How much does a smart home security system Cost?

The number one question anyone who is looking at installing a smart home security system or upgrading their existing hardware is "how much is a new smart home security system going to cost?".  As with any major purchase you want to know what you're going to get yourself into before aligning yourself with a security provider. Unfortunately the answer isn't that simple.  But at least perhaps we can help give you some perspective on perhaps an idea on how to make a knowledgeable guess on what you could be paying for. 

Your Home, and what you want your Smart Home System to do for You

When any of our clients ask us about costs early in the buying process, we ask them a very simple yet important question.  

What do you want to achieve with you smart home security solution?

It's important for us as smart home system providers to know what you want, but it's just as important that you as the customer know what you want to get out of your new smart home system.  We want to know to know the answer to this because we want to provide the easiest and possible solution to your needs, or that one nagging problem you have that may be solved with technology.  Do you want a smart solution for home security?  Did you want to know whether you've definitely closed the garage door, or turned off your straightener because you keep forgetting?  Do you want to know when the kids are home from school while you're still at work?  Do you want to know when your liquor cabinet, or any area that is off limits, is entered?  These are all questions we've asked customers, and sometimes they don't realise that yes, they do want to be able to have such perks and control with their system.  

Knowing exactly what you want to achieve will give you an outline of the problems you have and need to solve with your smart home and security system.  If you want to know when all your windows are closed, then contact sensors possibly are a good solution.  If you want to know when your kids come home from school, a solution of a smart lock in conjunction with a smart camera can take video of your child walking through the front door once they unlock the door with their unique combination.  If you pets and you just want to see what they're up to when you're away, motion sensors and video cameras provide an excellent solution for you to check on you animal friend.  It's all about knowing what problems you have, and discussing them with your smart home provider so they can provide you the right solution.

DIY smart home vs. Professional smart home and security installation

The other question we ask is a pretty simple one.  Do you want to install your smart home system yourself, or do you want a professional to install?  The advantages of the DIY route is pretty obvious - you install your system on your own, having complete control over what brand of smart home tech you use, when it's installed and how long the installation takes.

However, be very careful.  Do your research.  Make sure the system you're installing is user friendly, and that you're able to easily program it as well as show other how to use it (if applicable).  Don't buy a system from an overseas supplier just because it's an all in one package, with all the bells and whistles and it's cheap.  Make sure if you do buy overseas it's Australia friendly.  Many smart home tech companies haven't created their tech to be used in Australia.  US based companies for example have to convert their products to use a different radio frequency before having the government go ahead because the US based products actually use the same frequency as the Australian military.  Most importantly though, be aware that should something go awry with your DIY system, you may not necessarily get the technical support you need from the device provider.  

Don't despair though.  There are companies out there, like us here at Total Integrated Security, who can provide you a system that you can install yourself.  We pre-program it for you so you don't have to, and we provide troubleshooting support when you need it.  Check with your smart home provider whether they provide this sort of solution, because it can save you big bucks when it comes to possible consultations and installation.

On the flip side, you don't have to worry about any of this if you decide to go the professional installation route.  The only point of concern is having to be home when the installer comes to set up your equipment.  The installation costs you pay are for the peace of mind that you don't have to do the manual labor of installation.  Installation doesn't usually come cheap though.  For example, our installation costs start at $200, with as little as a three month contract.  Other companies may have installation included in their package price, but will lock you in a contract for a certain length of time.  The majority of the large home security companies have a standard 3 year lock in contract with their smart home security systems.  It's entirely up to you whether you want to sign a 3 year contract, but consider you may be charged if you move or have to break the contract before the 3 year period is over.

The products that make up your smart home security System

Once you know what you want to achieve with your system, you can now start to go shopping.  A smart home provider should be able to tell you exactly the costs of each product your require to create your smart home environment.  Some companies like us at Total Integrated Security want to be as transparent with our customers as possible, which is why we show our costs on our website.  This makes it easy for you to figure out roughly how much in total your products will cost to make your system.  If you don't see something you need, contact us and we can provide you the product cost, and any further information you need. If you're buying in bulk, contact us.  We may be able to provide you a bulk price.  Several large companies will only show you packages, and will provide costs for extras only when you contact them.  They may also require to come to your home for a consultation, and may charge for this service as well.  Is this something you want to waste your time with?   

In summary, the total cost of a smart home security system really depends on a lot of factors.  But don't forget the all important question: What do you want to achieve with your smart home and security solution?

A smart home system is an investment, not just a product.  Like with any large purchase, it takes some thinking before arriving at the point where the dollars are calculable.

 

New year, new tech! Our predictions for 2017's smart home Trends

Happy New Year!

Out with the old, in with the new.  As it always happens with a new year, predictions come out with what will be the new year's greatest trends.  But hey, who really knows what this year will bring?  Either way, we're throwing our hat into the ring with our own predictions in smart home tech trends for 2017.

Smart Shades

Most smart home systems today already have the right coding to give the user the ability create environments depending on daylight savings, or sunrise and sunset.  For example, when the sun sets, the front porch light comes on, or when your car enters your garage and it's after 6pm in winter, the hallway light comes on so you're not entering your home in the dark.  

This coding could literally go anywhere, but the next spot we reckon we'll see this programming is in shades and blinds.  Imagine that at high noon, when sun is pouring through your living room, the shades automatically come down to a certain length. Or if it's getting darker, the shades come up so you don't have to turn on the lights sooner than necessary.  Such blinds can help save energy costs,and even save your light sensitive furniture from damage.

Smart Garden

IOT and home automation tech has been in our front yards for some time now.  A few years ago, drone and headphone company Parrot created a really nifty little device called Flower Power that advises the user when to water, fertilise, etc for their particular plants.  But since then, nothing much has happened in the world of smart gardening.

