x 5.96cm x 4.14cm). Expected battery life: three (3) years. Data Sheet.

2GIG GB1E-900 Glass Break Detector:


The 2GIG GB1E-900 glass break detector can pick up the sound of breaking glass within a 15' (4.57m) diameter. It offers intelligent detection of different glass types, including plate, tempered, laminated or coated. Like some other glass break sensors, it requires both the low frequency sound of someone striking glass, followed by the high frequency sound of glass shattering in order to activate, reducing false alarms. Dimensions: 4.57" x 1.57" (11.60cm x 3.98cm). Expected battery life: five (5) years. Data Sheet.

2GIG DW30E-900 Outdoor Door/Window Sensor:


The 2GIG DW30E-900 is an outdoor rated door/window transmitter. It would also make an excellent gate sensor. And with its extended range, it can protect openings that may have once been considered too far away for protection by the alarm system. It can handle extreme temperatures of -40°F - +140°F (-40°C - +60°C) and is IP56 rated, meaning it is protected against dust accumulation that would interfere with its operation, and powerful water jets. It supports an external Normally Open or Normally Closed contact and is made to easily mount to gates, garages, or poles. Dimensions: 4.6" x 2.1" x 1.5" (11.68cm x 5.33cm x 3.81cm). Expected battery life: five (5) years. Data Sheet.

2GIG SMKT-900 Smoke/Heat/Freeze Detector:


the 2GIG SMKT900 is a triple threat. It offers detection for smoke, both high heat and rate-of-rise protection, and as an added bonus, it can also be programmed to monitor for low temperature conditions. The fixed heat temperature threshold is 134°F +/-4°F (56°C +/-2.22°C). The rate-of-rise detector activates if the temperature is 104°F (40°C) and increases by 15° in one (1) minute. The low temperature threshold is 40°F (4.44°C) for a minute or more. It restores when the temperature is 45°F (7.22°C) for a minute or more. Dimensions: 4.7" x 2.3" (11.93cm x 5.84cm). Expected battery life: three (3) years. Data Sheet.

All of these new sensors work with the 2GIG Edge. 2GIG has admittedly had some issues with firmware and compatibility, but one thing I can say about the Edge is that it is rock solid from a hardware perspective. It is very solid and feels substantial in a way that some of the other all-in-one panels do not. We're excited to see how this sensor lineup affects folks choosing the 2GIG Edge. You can see a feature comparison between the 2GIG Edge and the Resideo PROA7PLUS here.

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Starting on April 23, 2024 an improvement is being implemented to the arming process for the Qolsys IQ Panel 4 and IQ Pro. This change increases customer awareness of when their sensors are being bypassed during remote arming. Previously, it was often unclear when zones were being bypassed.


The behavior changes slightly, depending on which panel version the user has. For IQ Panel 4 systems below firmware 4.5.0, and for IQ Pro systems below firmware 4.3.0n, the "Force Bypass" checkbox will be hidden both on the customer app and website to signal when the Auto Bypass feature will be applied to any open sensors and trouble conditions.

For IQ4 Panels on firmware 4.5.0 or higher, and IQ Pro panels on firmware 4.3.0n or higher, when the Auto Bypass feature is enabled, the Force Bypass checkbox will be hidden on the user app and website. This is to communicate to the user that Auto Bypass is enabled in the panel. Anything that would prevent arming is already going to be bypassed.

If Auto Bypass is disabled at the panel on these versions, the Force Bypass checkbox, which has now been renamed to "Bypass all open sensors/trouble conditions" will appear and will be checked by default. If the user deselects the checkbox and there are sensor open or trouble conditions that would prevent arming, the system will fail to arm.

Be sure your Alarm.com app is on version 5.3.1 or higher. This will allow you to take full advantage of this enhancement to the Alarm.com remote arming feature. To check whether or not your system has the auto-bypass feature enabled, you can tap the gray bar at the top of the main screen, then Settings > Advanced Settings > Enter Installer or Dealer Code (1111 or 2222 by default) > Installation > Security and Arming. You can search from the top of the screen, just type in "Auto" and you should be taken directly to this setting. The "Auto Bypass" feature is enabled, by default.

