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Turn Your Smartphone Into A Security System

by Amy April 13, 2017

Home Automation From My Alarm Center

One awesome perk of having a home security system is that your phone can control absolutely everything. The MyHome® smartphone app from My Alarm Center provides you with the ability to control your home security system and home automation system entirely through your smartphone.

  • Home automation climate control allows you to regulate your home’s temperature without having to use the thermostat. You can save energy when no one is home by turning the heater or air conditioner off. Or simply make a room more comfortable without having to get up from your cozy seat.
  • You can likewise use your phone to look at the home security camera feed and monitor your home at all times. You can view your live video feed on up to eight home security cameras simultaneously. You can even create video recordings from the security footage with the simple press of a button on your phone.
  • You can also turn interior and exterior lights on or off with your phone and your home automation system. You can create rules for your lighting so that lights turn on when certain sensors are activated, people enter rooms, or it reaches a certain time of the day. This is a great way to make your home appear lived in if you are away for some time.
  • If any motion sensors are ever set off in your home, the MyHome® app will send alerts to your phone so you’ll always be aware.
  • You can remotely arm and disarm your home alarm to provide family or friends with access to your house while you are out.

My Alarm Center provides home security systems and home automation systems for Philadelphia residents. They provide expert home security services while the MyHome® app gives you full control of your home automation, makes your life far more convenient, and puts your mind at ease.

6 Benefits Of Home Security Systems

by Amy December 7, 2016

There are many advantages to owning a home security system. They help keep your family safe, let you focus on the more important aspects of life, and give you peace of mind. Here are some other reasons to consider a home security system:

  • Protects Valuables

The alarm alone is enough to deter an intruder. However, once the alarm has sounded, the police are immediately notified and dispatched so your home is kept safe at all costs.

  • Helps Save Energy

Nowadays, home security systems also include many home automation features. This system will allow you to monitor your energy usage and shut off utilities when you are no longer in the room. This leads to lower monthly bills and less wasted energy.

Saving energy isn’t the only advantage of home automation. You can change the lighting, temperature, music, TV, and control numerous other aspects of your home from a device as simple as your smart phone.

  • Lowers Insurance

Many insurance agencies give discounts to members who have a home security system. This is a great way to cut down on expenses.

Fire and carbon monoxide detectors are vital features of any home security system. They can detect dangers that you can’t, such as invisible, poisonous carbon monoxide. As soon as the alarm has sounded, emergency services are on call to help. These detectors provide an indispensable advantage to protecting your family from emergencies that are usually out of your control.

  • Remote Surveillance

Remote surveillance allows you to watch your home at any hour of the day from any location. You can view the live feed from the wireless security cameras through an app on your smart phone. It can even alert you when people leave and enter your home – a great way to keep an eye on the kids whether you’re on vacation or just at work.

Home security systems are an investment. The right systems can keep your valuables safe while saving you money in the process. They also give peace of mind and let you know someone will always be there in case of an emergency. Protect your family, yourself, and make life a little easier by adding a security system into your home.

High Tech Personal Fitness Gift Ideas

by Cassie November 21, 2016

A Work out safely message from My Alarm Center

There’s always that one person you have a hard time shopping for. This year, get them a totally awesome fitness accessory. These high-tech gift ideas are perfect for combatting big holiday meals and staying on top of those resolutions.

  1. Subscription to Pandora ONE

Pandora One provides more skips, is ad free, and features premium audio quality. This is the ideal gift for those who work out to music.

  1. Misfit Shine

The Misfit Shine allows you to track movements and activities through an iOS App to achieve your fitness goals. This device can be worn as a bracelet or pendant and is waterproof. This would be a fitting gift for anyone interested in water sports.

  1. Knuckle Lights

These are designed to be worn on your hands while exercising at night. Quintessential for running, cycling, walking, hiking, and skiing.

  1. Fitbit Aria

This product measures body fat percentage and body mass index (BMI). It can accommodate up to 8 users and transfer the data to your computer using wireless technology. When connected with your smartphone, it can even notify you when you’ve achieved a fitness goal.

