smart home

The Five Stages of Smart Home Parenting

Help will come in many forms: family, friends, the new social networks you'll make as parents. It also comes in the form of technology that makes the everyday work of parenting easier. From electric bottle warmers to space-age stroller designs, you'll soon discover technical fixes for every challenge. 

Four Ways to Interact With your Alarm.com Smart Home

Obviously, it depends. What time of day is it? Are you home or away? Are you by the door, or in the yard? Are you expecting someone? Are you in the middle of a movie? 

Every homeowner and every situation is different, which is why Alarm.com gives you a lot of options for interacting with your home. Our smart home security app can be used on a wide array of devices in many different everyday contexts. Here are four very different but equally useful ways to interact with your Alarm.com smart home. 

Which US Cities Have the Most Connected Homeowners?

You may have read futuristic visions of how the smart home will change our lives.  But the smart home is already an everyday reality here at Alarm.com, with our technology delivering real value to millions of homeowners across the US and the world. So, instead of speculating about what the smart home could be, let's talk about how it's actually being used today. 

How to Create a Smart Nursery, Simply

Now, the ‘smart nursery' is a trend. Parents can get gadgets like wearable baby sleep trackers and "smart socks" with apps that monitor your child's breathing. Helpful or stressful? We'll let you be the judge. 

What can really help you, though, is a smart home security system extended into your nursery to make it an even safer and more comfortable environment. Here's how it'll help you both sleep better. 

J&J Security Services Answers: What is a “Smart Home” Security System?

A “smart home” is one of the best ways to secure your home.  Using the most reliable and secure communications and advanced tamper-­resistant technology, you can be rest assured your home will stay protected.  Smart homes are equipped with special structured wiring that allows occupants to control security, lighting, heating, and more, remotely by phone or computer. 

How a Smart Home Gives You Time Back

Ever got into your car in the morning, only to wonder if you locked the front door? Or got a mile down the road and realized you left your garage open? Not a problem with Alarm.com. Our mobile app lets you secure your home from anywhere with the touch of a button. If you forget, it'll send you a reminder. 

Four Things You Can Safely Forget With Alarm.com

When it comes to protecting your home, you rarely forget anything important. But when it happens, Alarm.com has you covered. 

With smartphone reminders, proactive protection and control from anywhere, our smarter home security technology means that even when your memory slips up, you can remedy the following situations in seconds. 

Why Alarm.com Is a Modern Travel Essential

Are you planning a trip this month? Why not take a little piece of home - and some extra peace of mind - with you? 

By keeping you effortlessly connected to home, Alarm.com's smart home security app frees you from worry so you can enjoy your trip more. Here's what makes it a modern travel essential for any vacation or trip. 

Smart Home Security Should Be Your First Home Improvement

It's an instant upgrade for your entire home. It protects you from crime and other dangers, and your property from common causes of damage. It also equips your house with smart home technology that saves you money and time while protecting your big investment from day one. 

How to Create Your First Geo-Services Alert

Geo-Services is a really useful Alarm.com feature that enables your home to proactively take smart actions based on your location.

It does things like turn your thermostat up or down when you're on your way home, or remind you if you leave the house unsecured, using your smartphone's location to trigger proactive safeguards and other actions. 

BUILD A BETTER SMART HOME FROM SCRATCH

Building a new home is an exciting time for a family. Just like buying a new car, you get to be the only people who have a say in the configuration from the very beginning. You get to explicitly specify what it looks like, how many rooms it has, what those rooms do, and best of all, the optional equipment it contains!  Buying a used home, again like a used car, is all about finding the best option available that suits your “wants and needs” criteria. Certainly they both can be fun processes, but when you get to build something from the ground-up, you inject your own personalized touches and characteristics that truly make it your home sweet home.

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. 

A Back-to-School Checklist for Smart Home Parents

Back-to-school time comes with big changes to schedules and new concerns for parents.  With smart home security from Alarm.com, your child coming home safely is less likely to be one of them.

If you're a working parent with older kids, you're not going to be there every night when the bus drops them off. Traditionally, that would mean a routine of check-in calls and keeping tabs on their whereabouts. That can be a hassle for everyone in the family.

Not so with Alarm.com, which easily provides the perfect back to school awareness solution to keep you worry free. If you're already a user, here's how to do it. (If not, here's why you should be).

1: Add a Smart Lock

Keys are small and easy to lose. Kids can be absent minded - particularly with all that homework on their minds. Combine the two and there's a good chance you might be making a few trips to the hardware store for extra keys this fall.

Wait—you hid a spare key under a planter? That's a solution that a burglar will thank you for. A better way to go is a smart lock for your front door. It's a permanent solution to lost (and poorly-hidden) keys. They open with easy to remember four-digit codes or from anywhere with our smartphone app.