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ISC West is the premiere trade show in our industry. It happens in Las Vegas each spring and all the manufacturers of security products show up. Of course, we're interested in Qolsys, Alarm.com, Resideo, AlarmNet, and 2GIG, but there are many more! They'll display all their best new gadgets.

This year Alarm.com showed up to ISC West loaded for bear! They rolled out several new offerings in the form of both products and services. Many, but not all of these devices were targeting commercial applications. We'll list the big new items below:

Alarm.com

Outdoor Floodlight Camera and VizBlinder:

The Outdoor Floodlight Camera is a new product. As the name implies, it mounts outside in darker areas where an intruder may attempt to enter or gain entry to an area where they shouldn't be.

The new Outdoor Floodlight Camera features 4MP video and Two-Way voice options. It has 3,000 Lumen floodlights, allowing you to customize your lighting options. It's suitable for homes and small- to medium-sized businesses. Additionally, because it uses video analytics, the floodlight can automatically respond to threats when unwanted visitors or vehicles are detected. It can activate red and blue warning lights and also play warning sounds from a powerful siren.

VizBlinder will incorporate new hardware as part of the new feature. It allows the central station operator to fill a room with a vision obscuring white haze. This is done after the operator has accessed the available Alarm.com cameras and determined that an intruder is present. If cameras that support Two-Way audio are in use the operator will be able to engage with the intruder prior to activating VizBlinder. If I were an intruder, and the room suddenly began filling with an unknown white fog, I would skedaddle!

Remote Video Monitoring Console:

The Remote Video Monitoring Console (RVM) is a system that allows central station operators to offer "round-the-clock concierge video monitoring and proactive defense services to customers with Alarm.com Video Analytics cameras." Operators will receive immediate alerts when a vehicle or person enters an area that is restricted. Through the RVM, the operator can review the situation and, if necessary, intervene through the RVM using hardware located on the protected site. This includes using the two-way voice feature of some cameras to talk to the unexpected visitor.

Because both the cameras and the RVM Console are provided by Alarm.com, this is truly a seamless end-to-end integration. The fact that Alarm.com makes the cameras, video analytics, and the central station hardware, there is no special interface equipment required. The Remote Video Monitoring Console is what allows the central station operator to deploy VizBlinder, which we outlined in the previous section.

Sunflower Labs Autonomous Security Drone:

Alarm.com has partnered with Sunflower Labs to offer an autonomous outdoor security drone. Sensor activity on the alarm system and Video Analytics trigger the drone to deploy and investigate suspicious events. It can cover 10 acres in 90 seconds, making it perfect for larger commercial and residential properties. The drone provides "eyes in the sky" for property owners and central station operators alike, and puts intruders on notice that they're being watched. Presumably, central station operators can also deploy the drone based on information they glean through the RVM Console.

Shooter Detection Systems

Adding to their commercial offerings, Alarm.com introduces the Shooter Detection Systems (SDS) Indoor Gunshot Sensor. In the event of an active shooter situation, this system allows for a faster and more accurate response while also providing valuable information to both police and medical first responders.

The SDS sensor uses dual-authentication technology identifying both the acoustic and the infrared signature of a gunshot. It has an accuracy rating of less than 1 false alert per 5 million hours of use. Gunshot detection signals are automatically forwarded to Alarm.com and the appropriate central station is alerted within seconds. With the information provided by the system, the operator can inform the authorities exactly where the incident was reported.

