What Is a Smart Plug?

Connected devices don't have to be complex to be useful. Take the smart plug: it simply turns things on and off, but - when connected to a smart home platform - becomes a very versatile device. 

What does it do? 

Controlled by an app, a smart plug lets you turn on and off any appliance that plugs into a standard wall socket. As part of a solution like Alarm.com, you can actively control it, or automate it so that it reacts to schedules and triggers from your security system

Simply plug it into any wall socket, then plug your chosen appliance into it. You can use it with a lamp, a TV, a cable box, a coffee machine—whatever you like. 

What's its role in the smart home? 

Smart plugs are a versatile building block of the smart home, with many uses: 

Security: When you plug a lamp into a smart plug, it becomes a smart light with home security benefits. 

You can schedule the lamp to come on at certain times, or when you're on your way home, or even when triggered by another device, such as a motion sensor. If there's an alarm event at your home, it can turn on automatically to deter an intruder. 

Convenience: Smart plugs are great for automating everyday kitchen devices. You can start your day with your coffee machine already working, or your tea kettle already boiled. If you like to slow-cook, you can load up your Crock-Pot in the morning and switch it on with your smartphone from work. 

Energy Savings: Smart plugs can put a dent in your energy bills by automatically turning off appliances like your TV and cable box, which consume energy in standby mode, when you're not home. With Alarm.com, you can have them switch off when you arm your security system, in the same way that your smart thermostat sets back. 

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. This provides an extra level of security and comfort for the home owners and can be reassuring to have in place while away from home. Having a smart home security system allows owners to check up on what appliances (air conditioners, lights, etc) are on or if any doors or windows are open while away. These homes can include systems with motion sensors, cameras and a connection to your local security company. They have the ability to offer key cards or fingerprint identification instead of conventional locks, making it more difficult to break in. Usually, the system can be accessed and controlled through a mobile app. The app also monitors all the entry points to your home and integrates door locks and garage door control into the platform.

 

Overall, having a smart home is convenient as it saves time, is often inexpensive, and can save energy. With this system comes added security to ensure that you are protected at all times. Communication is protected under the system, providing safe, reliable, and secure cellular communication. Two-­way emergency voice is often included, allowing one to communicate directly with first responders via a security panel. Additionally, most systems continue to work even if the security panel is damaged or the phone line is cut. When away from home, you can get real-­time notifications by text or email the moment something happens inside your home. Smart home security may be built with automation as the goal in mind, or installed into existing homes. It is a good decision to seek out installation as it brings many advantages such as convenience, security, accessibility, and efficiency. 

How a Smart Home Gives You Time Back

Did you enjoy your extra Leap Year day this year? How would you like one every single year? 

While we can't change the calendar, we can save you a ton of time on everyday jobs. In fact, recent research suggests that smart home technology can save you up to 30 minutes a day.

Here are a few time-consuming things Alarm.com helps you do less of. 

Securing your house 

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. 

Staying home to let visitors in 

Letting a guest or contractor into your home used to mean staying home from work. With smart access control, you can unlock your front door from the office. If you have a trusted visitor, you can give them their own user code. It's way faster than getting a spare key cut. 

Worrying when you're away 

Worry is a persistent time thief – and worse, it's often your most valuable time. It's easy to worry about your empty home on a family vacation, for example. With Alarm.com, 24/7 professional monitoring lets you enjoy your time away from home in the knowledge that you're protected if something happens. 

Watching your energy bills 

Saving energy often comes at the expense of time, but Alarm.com saves you both. Smart plugs make it easy to switch appliances off automatically. You can have your lights turn off when you arm your security system. Your thermostat will set back to save energy when you leave the house. You'll barely notice – except when you see your energy bill. 

Setting up smart home equipment 

How long would it take you to install a smart thermostat or hardwire a security camera? With Alarm.com, you'll never need to find out, thanks to fast, professional installation by our accredited service providers. If there's ever a problem after installation, they'll take care of it for you: no helplines, no fuss. It's the fastest, easiest way to enjoy a smart home.

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. 

1: Securing your house in the morning 

It's 7.37am: you're on the way to work, via your toddler's daycare drop-off, for the second time today. The first time, he made it into the car with no shoes on. And this time, you forgot to lock the front door or arm the security system. No worries: as you cross your home geo-fence, Alarm.com sends you a reminder. One tap on your phone and your house is secure, with no need to turn around again. 