That's why we believe smart home tech companies will be looking outside the home for their next big trend.  How convenient would it be that you had your spirnklers automated so that they wont turn on when the humidity in the air is over a certain percentage, or the soil is too wet?  You would never have to worry about over watering again, or bother your neighbours to have them water your lawn!

 Smart Small Appliances 

2016 was the year of the Thermomix, which could download new recipes when hooked up to your home's wifi.  This is going to be the year we see small appliances in the kitchen or laundry get smart.  It's a matter of time before you're able to turn on and program your slow cooker to whatever setting you need for dinner straight from you phone, and receive alerts when your food is done.  

Review: Aeotec by Aeon Labs Smart Bulb

Aeotec by Aeon Labs Smart Bulb, Model ZW098

We realised we have never had a deep look into any or our products so we've decided at least once a month, we'll review one product we've tested and used in smart homes that we have installed, or in our own home.  So here goes the first with one of our newest products!

Aeotec's slogan for this device is "let there be smart light".  They've certainly put their money where their mouth is as this bulb is just plain cool.  And fun. And at the same time can be annoying.

Why it's Cool and Fun

This bulb, can be used for anything, and we mean anything.  With warm white, cool white, and 16 million different colour options the possibilities are literally endless....well until you go through all 16 million colours. I think my husband has been through the first few million in the last fortnight.  Use it in a good ole regular reading lamp, or turn it on to a colour and dim it down for a night light, or use a creepy green when you're throwing your Halloween party. 

The bulb itself is easy to install.  It is just a light bulb anyway right? Its available in both ES and Bayonet style fittings.  All you have to do is remove your old globe and put this in. Then if you have access to the Z-Wave setup, put your panel in add mode and turn the light on. If you have a professional system you may need to ask your security company to turn the add mode on for you but it is as simple as that.

Another fantastic aspect of this bulb is that you can dim the light no matter what colour it's on.  So in the end, you don't need a dimmer switch installed into your light fittings if you can use this bulb instead.

Why it's Annoying

Some of these negatives are to be expected.  This technology is changing all the time, so we're sure we'll see an improved version of this bulb within the next year.

Did I say my husband has been through the first million colours?  We installed one of these bad boys in the bedroom, and he seems to enjoy testing them out while I'm in there.  Believe me you don't want to feel like you're in Studio 54 while reading in bed.  

And who really needs 16 million different colours? The human eye probably can't see the majority of them anyway!

As expected, you can only control the bulb colours from the app, so you actually have to leave the light turned on at the switch in order to control the bulb.  If you accidentally turn the light off from the switch, when you turn it on again it will show the last colour used.  It takes a bit of getting used to to not turn the light off at the switch, but it's an easy habit to create.

The bulb itself is a tad bit larger than a regular run of the mill bulb, but that's understandable considering it's not just a light bulb.  Like I said, this tech is changing all the time, and it wouldn't be surprising if the next version of this bulb is a tad bit smaller.

The Verdict

Overall this is a fantastic and nifty little piece of tech.  We give it an 8 out of 10.  It's close to perfect, but there's a couple of tiny little cosmetic aspects that once improved, this bulb would be perfect.

To check out Aeotec by Aeon Labs smart bulb or all the other gear we use, head to our Products and Plans page.

  

 

Alarm.com grows more than 25% in ONE YEAR. Here's why we use Them.

We heard some amazing news this week.  It quietly came out this week in Security Electronics and Networks that Alarm.com, the technology company behind the smart home security systems we use, grew more than 25% in the last year. You read the right. TWENTY FIVE PERCENT IN 12 MONTHS.  

So how can a smart home tech company grow that much that fast?  It's pretty simple.  They provide the technology that you didn't you could have, that you actually wanted, that you need in your home.

Receive Alerts when the power goes out

Take the recent outage that occurred in the Ryde area about 2 weeks ago.  Apparently what occurred was a circuit breaker exploded in the Meadowbank sub station.  No one was home, but we still received an alert from our security panel that the power was out, and that about 5% of Alarm.com customers in our area were experiecing the same thing.  We knew then that it wasn't an isolated incident.  This was a mass power outage.  

But here's the kicker, we knew about our power being out and that it was a mass outage before Ausgrid sent a tweet notifying its followers that the Ryde area was out of power.

We were already in don't-open-the-fridge-and-where-is-that-damn-flashlight mode before anyone else!

Crash and Smash Protection

With most control panels, if your house is broken into, all the burglar has to do is smash the panel to stop any alarms going off and alerting the monitoring centre.  Alarm.com thought "where's the safety in that?", and went a step above.

All Alarm.com powered panels are protected by Crash and Smash technology.  If your home is broken into and the burglar destroys the panel, the panel will then send a tampered signal to the monitoring station, alerting them that A) the property has been broken int and B) you're no longer protected by your system.  Your emergency plan system that you have set up them goes into full swing. 

Have two Alarm.com systems running on the one app

Have you home on the Alarm.com network, and your business too?  Or you parent's home?  Not a problem.  You can keep an eye on each property seamlessly through the one app.  Enough said!

Not convinced yet?  Check out our website.  We have plenty of information about why having a system with TISEC and Alarm.com is the way to.

Missed Us? Here's what We've Been up To

It's been an incredibly long time since we've written on The Smarter Home, and so in order to get back into the swing of things, here's a bit of a catch up on what's been going on in the TISEC world.

Our Website got a Makeover

You may have already noticed that we've quietly launched a brand spanking new website.  It's cleaner, sleeker, and just hands down more modern and professional.  No more "my first website" look!  Hurray!  As always, we value our clients and followers' feeedback, so if you have any questions or comments on the new look, don't hesitate to give us a shout.