Resideo

First Alert® VX5 Indoor Camera

Adding to their recently released First Alert® VX1 video doorbell and First Alert® VX3 outdoor camera Resideo introduces the new First Alert® VX5 Indoor Camera at ISC West. Like most of these products, the VX5 is not yet available, so information about it is scarce, but we know it will offer these features:

    Advanced Event Detection
  • Privacy Mode
  • Integration with ProSeries Security Panel
  • Compact, Versatile Design
  • 2MP resolution and day and night vision with WDR
  • Two-way audio
  • Easy to Use App – TC 2.0 - for full control of the connected home or office

2GIG

E+ Extended Range Sensors

2GIG brings their new E+ Extended Range 900 MHz sensors to ISC West. This is an exciting addition to their portfolio. This product line will capitalize on the extended range capabilities of the 900 MHz wireless frequency. The E+ lineup will offer up to 1.2 Mile (2km) transmitting range. These sensors are bi-directional and fully encrypted with extended battery life as compared to regular 2GIG 345 MHz sensors. As with most products rolled out at ISC West, these are not yet available, but a data sheet for each is linked below. We will link to the products once they become available for sale.

Available sensors, so far:

Qolsys

We saved Qolsys for last because they didn't really roll anything out especially for ISC West. Qolsys finished 2023 strong with the release of their PowerG Everywhere 900 MHz automation devices and the Qolsys IQ4 NS no screen security panel.

PowerG Everywhere combines the excellent transmitting range we've come to expect from PowerG with the battery-savings and simplicity of use we get from Z-Wave. The resulting product is a battery sipping tour de force. So far, they offer the following PowerG Automation products which are compatible with the IQ Panel 4, IQ4 Hub, and IQ4 NS running firmware 4.4.0+ and the IQ Pro with firmware 4.3.0n+:

  • IQ Lock-PG
  • IQ Dimmer-PG
  • IQ Switch-PG
  • IQ Socket-PG
  • IQ Smart Plug-PG
  • IQ Outdoor Plug-PG

The IQ4 NS is a budget-friendly panel based on the IQ Panel 4. It's nearly identical to the IQ4 Hub, in fact, with one exception. It does not include a touchscreen interface. Instead, programming is performed using the IQ Installer App, available as a free download from the iOS and Google app stores. You can read all about the IQ4 NS and PowerG Everywhere in our blog posts here and here respectively.

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Recently, we told you about T-Mobile customers who, in the past received MMS notifications with video thumbnails, but now receive SMS notifications with a link. Alarm.com will soon unveil a Push Notification Migration Tool to encourage and help users to switch from SMS to push notifications.

You may be asking, what's the difference between SMS, MMS, and push notifications? SMS or Short Message Service is a text message delivered to your phone through your phone carrier. Changes undertaken by the cell phone carrier can affect how and when you receive SMS notifications, or whether you receive them. These changes are outside the control of Alarm.com.

MMS is Multi-Media Service. An MMS message is sent for video notifications when a thumbnail preview is part of the notification setup. Changes to the way T-Mobile, and now Sprint which was acquired by T-Mobile a few years ago, handle MMS delivery caused the recent change in the way video notifications were delivered to those customers. Again, this is something that is outside the control of Alarm.com.

A push notification is generated by an app. The Alarm.com app can generate a push notification for any notification that may be generated through your alarm system that is connected to Alarm.com. Here are a few examples of why Alarm.com believes Push Notifications are superior to SMS or MMS:

Benefit Description
Push Notifications are Actionable Because Push Notifications are received via the internet, they are actionable. They can bring you directly into the Alarm.com app, and in some cases, allow you to send a command directly from the Push Notification. (i.e. locking a door based on a notification about the door being left unlocked.)
The notification source is clear. Push notifications come directly from the app, with the app logo and name displayed clearly. This removes any uncertainty about the source of the message.
Push notifications allow for Critical Alerts. When properly configured, both iOS and Android devices can receive critical alerts while the device is in Do Not Disturb mode. Examples of Critical Alerts include Fire Alarm, Burglary Alarm, Carbon Monoxide Alarm, and several other event types.
Video push notifications are superior. Push notifications can be set for plain text or thumbnail images for certain events (i.e. video). A link within a push notification takes you to a specific place within the app. For example, if the notification is for camera motion, the link will redirect to the camera's live view. If the notification is that a clip has been uploaded, the link will take you right to the saved clip.
Push notifications are independent of your cell carrier. Text notifications are dependent on the cell carrier and can be affected by low signal or other carrier issues. Push notifications only require a network connection, whether cellular or WIFI.
Push notifications can be sent to all devices. Push notifications can be sent to phones, tablets, and even smart watches.

