lighting scenes

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!

The Keypad: The Ideal Interface for Personalization

Last year, we saw a dramatic rise in smart home reports and surveys popping up everywhere. As a manufacturer with over 180,000 smart home systems in the field, we receive a ton of great information from our customers when we issue our own surveys. Our feedback shows that homeowners desire personalized experiences in the home with regard to entertainment, comfort, security, and more. In fact, we estimate that 60 percent of them want their homes to react according to their predetermined preferences, just as they walk through the door.

Personalization is what sets Control4 apart.

Take the keypad, for instance. One of the most compelling features of home automation is the ability to press one button that spawns multiple actions. Outside of the archetypal lighting control, the keypad presents many advantages that a homeowner may not be aware of. Once a homeowner knows exactly what they want their scene to do, it's fairly easy for a Control4 dealer to create it. And while it may seem like a minor convenience in thought, once lived with, it's quick to realize how much value it really adds in the home. For instance, pressing one button as you leave the house that turns off every device, every light, locks every door, and arms the alarm. Pretty amazing, right?
 
Control4 has seen a consistent rise in homeowners adding whole-home audio into their homes. And while the keypad offers an ideal interface for smart lighting, it’s also perfect for the music-loving customers. For example:

 

  • Each member of the household can have a personalized button in each of their most frequented rooms that is set to their own playlist.

  • Up and Down arrows can act as volume control or be programmed as “Thumbs Up” or “Thumbs Down” for Pandora.

  • Music and lighting can be tied together easily, when you want to relax or create a specific mood.

Homeowners have spoken. Rather than one-off devices and one-off apps to control them, they want personalized experiences that are tailored to their lives. Visit our keypads section to find out more about personalized scenes.

If you have any questions or would just like to get a free smart home assessment, please feel free to give us a call at (386) 789-5555.

You can also feel free to message us.

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SMART HOME TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE YOUR LIFE

Many tasks that previously required human intervention have been made easier thanks to automated smart home technology. But what is smart home technology and what can it do for you? Guest author, Matt Powell, from Broadband Genie lists a few ways in which smart home technology will help change lives for the better in 2016.

 

Saving money, not just time

Smart home technology is all about the automation or management of your home and daily life. This could be anything from lights that can be controlled remotely or on a schedule, to connected home entertainment systems for streaming media to multiple screens, or added features to enhance your home security.
 
To some, smart home technology might seem like an appealing concept for gadget-gurus. But in reality, a big selling point of smart home technology is that it can actually save money, in addition to making life more convenient.
 
For instance, a great way to save energy and reap some monetary benefits on your bill is by utilizing a smart thermostat. Rather than simply operating from a timer or standard temperature setups, a smart thermostat has adaptive scheduling and pre-sets which are programmed to match your life and always keep your home comfortable. They can even be controlled from your phone—or even from your wrist—while you are away.
 
Smart lighting control is also a great way to save money. This can be as simple as motion sensors tied that turn off all lights in rooms that have been unoccupied for a certain amount of time, to lighting pre-sets that never turn lights on at more than 75% brightness, thus extending bulb life and using far less electricity.
 

Smarter home security

In addition to making your energy usage more efficient, smart home technology is enormously beneficial for home security. Smart lighting can activate in patterns while you are away from home, making it appear that your home is occupied. Blinds and video entertainment can also join in on the fun, giving the house and even more lived-in feel.
 
For surveillance, indoor and outdoor cameras can be viewed remotely from a smartphone for live monitoring. You can even receive alerts when movement is detected.
 
Door locks can be made smart, too. Companies like Yale, Kwikset, and Baldwin offer locks with keyless entry and integration with your smart home. They provide a greater level of access control—so you can, for instance, set a limited use entry code for visitors coming to your home when you’re not there. You can even remotely unlock your door if you need to grant access for a delivery, and lock it right back up again.
 

It’s good to talk

A key aspect of any smart home is how well it integrates with other products or systems in the home. Control4 does this better than any other home automation company because of their focus on interoperability. There’s a growing amount of very cheap DIY smart home hardware, but you’ll find that anything which lacks support for a wider ecosystem of smart home technology is going to become quickly outdated, and oftentimes is much harder to install than you’d think. Not to mention that the plug-and-play devices do not work over one platform, often requiring multiple apps and devices to use each.
 