We took a Holiday, and celebrated a milestone Birthday

It's been a long year, and it was high time that we took some R & R and had a holiday.  What better excuse for some warm weather, cocktails and the cool waters of Bali and Fraser Island than a 30th birthday?  Our marketing maiden Clem was about to celebrate this milestone, and her best mate flew over from the states to be a part of it.  They flew out to Bali for 5 days to do nothing but lay on the beach, catch up and enjoy the culinary and cocktail delights that Bali had to offer.

After a few days of luxury, we were off into the wilderness of Fraser Island, roughing it by camping on the beach and looking for adventure during the day to avoid the blow flies.  Every morning it seemed as if we were the only ones left in the world, as there was absolutely no one to be found near our campsite and on the beach.  It was to say the least, the adventure of a lifetime.

The only way we would have been able to to have this little adventure was if our house was well looked after.  And we certainly didn't have to worry about a thing with our smart home security system.  With our system, we could check on what the fur baby was up to, and received an alert whenever our cat sitter came by to spend time with our Minou.  Clem was able to check up on the kitty while sipping a Mai Tai on Double Six Beach and both she and Dan would receive an alert if anything went amiss during their time away on Fraser Island.

What's the point of going on holiday if you're going to be consistently thinking about whether you locked the garage, or if your house sitter is sticking to the rules?  With a smart home security system, you'll have the peace of mind that you can keep an eye on things at home, whether you're a country away or just a few hours drive.

The Many Uses of the Contact Sensor

The Many Uses of the Contact Sensor

A Contact Sensor is a small device that you can use on any exterior door to alert you when it’s been opened.  But contact sensors can be used for so many different things.  It’s one of the most versatile smart devices you can use in your home or business.  Here’s a nifty little info-graphic that shows you some of the unique ways you can use a contact sensor.  If you want more information about contact sensors, check out our previous post Lights, Cameras, Sensors!

 

8 Smart and Affordable Home Security Tips Everyone should Use

8 Smart and Affordable Home Security Tips Everyone Should Use

Posted on August 7, 2016Edit"8 Smart and Affordable Home Security Tips Everyone Should Use"

Let’s face it, everyone loves to be the king or queen of their castle.  That’s why anyone will always do their best to protect their home and valuables.  It really doesn’t take much to give your property just a bit more extra protection.  Most of these tips really boil down to common sense. This week we’re going to go over 6 ways that you can use to upgrade you home security.

Maintain your Lawns and Landscaping

When you’re away on holidays for an extended period of time, the last thing you want to think about is making sure your lawns are trimmed and landscaping maintained.  To a burglar however, that’s the first sign that no one’s home, and no one has been for a while. You are in essence inviting burglars to come waltzing into your house and take what they want.  Find a local landscaping service to come and mow the lawns while you’re away, or better yet have one of your neighborhood kids to do it for you.  If you live in an apartment and have pot plants on your balcony, get someone to water them.

Use Multiple Locks on your Front Door

Make it harder for burglars to crash through your front door by adding a separate deadbolt lock.  Adding a second lock also helps if if someone tries to enter your home use a lockpick.

Keep your Valuables Out of Sight

This is one of those tips that’s pretty much common sense, but some people seem to forget it.  Having your valuables visible, say at the front window, just makes it too easy for anyone to do a “snatch and dash” – break in, grab what they want and make a run for it.  Having your valuable and expensive items in sight also tells burglars that not only do you have expensive things ready for the taking, but you probably have even more stuff inside that they could easily steal.

Purchase a Safe

Having a safe does the obvious of protecting your high-value items from theft. Make it even more difficult for burglars of taking your safe by bolting it to the floor and wall.  Plus, a safe can also protect your valuables from fire or other disastrous events.

Lock your Windows, Garage, and Sliding Doors

This is simple.  If you lock your exterior doors,  why shouldn’t you lock your windows, garage doors, sliding doors, even your shed?  If a burglar can not get into your premises from the front door, they’ll try any other way to get in.  Most home invasions occur because the burglar found an alternative way to enter the premises.  If you live in a second or third story apartment that has a balcony, lock your windows and doors.  Don’t think just because you are not on ground level that a burglar will not pick your unit as their next target.

NEVER EVER Publicise your Holiday on Social Media

This is one of those tips that s so logical yet most people never use it.  You don’t actually know who views your social media profile, so why send an invitation to the world to head to your house?  We know you may be really excited and want to tell all of your friends and followers about your amazing holiday, but making this sort of news public is just foolish.

Get a Professional to Check your Home for Weak Points

Having a security professional like TISEC check your home for weak security spots will save you the hassle of trying to determine these yourself, while also giving you helpful tips on how to easily fix them, and recommendations on the best security system to install if you want to go down that route (which we recommend!).  We offer a free consultation with our security system packages and are happy to advise on any questions or concerns you have about your home security.  Contact us today, and visit our website for more information on the range of systems we have on offer.

The Smart Nursery

Let’s start with the obvious.  There’s no excuse these days not to have a video monitor in your young child’s room.  Instead of needing a monitor screen, why not install a video camera with night vision?  You can then check on the bub from your phone, wherever you are.

If you little one is becoming more mobile, add a contact sensor to any doors, windows, drawers or wardrobes in their room.  Once installed properly, you’ll know exactly when they’re awake and roaming at night as you will receive alerts when any of these sensors are opened.

Staying on the subject of your tiny travelers, keeping them safe if they leave their bedroom in the middle of the night is worth considering.  Adding smart lighting to your hallway that turns on when there’s movement from their door will at least keep them from roaming the hallway in the dark if they’re coming to your bedroom after having a nightmare or going to the bathroom.