2: Closing your garage at night 

It's 6.37 pm: it's been a long day. You sat in traffic, shopped, came home, unloaded the groceries, and finally sat down. And guess what: you left your garage door wide open. That's okay: when Alarm.com determines that your garage has been open for 15 minutes (thanks to the automation rule your dealer helps set you up) – it sends you a triggered reminder to close it. 

3: Changing your smoke detector batteries 

The clocks went forward to daylight savings time! Did you remember your bi-annual replacement of your home's smoke detector batteries? Nope, because you forget these things very easily when deprived of an hour's sleep. It's good that Alarm.com will proactively alert you if your smoke detector batteries ever run low, no matter what time of year it is. 

4: Arranging access for a visitor 

Finally, it's your first day of a truly relaxing vacation. The sun is shining, the pool is perfect, and nothing is going to get in the way of you unwinding. Not even the text from your neighbor, who can't get in to feed your cat. You open your Alarm.com app and unlock your front door  with the touch of a button. Later, you'll set up a user code giving access for the whole week – but you can forget that for now. 

Why Alarm.com Is a Modern Travel Essential

Are you planning a spring break 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. 

It remembers important things 

Sunscreen… check. Kids' bathing suits… check. Locking up your house… check your Alarm.com app from the car. If you forget to secure anything as you leave, Alarm.com will prompt you to do it once you're on the road. 

It's a lifeline to home 

Need to let a neighbor in when you're away? Alarm.com's access control lets you unlock your front door from your phone. Want to check in on the petsitter? Connected video gives you an instant view of what's going on. 


 

It helps you relax 

If there's an emergency at home while you're away, 24/7 professional monitoring means that help will arrive, whether you see the smartphone alert or not. You can relax completely in the knowledge that Alarm.com is proactively protecting your home

It's versatile 

Whether you're chilling with a movie on your iPad, taking holiday snaps on your phone or taking a run with your Apple Watch on, you can access Alarm.com on the device that's closest to hand. If you're so far off the beaten track that there's no cell service, you can even log in at an internet café. 

It'll go (almost) anywhere with you 

From ski slopes to the open road, deserted beaches to bustling cities, Alarm.com will come along for the ride as your pocket connection to home. Just don't take it scuba diving, please. 

Smart Home Security Should Be Your First Home Improvement

Buying your first home this year? 

Already have some home improvement ideas competing for your budget? 

We'd like to add one to the top of the list: a smart home security system 

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. 

And what's more, it won't make a big dent in your budget. Here's what you get. 

Instant home security

It takes an authorized Alarm.com service provider just a few hours to outfit your new home with smart home security. It secures your home and you can get image sensors, a video camera, smart locks and more, all controlled through Alarm.com's smartphone app. Think of the app as a command center for your home, in your pocket, wherever you go. 

Your smart home security system can do amazing things. It fights crime and danger proactively. It lets you see what's happening at home. It can save your new basement from a flood, or your dog from a house fire – that's no exaggeration.
 

Instant savings 

You might not know what your energy bills look like today, but an Alarm.com Smart Thermostat, installed with your system, will help lower them immediately, while also making things more comfortable with room-by-room temperature sensing. 

Your security sensors tell it when you're there and when you're not, and it uses that information to eliminate energy waste when you don't need heating and cooling. There are plenty of other ways to save energy in a smart home too. 

Meanwhile, your monitored security system qualifies you for discounts on many homeowners' insurance policies – another reason to ‘go smart' from the start. 

Instant smart home 

The smart home trend is getting more exciting and more popular. Nearly half of Americans will own some form of smart home technology by the end of this year

Many of those people will have a frustrating, costly experience. That's because it's really hard to build a smart home on your own. Even experts can struggle to make different devices and platforms work together. 

With Alarm.com, everything works together. A single app controls every smart device; a single software platform connects and coordinates them. It's easy to use and it does far more for you than a piecemealed solution. 

Low upfront cost; big return on investment 

The other big benefit of Alarm.com is that you don't need to pay for the whole system upfront. It's more like a cellphone contract with a setup fee, followed by a monthly payment for three years. Professional monitoring and dedicated customer support are always included. 

Will your new technology go out of date? Not with Alarm.com, which delivers the latest features to you through its cloud platform, constantly updating your home with new capabilities. When you need a new device later – a smart video camera for your future nursery? – it's easy to add one. 

As a last word, smart home technology adds long-lasting value to your home. The Consumer Technology Association and National Association of Home Builders say that it can add as much as 5% to the eventual resale price. Of course, re-selling is the last thing on your mind right now, but it's worth bearing in mind if it ever comes down to Alarm.com versus a new couch. 

