alarm app

Research: What Do Homeowners Really Want From the Smart Home?

Alarm.com recently conducted a survey to better understand consumer preferences and perspectives on the smart home.  Our survey focused on homeowners and families: what they want and need, how they prefer to get it, and how they expect the smart home to work for them. 

How to Create Your Own Alarm.com Scene

The convenient new Scenes buttons in the Alarm.com app let you control several smart home devices at once with a single command.

We've provided four Scenes to start with, each one tailored to make a specific moment of the day easier. They're easy to edit, but you can also create new Scenes from scratch for any situation. Here's how to do it.

1: Getting Started

You can create Scenes in both the desktop and mobile versions of the Alarm.com app. We're going to use the desktop version. Log into Alarm.com, click the emPower tab, then click Scenes.

You'll see four pre-set Scenes, which you can edit from this page. To create a new one, click New Scene.

2: Create a button for your Scene. 

We're going to create a 'Movie' Scene that makes things comfortable for movie viewing after the kids have gone to bed. Enter your Scene name and click the three-arrowed icon. You'll see a drop-down menu of icons to choose from, along with a choice of colors.

3: Specify what your Scene will do.  

After creating your button, you'll see a list of all your Alarm.com-powered devices below. To include a device, check the circle to the left of it, then specify what you want the device to do.

For example, we want our Movie Scene to set the security system to Arm Stay, with the front door locked.

Movies require a blanket, so we're turning the temperature down for this Scene.


Finally, we're going to have the hallway and living room lights turn off, for perfect movie ambiance.

Click Save to confirm your Scene. You'll see it with the others on the Scenes page.

4: Use your new Scene!

The next time you open your Alarm.com mobile app, your Scene will be there. Swipe left on the Scenes bar to find the new button, and tap once. On the confirmation pop-up, you can see all of the commands you specified. Tap 'Confirm'... and enjoy your Scene!

What is Smart Security?

Every security company right now is offering remote services through a customer’s smart phone. All of them offer the ability to are and disarm. Most offer remote camera viewing and storage. Some offer basic lighting and lock control. Only a few select companies offer all of these solutions and create a fully automated security system.

Remote Arm & Disarm

This feature is all about convenience. If you ever have to let someone into your home while you are away, you can do so without giving that person a user code. Just in case you at work and can’t remember whether or not you armed the system you can just login and check.

Text Message Alerts

With text message alerts you can know exactly when your kids get home. You can even know who disarmed the system right after it happens. If you have a liquor cabinet or a gun closet in your home, you can get a message every time it is opened. You can even get a snap shot picture of who opened it.

Cameras

No security system is complete without cameras. Cameras protect you from the “just in case.” If your house gets broken into and for some reason the cops don’t show up in time to catch the burglars, you will have video footage of the burglars’ faces. Cameras are also great in vacation homes. You can look in at any time from your phone and know that everything is good with your property. Today not only can you pull up cameras on your smart phone, but all the footage can be stored in the cloud. You can also have motion alerts send you text messages when the camera detects motion.

Locks

Automated locks are a great addition to any security system. They give you the ability to go keyless. You can have the lock automatically disarm your system when you get home and which can also trigger your lights to go on and adjust the temperature. Another great feature of automated locks is that you can create temporary onetime user codes for people that just need temporary access to your home. You can also create schedules for when a code is supposed to work; that is great for the housekeeper.

Lighting Control

I personally love lighting control and so do most people who have it installed in their homes. In fact, over 70% of homeowners who have had lighting control say it is the first thing they would install in a new smart home. There are so many scenes you can create with lighting control. You can have a goodnight scene that shuts off all the lights at home or a movie scene that dims the lights to a minimal level. One of the most important scenes you can have is a Mockupancy Scene which can be done through Control4. A Mockupancy Scene makes it look like you are home when you are actually away. It learns your patterns and when you are away it replays them at slightly random times. This deters burglars because it makes it look like you are home.

These are just the most important features you should look for in a smart security system. Other nice features that we offer are automated temperate control and Geo-Fencing which lets your system know when you are home or away. We offer all of these solutions and can help you automate your home. If you have any questions or want a free assessment, please feel free to give us a call.

 

Alarm.com and Amazon Echo

Tired of your kids and pets not listening. What if I told you that your house would listen to anything you told it to do? Pretty cool, right?

I would like to introduce you to Alarm.com’s integration with Amazon Echo. A skill can be added to Echo to give you complete control over anything that your Alarm.com alarm system controls. That means that you have control over not only your alarm system but your lights, thermostat, locks, garage door, and much, much more. You talk to Echo and address it by the name Alexa. Just say, “Alexa turn off the family room lights” and just like that, they are off. It’s that easy.

