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The latest in MyAlarmCenter news.

The Weekly Roundup 4.24 Edition

by CassieApril 24, 2015

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Seed Labs Launches New Product to Make Your Lightbulbs Smart

Next month, Seed Labs will introduce their new home automation device, Silvair Control, at TechCrunch Disrupt. The new device combines blue tooth technology with an open interface to create a removable, portable button/dial which consumers can carry from room to room to manage their home lighting and appliances. Activation is literally at their fingertips – by simply tapping, spinning or sliding the device. Expect to see Silvair Control in retail stores in the not-so-distant future.

For the original article in TechCrunch, click here

 

The Benefits of a Dedicated Touch Screen

With the growing popularity of home automation smart phone apps, it’s easy to forget the benefits of the traditional touch screen. Touch screens are fast, responsive and interactive user faces that get the job done – in half the time – without the need to boot up or load. And unlike smart phones, touch screens are hard to lose, and are always powered up to output commands. You may have an appetite for the latest app, but when you’re ready to add or upgrade a home automation system, don’t overlook the proven benefits of a touch screen.

For a relevant article in AboutTech, click here

 

Home Automation Systems – A Consumer Checklist

As home automation advances, some people find themselves behind, scratching their heads and wondering how to proceed. “Which product is right for me?” “How do I choose?” With so many products on the market, consumers should ask the following questions before committing to purchase:

  1. Is the device a standalone product or a member of an ecosystem of products? What are the pricing aspects?
  2. Does the product require an always-on Internet connection?
  3. How is the “command center” implemented? Does the installation require new hubs or wires?
  4. What are the power requirements?
  5. Will a third party control the unit without compromising my security?

For a relevant article in HomeAdvisor, click here

 

Home Automation Market to Top $6 Billion By 2020

According to a recent report by Futuresource Consulting, the market for home automation packages and individual smart devices is estimated to increase by 30-35% over the next 5 years, reaching nearly $6-7 billion worldwide by 2020. The report also predicts dramatic growth in niche market DIY home automation products, fueled primarily by online distribution and growing popularity as a lower cost alternative to professionally installed systems. As overall demand continues to grow, more and more companies will compete for market share by offering consumer’s even more options and products.

For the original article in IPTV-News, click here

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Outdoor Safety: Keeping Your Kids Safe While Playing Outdoors

by CassieApril 20, 2015

Outdoor Safety By My Alarm Center

 

Did you know that it is National Playground Safety Week? Here is a blog post all about being safe that you can take with you beyond the playground.

As a kid, it’s fun to climb trees, explore the unknown, and create magical worlds.

With what seems like an abundance of energy and endless curiosity, kids love to explore the outdoors – which, unfortunately, also comes with a few injuries along the way. And while kids don’t like to be told what not to do (let’s face it, they’ll do it anyway), here are some tips that can help teach your kids how to be safe (and maybe ease your worries a little too).

Road Safety

Roads can be dangerous for anyone, but especially for children caught up in their own magical world. With just a few rules to follow, children can be safe from the dangers of vehicles, traffic, and roads, and give you peace of mind.

  • Don’t play near the street
  • Never chase after a toy that rolls out onto the street
  • Stay away from moving vehicles
  • Learn basic traffic rules (traffic lights, crosswalks, look both ways, etc.)
  • Wear bright clothing if the yard is near a street

Sports

In the full swing of spring, organized and recreational sports are not only starting up but sports are giving people a reason to go outside and stay active.

  • Wear the appropriate equipment
  • Wear good footwear
  • Warm up before playing a sport
  • Stretch afterwards to avoid post-injury
  • Know the rules of each sport

Environment

While we can’t control the temperature, we can control some aspects of the environment where our children play. From wearing appropriate seasonal clothing to having a clean yard, you can be reassured that your children are playing safe outdoors.

  • Never leave children completely alone
  • Wear the proper attire for the season
  • Clear away debris and dangerous equipment
  • Keep yard groomed to keep away dangerous animals and tripping hazards.

Animals

Other than our pets, there are many kinds of animals and insects that like to explore as much as our children do. And while some may be harmless, we want to make sure our children know the differences in danger between their pet Spike and a wild skunk or snake.

  • Don’t pet an animal that you don’t know
  • Don’t feed any wild animals
  • Leave nests and other animal homes alone
  • Check with an adult before catching an insect and/or bringing it indoors.

Emergency

We hope none of the above hurt our kids, but just to be safe, it’s important to know a few basic emergency numbers and procedures in the event that something would happen.