Congratulations on your new home! We hope to connect with you soon.

J&J Security Services Launches Weekly Tips for Securing Your Home and Office in Central Florida

In 2014, more than 8.2 million property crime offenses occurred throughout the U.S., resulting in estimated losses of $14.3 billion (FBI’s Uniform Crime Report).  In 2015, Florida ranked #6 out of all 50 states (Statistica.com), with Orlando and St. Petersburg ranking #1 and #5 for the top 10 midsize southern cities with the highest property crime rates (FBI’sUniform Crime Report).  Understanding these facts, J&J Security Services is determined to help Central Floridians keep their homes and offices safe by publishing free weekly valuable tips, tools and resources.

“J&J Security has been keeping families and businesses safe in Central Florida since 1983 by providing high quality equipment and outstanding customer service, but we knew we wanted to do something more, which is why we decided to implement this free educational service,” said Owner, George Voll.  The articles will be published each Monday on the J&J Security Blog and J&J Security’s Facebook andTwitter accounts beginning July 25, 2016.  Topics will include “What Not to do When You go on Vacation”, “The Safest Way to Close Up Your Office or Store”, “How to Make it Hard to Break In to Your Home and/or Office”, “Keeping Your Expensive Jewelry Safe”, “Appraising Your Home’s Contents” and more.   Additionally, J&J Security will be developing it’s helpful home and office security tips by researching and speaking with Central Florida’s local and county police departments. 

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. 

It's simple to use, and once you try it, you'll love it. Here's how to create your first Geo-Services rule, step by step. 

Step 1: Enable Geo-Services on your smartphone.  

On your smartphone, go to the menu in your Alarm.com app. Tap Geo-Services, turn the feature on, and confirm that Alarm.com can use your phone's location. 

Your phone is now a roving smart home sensor! 

Step 2: Create your Geo-Fence 

Log into Alarm.com on your desktop or laptop. Click the 'Mobile' tab and you'll see the Geo-Services screen. 

The orange circle on the map is a geo-fence. Think of it as a geographical on-off switch. When your smartphone crosses the geo-fence, the switch is flipped. 

To create your first geo-fence, click the 'Home' link on the right. 

Now, enter your home address. 


The geo-fence will relocate to form a circle around your home. You can adjust its size using the tabs on the fence. If you prefer, you can specify a radius for the fence, starting as small as one mile around your home. 
 

Click 'Save' and your geo-fence is ready to go. 

You can set up several different geo-fences for different rules and devices. For example, some Alarm.com users create geo-fences around their workplaces to give their smart thermostats time to get the house comfortable before they arrive home. 

Step 3: Set up your first Geo-Services alert 

Choose the type of alert or rule you'd like to create from the menu on the right. We're going to create a simple Arming Reminder: a smartphone alert that lets you know if you leave home without arming your security system. 

You'll find yourself in the Notifications tab, where the first step is to name your reminder. We're calling ours 'Forgot to Arm System.' 

Specify the times that you want your alert in effect. Our example limits the alert to weekday mornings between 7.30 and 8.30am. Click 'Add Recipient' to link the alert with your smartphone, which you enabled in Step 1 above. Now, save your alert. 
 

Step 4: View your new alert 

You'll find yourself in the Notifications tab, where you'll see your new alert. It's easy to turn off and on, and to edit if your schedule changes. You can do this from your mobile app as well.

You're all set! What will your next Geo-Services rule be? 

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.
 
With so much effort put into figuring out where plumbing needs to go for sinks and bathrooms, and where electricity needs to be run to for appliances and lighting, it is easy for a smart home enthusiast to overlook their most important objective: where all of the home technology goes! There is no better time to plan your smart home than when building a new home. Having the ability to create the hardwired infrastructure that will support all of your family’s technology needs is a time you should leverage to plan exactly how to use your smart home.
 
So where are the best places to start? Well, that depends on what you and your family will benefit the most from. From a logistical perspective, areas of most benefit to be completed during home construction are where you want to reduce wall clutter and produce a seamless and clean installation. Hardwiring smart devices after the fact can lead to a less than desirable outcome. So lets touch on three of the most commonly pursued solutions for a new smart home construction:
 

Smart Lighting:

When building a new home, Control4 gives you the ability to install a centralized lighting system. Think of it as an electrical panel specifically dedicated to just your whole-home lighting. Centralized lighting allows you to move your lighting controls elsewhere, like a closet or a utility room, allowing you to replace banks of multiple switches with stylish and elegant keypads.  Gone are multi-gang rows of light switches where you have to train people on which switch controls what individual light, and enter a single, clean and compact control keypad that controls any configuration of individual lights or an orchestrated scene of multiple lights throughout the home.
 