Alarm.com will soon unveil a Push Notification Migration Tool to steer customers toward using push notifications. You can check on the status of the tool rollout here. Not everyone will see the migration tool prompt. Being offered the prompt is based on the login used to access the Alarm.com app. At first, only a very specific group of customers will be targeted. That is customers with exactly one (1) SMS contact and one (1) push device on a network known to have had problems with SMS or MMS recently. This includes T-Mobile, Sprint, and Rogers (Canada) customers.

The full requirements are:

  • The login must be the primary login.
  • The login must not be linked to other systems.
  • There must be exactly one enabled SMS/MMS contact address on the account and no other disabled SMS contact addresses.
  • At least one enabled notification rule with an SMS recipient.
  • There must only be one active push device on the account, and it must be the one the customer is using. Push notification rules need not already exist for that active push device.

When the tool is rolled out, customers who fit the parameters mentioned above will see a message like this:



As you can see, this is strictly a voluntary change. Users have the option to Migrate now, be reminded later, or never have the prompt come up again. If you use the migration tool and switch to push notifications, your SMS/MMS notifications will no longer be active. However, the SMS contact information will be retained in the address book.

At some point, the switch to push notifications may become mandatory, at least for some cellular customers. If it does, it will likely be due to changes undertaken by the cellular carrier that make the delivery of notifications less than optimal. If that occurs, we'll be sure to let you know about it here in our blog.


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Intruducing the Qolsys IQ Heat 135 / 200. It offers a selection for the fixed alarm temperature limit of either 135°F or 200°F (57.2°C or 93.3°C). In addition, it has a rate-of-rise feature that activates an alarm if the temperature rises more than 12°F - 15°F (6.7°C - 8.3°C) per minute.

Qolsys is streamlining their products by combining the features of the Qolsys IQ Heat 135, and the Qolsys IQ Heat 200 into a single device. Using an internal jumper, the user can choose a fixed temperature alarm threshold of either 135°F (57.2°C) or 200°F (93.3°C). Based on this jumper setting, a temperature above the selected threshold will cause an alarm.

In addition to the fixed-temperature alarm threshold, the IQ Heat 135 / 200 also has a built-in rate-of-rise detector. If the ambient temperature rises from between 12°F - 15°F (6.7°C - 8.3°C) per minute, an alarm will occur.

Once either alarm threshold has been met, the IQ Heat 135 / 200 will use its transmitter to send an alarm signal to a compatible system. This includes any of the Qolsys IQ Panel 2, IQ Panel 2 Plus, IQ Panel 4, IQ4 Hub, IQ Hub, and IQ4 NS panels with a 319.5 MHz receiver built in. It can likely also be used with Interlogix/GE panels that support this frequency, such as the Simon panels, though we have not tested to confirm this.

The jumper used to set the fixed-temperature threshold has three (3) pins. If the jumper is across the LOW and center pin, the detector is set for 135°F (57.2°C) if the jumper is across the center and HI pin the detector is set for 200°F (93.3°C). If the jumper is removed completely, or lost, then the detector defaults to the high, or 200°F (93.3°C) setting.


The Qolsys IQ Heat 135 / 200 uses a single Panasonic CR123A 3V battery, and the expected battery life is about ten (10) years. Besides how often the detector transmits a signal, the biggest factor in battery life is ambient temperature. When the detector is mounted to the ceiling, the ceiling temperature should never exceed 100°F (37.8°C) under normal conditions. Just know that extreme temperatures, high or low, will likely affect the life expectancy of the battery.

The detector is fully supervised for RF check-in and transmits a signal to the system every 62 - 68 minutes. If the alarm panel doesn't hear from the sensor for a specified period, it will indicate a trouble condition on the zone associated with the IQ Heat. In addition to RF supervision, the detector is also supervised for tamper. If the heat detector is pulled away from the wall or ceiling, it will generate a tamper transmission to the alarm panel.