Seamless Whole House Audio

One of my favorite features of my Control4 home automation system is the whole home audio. I have the ability to either the same song in all the rooms or a different song in each room. Control4 integrates with all the large internet radio apps so I can listen to all my favorite artists with ease. Some of the internet radio providers that it supports are Pandora, Deezer, Tune-In, and Rhapsody. It also integrates with 3rd party devices to provide you XM Satellite radio. Unless you have been living under a rock for the past 10 years then you know at least a few of these big names in the music world.

 

Just in case you can’t find what you are wanting to listen to on these sources you can always stream any song or playlist from your smart phone with Control4’s Share Bridge.

Control4’s wireless speaker point makes it possible to have distributed audio in existing houses that would otherwise be extremely hard, if not, impossible to run wires to ever speaker. If you already have an existing wireless Sonos system in your house Control4 can control that as well.

With digital music streaming throughout your house you can have scenes created to access your music at all the right times with ease.

               Party Scene - Your Control4 Dealer can create a party scene for you to execute at the click of a button. This Party Scene can set your favorite playlist to play throughout the house at a preset level. If the patio has a dance floor for your party, you can have it playing louder than the rest of the house where you might just want to have quieter background music. In addition to the audio control the Party Scene button can also trigger things like lighting control and set the thermostat to a lower temperature. When you are done with the party all you need to do is press the button one more time and the music shuts off and your house returns to normal.

               Wakeup Scene - If you hate waking up in the morning as much as me then you need all the help you can get. With a wakeup scene you can have a sequence of events triggered at the time you set the night before. So if you have to be up at 6:00am you can have the temperature in your house drop a few degrees starting at 5:30am. Then at 6:00 your music and lights can start slowly ramping up. You can even have your TV turn on to your favorite channel. When arm your alarm system before you leave for the day, your TV will shut off and the music will stop playing.

If you have any questions about Control4 or would just like to have a free consultation, please feel free to contact us. 

 

The Home Automation Backbone

A home network is the backbone of any and all AV systems. Whether you are installing a home automation system yourself or having a professionally installed system, it is vitally important to have professional grade networking equipment for the automation to run smoothly. If you want your lighting scenes to be triggered exactly when they are supposed to, to control your home theater, or to turn on your favorite music you need a strong network.

Consumer grade routers that you get from your Internet Service Provider or the ones you get from your local electronic store, cannot handle the amount of data traffic that will need to pass through and will prove to be unreliable. When too much traffic passes through your router the CPU and memory get overloaded and your router will crash. The magic fix is to reset the router but how many times will it take for you to do that before you get sick of it?

What all home automation systems need is an enterprise grade router. These routers are not created in China with cheap parts or designed just for the highest possible profit margin in mind. They are not just good enough for the mass market consumer. Enterprise grade routers have the fastest CPUs and the most memory and they are designed to be future proof. They are not only going to support the devices you have now but the new devices that might be invented five years from now. These routers will be able to stream UHD/4K contents, music, and allow you to surf the web all at the same time all through their gigabit ports.

One of the biggest benefits of getting an enterprise grade network device is the support you will receive. You will be able to go directly to the installer that you bought your router from with any issue instead of having to wait on hold with tech support for an hour to get someone that does not really know what they are talking about. This installing dealer will not only be trained but certified to handle almost any problem you run into. If there is ever an issue that you run into that cannot be quickly fixed, then the installer will work directly with engineers with the manufacture to make sure the issue is resolved.

At J&J Security we offer enterprise networking solutions for both homes and businesses. If you want to discuss your network needs in more detail, please feel free to give us a call.

 

Best Home Safety and Security Tips

If you watch the nightly news you will probably see a few robberies that occurred every night. That is because the amount of home burglaries is frighteningly high. In fact, the FBI reports that there are over one million burglaries every year in the United States.

The good thing is there are some precautions you can take to limit your chances of becoming a victim.

Never Advertise That You Are Not Home

Burglars are always on the watch for homes that look like they have been vacant for some time. What they look for is stacks of newspapers on the driveway, grass that has not been cut in a while and lights that never going on.

The first thing that you can do to prevent someone from noticing you’re not home is having a trusted neighbor pick up your newspapers and even pay them to cut your grass when you are on an extended vacation.

