Technology Posts

Posted By

With the looming threat of Hurricane Michael and the recent events of Hurricane Florence, we sometimes hear concerned reports from customers wondering if their home or business will remain monitored during an emergency. We want all our customers to rest assured that they absolutely will.

The reason that we can guarantee active monitoring service for our customers is thanks to our partner Criticom Monitoring Services and the three central stations that they operate across the country. Criticom runs monitoring stations in Florida, New Jersey and California. If one station ever goes down due to an emergency or a natural disaster, the calls will be automatically rerouted to one of the other stations. Regardless of which CMS Station receives an alert, the local authorities in the customer's area will always be notified in the event of an alarm. The only requirement is that the panel can successfully send out communication signals. As long as the panel is communicating reliably, CMS will receive the alert every time.

Alarm grid inside security stickers

CMS Logo

There's a good reason we chose CMS as our monitoring partner. They provide the most dependable and most reliable monitoring services in the country. We don't cut corners by working with a company that only operates from one location. With their three locations, Criticom will continue to operate. Should one location go down, the other two will be there to pick up the slack. There was even a precedent for this in 2012, when Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the Northeastern part of the country. Although the CMS location in New Jersey was put out of commission for a few days, the offices in Florida and California were there to make sure that all of the people they protect day-in and day-out continued to receive the highest-level of monitoring services that they have come to expect.

We know that the Hurricane Season can be a nerve-wracking time for many people. Even if a storm doesn't strike your home or business, you never know if it could strike your monitoring company. But with Alarm Grid and Criticom Monitoring Services, there's no need to worry. However, you can do your part as well. Make sure you sign-up for a cellular monitoring plan so that your system utilizes the most reliable communication possible. Remember, unlike WIFI, cellular service doesn't go down as soon as the power goes out. It's also a good idea to keep multiple backup batteries on hand. If your home is hit by a storm and you experience an extended power outage, you will need the backup batteries to keep your system running. Many people in hurricane-prone areas keep a generator on hand to run important equipment, such as alarm systems, refrigerators, phone chargers and more.

Don't let hurricane season take away your peace of mind. Alarm Grid and Criticom are here to keep you safe at all times, even through a dangerous storm or disaster.

Tags: , ,

Comments


Posted By

Hi DIYers! We have another product highlight for you today. We're taking a look at the DSC PG9994 Wireless Outdoor Motion Sensor. This motion detector is part of the PowerG lineup, and it operates at 915 MHz. This makes it compatible with the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus Alarm Systems.

Dsc pg9994 powerg 915mhz wireless outdoor motion detector

The PG9994 operates much like any other passive infrared (PIR) motion detector. It takes a base reading of any infrared energy in the area. Movement in the area will cause a change in infrared energy. The PG9994 is designed to detect this energy change and alert the security system when it occurs. The sensor offers various functions and features to reduce false alarms, while still being able to detect human intruders with exceptional precision. Since it is an outdoor sensor, the PG9994 is prepared to stand up to any rain, wind, dust or high temperatures that may be present in the local area. It is truly the perfect motion sensor for use in harsh conditions.

Inside the PG9994 are eight individual PIR sensors, and each sensor acts as a quad detector. This allows the sensor to properly recognize when a human is present, as opposed to another source of motion like a swaying tree branch. The device also uses advanced motion analysis to to consider the time, amplitude, background temperature and speed of any motion that is detected. This allows it to better distinguish between humans and other possible motion sources. The device provides pet-immunity for small animals weighing up to 40 pounds when it is mounted properly.

To reduce false alarms caused by sunlight and other infrared sources, the PG9994 makes use of a reflective, nickel-based surface. This serves as a useful optical filter against any white light that may be present. Meanwhile, the device also uses mirror optical capability to achieve an extended detection range and increased sensitivity when needed. Additionally, the unique V-Slot technology of the PG9994 makes it nearly impossible for any intruders to disable the device. The PG9994 also includes a tamper switch for alerting the system if anyone tries to open the sensor.