Multi-Room Audio:

Getting to listen to your favorite music throughout the home is a phenomenal experience for everyone in the family to enjoy. It’s a great idea to think ahead and plan on adding 2-channel audio for music in bedrooms, eating areas, and multi-purpose rooms, or even 5 or 7-channel audio for watching movies in the family room or media room. This allows you to install discrete speakers of your favorite brand without unnecessary clutter and also gives you the ability to drastically reduce the amount of equipment needed in each of the rooms you want to have audio in. With a Control4 multi-room audio system, you have one centralized multi-channel amplifier and audio switch that does all the heavy lifting while tucked away in an area of your choosing. The result: seamless and spacious sound filled in every room your family wants.
 

Security:

One of the most overlooked integrations in the smart home is security solutions. It is common practice for new homes to have a home security system installed, but the result is something that isn’t very smart and versatile, leaves unsightly and overly large keypads on the wall, and doesn’t integrate the latest in security cameras and recording equipment. When installed during a new home build with Control4, all of your security zones and interior/exterior cameras can be integrated and hardwired back to a centralized system that has a redundant power supply and recording features. Best part about it, when done this way you can easily integrate all of these features with your Control4 home automation, so you can trigger security events and actions from any device of your choice, be it an In-Wall Touch Screen, Tabletop Touch Screen, iOS or Android mobile device, In-Wall Keypad etc.  The result is a home security system that is not only smart and gives you the peace-of-mind you need for your family’s safety, but also is installed for maximum discretion and awareness so that if something unplanned ever doeshappen, you can be alerted immediately and capture what happened.

Keep Your Basement Dry with Smart Sump Pump Monitoring

Of all the appliances in your home, the sump pump must be the least interesting of all. 

It sits there, in a hole, looking like a piece of car engine. Its only job is to pump away excess groundwater when it rains heavily. It's out of sight and out of mind… until, one day, it fails on you. 

Suddenly, your basement is vulnerable to flooding and expensive water damage, and you may not even realize it until the damage is done. 

This spring, Alarm.com can proactively protect you from this situation with smart sump pump monitoring. 

A new addition to our popular water solution, it gives you immediate awareness when your sump pump isn't working as it should, so that you can act quickly. 

Enabled by a water sensor in the sump well and a heavy-duty smart switch that monitors the pump's power supply, the solution triggers instant alerts from Alarm.com's smart home security platform when there's trouble in your basement. 

The solution can quickly identify several categories of sump pump problem. It can tell you whether the pump has simply lost power (go and check your circuit breaker), or if it's powered but not running (the pump itself is broken). It can even let you know if the pump is working but not removing water fast enough. 

Water damage is expensive and happens fast – but when you're armed with real-time awareness, you can act quickly, get help if necessary, and minimize the effects - even if you are out of town... 

With spring storm season on the way, is your basement connected and protected? 

Meet Alarm.com: Your Home's Smartest Defenseman

Your home needs a smart defense. 
 

Smarter home security from Alarm.com—an official partner of the NHL's Washington Capitals—detects threats and bad situations for both your home and family, and responds with sophisticated proactive safeguards. 

Whether it's fire, crime, and water damage or extreme weather, Alarm.com proactively responds in real time to protect you. With a dedicated cellular connection, professional monitoring and an array of connected security features like locks, HD video cameras and real-time awareness alerts on your smart phone, it's the smarter way to protect your home. Just ask Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner. 

Five Advantages of Building Your Smart Home on Alarm.com

There are two ways to enjoy the ever-increasing benefits of smart home technology. You can go it alone, buying different devices at retail and installing them yourself. Or, you can get a fully supported and installed smart home solution like Alarm.com. 

Which is the right choice for you? 

Device by device, a go-it-alone setup may be slightly cheaper—but you won't get the advantages that make Alarm.com the choice for millions of smart homeowners. 

1: Installation

Installing your own smart home can be difficult. Many connected devices require you to be adept with electrical wiring, HVAC technology, or lock installation – and that's before you have to configure the various software platforms to get them to work together. 

With Alarm.com, you get fast professional installation from an authorized smart home security dealer. If you prefer to get hands-on, you can have a complete pre-configured system delivered to your home. 