Adding smart devices to your child's room not only makes them safer, but also gives you a way of knowing what they're up and checking up on them, anytime and from anywhere.

Homely.com.au - The Property Site You've Been Waiting For

Let's take a break from the amazing techy goodness that is Smart Home tech.  I want to touch on a subject that is  intertwined with the Smart Home industry - the property market.

Four years ago my husband and I got lucky - really lucky.  Our landlord let us know that she was going to sell our apartment, but since we were such good renters she wanted to offer the place to us first before putting it on the market.  This was an offer we just couldn't pass up.  Who would?  No commission fees to the agent, no need to move out, and negotiations were pretty stress free.  But that doesn't mean we didn't do our research.

My God we did a lot of research, and it was frustrating and painful. We spent maybe a month looking online before even deciding we wanted to try to buy our place, checking out similar properties, meeting the agents at the open homes, speaking with friends who lived in the area.  But we never really were able to find all the details we wanted, like what potential neighbours thought of the area, or if the agent had a good reputation.

These are the exact pain points homely.com.au relieves.  Man I wish this site was around in 2012.  You open the homepage and you really just feel at home.  You breathe a sigh of relief that there are no ads in your face, no "BUY! BUY! BUY! SELL! SELL! SELL!" sort of vibe you get with the other major real estate websites.  Homely.com.au is not about buying or selling the house.  It's about the homeowner or home buyer, and aims to give them the most informative experience when it comes to finding a new home.

There were quite a few things that stood out to me on homely.com.au.  My first thought upon entering homely.com.au was "wow, this interface is so sleek...and simple!  And easy to use!  Whoa check out this map feature!  Hey I can draw on the map the exact area I want to check out!  This.....is....AMAZING!".  Like I said homely.com.au took the concept that it's existence is for the home buyer or renter, and that's reflected on their search feature.  You can search which ever suburb or area you want, and as precise as you want to.  With the pencil icon on the map, you can draw precisely the area you want to see listings for, and then get even more exact with pricing filters, bath and bedroom numbers, etc.    No more wasting hours looking at the same homes over and over again that are just not what you're looking for, not in the area you want to live, or just beyond your budget.

The other unique feature I adore is the suburb review section.  Here you can see what your potential neighbours have to say about the suburb, what they love and don't love about the area.  Again this section is just as precise as the map view of listings, as it gives you the ability to check reviews of the street your dream home is on.  It's surprising how influential suburb residents can be in your decision in moving to the area.  If they say the schools are rubbish or parking is absolute nightmare those a factors that may be important to you in your search.  You would want to know about these before signing on the dotted line wouldn't you?

The biggest pain point we had when researching the property market years ago were the agents.  These people were an enigma, and if you're like us, you want to know you're in good hands and can trust the agent you choose to sell or find you a home.  There was no great way for us to find out what other clients thought of these agents we were dealing with.  Homely.com.au solves this problem with their agent finder page.  On this page you can review your agent, check out other clients' reviews, and the agents' selling stats and current listings.  There's no mystery to it, and just makes the home buying or renting experience that much easier.

If you're in the market for buy, sell, or rent stop what you're doing and go to homely.com.au.  it will make the experience so much easier and just might make it enjoyable!

The Backyard

We’ve taken a break for a couple of weeks as we launched our website and have had several projects finish up at the same time.  We’ve also taken all of your suggestions on board and will be relaunching our website in the next week.  Thanks for letting us know what you think!

Now, back to business.  We finished up telling you different ways on how you can upgrade the inside of your residence into a Smart Home.  It’s now time to take things outside.  There are heaps of different features you can easily upgrade and automate on the outside of your home, and we’re not talking about just video cameras and lighting.

Installing Smart Lighting in your Backyard

Let’s get the obvious out of the way.  Adding automated lighting to your home not only means you will never come home in the dark again, but you can use them for security as well.  With the Alarm.com app, you can set your lights to come at sunset and stay on for a specific period of time. If you’re away on holidays, simply set your lights to holiday mode, and your lights will come on at a different time every evening, making it look like you’re home and deterring any possible intruders.

Video Cameras

Installing video cameras at your back gate and door also add extra security.  With video integrated into your smart home system, you can program your cameras to shoot a 5 second video after sunset, whenever your gate or door is opened and you are away.

Make your pool Smarter

If you have a pool in your backyard, make it just a tad bit more luxurious and convenient by adding a smart switch to the pump.  That way you can schedule when your pump is running, and check on how much power it’s actually consuming.  If you add a contact sensor to your pool gate, you can then receive an alert every time it’s opened, giving you the added security of knowing exactly when someone enters your pool area.  How easy is that?

Make your gates Secure

It’s always good to know that your gates and sheds are secure.  If an intruder can’t get into your home, the next place they’ll try is your shed.  Adding a contact sensor to your shed door will give you the peace of mind that you will know as soon as the shed door is open.  Adding these contact sensors to your back gate will enable you to know when each entrance is opened, especially if your kids are playing outside, or if you’re away from home.

Make your gates and back doors even more secure with a keyless lock.  Such locks can be programmed to lock themselves after 30 seconds of opening, and alert you when there’s a jam or it’s left open.

Upgrading to a Smart Home and Connected security isn’t complicated, and the benefits are infinite.  With Total Integrated Security and Alarm.com behind your upgrades, you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that the best technology in your home, and top of the line support.  If you’re ready to upgrade your life, give TISEC a call or visit our website at www.tisec.com.au

Let's Play!

This week we’re moving on to the rumpus room, or play room if that’s what you call it.  There are heaps of things you can do with this room that you may not realise.