As a PowerG Sensor, the DSC PG9994 will work from a maximum distance of up to 2 kilometers away in open air. Plus, 128-bit AES encryption will make it nearly impossible for others to perform any wireless hacking attempts on the sensor.

The PG9994 is available for purchase from Alarm Grid now. Monitor your property with this powerful and versatile PowerG Sensor!

Tags: , ,

Comments


Posted By

Many people are very excited about 5G communication and what it will mean for the security industry. But users should keep in mind it may take awhile before this vision becomes a reality. We suspect that no 5G communicators for alarm systems will become available until at least 2020.

Even once 5G service is rolled out across the country and offered from cellular service providers, it does not mean that alarm systems will gain 5G functionality overnight. As you may know, a security system needs a cellular communicator to connect to a cellular network. This communicator determines which cellular network the system will access. In order for an alarm panel to connect with any given 5G network it will need a communicator that allows it to access the network. Until one of these communicators is released, security panels will have no way of connecting with 5G networks.

Historically, the release of new cellular communicators by alarm manufactures has not been an immediate process. It's fair to expect that it will take some time after the rollout of 5G for any 5G communicators to become available. In fact, there are still LTE communicators that have yet to be released for alarm systems. And LTE has been out for quite some time now. At this time, we have not received word from any alarm manufacturer on plans to release a 5G communicator for any system. And we don't expect to receive this type of news for quite some time.

Right now, we're in late 2018. Cellular service providers are only now just starting to test 5G networks in select areas. There certainly won't be any sort of nationwide 5G service until late next year at the earliest. And many cellular service providers may even wait until 2020 to rollout their networks. Of course, various 5G-compatible smartphones will be made available for these releases. But 5G communicators for alarm systems will be a lower priority. Most likely, one manufacturer will get on the ball and announce a 5G communicator. However, it probably wouldn't hit the market until at least 2020. That being said, this is only our prediction, and many things can change between now and then.

And even once a 5G module is released, it won't mean that every alarm system can suddenly use 5G communication. There will most likely only be 5G communicators made available for a very select number of alarm systems at first. We assume that the newer and most advanced systems will get priority, and it will probably be awhile before 5G communicators become available for older models. And it's fair to assume that some systems may never receive a 5G communicator, and they will only have LTE service available as their fastest cellular communication. This is fine though, as cellular service providers have repeatedly stated that their LTE networks will be supported well into the distant future.

So while 5G technology might be eagerly anticipated by the security industry, end users should not get their hopes up for any regularly used 5G communicators until 2020 or 2021. Of course, Alarm Grid will keep you up to date as we learn more about 5G networks and what customers can expect. For now, we'll keep looking forward to this exciting new technology.

Tags: ,

Comments


Posted By

Hi DIYers! We would like to inform you that Alarm.com has recently updated their iOS Mobile App to version 4.8. The big change that comes with this release is the ability to perform various Alarm.com functions through Siri voice commands. This is done through voice shortcuts on iOS 12.


Before this update, the only system we offered that could be used with Siri was the Honeywell Lyric Controller, which can be controlled using Apple HomeKit. But this update gives nearly every Alarm.com System a convenient new option for quick access and control. Although the feature is somewhat limited at this time, we expect additional capabilities to be announced in the coming months, including automation functionality for smart home devices.

The voice feature is only compatible with Apple iOS Version 12. This is the latest iOS version as of October 2018. A user can set up the voice feature under the App Settings Menu of the Alarm.com Mobile App.

Each voice command will need to be set up with its own unique Siri shortcut. Users can also opt to share their in-app activity so that Siri can recommend commands that are commonly used to appear on the lock screen or through spotlight search. Once the command has been set up, the user can conveniently ask Siri whenever they want to perform a basic system function.


Alarm.com iOS Version 4.8 also includes minor enhancements and fixes that should allow the app to operate more smoothly. Alarm Grid will be sure to pass on any further updates regarding Alarm.com as we learn more. Keep an eye on our blog to stay updated for the latest information.

Tags: , , ,

Comments


Posted By

Cellular communication is expected to make its next major leap forward later this year with the rise of 5G networks. This is exciting news for the security industry, as it will make alarm systems more versatile than ever. Let's take a quick look at how 5G will revolutionize alarm monitoring.