  1. Wireless Headphones to Keep Ears Warm

New technology designs turn earmuffs into headphones for running or cycling in the winter. Never choose between cold ears or music again.

  1. Sportiiis

Sportiiis was created for cyclists looking to track their stats while exercising. Sportiiis accurately and safely tracks your heart rate with 6 LED lights. This technology can be mounted onto sunglasses and uses voice prompts to relay speed, heart rate, cadence, and power.

  1. Umoro One

This water bottle functions like any other, except with the push of the button it can release up to 1.5 scoops of whey protein mix or any other powdered drink mix.

These fun fitness gifts are ideal for anyone on your holiday list. There are many different types of fitness trackers and apps so be sure to choose the one that will best benefit the user. Some apps can even connect into the home automation system to help with fitness goals around the house. Make this new year a healthier one with top of the line technology.

Home Energy Saving Checklist

by Amy August 26, 2016

Home Energy

There are various approaches to take in order to reduce your utility bill, and based on the season, these bills will always fluctuate. In order to reduce your energy footprint, these suggestions have been provided by the Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings, combined with home automation tips.

• Turn down the temperature of your water heater to a warm setting, rather than hot. It is recommended to be set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, check if your water heater has an insulating blanket. This insulation helps reduce the loss of heat and will affect your bill in a positive way. This normally accounts for 14-25% of the energy consumed in your home.
• Make sure your furnace or heat pump receives professional maintenance every year.
• Consider exchanging your light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights, otherwise known as CFLs. Another great option is light-emitting diodes, known as LEDs. These bulbs can save up to 3/4 of the electricity used by basic light bulbs. Bulbs with 60-100 Watts are ideal for energy conservation.
• Turn off the lights when you are not in the room. Installing timers or occupancy sensors is also a great way to make sure the lights are always turned off behind you. Automated lighting is a great way to control your lighting energy costs.
• Keep large electronics turned off when they are not in use. For example, if you’re not going to use your desktop computer for more than two hours, it is a great idea to turn off the monitor and CPU system in order to reduce energy use. This tip should also be applied to any equipment that drains energy when it is not in use. Cell phone chargers, fans, coffee machines, printers, and radios all drain energy even when they are turned off but still plugged into the wall.
• Install a programmable thermostat that will adjust the temperature according to your life schedule. This way the house can be comfortable when you arrive home, but not wasting energy to keep it at one temperature the entire day. Automated thermostats are an easy way to ensure that heating or cooling spend is used most efficiently.
• Clean or replace filters for your furnace, air conditioner, and heat pump yearly.
• Check your windows for leaks or drafts. Add film or caulk to all of these areas in order to reduce wasted energy. The typical home loses more than 25% of its heat through windows.
• Insulate hot water pipes. Also, insulate your heating ducts in areas like the attic and crawl spaces. This can prevent up to 60% of heat loss.
• Be aware of your major appliances’ efficiency. Upgrading to a newer, energy-efficient appliance will lower costs as well.
• Consider planting tall trees and shrubs around the west side of your house. This will create natural shade and reduce air conditioning costs.
• Washing clothes in cold water is also known to reduce costs. It is also beneficial to hang dry your clothes when possible to reduce the use of the dryer. Ensure your dryer vent is clear of lint so the door will fully close.

Using these tips will reduce the use of energy in your home. Gather your electricity and fuel bills and compare their costs from month to month in order to recognize your progress. For more information on home energy conservation, and to view a helpful checklist, visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s web site. View My Alarm Center’s home automation offerings to help you save an average of 15% on your home energy bills.

Source: http://energy.gov/eere/femp/home-energy-checklist

Home Automation Gifts for Dad

by Cassie June 13, 2016

 

Home Automation Gift

Home Automation Gifts for Dad

This year for Father’s Day, get your dad the gift of home automation. Not only will he love receiving the latest technology, but he will gain daily convenience and peace of mind, with increased home security.  Here are a few of the ways that home automation can help simplify his life and increase your family’s home security:

Keep Doors and Windows Closed

By providing your dad with a home automation system, he won’t have to worry if the garage door was left open once he sits down to relax for the night. Through automated sensors, he can simply check from his mobile device and close it with the push of a button and rest easy knowing that his lawn equipment or big kid toys are secured. Dad can check for open windows while traveling and ensure that the home is secure from anywhere.