Video monitoring can be an important feature to install in this room, and not just for keeping an eye on the kids or the babysitter while you’re not there.  Video monitoring can come in handy even when no one is in the room and something happens.  It can film something really funny your pet is doing, or something more serious.  Take the boiler exploding in the play room that occurred in a Washington family’s home for example.  Luckily no one was hurt.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3Xar2jdwsk

Do your kids forget to turn off the lights when they’re done playing? This frustrating problem can be solved if you install smart lighting.  You can do this two different ways.  You can either add a smart switch to any lamp so that you can control them from your Alarm.com app, or to make it even more efficient, add a motion sensor in the room along with a smart switch to your down lights.  Once you create the rule within your Alarm.com account that whenever there is movement in the playroom to turn on the lights, you don’t have to worry about remember to turn the lights off.  Only challenge left is to get the kids to put their toys away.

Does your rumpus room double as your home theater?  With the scenes feature in your Alarm.com app, you can easily go from the lights fully on to having dim down, the doors locked, and the heating or air con system turned to a particular temperature, all with the tap of a button on your app.

While you may not think that your rumpus room needs to be smart, you may realise after installing some Smart Home tech how much more enjoyable and convenient it can be.

Cooking Smart - What you can do to have a Smart Kitchen

We’ve entered the home and explored the possibilities of making the exterior doorsliving room and entryway part of your Smart Home.  Now let’s go a bit deeper, to the heart of every home – the kitchen.

The kitchen isn’t a room that most would think is a place that can be part of the Smart Home, or even needs to be.  Most people don’t think their kitchen could possibly be part of the Smart Home revolution, when in fact it’s one of the rooms where Smart devices really began to integrate into the home.  Do you have a fridge where you can see its contents from your phone? Or a Thermomix that can update and download new recipes via your Wi-Fi?  These are Smart devices, and have been on the market for years.  Now we’re not saying you should go out and spend bucket loads of cash to make your Smart Kitchen.  It’s a lot easier to add small Smart devices that are powered through Alarm.com to your existing kitchen and appliances to bring your kitchen to the twenty first century.

One of the easiest ways to create a smart environment in your kitchen is with Smart Switches.  Add one to the power point of your coffee maker, and once programmed you can have your coffee maker on and ready when you wake up in the morning.  Do the same thing with the power point you use for your slow cooker in winter, and turn it on when you need to while your at work through your Alarm.com app. You can do this with any small appliance that you plug into a power point in your kitchen.

Dishwashers are now a staple in most modern homes and apartments.  Like any appliance, it can break down when you least expect it.  A broken dishwasher can wreak havoc on a kitchen.  No one wants to come home to a flooded kitchen caused by a broken dishwasher.  Add a flood sensor underneath your dishwasher or in your kitchen cabinets, and you will be alerted as soon as your dishwasher goes awry and water starts to come out of it onto your kitchen floor.  Install a smart water valve on your water mains so that you can turn off your water remotely when you’re alerted of a flood alert.  Problem not entirely solved, but at least you’ll be alerted as soon as the issue starts.  Imagine what this can do if you have a holiday house.  You can turn your water on or off depending on if you’re at your house or not, or if holiday renters are arriving.

There’s one device that every kitchen should have – a smoke detector.  The kitchen is the one room where a fire is most likely to breakout.  So what happens when your smoke detector goes off and you’re not home?  You really can’t do much since you don’t even know it’s going off.   With a Smart detector, you will be alerted of the detector going off at any time.  Add in a video camera or image sensor programmed to record and save media on your Alarm.com cloud account, and send you these images to your smartphone, when the smoke alarm goes off, and you will know exactly when an incident happens in your kitchen, and the cause of it.  A smoke detector is also one of these life saving devices that many forget need batteries changed every so often.  With a Smart devices powered by Alarm.com, you receive alerts anytime one of your devices need their batteries changed. It’s the ultimate form of safety and convenience combined to give you peace of mind that you’re making your home as safe as possible.

If you have tiny young chefs in your kitchen, video monitoring can be an extra level of safety in your kitchen.  If you have to step out to answer the front door for example, know that you can keep an eye on your tiny chef from your phone until you’re back in the kitchen monitoring their culinary discoveries.

It’s a lot easier than you think to bring your kitchen into the Smart Home world, and you certainly won’t regret doing so, especially if you spend most of your time in your kitchen.  For more information, or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to send us an email, or reply to the post.

The Living Room

Last week we discussed how you can bring your exterior doors into the modern age by installing a Smart Lock.  This week let’s focus on the entryway and living room.  You might not believe but there’s a few things you can do in your entryway and living room with smart devices.

One of the most obvious things you can add is Smart Lighting.  We discussed Smart Lighting in our previous post Lights, Cameras, Sensors!, so if you want to know what your options are for lighting installation, you should refer back to our post.  Installing Smart lighting in your entryway and living room is all about the convenience of control.  With Smart Lighting installed, you don’t have to remember to turn off all your lights after leaving, they can simply turn themselves off when you’ve armed you security panel, or when you’ve left and are over a few kilometres away from your home through the GeoServices rule you created.  The GeoServices feature can also bring these lights back on where you're close to home, you don't have to enter your home in the dark.  To take your lighting and security a step above the rest, add a Smart Schedule to your lights.  A Smart Schedule triggers your lights to come on and off at different times when you’re away for an extended period of time, such as when you are on holidays.  Having your lights come on at a different time every evening helps it seem like someone’s home, deterring any potential home invasions.