When a person says "5G", they are referring to the fifth generation of cellular communication. Most alarm systems today use 3G or 4G/LTE cellular modules for communicating. Inevitably, 5G communicators for alarm systems will eventually be released. Once the 5G networks grow and these new alarm communicators become available, end users and their home security systems will then be able to truly take advantage of what 5G offers.

The main benefit to 5G communication is how it will improve the end user experiencing with working with "Internet of Things" (IoT). This goes beyond simply streaming a video or downloading a file. IoT refers to a network of devices that goes beyond just phones and computers. In the world of alarm systems, this can include things like smart lights, thermostats, door locks and more. In other words, 5G technology will help alarm system continue their transition into becoming full-fledged smart home controllers.

There is a very large amount of activity that occurs when an alarm system controls a smart home device, such as a light. The command has to go from the system, to the interactive service, to the alarm system, and finally to the device itself. Although each action is relatively minor, the fact that there are multiple steps to this process can slow things down. By using 5G communication, almost every step of the process will be made quicker, and it will provide a better experience for the end user. Simply put, any action or command will become almost instant. The same principle applies when the command is initiated from another source, like a smartphone or smart assistant device.

When a user with a 5G connection pulls up the Alarm.com or Total Connect 2.0 Mobile App and runs a smart scene, they can expect that the command will reach the servers for the interactive platform in a matter of milliseconds. And then the service will send the command to the alarm system (or other smart home controller) also in a matter of milliseconds. From there, the only transmission left is the local communication between the smart home controller and the device itself. With the support of a 5G network a user can expect these processes to occur basically in the blink of an eye, as any noticeable transmission latency will largely become a relic of the past.

Alarm systems are quickly becoming more than just security tools. Many people have already embraced security panels as central hubs for useful devices in their homes. We expect this trend to continue with the rise of 5G. The future of the security system is for it to do more than just keep you and your family safe. We expect the equipment we feature to become even more useful tools that will greatly benefit your everyday life and make your household more connected. Alarm monitoring is about to become so much more than security and protection. We're ready for every step of the journey.

Alarm grid inside security stickers

Tags: ,

Comments


Posted By

Imagine you and your family are away from home. An intruder decides to take this opportunity to forcefully enter your house. But luckily, they trigger a contact, a motion sensor or a glass break sensor, and an immediate alarm is sent to a central station. They flee the scene immediately.

At first glance, this might seem like a favorable situation. The intruder left your property immediately, the police arrived on the scene shortly thereafter, and any property damage was minimized. But now there is a criminal on the loose, and the police don't necessarily have any leads for identifying the individual. That is where home security cameras can greatly assist with a police investigation. Even just one camera can mean the difference between a successful arrest and an unsolved crime.

Honeywell lyric c1 wifi indoor 720p hd total connect security caA home security camera is exactly what it sounds like. It is a camera that captures footage inside the home for security purposes. Sure, you might capture some cute and heartwarming moments of your family on your security camera from time to time. But their real purpose is to keep you and your loved ones safe. In the previous scenario, a single camera could have provided police with a detailed physical description of the intruder. This can eventually lead to the arrest and conviction of the guilty party. Thanks to your camera, the police managed to take a dangerous criminal off the street, and your area is now safer as a result.

The modern security cameras of today don't feature the grainy, black & white footage of older models. New cameras from Alarm.com and Honeywell capture video in full-color, HD quality. With these cameras, you'll be able to see any unwanted intruder in exceptional detail. This will make it easier for the police to identify the intruder later. Most modern security cameras also used infrared (IR) night vision to detect criminals in the darkest of environments. There are event specially designed low-light cameras created for this purpose. And outdoor security cameras can capture footage that specifically occurs outside your home.

Alarm dot com adc v722w frontBut there's another important reason to get security cameras for your home. Not every bad guy breaks into the home. As scary as it sounds, many burglars, vandals and even sex criminals works right under the nose of the homeowner. They can operate under the guise of a repair person or a cleaner or any trusted individual. Once inside, they can rob you of your belongings or perform disgusting acts that can leave you speechless. Just a few days ago, a "repairman" in Los Angeles was caught on a home security camera sniffing a young girl's underwear while he was "working". Just imagine how many of these crimes go undetected in homes due to a lack of security cameras!