Adjust the Thermostat

Many dads take responsibility for managing the thermostat to reduce heating costs. Most often, Dads choose to keep the house cool at night and then adjust it in the morning, to a more comfortable temperature. With smart home technology, Dad can adjust the temperature right from his mobile device or schedule the temperate change to occur at customized times of the day or night, ongoing. Manually changing the thermostat is a fatherly task of the past.

Improve Home Security

When we hear a bump in the night, Dad is usually the one who investigates. Now, he can be the protector of the castle without leaving his bedroom. Using wireless cellular monitoring, and a smart home app, Dad can monitor surveillance cameras to check on the family. Dad can also ensure that the home is secure while traveling, providing increased rest and relaxation.

Eliminate Keys

Dad will never have to worry about locking out any family members or hiding a spare key. Secure key pads provide an easy way to unlock the door through the home automation system. He’ll never have to wonder if the kids are able to get into the house after school or if the dog walker made it in time, giving him undeniable peace of mind. He can allow contractors or friends into the home remotely with the touch of a button and reduce security risks caused by handing out spare keys.

Keep Tabs on the Family

Dad will now have the ability to receive alerts on home arrivals and departures. Home sensors detect motion and alert Dad to movement in designated locations in the home, even ones that are out of sight.

Detect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide

Monitored smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors give Dad peace of mind and protects your family’s home and pets. This smart home gadget sends mobile device notifications and alerts local authorities in the event of smoke or carbon monoxide detection, even when no one is home. This way, your home and pets are safe even when family members aren’t present. It can work with or without a home security system being armed and is professional monitored for total peace of mind.

When deciding what gift to get Dad for Father’s Day, home automation is the gift that keeps giving peace of mind and convenience, every day. The benefit list doesn’t end here! Contact My Alarm Center to learn more about home automation and the packages we offer from coast to coast, from Philadelphia to Seattle.

Don’t Automate Cooking That Turkey, Here All the Things In Your Home That You Can

by Cassie November 24, 2015

Safe Cooking TurkeyWhen you bought that monster poultry, you were excited, all wrapped up in cozy thoughts of family and belly-warming holiday meals. Now, that gargantuan turkey’s looming in the fridge, taunting you. Reminding you that you’ll have to wake before dawn, if you want to put Thanksgiving dinner on the table before Black Friday.

Don’t you wish you could automate your turkey dinner? At least the 5 a.m.-wakeup-on-a-holiday part?

My friends, the bad news is that we can’t cook your turkey dinner for you. (Not yet, at least. Check back next year!) But we can automate the rest of your home, with MyHome®, so you can have a happy, safe holiday. Check it out:

Remote Arm/Disarm

Did you know that you can arm and disarm your security system with the swipe of a touchscreen? Even better, you can double-check that your home alarm is armed and at the ready, even if you’re hours away, eating turkey at the relatives’. (No more panicked meals or worse, rushing home to check that all is well.) And hey, if you find you did forget to switch the alarm on, just a touch of your smartphone and you’re good to go. Now that’s peace of mind.

Lighting Control

There’s nothing quite like lighting to set the holiday mood, is there? Now, automation lets you create the perfect setting with lighting schedules (dinner mode, anyone?), timers, and set routines that mirror your moods and behavior. All you have to do is light the candles.

Climate Control

There’s a difference between waking up on Thanksgiving morning to frigid toes and freezing floors, and waking up on Thanksgiving morning to toasty toes and cozy floors. The difference is called automated climate control: settings to keep your home at the perfect temperature, morning, noon and night – even if that means responding to sudden dips in outdoor temperatures.

Video Monitoring

Want to check that your kids got home safely the day before the holiday? Or that nothing’s amiss while you’re visiting family? That’s what live video streaming is for. (Oh, and also for warding off burglars and letting police know if there’s a problem.)