The living room is probably one of the rooms in your home where your family spends quite a lot of time together, whether it’s watching a movie on Friday night or opening presents on Christmas Day.  It’s also a room where you may entertain guests, and one of the first rooms they see upon entering your home.  So, it’s only natural that you would want your friends and family to feel as comfortable as possible.  This is where having temperature sensors and your air conditioning or heating system connected to your Smart Home can come in handy, and why not make it even more convenient for you when you can control it from your phone?  Like your Smart lights, you can also set schedules for when your air is on or off, so that you are not wasting power when you are not at home.  Taking it even one step further with the convenience of controlling your home, you can also have your air or heating come on when you are a certain distance from your home through a unique GeoServices rule that you set up upon installation.

Installing an image sensor or camera pointing towards your entry way and/or your living room will give you an added boost of security.  Should someone open the front door, the image sensor can take a photo of the individual entering the home and save it within your Alarm.com account on the cloud.  So, for example, you can see exactly when your kids came home from school while you’re away, and if they brought any friends over.  If an image sensor is installed in the living room, you can check that the little kids are behaving while you prepare them afternoon tea in the kitchen.  Really worried about what your kids are doing in the living room?  Use a video camera instead of an image sensor, so you can keep an eye on them with a live video feed.

While your living room and entryway are the first areas of your home your guests will see, it can also be the first area that burglars enter your home.  Having an image sensor grab the image of whoever enters you home gives you the added peace of mind that should anyone enter your home without permission, you have photographic evidence of their trespassing secured on your Alarm.com cloud account.

Next week, we'll move on to the heart of the home - the kitchen.  In the meantime, if you have any questions about any Smart Home features, contact us through our Facebook page, Twitter, or reply to this post.  Til next week!

Let's Talk about Locks Baby

So now that we’ve covered what a Smart Home is, and why a Smart Home with Connected Security will take your home and lifestyle to the next level, let’s start detailing the specific items you can include in your Smart Home system to optimise your home experience.

Let’s begin with the front door.  Now, we’re not talking about creating a Jetsons door with retina body scan.  You can integrate your exterior doors (front and back doors, for example) into your Smart Home by simply replacing the lock.  Keep in mind there are digital locks, and there are digital locks with intelligence, that you are connected with through your phone, tablet, or desktop.

There are several advantages with having a Smart Lock as part of your connected home.  Alarm.com describes what a Smart Lock can do perfectly. “Smart access control lets you securely give access to family and trusted visitors, using unique four-digit codes. You can create a code for each of your kids, for your dog walker, or for a contractor who needs access to your house. In the contractor's case, you can add an expiry date so that the code stops working after the job is complete". In essence, it lets you give access to anyone, whenever you choose, even when you’re not there.  You don’t have to worry about forgetting your keys ever again.  You no longer have to give key copies out.  You can simply create a temporary code for that individual who needs to get into your premises.  Think about what that means for you if you own a holiday home or a short term rental.  Imagine what you can do when the in laws come to visit!

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Having a Smart Lock also gives you peace of mind.  If you’re the type who forgets to lock your door, or your kids forget to lock it on their way out, you can program your lock to lock itself after it has been open for 30 seconds.  You can also check if your door is locked or if specific individuals have unlocked your door, anytime and anywhere. You can even create rules so that when you lock or unlock your door, other connected devices turn on or off, saving you time and money.  For example you can create a rule that when you arm you system, and you lock your door, your heating system drops the temperature a few degrees, and your lights turn off.  You can choose to get notifications of these events happening, or not.  It’s entirely up to you and you’re in control.

Thomas Schulz, manager of one of the leading Smart Lock companies Assa Abloy said in an article for IFSEC Global that Smart Locks “[are] just the start. But homeowners are already beginning to realise that a smart lock is the best way to open the door to their new smart home.”  And he’s right.  Why not start your Smart Home experience at the front door?

For more information on Smart Locks, or to learn how to have one installed in your home, shoot us an email, or message us on our Facebook page:  Total Integrated Security.

Til next week!

Sources

http://www.ifsecglobal.com/how-smart-locks-can-open-the-door-to-connected-living/

http://www.alarm.com/blog/what-is-smart-lock

What is a Smart Home? What is Connected Security?

So we must apologise to you readers.  We’ve been talking about Smart Homes and Connected Security solutions, not realising that it’s quite possible that our readers might think differently about Smart Homes or not even know what a Smart Home is.  We started with explain what the Internet of Things is in our very first post, but didn’t dive a tad bit deeper and really explain what Smart Homes and Connected Security are.  We’re such tech nerds here at TISEC that we sometimes we get a little too excited about the products and services we offer and just want to dive into all the cool and fun stuff without explaining the basics.  So we’re sorry if we’ve lost you along our Smart Home journey!

So let’s take a deep breath and take a few steps back.

What is a Smart Home?

Smarthomeusa.com defines a Smart Home as “a residence that has appliances, lighting, heating, air conditioning, TVs, computers, entertainment audio & video systems, security, and camera systems that are capable of communicating with one another and can be controlled remotely by a time schedule, from any room in the home, as well as remotely from any location in the world by phone or internet.”

We’ll give you a minute to absorb that definition.

Now let’s put this a more user friendly perspective.  A Smart Home is your house that’s connected to you.  Through the adding of certain devices, you can get your home to communicate to you and gives you the ability to inter act with your home.  If you have a keyless lock, your house can tell you if it’s locked or not, and lock itself on your command.  If you have a temperature sensor, your home can tell you if it gets too warm or too cold, and if you want it to, ensure it gets itself back to the right ambient temperature. Consider it sort of like your own personal communication system to hardware of your house.  If your home “knows” you're away (as in, if your phone is a particular distance away from you home), it can keep your energy costs down by turning your heating or cooling system off.  But don’t worry about messing up its schedule if you come home early.  Once you’re close to home it can simply turn the system back on, bringing your home back to a comfortable temperature.