2: Monitored Security 

If you want a real security solution, the inclusion of 24-7 professional monitoring makes Alarm.com better value.  If there's an emergency at your house, a trained professional responds, assesses the situation, and dispatches emergency responders

By contrast, go-it-alone smart devices leave you on your own in an emergency. If you don't see the text alert from your smart smoke detector, no one will alert emergency services until it's too late. If you see it but you're out of town, dialing 911 won't necessarily reach your hometown police or fire department. If your home's broadband is down, you're definitely out of luck. With so many gaps in a self-monitored setup, they're not great for peace of mind. 

3: Troubleshooting and Support 

When you go it alone, you're on your own if an important device like your smart thermostat malfunctions. 

With Alarm.com, help is just a call away.  Our service providers are experts on our technology and we give them sophisticated tools so they can troubleshoot many issues remotely. If that's not possible, they come to your house. 

4: Affordability 

The only way to own store-bought smart devices is to pay upfront. Unless you have thousands of dollars, it takes a long time to build your smart home and unlock all of the benefits. 

With Alarm.com, you get a complete smart home for a modest upfront payment, followed by a monthly contract which includes professional monitoring. It's similar to the way you buy a smartphone. This means that you get all of the benefits from day one – including substantial energy savings that translate into lower energy bills. 

5: It's Way Smarter 

So Alarm.com's smart home technology is easy to own. But how does it perform? 

Well, it does more things for you. Because it's powered by a single platform, with every device in the home sharing intelligence, it's able to coordinate complex actions that solve real, everyday problems. Such as turning off your water if there's a leak in the basement, or shutting down your HVAC if you leave a door open or if smoke is detected. 

Because everything works together smoothly, you get real smart home benefits - proactive protection for your family, new ways to save energy, automated convenience – that a go-it-alone setup doesn't provide. 

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. 

We found that the smart home has gone mainstream.  Homeowners are excited about its promise to make things safer, smarter and more efficient. 

There are some important conditions, however.  Our research indicates that homeowners want to avoid the frustrations commonly experienced by early adopters of the ‘standalone device' model. 

Instead, they prefer that connected devices work together automatically to proactively solve real challenges like security, energy savings and comfort.  With more devices joining the smart home, homeowners expressed a clear preference for professional service providers to install, service and monitor homeowners' new technology. 

Here are some of the key findings and data points of Alarm.com's Homeowners Survey, a study of 1,022 homeowners in the United States. 

1: Homeowners are excited about the smart home… and also confused 

Standalone devices have generated huge interest and excitement for smart home technology, but they're confusing to evaluate, hard to install and even harder to connect into a broader solution. Homeowners understand this – especially the ones who've already dipped a toe into the water – and they're looking for a better experience. 
 

  • Nearly half (48 percent) are very or extremely interested in smart home products; but just 28 percent are very or extremely knowledgeable about them.
  • 59 percent report being confused by the number of different smart home products on the market.
  • 54 percent think that smart home products are too complicated to understand and set up.


2: Homeowners want devices to work together through a single app 

It takes a true smart home, not a collection of devices, to create the kind of experience homeowners expect.  They want devices to work together to proactively make the home safer, smarter and more efficient and a single app to control everything. 
 

  • 91 percent expect that different devices in the home should work together automatically.
  • 88 percent would prefer a single app to control all devices.
  • 88 percent say that smart home products should remind them when they forget important things.


3: Homeowners want support

Just as they turn to professional service providers to help manage other critical aspects of their home, homeowners show a preference for expert help when it comes to the smart home.  While the early adopters might enjoy the challenge of configuring standalone devices to work together, homeowners want easy, family-friendly solutions that don't require getting ‘under the hood.'  Our survey indicates that ‘Smart Home as a Service' is the way forward. 
 

  • 83 percent of homeowners would rely on professional help; home security providers are the most preferred channel.
  • 85 percent would be happier to invest in smart home technology if customer support was reliable.
  • On smart home security products, 79 percent say that installation and monitoring is best left to professionals.


4: Homeowners want reliable, intelligent smart home security

Knowing that the home is safe, secure and protected against a wide range of threats is the most important benefit of smart home technology.  In an emergency, homeowners want robust, professionally monitored security technology they can depend on even if the power is out and the home's phone line and broadband are down.  For day-to-day security, homeowners want a smart, proactive solution that keeps them in control and connects to a broad ecosystem of devices in the home. 
 