Real Time Alerts

The final piece of the puzzle is real-time alerts – customized app alerts that respond to events in your home. You set ’em, we honor ’em.

Your Home in Your Pocket

The best part of your system is having it in your pocket, always. Your smartphone gives you full access to controls and monitoring, so you’re always in control, always aware of what’s going on. It’s the best thing to happen to home automation. Until we figure out a way to automate turkey roasting, that is.

Sleepless in Seattle Because I Can’t Stop Using My Alarm.com App

by Cassie September 9, 2015

Playing With The Alarm.com App

We may not want to admit it, but we’ve all lost sleep over the newest, greatest gadgets. And it’s not usually in the pre-purchase phase, it’s not because you’re yearning for them; it’s because you already have them – you’ve lost sleep because you’ve been too busy testing, playing, enjoying that new flatscreen, new game console, new tablet, or new anything. They’re just too fun to put down.

Bet you didn’t know your home security system could reach that level of fun.

But it can. Oh, but it can. Welcome to the Alarm.com app, which comes standard with all My Alarm Center offerings. And it’s so fun, it’s guaranteed to make you lose sleep.
Home Automation at a Touch
The integration of home security and automation has never been more seamless. Home alarms have gone smart, and have dragged the rest of your house along with it: not only does automation include controls over window, door and motion sensors, but it loops in your thermostat, door locks, lighting, and other customizable controls.

And it’s all available with just the swipe of a finger, on your smartphone or tablet, thanks to the Alarm.com app.

What Can My Phone Do to My Home?
The near-magical connection between your home’s smart alarm, automated features, wireless signals, and smartphone means that your phone can control just about everything. Think of it as a mobile command center, able to monitor your home’s every move.

• Windows: Check that your windows are secure, and receive alerts if a sensor is triggered.
• Doors: Ditto your windows. Also, you can quick-check that all doors are closed and locked. (And that your teen hasn’t tried to sneak out.)
• Motion: Not only will your phone alert you to unexpected movement in your home, but smart sensors will also send you triggered-image (photo) alerts. You can also use your phone to peek into camera-monitored rooms.
• Garage: You’ll never again have to get off the sofa for a late-night garage door check: your phone will tell you if the door’s closed (and send an alert if it’s not), and with just a touch you can close it. All from the comfort of the couch.
• Thermostat: Use your phone to adjust temperatures up or down.
• Lights: Remotely control, check and automate all connected lights in your home. In other words, never again leave your warm bed to check if you left the kitchen light on.

But That’s Not All…
Home automation isn’t just the ability to lock doors and turn off lights with your phone (although that is pretty cool): the power of a connected home is in adaptive learning. Now, you can train your home to follow your schedule, performing automated tasks like a nightly lock check, or turning off all the downstairs lights at a given hour.

What’s more, you can enable your smart home to passively learn your behaviors. Yes, your house can use its own sensors to know when you usually turn off lights, or do a last-minute run through of the house, or leave for work, and perform other routines, so it can automatically lock doors, secure windows, close the garage, and complete other safety tasks, so you always have peace of mind. You can view several of the benefits of home automation in our infographic.

Now, quick! Use that app to turn off the lights. It’s bedtime, and being sleepless in Seattle is only a good thing in Hollywood.

The History of Home Automation

by Cassie July 23, 2015


shutterstock_94006795

If you think home automation is a new invention, you’re only partly right.

Science fiction that has fixated on smart home technology (remember Rosie from The Jetsons?) since, well, the beginning of science fiction – but it’s not just that. For centuries, the world’s greatest minds and most innovative inventors have been working toward technology that can almost think for itself. Here are a few of our favorite highlights:

1785: Less than a decade after the U.S. declared independence from England, Nikola Tesla invented the first remote control (to remotely control a boat).