To make your home look more lived in you can add fake occupancy scenes. You can do this with things like lighting control. With smart lighting you can have lights turn on at random times to make it look like someone is in the room. You can even program your TV to turn on and off at set times.

Another major thing you don’t want to do is leave your trash cans out before you go on vacation. Trash cans sitting outside of a house too long can expose the fact that you are not home.

Be Careful of What You Share Online

It may be tempting to share with your friends that you are in the Caribbean on a beach vacation or traveling Europe but you most definitely should not. Sure it might be feel great to get all those positive comments and likes but the risks out ways the benefits. When you share on Facebook that you are traveling it makes it public to the world that you are not home. This makes you extremely susceptible to a break-in.

This does not mean that you can’t ever share with your friends that you were having that great Pina Colada on the beach. You should however wait to share these awesome photos until you are home.

Secure Your Home Properly

Home security should be your number one priority. Make sure that your security company secures all your doors and windows and also creates interior trap zones. It is important to secure windows with contact sensors but it is much more secure to use a shock sensor combined with a contact. This will make sure that your windows are not only protected against someone opening it but the alarm will also be triggered if someone tries to break the window. As long as you don’t have large pets over 80lbs, you should make sure that you have at least one motion sensor. We recommend installing it in an area where a burglar will definitely go like the master bedroom.

Security Cameras

Even if you take all the proper precautions it is still possible for you to have a break-in. In this case it is important that you catch the criminals in their tracks with cameras. Security cameras have come a long way over the years and they have also become very affordable. Now you can get HD quality cameras and have the ability to view them from your smart phone. Not only that, you can also get motion triggered video alerts if the camera senses motion when you are not home.

 

If you want to get more security tips or if you want to get a free security assessment of your home, please feel free to give us a call.

 

Ways to Save on Those Hot Summer Days

Summer is here and the heat is going into full effect. In Florida we all know how unbearably hot it can get and cooling yourself off indoors can mean expensive energy bills. With our smart home, energy management solutions instead of wasting money, you can use your home’s power in the most efficient ways so you can save on those costly summer bills. You will be able to save money every month without even raising a finger.

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How much exactly can you save by adding smart devises to your home? Studies have shown that consumers can save 10% on their monthly summer cooling and winter heating bills.

Through platforms like Alarm.com and Control4, J&J Security offers a wide range of smart home solutions including; thermostats, lighting control, and control over your appliances.

Save When You Are Not Home

Let’s face it, most of the day when it is the hottest outside, we are not home therefore we are wasting money when the thermostat is left at 75 degrees. Sure you can manually adjust the thermostat before you leave but many people will forget to and even if you don’t you will come home to a uncomfortable house. That’s never fun after a long day of work.

With our smart thermostats your home can detect that you are home or away in two ways. The first is we can integrate the thermostat into your alarm system. That way every time you are your thermostat to away the thermostat adjusts up and then when you disarm the system it adjusts back down.

The second way your home will know when you are home or away is through geo-fencing (through your smart phone). Your system will know your location and whether you are in your home. When the last person leaves with their smart phone the temperature adjusts up. When you are your way home the thermostat will go back down and by the time you return home your house will be at a cool and comfortable temperature.

Why did you leave the door open? Were you raised in a barn?

Growing up I heard this phrase all the time when I would leave the door open. Kids are always running in and out of the house during the summer and constantly forget to shut the door behind them. Don’t waste money trying to cool your house while these doors are open.

Don’t worry, there is a smart solution that can help you. With Alarm.com’s auto-setback feature your home will know when an outside door is left open and will adjust your thermostat temperature up. Then when the door is shut again the temperature will go back down and your home can cool off efficiently.

Don’t Do the Impossible

During the hottest of summer days, it can be nearly impossible to keep your home in the mid to low 70s. The lower you want the temperature in your home, the harder your AC unit has to work. If you would like, on those days that are 95 degrees or hotter your system can stay just a few degrees higher saving you tons of money on your electrical bill. Even though your home is a few degrees warmer than normal you will hardly even notice the difference since it will still be much cooler then it is outside. When it cools off at night the system knows and will adjust your thermostat back to its normal level. 

More Ways to Save

With additional smart home devices like lighting control and appliance modules you can save even more on your monthly bills. Smart lighting can even be set up to know when you are in the room and when you are not so the lights can turn on and off automatically. Please feel free to contact us if you would like more information on ways you can add smart home solutions to your home.

 

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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