Specifications

  • Device Type: Wireless Heat Detector
  • Operating Frequency: 319.5MHz (crystal-controlled)
  • Supervision Interval: 62 - 68 minutes
  • Fixed Temperature Detection: Selectable 135°F (57°C) or 200°F (93°C)
  • Rate of Rise Rating: 12° to 15°F (6.7° to 8.3°C) per minute
  • Mounting Location: Ceiling or Wall
  • Ceiling Mounting Specification: At least 4 in. (10cm) away from any walls
  • Wall Mounting Height: Top of detector within 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) of the ceiling
  • Standby Current: Less than 0.9μA
  • Operating Temperature: 32°F to 150°F (0 to 65.6°C)
  • Operating Relative Humidity: 0 to 95% noncondensing
  • Batteries: One (1) Panasonic CR123A 3V (included)
  • Expected Battery Life: 10 years (depends on how often the detector transmits signals, but is more dependent on the temperature of the installation environment. Warmer temps (within range) = longer life)
  • Dimensions: 2.29" Diameter x 1.28" High (58.25mm Diameter x 32.4m High
  • UL Max Ambient Ceiling Temp: 100°F/150°F (37.8°C/65.6°C)
  • Maximum UL Spacing: 50ft (15.2M) x 50ft (15.2M)
  • Agency Listings: UL 521 Heat Detectors for Fire Protective Signaling Systems, UL985 Household Fire Warning System Units, CAN/ULC-S530 Heat Actuated Fire Detectors for Fire Alarm Systems, CSFM Category 7270 - FCC: 15.109 Class B, 15.231, Industry Canada: ICES-003, RSS-210
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FortrezZ is discontinuing another of its Z-Wave products due to its inability to source some required components. For this reason, Alarm.com no longer recommends its installation. Installed units will continue to work, and Alarm.com will continue to offer troubleshooting support for them.

This may be the result of the supply chain issues experienced a few years ago. FortrezZ was forced to discontinue the MIMOlite some time ago, and now we're seeing the discontinuation of their Water Valve. Products already purchased and/or installed are not affected by this news.

If you already have a FortrezZ Water Valve (WV-01) but haven't installed it yet, no worries. It should still install and operate as expected. If you have any problems related to integrating the water valve with Alarm.com, you can still get assistance from tech support. If you are an Alarm Grid monitoring customer, we offer free technical support as well.

If you were thinking of purchasing a FortrezZ Water Valve, but missed the opportunity, you have other options available. We offer the Alarm.com Z-Wave Plus Smart Water Valve and Meter, and the Alarm.com Z-Wave Plus Smart Water Valve. The Alarm.com smart water valves use Z-Wave Plus and can be used with any Alarm.com compatible panel that supports Z-Wave or Z-Wave Plus.

Left, Alarm.com Z-Wave Plus Smart Water Valve with Meter. Right, Alarm.com Z-Wave Plus Smart Water Valve:

In addition to the Alarm.com options, we also offer the Qolsys IQ Water Valve. It's available in two (2) separate kits. The PowerG Kit offers the IQ Water Valve with two (2) DSC PG9985 Flood Sensors. The S-Line Kit offers the water valve with three (3) Qolsys IQ Flood-S 319.5 MHz S-Line Flood Sensors. If purchasing one of these kits, be sure to take into account what panel the kit is meant to work with. All Qolsys IQ Panel 4 versions can support PowerG while only some can support 319.5 MHz S-Line sensors.

Below left, IQ Water Valve w/ Qolsys S-Line Flood Sensors. Right, IQ Water Valve w/ PowerG Flood Sensors:


A smart water valve is most advantageous when used in conjunction with flood sensors. If a water leak is detected by a sensor, it can alert the alarm system. Then, the system can use that information to run a rule or scene to automatically shut off the water main to the home or business. Having this type of protection can save on homeowner's insurance premiums, and can prevent widespread damage and loss to your home or business.