2: Set Up User Codes

User codes don't just open doors, though. They provide peace of mind, even when the security system is disarmed.

With your smart lock integrated into your Smart Home Security system, your child's user code can trigger an instant alert when they use it.

That means you'll know exactly when they arrive home. There's no need for them to text, no need for you to call, and no need for you to wonder—it's completely automatic. For additional awareness, you can create a no-show alert, which lets you know if they're not home by a certain time. Then you know to follow up.

3: Add an Image Sensor

So who else is home? If you don't want your home to turn into a neighborhood hangout in the afternoons, then it's a good idea to keep tabs on who's there.

An image sensor is a motion sensor with an onboard camera that lets you visually verify who's coming in and out of your home. Positioned in the hallway overlooking the front door, it can take a snapshot right when your kids arrive home so you can rest assured that they're following your rules on after-school guests.

4: Program Your Smart Thermostat

Kids have more exciting things to worry about than keeping the energy bill down, so they often overlook closing doors and windows when the AC is running.

You can rest easy about your kids ‘cooling the neighborhood' with an Alarm.com Smart Thermostat, which can automatically set back to ‘savings mode' if they leave the door open for any length of time.

You can also keep more control over the temperature settings in your home, even when you're not there. Set a schedule on your Alarm.com Smart Thermostat and create an alert so you'll know if anyone makes an adjustment on the thermostat. You can even restrict temperature changes so they can only be made from the mobile app, not the device.

 

Redesign Your Home Office to Be More Efficient and Tech Savvy

Working from home has its luxuries, including a flexible schedule, no dress code, and the lack of office environment stress. But that doesn’t mean it’s an all-day movie marathon pajama party. You have important tasks to accomplish that require tuning out numerous distractions, and you must tackle menial side-tasks without getting derailed. When you’re physically uncomfortable or worried about activities going on outside of your office, a whole day’s worth of productivity can fly out the window.
 
Thankfully, you can configure your office to minimize these distractions and maximize efficiency. Here are a few ideas I love for an office redesign that will make working from home a total dream.


Invest in Automated Comfort

Gone are the days of freezing underneath the air vent in a cubicle or overhearing your coworkers’ conversations. You have complete control of your environment, which means you can adjust the thermostat, lighting, and even music without offending anyone. But by the time you tailor these elements to your liking throughout the day, you’ve probably gotten distracted by something random like the dishes in the sink. Consider using home automation to rig the temperature, lighting, and music to your schedule. You can walk into your office ready to work in the morning and get started without losing steam. Press a button that raises the shades and activates the playlist without getting up from your desk. Tap it again to stop the music while you join a conference call, or if the tunes are causing an unnecessary distraction. Taking control of your surroundings will help you better focus on the tasks at hand.

 

Secure the Area 

Working from home often means running quick errands throughout the day. Locking up the house may feel like too much trouble if you’re just heading to the post office and back. Save yourself the trouble by installing an automated security system that’s in control of your locks, lights, and alarms. That way, a simple “Away” setting can take care of everything without using any of your precious time.
 
The distractions don’t always come from inside your house. If you live in a suburban area, you may get a few knocks on the door throughout the day. Instead of taking the time to see who it is and possibly have an unwanted chitchat with the next-door neighbor while you’re waiting for an urgent conference call, you can monitor security cameras inside and outside your house from your desk.
 

Install a Kitchenette

Your office should be a haven from the craziness of your everyday life. But if you have to venture into the kitchen every time you need to refresh your coffee or grab a snack, you’re wasting valuable time and inviting any available family members to distract you. Instead, install a small kitchenette in your office packed with snacks, drinks, and a smart coffee maker so that you have fresh and hot coffee to get you going at the exact right time.

Get the Right Desk Gadgets

The littlest factors can affect productivity. You may not think twice about the lights in your work area as long as you don’t have to squint to read, but poor lighting can damage your eyesight and cause headaches. To prevent this, invest in a high-tech lamp like the Dyson Desk Lamp. The heat pipe technology draws heat away from the LED bulb so you don’t sweat sitting near it, and the high-powered bulb provides 154,000 of warm, inviting light.
 
Use your space economically by getting other helpful gadgets, such as a cup holder that clips to the side of your desk to prevent devastating spills on your computer, or a smartphone sanitizer if you do most of your business over the phone. Self-watering plant pots are also a great home office addition for the worker who loves the refreshing and stress-relieving properties of plants without the burden of frequent maintenance.
 
With a few updates like these, you can increase your productivity and enjoy working from home while impressing any visitors with your tech-savvy home office!
 

If you are interested in automating your home office, Control4 can set up the perfect working environment for you. Get in contact with one of our smart home experts that can give you ideas that will boost your work-from-home comfort and efficiency. Or feel free to fill out the form below for more information. 
 

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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.
 

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.

 

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.