  • Know basic emergency numbers
  • Older children can learn simple first aid, such as applying pressure, icing an injury, stopping nosebleeds, etc.
  • Have a designated neighbor for kids to check in with if their home is too far.

Kids learn by exploring and asking questions (tons of questions), which is also a great way for them to get a little exercise and a lot of knowledge. By being aware of the dangers and teaching children potential hazards, we can keep our kids safe as they explore the world’s backyard.

 

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The Weekly Roundup 4.17 Edition

by CassieApril 17, 2015

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Smart Home & Neighborhood Watch: A New Security Model?

Central monitoring services are quick to react when an alarm is triggered, but often times, first responders arrive too late on the scene to catch intruders. Michael Wolf, founder of NextMarket Insights, offers an idea that, if adopted, could easily supplement monitoring efficiency. Wolf’s idea stems from a hybrid of neighborhood watch and home automation. If suspicious activity is reported, alerts would be sent to participating neighbors, providing them the opportunity to be “eyes and ears on the scene” in those critical first moments. Wolf expands on the concept by suggesting the formation of a “neighborhood network,” where all residences on the block or street would be notified, and know exactly which house the alert came from and what to watch out for.

For the original article in Forbes, click here

 

A First Look At Home Automation On The Apple Watch

Earlier this year, the home automation company, PEQ, released a “Lego-like” control interface in the form of an iOS app. The app allows users to add functions by stacking blocks. For example, a user can easily turn a kitchen light on and off by tapping a block. One of PEQ’s designers and founder Mark Rolston, explains that there are two main benefits of using a home automation app on the Apple Watch; looking at a watch on your wrist requires less time and friction than pulling a phone from your pocket. The second, receiving notifications on your wrist minimizes interruption and increases reaction time.

For the original article in Fastcodesign, click here

 

Telguard’s HomeControl Flex Offers IFTTT Integration for Security, Home Automation

Telular, maker of cellular radios for security systems, will introduce Telguard HomeControl Flex at ISC West 2015 in Las Vegas. Flex allows alarm and home automation systems to integrate more than 170 smart home devices via IFTTT, an online if/then engine for cloud-enabled products and services. Thanks to participating security brands, IFTTT’s Flex is expected to be a major powerhouse. Consumers are advised to be on the lookout when the app is released this May.

For the original article in CEPro, click here

 

Let the Apple Watch Home Automation Games Begin

With the recent launch of Apple Watch, developers are rushing to be the first to create buzzworthy, watch-friendly apps that are first in category. Below are three notable brands that are expected to compete in the marketplace this spring:

  1. Lutronis watch-enabling its Caseta wireless lighting control for the Apple Watch. Users will control lighting anywhere in their home with the touch of their wrist.
  2. Honeywell’s new Lyric is a cloud-enabled, Wi-Fi connected, smart thermostat.
  3. Alarm.com will release an app providing homeowners the ability to monitor and control directly through their smartphone.

For the original article in CEpro, click here

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Technology To Keep Your Pets Safer

by CassieApril 13, 2015

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We love our pets like family (because they are our furbabies, right?). So why not protect them as we do the rest of our family members?

Here are some tech gadgets and apps to keep your furry family members safer.

1. Tagg GPS Pet Tracker. Exactly what the name implies, this device attaches to your pet’s collar and can track their whereabouts. It can send you a text message or email when your pet wanders past their designated boundaries. The Tagg GPS pet tracker goes beyond showing you exactly where your furry friend might be, it also monitors the temperature to keep them safe from extreme cold or hot temperatures. And just like your Fitbit, it also tracks your pet’s health to makes sure they are getting enough exercise and rest. Tagg GPS Pet Trackers costs $99.95.

2. Pet First Aid App. We want to keep our pets safe, but in case of an emergency where their safety is threatened, the American Red Cross created an app to help in those tough situations. The Pet First Aid App includes videos, interactive quizzes, and step-by-step advice to walk you through over 25 common pet situations. The app helps with administering medication, behavioral advice, warning sign checker, identifying common toxic substances and even when it might be time to say goodbye (we hope not!). You can easily program a veterinary contact number and locate the nearest emergency vet hospital. Each pet can have their own profile within the app to keep track of appointments and medications needed. The Pet First Aid app is available for Apple, Google Play, and Amazon for $.99.

3. Puppy Tweets. If you’re looking for a fun way to keep track of your puppy’s actions, Puppy Tweets attaches to your dog’s collar and tweets you what your dog is up to. The tag has a motion and sound monitor, which connects to a USB receiver that connects to your computer. It not only lets you know what your puppy is up to (making sure they are safe), but is also a fun way to keep track of your pet. Puppy Tweets was created by Mattel, with the idea to create real-time communication with our furry family members. Puppy Tweets sells for around $15 on Amazon.