Imagine this: you are going to sleep at night and you can’t remember whether or not you locked the front door. Say “Alexa did I lock the front door?” In a second she will respond and if you forgot you can have her lock the door.

With Alarm.com you can even have Alexa execute different rules. So if every time you arm your system to stay you want the doors to lock, she can do that. If it’s night time you can even have the lights shut off with it. The possibilities are nearly endless.

These skills are not just for security though they are also for comfort. If you want Alexa to adjust the thermostat you can tell her and not have to get up off the couch while you are watching your favorite team play.

If you have any questions on Alarm.com please feel free to contact us.

 

Smart Solutions to Simplify Your Life.

Home automation is now simplifying people’s daily lives and does tasks that used to require human intervention. You may be asking yourself right now how exactly can automation simplify your life and that is what I am here to tell you.

 

Saving Time and Money

Energy management is becoming a growing trend in today’s homes. Energy efficient homes not only help reduce carbon emissions, which is good for the environment, but it also saves you money every month on your power bill. Through Control4 you can control anything from smart lighting you’re your thermostats, or even control all those media devices like your TV or cable box.

Let’s take a look at the smart thermostat… First generation smart thermostats required you to program in specific times that you wanted to have the thermostat either set to a higher temperature when you were away or a lower temperature to cool off your house when you are home. The problem with this is, what if you go on vacation or come home early from work? Your thermostat will run at the predetermined times and you will either be losing money when you are not home or be uncomfortable in your home when you come home early. Today thermostats have become much more advanced. Now you can have occupancy sensors can intelligently know when you are home. For example, when your security system is armed to away you can have it execute an away scene. Energy sensing devices and motion sensors can also be used to monitor when you are home. Just in-case you ever want to adjust the thermostat on the fly you can do it from your smart phone or watch.

 

Smart lighting is another way you can save on your energy use. Smart lighting scenes be executed to go into an all off scene when you are away so you never have to worry about forgetting to shut off the lights again. Occupancy sensors can also be used to sense when you enter and leave a room so your lights will not be left on all day in those rooms that you are only in for a short period of time. In addition to these smart lighting scenes you can also set your lights to only go up to 75% brightness. Studies have shown that there is such a small difference in how bright that will make the room and most people cannot even tell there is a difference in the brightness.

Smart and More Secure Homes

Automation is also now making for smarter and more secure homes. In the past most people just protected their homes with a security system and some even used cameras. The problem with this is that burglars can tell when you are away from home because there is no activity in the house. With the smarter more secure systems that are out today you can create active lighting patterns to make is seem like you are home. Your shade control and TV’s can also be joined to these scenes to give your home a more lived-in feel.

Cameras can now be integrated to your smart home systems so you and/or your monitoring company can view your cameras remotely. This reduces false alarms because you can make a more informed decision on whether or not to dispatch the police.

Smart locks can also be added to your systems as well. This allows you to create certain times that people can access your home or even one-time user codes. These codes are great to give to your dog walker or house keeper that are only supposed to be in your home at specific times.

Wrap Up

These are just a few of the ways that smart home technology can simplify your life and save you money. If you would like to talk in more detail about what a Control4 home automation system can do for you, please feel free to give us a call. We would be more than happy to come out to your home for a free home assessment

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Is getting a “smart home”…smart?

 

I remember years ago there was a movie that came out about a family who got to move into a fully automated dream home. This house did everything from cleaning, cooking and even played with the dog. Are you feeling like a mango and banana smoothie for breakfast? This house would have you covered and you could just sit back and enjoy without having to do the work. While technology has come a long way over the last 15 years…we aren’t exactly there yet. However the capabilities you CAN have for your home are amazing and can help make life a little easier, safer, and even a bit more fun! Plus it’s more affordable now than ever. What used to be an option only for the wealthy is now found in homes across America.

Alarm.com allows you to not only interact with your security system from your smart phone or tablet, but can also control everything in your home from lighting, televisions, audio equipment, air conditioning, and more. We all know the feeling of worry and questions that run through our mind when we are away from the house…

-Did I remember to arm the system before we rushed out the door?

                (Just check the virtual keypad on your phone. It allows you to arm and disarm your system remotely. There is no more need to give out your code to a babysitter or housekeeper. Just swipe to disarm the system when they arrive and arm it again when they have left.)

-Did Mia get home safe from soccer practice?

                (Motion activated cameras can show you when the kids arrive at the front door)

 

-Did I remember to shut off the lights?