What is Connected Security?

Connected Security is a bit tougher to define than Smart Home.  If you Google “what is Connected Security?” there isn’t an automatic meaning that pops up on Wikipedia or tech websites.  Perhaps that’s because connected security can be so many different things depending on the context.

From a home perspective with an Alarm.com platform or similar, think of Connected Security as the brain, giving the ability of your home to “talk” to you and for you to control it in return.  The security panel is connected to your lights, your door sensors, your heating and cooling system.  It connects to your video cameras through your wifi and stores video when required, either when you’ve created a rule (i.e. “film for 20 seconds who is coming through the front door when the door is opened”) or when your alarm goes off during an incident.  It connects to the app you use to control your smart home devices so you can see and control what’s happening in your home, no matter where you are.  In essence, Connected Security is what gives your home its voice.

Now that you know what we think a Smart Home and Connected Security are, there’s a few paths you can go down.  Say you get some pretty cool smart bulbs from your local hardware store and you think being able to control them from your phone is awesome.  So then to go back to your hardware store and get a security panel and few cameras, and then on a whim you decide to get that really cool keyless lock you saw on eBay when you were wide awake at 3 am the other night.  Now you’ve got lights, a security system with some video cameras and a lock – and every one of these devices has its own app.  Neither one of them works on the same app.  None of the devices actually talk to each other, or trigger each other to do certain things.  They’re not connected to each other.

Wouldn’t that just annoy you?  You would have to open each app separately to control anything, and you couldn’t possibly control two devices at once.  It would be like the Tower of Babel of smart devices.  What’s the point of having automated smart devices if they’re not connected to each other?

That’s why we made the decision at TISEC to provide smart products that will work through Alarm.com’s  easy to use app that’s used by over 2.7 million users worldwide.  It’s super easy for you to add on more devices as your home grows and changes, and your app would automatically update itself every time a new device would be added.  No need for complicated install, and another app to use yet another smart device.

If you want any further information on Smart Homes and Connected Security, send us an email or check out our Facebook page, or reply to this post!

sources: http://www.smarthomeusa.com/smarthome/

The Wellness Solution

With the last few blog posts, you should be now getting familiar with a few of the devices that can make your life a little bit easier.  But what about your other loved ones, like your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles?  Have you ever wanted keep an eye on them and let them continue to lead their lives independently?

You might not realise it, but you can use the same network of smart devices you use in your home in order to give a safety net of your elderly family members.  IT News reported this week that CSIRO is currently installing smart sensors and monitors in elderly Australian homes.  They’ve in fact been researching this sort of medical technology for a decade.  That’s right, a decade.   Why is so important?  CSIRO are able to collect data from these people without interrupting their lives, and are able to view patterns in their habits and health at home while finding better alternatives to wearable health devices.  CSIRO conducted this research using off-the-shelf smart devices, such as the door sensors we mentioned in our previous post Lights, Cameras, Sensors! Such solutions what CSIRO is testing and the Wellness Solution powered by Alarm.com, you can instead spend a few thousand dollars per year on Smart Home system for your elderly family members instead of spending a few thousand dollars per month on a nursing home and round the clock care.

So now the question is how a system like this could be built into your loved one’s home.  TISEC can provide you with Alarm.com’s Wellness Solution, which combines sensors, mobile notifications, and home automation to provide a safe and affordable option for independent living.  The Wellness solutions uses real time information from each sensor and will notified family members or designated care givers of any unexpected changes in routines that could be a sign of an emergency.  This is not your typical Personal Emergency Response System (PERS).  With the Wellness Solution, the individual doesn’t need to remember to wear a device or pendant.  The longer the system is installed, the more it learns about the patterns and routines of the home member.

 

Components of the Wellness Solution can include a bed presence monitor and panic buttons that can be installed in most areas of the home.  The Wellness Solution can also be paired with a Personal Emergency Response pendant.  You can also add image sensors in rooms, contact sensors to any door, medicine cabinet, or even the fridge to monitor activity.  With image sensors, you can make sure Uncle Edward is getting up and moving about during the day.  Install a contact sensor on the medicine cabinet so that you receive an alert if the cabinet is not opened before 9am, which would mean Nanna may have forgotten to take her morning medication.  If you have a sensor on the fridge door and you begin to begin to see non-routine activities that indicate Great Aunty Rose is up and about at unusual hours, and that it’s maybe worth checking up on her.

You can also add devices that you use in your own Smart Home to the Wellness Solution, just to make you loved one’s life a bit easier and simplify routine tasks.  If they forget to lock the front door, why not install a smart lock?  If they’re cold and adjusting the air con all the time, how about a smart thermostat?

Not only is this a great solution for family members, but this is an incredible efficient and useful option for home care and Assisted Living providers.  The Wellness Solutions gives care givers real time insight into their clients’ condition and can advance the notice of any potential problems.  With the Wellness Solution, as a caregiver you can monitor your client when you’re not there, such as night time falls, changes in eating habits or bathroom activities to name a few.  This system has the ability to provide you better awareness of your clients’ routines when you are not at their side.

People are in general living longer, and being more active in their lifestyles.  The Wellness Solution gives your ageing family members a secure option to live at home independently, while also giving you the peace of mind that you are able to watch out for them without intruding on their lives. For Senior Care Providers, the Wellness Solution provides just a bit extra care so that you’re able to receive better insight on your clients and give them customized care solutions.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Wellness Solution and what TISEC can provide, give us a call or head to our website.  Feel free to ask any questions by leaving a comment on this post.

Sources

http://www.itnews.com.au/news/why-the-csiro-is-building-smart-homes-for-elderly-australians-419124

https://www.alarm.com/productservices/wellness.aspx

https://www.alarm.com/productservices/wellness-providers.aspx

Lights, Cameras, Sensors!