4. ASPCA APCC Mobile App. This free app is a great reference when you’re not sure what foods are safe for your pet. It allows you to easily search through items, find the levels of toxicity, possible side effects, and the actions to take in case of an emergency- all with colorful, easy to follow images. The app provides a 24/7 hotline giving users full access to trained veterinary staff and toxicologists.

5. Pet Master Pro. This handy app keeps track of your pet’s medical record in the palm of your hand. Keep track of vaccinations, medications, identification numbers, weight history, and even details for the insurance all in this app. It takes a little legwork to initially enter the information into the app, but having that information while traveling could help save your pet’s life. The app is free for both iPhone and Google Play.

We don’t always have control over our pets’ situations and environments, but using this technology can help keep your pets safer and snuggled up next to you at the end of the day.

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The Weekly Roundup 4.10 Edition

by CassieApril 10, 2015

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Caregiver, Homebuilder Offer Tips for Senior In-Home Safety

As people age, their homes may no longer meet their needs. Jason Eid, President of Eid-Co Homes, builds custom homes for senior adults who face the physical and sometimes mental challenges that come with age. Recognizing that a new home may not be affordable to every senior, he offers these simple home safety tips which can be implemented today:

  • Get a personal alarm, that with the press of a button, seniors can call for help if they’ve fallen and can’t get up
  • Add more lights and sensors to the home
  • Add a stair lift or move the bedroom downstairs
  • Program appliances to turn off automatically
  • Install grab bars and non-slip mats to shower and bath areas

For the original article in Inforum, click here

 

Amazon Dash + Poppy loT Coffee Maker + Wink Home Automation = Wow

The phrase, “Do you want a refill?” has practically become obsolete thanks to new products like Amazon Dash, Poppy lot Coffee Maker, and Wink Home Automation. These smart technologies can sense when supplies are getting low and will either automatically refill or alert you to refill. Although the great debate wages on about technology becoming too smart, one thing is certain, technology has never been more convenient.

For the original article in CEPro, click here

 

Privacy VS. Security: How the Debate Changes

The question, “Where do we draw the line between our right to privacy and our desire to be protected?” is often debated. With Government collecting metadata on our phone calls and Google tracking our web activity, we are, in a sense, lacking privacy. Some argue that measures of security trump privacy rights, while others defend the right to protect personal information. In today’s world, the clear answer to what should be monitored and what shouldn’t, is still undefined. Only the future knows for sure.

For the original article in Seattle Times, click here

 

loT Is In the House: Decoding the Tech Behind Smart Homes

Home automation is expected to reach over $16.4 billion in growth by the year 2019. This explosion in popularity is due to the convergence of four technologies:

  1. Wi-Fi – wireless connectivity that connects smart devices to a home network, essential in the smart home.
  2. Bluetooth Smart – products function with very little power; batteries can last for months, or even years, on a single charge.
  3. Wireless charging – allows users to charge multiple electronic devices without the use of a cable.
  4. A strong and fast broadband – as technology becomes more advanced, so must the broadband to support it.

For the original article in FirstPost, click here

 

 

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Protecting Yourself from Personal Injury

by CassieApril 9, 2015

For our blog post today we thought we’d post this handy infographic on how to avoid personal injury during each season, and by a quick look at the upcoming weather report it looks like Spring is on its way!

SeasonsInfographic

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4 Apps To Make You A Safer Driver

by CassieApril 6, 2015

Did you know April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month?

We’ve all seen those commercials and videos telling horrific stories where there was an injury or death due to a distracted driver. Although these scare tactics may send our hearts beating and our minds racing, we need to remember that there is real danger in being a distracted driver.

It takes approximately 4.6 seconds to glance down at a phone or type a reply, which is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field, blindfolded. During those 4.6 seconds, almost anything can happen.

So why not take some steps to be a safer driver? Here are four apps (not to be used while driving of course) to ensure your hands stay on the wheel and your eyes remain focused on the road.

1. AT&T DriveMode – It Can Wait. This is AT&T’s slogan for texting and driving. They took it one step further, creating an app for Android, Blackberry, and iPhone that can help you be a safer driver. This free app can reply to text messages so people know you’re driving and can’t reply. It also silences text message alerts, phone calls, and email alerts to help keep your eyes off your phone. Additionally, the app allows for easy access to music and GPS navigation with one touch for minimal distraction.