Early 1900s: Fast-forward a few centuries, and the Industrial Revolution has paved the way for the invention of the first home appliances. Granted, they weren’t smart but they were absolute game-changers for early 20th century folks – at least, the wealthy ones. 1901 saw the introduction of the first vacuum cleaner, and over the next few decades, the world’s minds rolled out the washing machine, clothes dryer, clothes iron, home refrigerator, electric dishwasher, garbage disposal, and many other home appliances that today we take for granted.

1930s: By the 1930s, inventors had already turned their imagination to home automation. Although the technology was still many decades off, the World’s Fair introduced the concept of automated home and smart appliances. Spectators were, unsurprisingly, fascinated with the idea.

1950: Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce invent the computer chip – the building block for today’s smart home technology.

1951: UNIVAC I, the world’s first commercially available computer, is introduced to market. Consider UNIVAC I the great-great-great-great granddaddy of today’s smart controls, which are all, essentially, mini computers.

1964: The Uniscope 300, one of the first computer monitors, hits shelves. And what would computers, smart hubs, and smart device controls today be without digital displays?

1966: Though never commercially sold, ECHO IV was the world’s first home automation system. Invented by Jim Sutherland, the “Electronic Computing Home Operator” (hence, ECHO) could store recipes, relay messages, control a home’s temperature, churn out a grocery list, and turn appliances on or off.

1969: DARPA introduces ARPAnet, the world’s first network – the precursor to the modern Internet and with it, all our Internet of Things (IoT) smart technologies.

1981: A precursor to today’s wireless (802.11) technology is invented.

1980s: Home automation becomes commonplace, in the form of garage doors, home security systems, motion-sensing lights, fiber optics, thermostat controls, and other technology.

1991: Ad van Berlo pioneers the field of gerontechnology – technology to improve the lives of senior citizens and the infirm. (Remember the 90s-era commercials, “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”?) These early technologies form a firm base for the smart, life-enhancing features we love about today’s smart systems.

1998-2000s: Smart homes became a thing. Throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s, smart technologies emerged, with gadgets and devices becoming more common and more affordable.

The future: Only time will tell, but experts predict that soon, smart homes won’t be so far from The Jetsons as we once thought!

5 Things About Having a Smart Home That Your Husband Would Love To Know

by Cassie July 16, 2015

Wife Telling Husband About Home Automation

So you want to upgrade to a smart home, but your husband’s not convinced. Maybe it’s the cost. Maybe it’s the complication. Maybe it’s just the perceived hurdle of learning a new system.

Ladies, we’re with you. Smart homes (and smart security) are the future. They’re the present, in fact. They’re how you know your kids are home safe from school. They’re how you protect your family not only from break-ins, but also from fire, flood and other disasters. They’re how you never, ever get locked out again (and how you finally, FINALLY say goodbye to the hide-a-key poorly camouflaged in plastic dog poop).

But back to the point: your husband’s not on board. Yet. But he will be, once you run these 5 awesome facts by him:

1. It Can Save You Big Bucks
We like to start with this one, because it’s such a convincing reason to go smart: Automate your energy – thermostat, A/C, lights, etc. – and you can save big on your electricity bill (and save our planet in the process).

You can easily program your system for energy savings, by turning the a/c up or the heat down while you’re out, always turning off the lights, etc., but it goes beyond that: with new IFTTT (if this, then that) controls, you can also tell your smart home to automatically adjust the a/c up if the outside temperature goes down. And that translates to savings, every month.

2. You’ll Never Get Locked Out
Anyone who has ever waited for someone to deliver an extra key (or worse, had to wait for – and then pay – an emergency locksmith) will love smart locks. With just a tap of your smartphone, you’ll be able to lock and unlock your doors at will. Even when you’re not there, so if your kiddo forgets her key, you won’t have to rush home, either.

3. You’ll Never Panic Again (at least, not about house stuff)
Has your husband ever had that horrible, panicked moment of, “Did I lock the front door?” “Did I turn off the stove?” “Is the garage door closed?”

Yeah, so have we. And so had the people who invented smart homes, so they did something about it. Now, smart locks and smart appliances/outlets make it easy to remotely access your home, to double-check that your doors and appliances are locked, turned off, and completely safe.