  • 82 percent of homeowners want a security system that can signal for help even if the home's power is out or Internet is down.
  • 78 percent want an app that notifies them when something is wrong and enables control of the system from anywhere.
  • 81 percent say that professional monitoring with the ability to dispatch emergency services is very important.
  • 70 percent want their smart home security system to cooperate with other smart products in the home.


5: Parents are leading the mainstream adoption of the smart home

Does having kids make you ‘smarter'? The evidence says ‘yes': parents are more than twice as likely to be interested in smart home technology. That's not a surprise to us; babies need to be kept comfortable; toddlers need a watchful eye; older children need a balance of independence and hands-off monitoring  For every parenting stage and need, the smart home has a solution, so it's no wonder that moms and dads are leading the way in adoption. 
 

  • 67 percent of homeowning parents own a smart home device, compared to 33 percent of homeowning non-parents.
  • 65 percent of homeowning parents are very or extremely interested in smart home products, compared to 26 percent of homeowning non-parents.
  • 91 percent of homeowning parents would consider relying on a smart home professional, compared to 73 percent of homeowners without children.


6: Comfort is just as important as energy savings when it comes to smart thermostats 


While smart thermostats are great at delivering energy savings, most still take the old-fashioned approach to comfort, based entirely on the temperature of the room that the thermostat is in. That's not smart enough for most homeowners, who want precision comfort features as well as smart savings. To deliver both, a smart thermostat needs advanced cloud intelligence that uses data from remote temperature and other activity sensors
 

  • 93 percent of homeowners consider staying comfortable to be equally important to energy savings when it comes to a smart thermostat
  • 52 percent prioritize temperature comfort in rooms other than where their current thermostat is located
  • Living rooms (39 percent) and bedrooms (36 percent) are reported as the most important areas of the home to keep comfortable.


Alarm.com's smarter home security is built for homeowners and families, and currently powers more than 2 million smart homes in the USA.

Smarter Home Security Starts at the Front Door

With so much activity around your front door, it requires smarter home security technology to keep it secure but also convenient to access. This spring, Alarm.com gives you even more awareness and control of front door activity with the Alarm.com Wi-Fi Doorbell Camera, Skybell HD Edition.

The smart doorbell camera is completely integrated into your smart home security system, letting you see who's at the door whether you're home or not, have a two-way audio conversation with visitors through your Alarm.com app, and even unlock your front door's smart lock from the same screen.

Once installed, the smart doorbell also becomes a smart home security camera, able to record and send you motion-detected or doorbell-activated clips, or clips triggered by other devices like your garage door. Its motion sensor can also trigger other devices, such as your porch lighting, to deter potential intruders.

Professionally installed and configured, and completely integrated into your Alarm.com smart home, the Wi-Fi Doorbell Camera is available now. 

Video: The Only Smart Home App You Need

Having a different app for each connected device in your home is a recipe for clutter and complexity. The more you add, the worse it gets.

When it comes to controlling your smart home, a single app is the way to go. 

A top-rated app that controls and connects all of your devices is part of what makes Alarm.com the easy way to get a smart home. It controls your security system, smart thermostat, lights, locks, garage door and more.

You can use it on your smartphone, your tablet, your wrist and even on your TV, giving you anytime, anywhere control of your whole home.

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.

 

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!

Parents: Here Are 17 Reasons You'll Love a Smart Home

All year round, you do your best to teach your kids the right way to behave.  And ninety percent of the time, they do great. The other ten percent… well; they're trying.

And in those moments when life seems like a struggle, at least you know you can rely on your Alarm.com technology to set them a great example.

We're not kidding – just check out these admirable qualities, and click the links for more information.

1: It helps around the house without being told.

2: If you do need to tell it, you only have to tell it once.

3: If something's wrong, it tells you right away.

4: Even if you left an exciting, forbidden cupboard open.

5: It always communicates well, and it always tells the truth.

6: And if there's an emergency, it always does the smart thing.

7: It shares.

8: It never opens the door to strangers.

9: It's very careful with water, and it's smart around electrical outlets.

10: It doesn't even make a mess on your walls.

11: It gives you a great night's sleep, and in the morning, it helps you if you're running late.

12:  It'll even remind you if you leave home without closing the garage.

13: On family trips, it travels well.

14: On weekends, it helps Dad relax by not cooling the neighborhood with your AC. (It knows about energy bills already.)

15: It doesn't cramp big brother's style, and it helps keep an eye on the younger kids.

16: It's great with your pets.

17: And it even helps you with the new arrival.

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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