Specifications for Alarm.com ADC-SWM150:

  • Device Type: Z-Wave Plus Smart Water Valve and Meter
  • Power: 100-240VAC
  • Operating Temperature: 14°F to 185°F
  • Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor Use Only
  • Valve Size: 1"
  • Valve Threads: Male NPT
  • Valve Portability: NSF/ANSI 61 and 372 Standards
  • Control Unit Dimensions: 2.75"L x 4.0"W x 1.25"D
  • Meter and Valve Dimensions: 11"L x 5.75"W x 3.75"D
  • Actuator and Valve Dimensions: 2.0"L x 4.5"W x 3.75"D
  • Maximum Compatible Pipe Size: 1.25"
  • Power Supply Cable Length: 19.7 Feet
  • Package Contents: Control Unit, Valve & Meter, Enclosure, Power Adapter, Manual Shut-Off Handle, Cable Ties (x5), Wall Bracket, Wall Anchors (x2), Screws (x2)

Specifications for Alarm.com ADC-SWV100:

  • Power: 100 - 240 VAC (50/60 Hz)
  • Operating Temperature: 14°F to 185°F (-10°C to 85°C)
  • Communication: Z-Wave Plus
  • Indoor/Outdoor: For indoor use only
  • Valve Specifications:
    • Size: 1"
    • Threads: Female NPT
    • Potability: Conforms to NSF/ANSI 61 and 372 standards for potability
  • Control Unit Dimensions: 2.75 x 4.0 x 1.25” (6.99 x 10.2 x 3.18 cm)
  • Actuator and Valve Dimensions: 2.0 x 4.5 x 3.75” (5.08 x 11.43 x 9.53 cm)
  • Maximum Compatible Pipe Size: 1.25" (3.175 cm)
  • Power Supply Cable Length: 19.7’ (6 m)
  • Plumbing Certifications:
    • ICC-ES-PMG (compliance with NSF 61 and NSF 372)
    • Massachusetts Accepted Plumbing Products Registry

Specifications for Qolsys IQ Water Valve:

  • Product Type: Smart Water Valve
  • Kit Contents: Qolsys IQ Smart Water Valve, Qolsys IQ Flood-S Sensor
  • Communication: Z-Wave Plus V2 700-Series
  • Range: Approx. 130 Feet Indoors or 450 Feet Outdoors
  • Application: Quarter-Turn Ball Valve Pipes from 1/2" to 1-1/4"
  • Maximum Force: 8 N.m
  • Ingress Protection: IP66 (Waterproof & Dustproof)
  • Power Supply: Plug-in Transformer - AC (110V 60Hz / 220V 50Hz), DC (12V/1A) - Barrel jack
  • Weight: 603g (21.2 oz)
  • Size: 5.83" x 3.78" x 5.24" (148mm x 96mm x 133mm)
  • Operating Temperature: 14°F to 121°F (-10℃ to 49.4℃)

Specifications for DSC PG9985 Flood Sensor:

  • Device Type: Wireless Flood Sensor
  • Operating Frequency: PowerG 915 MHz
  • Wireless Range: ~2,000 Feet Open Air
  • Water Detection Probe: Attached w/ 6-Foot Cord
  • Batteries: Single CR123A (~8 Year Life)
  • Mounting Hardware: Double-Sided Foam Tape (Included)
  • Dimensions: 3.1875" x 1.25" x 1.0" (81mm x 34mm x 25mm)
  • Operating Temperature: 14°F to 122°F (-10℃ to 50℃)
  • Weight: 53g (1.9oz)

Specifications for Qolsys IQ Flood-S Flood Sensor:

  • Device Type: Wireless Flood Sensor
  • Operating Frequency: 319.5 MHz
  • Wireless Range: ~600 Nominal Feet
  • Water Detection Probe: Attached w/ 6-Foot Cord
  • Signal Outputs: Tamper & Tamper Restore, Alarm & Alarm Restore, Low-Battery
  • Supervisory Interval: 70 Minutes
  • Batteries: Two (2) Lithium CR2032 Coin Batteries
  • Mounting Hardware: Double-Sided Foam Tape (Included)
  • Dimensions: 2.5"L x 1"W x 0.5"D (64mm x 25mm x 13mm)
  • Operating Temperature: 14°F to 122°F (-10℃ to 50℃)

In addition to the options listed above, there is also the Honeywell/Resideo 5821 that can be used in conjunction with the FP280 flood probe. This sensor will work with any of the Qolsys IQ4 panels that support 345 MHz RF devices. A panel with one or more of these sensors can be used to automate any of the water valves listed in this post.