                (Turn your lights on and off as needed with just a swipe of your finger on your phone.)

 

-Is the babysitter doing a good job keeping an eye on the kids?

                (Just check on one of your live streaming cameras in the play room)

-Did we leave the air conditioning down low when we left for the vacation?

                (Turn the temperature up and down as needed, even when you are away. You can also get text alerts in conjunction with temperature or water sensors to help alert you in case of a flood or fire)

 

All of these questions and more can be answered with the help of Total Connect 2.0. Call our office today to learn more about what’s smart about making your home smart! 877-532-SAFE

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Smart, Security, and Safe Homes

The FBI reports that there was an alarming 1,121,416 burglaries in the United States in 2014. That amounts to a burglary every 28 seconds. While this number probably seems really high to most people it is actually down over 10% since 2013.

Why the sudden decrease in home thefts? As wireless alarm monitoring advances more and more people want to add it to their homes. A security system is no longer just a siren that goes off and a monitoring center that notifies you and the police of an alarm event. Now your security system is the central hub of your smart home. It controls features such as lighting control, door control, image sensors, thermostat control, and remote video monitoring. These features not only add convenience to the home owner but also deters criminals.

With lighting control you can set up always occupied lighting scenes for when you are away. This makes it look like someone is home as lights will turn on and turn off automatically. Burglars who as casing homes look for homes with no activity. When they see lights turning on and off throughout the day they think someone is home.

Alarm.com’s Image Sensor will give you a snapshot of someone as they walk through the door and/or when someone disarms the alarm system. This reduces false alarms because you can verify why the alarm is going off and you can make an informed decision on whether or not to dispatch the police.

When you integrate door locks to your security system you can have total control of who is coming into your home. Through Alarm.com’s easy-to-use web interface you can set up temporary user codes, user-codes that can only be used at certain times, and also specific user codes for each person in your home. This allows you to give your neighbor a code to open your front door to check on your home while you are on vacation. You could also give your dog walker a code to access your home just during the hours they are supposed to walk Fido. When a user enters their code to the front door, it not only unlocks the door, but you can have it disarm the alarm system. This prevents you from having to give out a code for your alarm system. One of the coolest features of the door lock is that you can get a text message notification of who unlocked the door.

Cameras are another safety feature that deters the criminals. When a burglar sees cameras on the side of a house they know that not only will the alarm go off and the police will be dispatched but also they will be caught in the act on the cameras. Today you can even set up motion triggers on your cameras to send you a snap shot when the camera detects motion. You can set up time parameters of these motion triggers so you will only get alerts when you are away. When you purchase cameras through J&J Security you also have access to your cameras from any smartphone or computer, so you can view your cameras from anywhere in the world.

 

Some people might think that this is a lot to manage but it is not. We can program your system to trigger all of these security features from just the click of a button. When you arm your system to away your system will intelligently know to activate your always occupied lighting scenes, activate your cameras for recording, and even adjust your thermostat to a more energy friendly setting. If you would like to find out more about turning your home into a smart home give us a call at (866) 532-7233 for a free in-home consultation.  

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What Exactly is an Automated Home?

Today more and more people want to simplify their lives. Homes are getting smaller and more of the space in being utilized for daily life. Some might think that automating your home will complicate things and it will be expensive. Those people could not be more wrong, it is the complete opposite.

Home automation is becoming the norm in peoples’ homes now as it becomes more and more affordable with solutions from companies such as Alarm.com and Control4. These companies were the first to make it possible for the average American to turn their home into a smart home. They integrate things like smart lighting, door control, wireless audio distribution, home entertainment, and control over your security system.

All from the touch of a button you have complete control over your home. When you are away you still can control your home from Control4’s smart phone app, or even from any computer. Imagine you are away on vacation and have a feeling you forgot to shut the lights off, lock the door, or arm the security system. If you have a smart home, you can have the peace of mind knowing you can check and correct all of these problems right from your phone.

These features are make life convenient but wait there is more. When you have an automated home when you sit down to watch a movie you can automatically have the lights dim and the volume on your TV or surround sound system to set to your favorite level. In the mornings each room can have its own wakeup seen, where the lights dim up over time, the thermostat adjusts to a cooler temperature, your favorite music starts playing and the TV turns on to the morning news.

At J&J Security we want everybody to be able to afford a smart home; that is why we have smart home packages starting as low as $99. If you are looking for something more custom like centralized lighting, a home theater, or even automating your business, we have a design team that can guide you through sales process. We have solutions that can fit every budget, and every need, no matter how big or how small. Call us today to find out more (866) 532-7233.