2. Drive Safe.ly – If patience isn’t your best virtue, this app reads your texts messages and emails out loud and can also answer without you ever having to touch your smartphone. This app is a little pricier, with an annual price of $13.95 or $3.99 per month for a single user. Keep the whole family safe at $34.95 annually or $9.99 per month. Drive Safe.ly is compatible with iPhone, Android devices, Blackberry, and Windows Mobile.

3. Canary – Maybe you have your driving under control, but are worried about your teen driver. Download this free Android and iOS compatible app to your teen’s phone and set certain parameters for their driving. Canary lets you set speed limits and sends you alerts when they’ve gone over, or sends you alerts when they drive outside of predefined safe areas. You can set up alerts if they are driving past their curfew, when they text and drive, or take a phone call (that’s not yours of course) while driving.

4. Safely Go – This app works similarly to others by blocking text messages and phone calls while you’re driving. However, Safely Go allows you to select three VIP people from who you can receive messages and calls (think family or your boss). For those not on your VIP list, the free app will send automatic replies to let them know you are currently driving.

We are a technology driven world – and that means staying connected at all times. However, it is important to remember that when you’re driving, it’s about safety first– no matter what. Use these apps to help eliminate distractions and become a safer driver.

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The Weekly Roundup 4.3 Edition

by CassieApril 3, 2015

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Trends: Home Lighting & Automation

With new technology being created specifically for home design, often it makes sense for home automation to be included. Homeowners are beginning to see a trend in newer, energy efficient homes, with automation systems that expand beyond security. Home automation technology usually starts with something as simple as turning on a light bulb and over time provides more advanced solutions. As the market increases, so does the number of controllable devices available for purchase. It just goes to show, keeping up to date with what’s new can pay off in more ways than one – especially in home protection. For the original article in News-Press, click here

 

‘Home of Things’: It’s More Than Sensing [IoT]

Technology is rapidly changing and improving. Consumers are starting to see big changes in home automation and security. The article, ‘Home of Things’: It’s More Than Sensing [IoT], informs consumers that their options are limitless. Originally, a home’s lights, garage door opener, sprinkler and even coffee maker were considered disparate technologies. Now, thanks to new home automation systems, it’s possible to have all of these items seamlessly interconnected. Homeowners can buy a system, download the app and within seconds have complete and total smart control over their home. For the original article in NextBigWhat.com, click here

 

Seattle Car Thefts Down Following Years of Increases

Based on a recent statistic by The Seattle Police Department, an average of 11 cars are stolen each night off the streets of Seattle. With so many break-ins, residents are fearful for their vehicles and personal safety. Fortunately for Seattle residents, crime rates started to drop in January 2015. Seattle’s police Sergeant, Sean Whitcomb, would like to remind residents to practice vehicle safety in the city. Residents can avoid becoming a target by never leaving their car unlocked, keys in the ignition or valuables in the car. Staying aware and alert provides a powerful defense against criminals. For the original article in the King 5 News, click here

 

Smart Homes Are Secure Homes

In the article, Smart Homes are Secure Homes, consumers reported wanting fewer bells and whistles and more safety when it comes to home protection. Recent findings from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), show that more than 62% of online consumers want to learn more about home automation, with security being a main motivation. Most of these individuals want smart home technology that will allow them to monitor and control their home security system/s. These individuals also prefer to have professional installation. The CEA urges homeowners who do not want a home security system to at least practice the less-tech method of home protection – not tipping off burglars via social media. For the original article in HGTV, click here

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Safety Facts Featured City: Philadelphia

by CassieApril 2, 2015

Philadelphia Home Security

Philadelphia: the city of brotherly love. It’s a beautiful, historic city with tall buildings and many art museums and sculptures. Some of the most famous celebrities originate from Philly, such as singer/actor Will Smith, comedian Kevin Hart, actress Grace Kelly, singer Billie Holiday, and many more. And while this beautiful city is a great place to roam and explore, it isn’t without the normal city dangers. However, by following some basic public safety rules, you and your friends can enjoy the stories that this historic city has to tell.

Philadelphia continually strives to make their city a safe environment for all those who inhabit the area and for those visiting its grand landmarks. Violent crime offenses, such as homicides, rape, robbery and aggravated assault declined a total of seven percent last year. Property crime, such as burglary and theft, declined one percent. Overall crime offenses dropped a total of three percent from 2014. The Philadelphia Police Department has a strategy to continually decrease crime using intelligent policing, prevention, collaboration, and continuous improvement.