In our last posts, we’ve touched on the concept that’s behind the Smart Home movement and why a basic, but smart security system with TISEC is the way to go if you want proactively protect your home. It’s now time to start talking about the devices you can install around your property to create a custom Smart Home and the advantages to each one.  Put it this way – you don’t necessarily need a security system to create your Smart Home.  A Smart Security panel can be the hub to all of your Smart Home devices but it’s not obligatory to have TISEC support for your Smart Home devices.

Lighting

Lights are one of the easiest ways you can add automation to your home, and is a great way to introduce yourself to the Smart Home technology.  The other advantage with Smart lighting is it’s a deterrent for burglars.  Smart light bulbs are readily available at most hardware stores and will set you back around $175 per bulb.  TISEC also has smart bulbs that will work with the Alarm.com app that cost about half those found at your local hardware store, but we find it far better to use Smart switches that in the end cost less.

If that’s as far as you want to go with home automation, then by all means smart bulbs are the way to go.  But if you have a lot of lights in your house, you’re going to be spending a substantial amount of cash to automate each down light, floor lamp, and reading light in your home.  Never fear though, TISEC has solutions that are much easier to install and maintain, and they won’t break the bank.

If you have a few lamps you want to control, plug in modules will help and can be installed in two easy steps.  Just plug the module into your power point, program the module into your Alarm.com system and voila, you can control your lamps from your phone or tablet from anywhere you have wifi or a cellular connection!

The final alternative takes a tiny bit more work, and can be used with a push of a button once installed.  All you need is a smart switch, and it’s installed in only two steps – install and program.  The only very small catch is we highly recommend a TISEC technician install these for you as you light switches will be working on 240V power.  But that’s nothing hard for you; we’ll come to you when you’re free.

Cameras

Moving on to cameras.  Cameras are one of the standard devices that most people think of when it comes to security systems.  Cameras can be used differently to create your smart home, and there are heaps of different options available.

If you’re wanting something to capture indoor activity, consider an indoor camera with night vision that works on you alarm.com app.  If you’re looking for something outdoor, why not an outdoor camera with night vision?  Both work on your Wi-Fi and cost between the $200-400 mark.  They’re also quite unique as they run on your Wi-Fi system, and are not sold at your local hardware store.  Like all other devices TISEC provides, they’re super easy to install and your video recordings are stored on the cloud.

Now, consider your kitchen.  If you have a smart smoke detector within that space (which you should!  And yes Smart smoke detectors do exist!  We’ll dive into these in another post), you can have a Smart camera pointing in your kitchen.  These are extremely easy to program so that they begin taking video whenever the smoke detector goes off, filming the action as it happens or lack of, so you don’t have to stress.

If you have kids, especially young ones, a video camera might be a godsend for you.  Installing a camera in their playroom or bedroom lets you make sure they’re in bed after their bedtime and not up and sneaking in extra playtime late into the night.  You can even set an alert that sends a video to your phone when they actually get out of bed.  It would take you no more than 5 minutes to set up the camera to act exactly the way you want it to.

The possibilities with cameras as you can see are literally endless.

Sensors

Sensors, sensors, sensors.  Contact sensors, motion sensors, anything sensors.  How can something so tiny do so much for your home?  They are by far the easiest device to install in your home and the possibilities are endless.  So easy, you can install them using double sided tape if you’re really lazy.  Contact sensors cost around $50 a piece, and are far more advanced than the devices available from your local hardware store.

Contact sensors are one of the more discreet items you can install in your smart home, and they’re more handy then you think.  Going back to the tiny humans, if you have a door sensors on your kid’s door, you can set it up so that you are alerted if the door is opened past your bub’s night time.  Add these to any door you want to know your kids are opening, like a supply closet, or a door to your basement or attic, or even your back door.  Use them to make sure your kids are not getting into your liquor cabinet. Put them on your parent’s medicine cabinet to make sure they’re taking their medication by 9AM (more on that in another post!).

The same sensors act the same way on windows.  Install one in your child’s room to reassure that they aren’t opening the window when they shouldn’t.  Check to make sure your windows are all closed before leaving on your next holiday without running and checking each and every single one.  Even have an alert sent to you phone when the window sensor is triggered when the window is opened and you’re not home.  You can even use the same sensor base as a flood sensor, so you can know exactly when your dishwasher or washing machine floods.  The only difference is the contact is slightly different because it has a moisture-friendly contact connection.

You can also purchase image sensors for any area in your home, so you can be alerted as soon as someone walks into your home office, or your art studio, or even your garage.  These sensors will take a photo any time it is instructed depending how you program it (which is really easy to do!) and save it to your alarm.com account on the cloud.

Lights, camera and sensors are a great introduction into the Smart Home realm, and TISEC can help you get the right devices for your home.  If you have any questions or want to find out more, call TISEC today or shoot us an email, or even respond to our blog!

Check us out on Houzz.com.au!

We haven't been on houzz.com.au for long, but wow, what a great website for any of your home renovation needs.  From finding a pro to handle your project to asking the houzz community any question pertaining to a home renovation project, this site does it all.

 

And not to brag or anything, but get who is the top match for Smart Home security in New South Wales?  You guessed it, we are!

 

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The many uses of the Contact Sensor

A Contact Sensor is a small device that you can use on any exterior door to alert you when it's been opened.  But contact sensors can be used for so many different things.  It's one of the most versatile smart devices you can use in your home or business.  Here's a nifty little info-graphic that shows you some of the unique ways you can use a contact sensor.  If you want more information about contact sensors, check out our previous post Lights, Cameras, Sensors!