smart house

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. 

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. 

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. 

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.

 

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.

 

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. 

 

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.