The local government also takes safety issues into their own hands with programs to help protect and keep the city safe. The City of Philadelphia offers programs from citywide to specific neighborhoods to programs specific to the youth of Philadelphia to help keep the streets and people of the city safe.

 

  • PhillyRising is a program dedicated to helping neighborhoods with higher crime rates and creates relationships with members of those communities to help improve the quality of life.
  • The city sets up many youth programs for kids to learn and explore. They include programs for elementary age children up to high school kids to help them gain experience and education to move forward in a career path. Philadelphia also uses these programs to help feed children during the summer months when school is no longer in session.
  • Town Watch programs are dedicated to preventing crime and drug crimes. Operation Town Watch Integrated Service (TWIS) members include “neighborhood, crime, community, town and block watch groups; law enforcement agencies; state and regional crime prevention associations; and a variety of businesses, civic groups, and concerned individuals working to make their communities safer places in which to live and work.” Communities with town watch programs reduce the crime rate about 16 percent.
  • Safe Streets is an organization with Public Safety Ambassadors routed throughout the city, trained in public safety, crime prevention, emergency first aid and CPR, interpersonal relation, customer service, and city services. You’ll see walking escorts, vehicle services, homeless outreach and public hazards tracking – such as potholes or street sign issues.

And if all these safety programs still have you on edge about roaming about the city, Movoto Insider conducted a study on the safest neighborhoods in Philadelphia metropolitan region. Cherry Hill, NJ topped the list at number one, followed by Manayunk, Roxborough, Torresdale, and East Falls as the top five. A few of the criteria used to determine the safest neighborhoods were crime per 100,000 people, percentage on non-family households, and family friendly amenities, including parks, museums, and family services. See a complete list of the best family neighborhoods in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia is a city filled with opportunities, fun, and family friendly activities with its many museums, parks, and historic places to visit. With a reduction in crime rates, a police strategy, and many city programs, Philadelphia is the perfect city to visit and explore. To learn more about home security options in Philadelphia, click here.

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What You Need To Know About Securing Your Windows

by CassieMarch 30, 2015

Keeping Your Home Safe By Making Sure Your Windows Are Locked Properly

Doors and windows are easy points of entry for criminals. For homeowners, doors are often the focus of security efforts with smart locks, deadbolts, and reinforced doors all at your disposal.

This leaves windows as your weakest points of entry and something burglars already know. When it comes to break-ins, 23 percent of burglars use a first floor window to enter a home.

So how can we strengthen our defenses when it comes to windows? Here are a few ways to make your windows more secure and prevent break-ins.

Window Locks
Locking your windows is a no-brainer, however, you must also make sure the window locks operate correctly and that you replace any broken locks. There are supplemental locks that can help reinforce your existing locks for an extra layer of security. Deadbolts are available for windows, or even invest in a pin lock that’s visible from the outside, deterring burglars from trying to enter your home.

Reinforced Glass and Glass Materials
To make traditional glass windows a little more difficult to break, reinforce your windows with different materials to create a stronger barrier. Tempered glass is slightly more expensive than traditional glass, however, it is more durable and harder to break. Another material is laminated glass, or safety glass, which is a layer of vinyl between two panes of regular glass. A burglar would make a lot of noise having to repeatedly smash the same area to break the window. There are also plexiglas windows, which have ten times the strength of traditional glass panes. Polycarbonate windows are a more expensive version of plexiglas, however, they are 250 times more impact resistant than safety glass and over 10 times stronger than plexiglas.

Window Bars
Don’t worry; iron bars don’t have to look like a prison window. There are companies that make very decorative window bars that can add character to your home while protecting it. A burglar may be able to break the glass, but you probably won’t see them trying to slip between the iron cast bars. Window bars can add another layer of protection to your home, especially in areas where your windows are not easily seen by neighbors. Ask yourself a few questions (such as the crime rate in your area and where your first floor windows are located) to see if window bars would be the right fit for your home.

Alarms
A home security alarm is always a good idea, but did you know that there are also alarms just for your windows? With many different types of alarms, it’s easy to find one that’s in your budget range or for your specific need. There are simple alarms that sound as a window is opened or broken, or there are more advanced window alarms with motion detectors to warn you of an intruder before your window is even touched.

The higher degree of difficulty to get into your home, the less likely a burglar will even attempt to enter your home. Securing your windows with less noticeable methods can help during a robbery, but using very visible methods will also show burglars that your home isn’t an easy target. By using both methods, you can ensure your windows are secure and that those inside your home are protected.

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7 Safety Tips When Your Home Is For Sale

June 5, 2014

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