We're not telling you to be afraid of every person you let into your home. There are plenty of trustworthy and honest people left in this world. But in today's day and age, you can never be too sure. As extreme as it sounds, it is absolutely critical that you know exactly what goes on in your home. Home security cameras are the best way to do this. And with advances in technology, these cameras are easier to use and install than ever before. In fact, many can even be rested on a table, no installation needed!

Alarm dot com adc v522ir indoor 1080p fixed camera with night vi

When used with an alarm system and an interactive service platform like Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com, you can even view the live footage for your security cameras from virtually anywhere in the world at any time. And even if you don't ever catch an intruder breaking-in or a creep repairman going through the belongings of your family, nothing beats the peace of mind of being able to see exactly what is going on inside your home while you are away.

Alarm Grid offers a wide selection of security cameras designed for use with the Total Connect 2.0 and Alarm.com services. All that's needed to get started is a Platinum Level Alarm Monitoring Plan. Protect your home and your loved ones with a security camera setup from Alarm Grid.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments


Posted By

Hi DIYers! If you have a smart home setup, then you know how exciting it is when you add a new smart device. Now you have brand-new equipment that you can integrate into smart scenes and control from anywhere! But what about the central hub that serves as the "brains" of the setup?

The smart home hub is the unsung hero of a smart home network. The way that it works is that all smart home devices will connect with the hub. Whenever a command is sent out for one or more smart home devices, it will pass through the hub first. In that sense, the hub is what connects all of the devices in the network together. So without a hub, a true smart home network will not be possible.

What makes a smart hub unique is that it communicates with multiple types of wireless protocols. This should not be confused with a bridge, which only communicates with one type of wireless protocol. An example is the Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge, as it will only send commands to devices running the Lutron protocol (Clear Connect). That's not to say that bridges can't represent a useful part of a smart home setup. There are many great protocols that are operated through some type of smart bridge. But having a dedicated central hub can make controlling your smart home devices as easy as possible.

Naturally, it makes sense that many users want to integrate their alarm systems into their smart home networks. This way, they can have certain smart home devices respond to predetermined security events. An example could be having smart lights turn on automatically when a user walks into a room and sets off a motion detecting sensor. This type of setup is has become a reality for many users in recent years, as smart home technology continues to grow and evolve.

Unfortunately, it isn't as simple as just taking any security system and any smart home hub and having them suddenly work together. There are many compatibility issues and rules that must be kept in mind when integrating an alarm system into an existing smart home network. Some smart home hubs are easier to work with than others. And as this type of technology is still fairly new, there are still some issues to be worked out. But the beauty of integrating a security system with a primary smart hub, or even using the security system itself as the smart hub, is that it will facilitate a true connection between smart home devices and security devices.

We have already seen many users experience great success in using the Honeywell Lyric Controller as a secondary Z-Wave controller with a Samsung SmartThings Hub or as an integrated device with Apple HomeKit. In these situations, SmartThings or HomeKit will serve as the primary home automation controller. However, the user will still be able to have their Z-Wave devices respond based on actions taken by the Lyric. This could involve adjusting the thermostat automatically when a sensor is triggered or having a door lock itself when the system is armed. But keep in mind that the system may not be able to interact with every wireless protocol that is supported by the primary hub.

Many users are fine with having the security system itself serve as the primary hub for their smart home devices. Depending upon the wireless protocols involved, this can work quite well. For example, both the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus and 2GIG GC3 Systems are Z-Wave Plus controllers that can be used as hubs for security devices and Z-Wave devices. When doing this, a user can control their Z-Wave devices directly through the panel or through the Alarm.com service. The Alarm.com Mobile App will even allow users to operate their Z-Wave devices from virtually anywhere in the world. The weakness here is that the user will be limited to using only wireless protocols that are supported by the alarm system. This might not be as many protocols as a dedicated home automation hub like Samsung SmartThings.