4. You Can Keep Your Kids Safer
A smart home not only makes life easier, but also makes life safer. Today’s greatest systems can send you text alerts for almost anything, like letting you know your kids have gotten home from school. But beyond that, your smart system can warn you if a child opens a cleaning cabinet, medicine case, or other do-not-open door. Program your home to fit your lifestyle (and concerns).

5. Can You Say, Sports Night?
This is the cherry on top of the smart home package: preset functions. With the push of a button – or, in the newest and techiest systems, a simple voice command – you can activate a world of presets, for example, auto-locking your doors, closing the garage, and turning off the lights when you go to work.

But that’s not all. Now, you can also set some pretty sweet entertainment presets. Teach your system to go low on lighting and auto-play some romantic tunes for an evening in, or turn up the lights and blare the speakers when your favorite team (or movie) is on. You can even couple your entertainment presets with basic security, like locking all the doors, so you can enjoy your downtime with nary a care in the world.

Do you know what Home Automation Is?

by Cassie April 30, 2015

Home Automation offers from My Alarm Center

Smart home devices and smart home technology is not new to the marketplace. But only recently has it made leaps and bounds into the realm of serious improvement. Gone are the days of installing a few connected appliances or light bulbs. With today’s technology, you can have remote access to any outlet, appliance, light or electronic device in your home.

In 2015, a smart home is so much more than the sum of its parts: it’s a WiFi-enabled, access-from-anywhere, almost-intelligent home that not only keeps you and your family safe, but also ensures you stay comfortable, connected and entertained. It’s finally living up to the moniker, “smart,” with innovative, intelligent features that will wow even the techiest members of the family.

What Is a Smart Home?

First things first, what is a smart home? The Oxford dictionary defines it as, “a home equipped with lighting, heating, and electronic smart home devices that can be controlled remotely by smartphone or computer.”

And they’re right, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. A smart home today is capable of so much more than just flipping the lights or turning up the smart thermostat. Today, you can control every appliance, every electronic, every light and every outlet from your smartphone, anywhere you have a signal. You can program sophisticated presets: automated actions for when you leave for work, get home, or cue date night. You can improve your home’s energy efficiency (and reduce your power bill) by automating your lighting and thermostat based on motion-detection and daily routine. And you can increase the resale value of your home in the process.

Smarter Home Security

But smart homes are about more than convenience and lifestyle: most importantly, they’re about keeping your family safe. Enter the advent of Internet-connected home security camera systems, which are revolutionizing monitored and unmonitored alarm service.

Smart home security monitoring takes many of your traditional alarm accouterments–and new-to-market add-ons–and improves them with Internet connectivity and smartphone access. That means you can monitor and control your system from anywhere, and what’s more, your system also connects with you. So not only can you check on your home, but your system can now notify you, via text, of your preferred emergency and non-emergency triggers, such as a flood sensor going off, your kids arriving home after school, or a visitor ringing your smart doorbell.

And not only that, but you can also manage  your security camera system from your phone, tablet or computer. With a swipe of the finger, you’ll activate or deactivate your entire system. You’ll open keyless smart locks if your kids forget their keys. You’ll avert disaster by responding quickly when your carbon monoxide detectors text you an alert. Internet connectivity, cell phones, and sophisticated technologies have opened up a world of possibilities.

Security Companies Are Moving Toward the Internet of Things (IoT)

This world is known as the Internet of Things, and even if you’re unfamiliar with the term, chances are you’ve experienced the technology.

The Internet of Things marries home security systems with WiFi-enabled options, like the above-mentioned smartphone system access, smart locks, or Internet-connected security cameras. It also enables powerful “if this, then that” (IFTTT) recipes, which let you set your own parameters. For example, you can program your smart surveillance to text you a streaming video link if they sense motion; if you determine a prowler’s casing your home, a smartphone swipe will then notify police.

The marriage of smart homes, connected living, sophisticated home security monitoring systems and power mobile technologies is changing the way we live. So hop on board, because it’s going to be a fascinating ride.

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