What are your thoughts on the discontinuation of another FortrezZ Z-Wave device? Have you encountered similar issues with other products? Drop us a comment and let us hear from you. If you have a specific support question, you can send us an email to support@alarmgrid.com. We're here providing support Monday - Friday from 9:00 am until at least 6:00 pm Eastern Time each day. We list holiday hours and closings in our blog.

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If you're shopping for electronic security, Z-Wave, or other low-voltage equipment, and you find a product that you love, that Alarm Grid doesn't currently offer, submit this form so we can list it. Send us an email to support@alarmgrid.com to let us know, and we'll expedite the listing.

We may not be able to source every product you run across, but if we can, we'll gladly list lifestyle and security-related products on our site. If you're designing a system and you need the product within a specific time frame, send us an email to let us know and we'll get the item listed as quickly as possible.

On our New Product Form, we ask for certain information. Below, we'll list each piece of information and a brief explanation of what we're looking for in each:

Product Title (Required):

This is like a Make and Model, or Manufacturer and Model Number. Provide as much identifying information as you can, particularly if different models are very similar and you require a specific one. We may add more than one model, but we want to add the one you're looking for first.

Product SKU (Required):

An SKU stands for Stock Keeping Unit. It helps both manufacturers and retailers keep track of product stock and also helps to make sure that when you inquire about apples, we don't give you oranges instead. For us, it is very important, but may not always be apparent when you're shopping for a product.

Below is an image taken from the Alarm Grid storefront on Amazon.com. As you can see from the listing, there is no SKU specifically called out. But, we happen to know that the SKU for this product is PROLTE-A. So, if you're attempting to provide us with information on a product, and you can't find an SKU, list the model number again (as the SKU is required on the form). We'll do our best to find the correct product with the information provided and may reach out via email to make sure we have the correct item.


Help Us Source It (Optional):

Where were you shopping when you saw this item? Was there a particular website? Provide as much information as you can on where this product can be found.

Approximate Sales Price (Optional):

What is the price you've seen for this product elsewhere? You may think we only ask this so we can charge as much as possible for the product, but that's not the case. Alarm Grid is not a wholesale distributor, and as such, other wholesalers and dealers may have a price for an item that we can't match (and we don't price match).

If we find that's the case, we'll be honest with you about it. We may still list the product on our site, but we won't hold you up if you're waiting for us to list it, only to find that our price is higher than you expect.

Please Describe the Item's Function In a Paragraph (Optional):

Yes, there's homework, though we're not asking for a full book report. Just give us a brief description of what this item is used for. You can even tell us what you want to use it for. This helps us in a couple of ways. It gives us a good understanding of why the product is useful, and it also allows us to be sure that the item will do what you want it to do. If not, we may be able to recommend a different item that will work better.

Please Describe Why You Believe Alarm Grid Should Sell This Product (Optional):

This can be as simple as "Because it's new and you don't offer it yet." Just give your thoughts about the product.

What Is Your Name? (Optional):

This is not a required field, but if you do send us an email to expedite the addition of the recommended product to our site, it will help us tie that email to this request.

Email (Optional):

Once again, this is not required but will help us if we have questions about the product. Particularly, if you're not able to provide an accurate SKU. If we can't properly source the product, and we don't have an email to contact you, then we may have to abandon the attempt to offer it on our site.

So, that's how you can request that a new product be added to the Alarm Grid website. We can sometimes get a product listed on the same day, depending on what time we receive the request and an email asking us to expedite the listing. Just don't forget to follow up on high-priority requests with an email letting us know you're waiting for the product to be available.

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