Alarm Grid will keep you up to date with new and advanced smart home automation technology and capabilities as it becomes available. We look forward to bringing you the latest news about this exciting technology and how it can help you get the very most out of your security system.

Tags: , , , , ,

Comments


Posted By

Hi DIYers! We're here with the Alarm Grid video recap for September 10th thru 17th. Our support technicians Joe, Dylan and Jorge are all back and here to teach you how to use your alarm system. We have seven new videos this time, with most of them focusing on the Interlogix Systems.

Disabling Chime on an Interlogix Simon XT

Dylan demonstrates how to disable the chime for an Interlogix Simon XT System. By disabling the chime, the panel will not produce any sounds when sensors are faulted. There is an option accessible from the main screen that is used with toggling the chime On and Off. If the option is set to Off, the chime will be disabled for the entire system. Alternatively, muting the system will also stop the panel from producing chimes. However, this will stop all system sounds, except for sirens.

Self Monitoring a Simon XT

Dylan talks about using a Simon XT with a self-monitoring plan. A self-monitoring plan means that the system is not connected with a central monitoring station. As a result, a user will be unable to receive automatic emergency dispatch. But a user will still be able to receive system alerts and notifications through text and/or email from Alarm.com. A user can take these notifications and contact the authorities when needed to keep their home or business safe.


Adding a Wireless Motion Sensor on an Interlogix Simon XTi

Jorge shows users how to add a wireless motion sensor to an Interlogix Simon XTi System. This is the same process that is used for enrolling a wireless sensor to an Interlogix Simon XTi-5 System. A motion sensor will actively search for any motion that is present in an area. If the device detects motion while the system is armed, an alarm will occur on the system. This makes these devices great for keeping the inside of a building protected and secured. The Simon XTi supports 319.5 MHz motion sensors.


Resetting an Interlogix Simon XTi and XTi-5 to Factory Defaults

Jorge demonstrates how to reset an Interlogix Simon XTi or XTi-5 System to factory default settings. Once the system has been defaulted, all programmed codes and sensors will be deleted. The Master, Installer and Dealer Codes will all be reset to the factory default values. All system settings will be restored to the default. A user will basically need to reprogram their entire panel after a factory default has been performed. Therefore, we usually only recommend a default if it is absolutely needed.


Adding Hardwired Zones to an Interlogix Simon XT

Dylan shows users how they can use hardwired sensors with the Simon XT System. There are a couple of ways that this can be done. The panel has two hardwired inputs for supporting two normally closed hardwired sensors. This is a great option if a user only needs to use a couple of sensors. The other option is to use a compatible wired to wireless converter. This is good for using several wired sensors. A good converter to use is the Qolsys IQ Hardwire 8 or 16.


Sensors Compatible with a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Alarm System

Joe talks about which sensors can be used with the Qolsys IQ Panel 2. The standard IQ Panel 2 contains a wireless receiver for supporting 319.5 MHz sensors. This includes all Qolsys Sensors and Interlogix/GE Sensors. If Qolsys S-Line Sensors are used, then they will be encrypted. Additionally, the upgraded Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus can support 915 MHz PowerG Sensors, plus one type of legacy sensors. This depends on which legacy daughtercard is installed. There are legacy options for 319.5 MHz, 345 MHz (Honeywell 5800 Series & 2GIG) and 433 MHz (legacy DSC).


Demonstrating Installer Code & Dealer Code on a Simon XTi and XTi-5

Joe explains the differences between the Installer Codes and Dealer Codes on the Simon XTi and XTi-5 Systems. Both of these codes are set to 4321 out of the box. However, they can be individually programmed if desired. The Dealer Code can do a few things that the Installer Code cannot. These mostly deal with the dialer for the system. Other than that, these codes serve exactly the same purpose. We generally recommend leaving these codes set to their default of 4321 so that the user does not get locked out of programming.

Tags: , ,

Comments


Posted By

Hi DIYers! We are excited to announce that Lutron Smart Lighting Devices are now available for purchase on the Alarm Grid website. Lutron is one of the leaders in smart lighting and home automation. Their products are perfect for users who want to achieve an automated home lighting setup.

Lutron uses its own smart wireless communications protocol that is different from WIFI and other home automation signals like Z-Wave. The Lutron signal is specifically designed to not interfere with these communication signals. We have found that the Lutron wireless protocol is one of the most reliable and consistent signals for use with smart lighting and home automation. These devices can truly make a user's life easier, giving them complete and total control of their lights.

The centerpiece of a Lutron Smart Lighting System is the Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge. This is what makes remote access and control possible for a Lutron device. All Lutron Lighting Devices will integrate with this central hub for access and control. Some of the smart home assistants and platforms that can be used with Lutron include Apple HomeKit, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Nest and Sonos. Whenever a command is sent out through one of these platforms, it will first pass through the Lutron Bridge before being forwarded to the specific device. Voice commands for Lutron Devices are possible when used with Apple HomeKit, Google Home and Amazon Alexa.

Some of the Lutron Devices that can connect with the Lutron Smart Bridge include the Lutron In-Wall Light Dimmer Switch for hardwired lights (no travel wire required) and the Lutron Plug-In Lamp Dimmer Module for lamps and floor lights. These devices can all be controlled remotely from virtually anywhere using the Lutron App or Apple HomeKit. They can also be operated by on-site users by using a Lutron Pico Remote. There's also an audio Pico Remote specifically designed for use with Sonos Sound Systems. And with the Lutron App, a user can even have their lights activate based on the Geofencing location of their smartphone!

By using a Lutron System with a Honeywell Lyric Controller (MR7 firmware update required) and Apple HomeKit, a user can even have their Lutron Devices activate with certain security events. For example, a might have all of their Lutron Smart Lights set to turn on when they return home and disarm their Lyric Alarm System. This is the best way to integrate a Lutron Smart Lighting System with a home security system.

Please note that Lutron integration with Alarm.com is only possible with the L-BDGPRO2 Smart Bridge PRO. If you are looking for the Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge PRO 2 that can integrate with Alarm.com, it can be purchased here.

Lutron Products are available now on the Alarm Grid site. Obtain a robust and complete smart lighting setup for your home!

Tags: , , , , ,

Comments


Posted By

Hi DIYers! Today, we're taking a look at the 2GIG PANIC1-345 Panic Switch for use with the 2GIG GC2 and GC3 Alarm Systems. This device has many possible applications, but it is most commonly used as a medical alert device. It provides a quick and easy way to request emergency help.

2gig panic1 345It can be very concerning and scary to leave an elderly or disabled relative in their home alone. However, these people will often want to live as independently as possible and be able to take care of themselves. A panic switch like the 2GIG PANIC1-345 provides an ideal solution for these situations. If the user experiences a fall or medical emergency, they can quickly and conveniently get the help they need, even if nobody else is around.

The device can be conveniently activated by pressing and holding the large central button for 2 complete seconds. Having to press and hold the button prevents any false alarms from occurring due to accidental button prices. The red LED light on the device will activate after holding the button for 2 seconds, letting the user know that the signal has been successfully transmitted to the alarm system.

The PANIC1-345 is easy to set up with a 2GIG Go!Control GC2 or GC3 System as a medical alert device. This is usually a Sensor Type of (08) 24-Hour Auxiliary Alarm. With this setting, an alarm will be immediately sent out to the central station once the device has been activated. However, no siren or strobe will be set off during this time. The central station will then know to send out emergency medical dispatch to the residence immediately. Alternatively, the device can be programmed for police or fire dispatch if desired.

The device comes with a sensor clip and accessories for wearing the device as a wristband or lanyard. It is lightweight and water-resistant, allowing the user to keep it on their person at all times. This makes it perfect for users who might forget to put on the device after getting out of bed or bathing. However, the device should not be fully submerged underwater. But it is durable enough for reliable daily use. The battery inside the PANIC1-345 has a lifespan of about 2 years before requiring replacement.

The PANIC1-345 is available on the Alarm Grid website. Protect your loved one and help them live independently with this easy-to-use and convenient device.

Tags: , ,

Comments