DARK, COLD DAYS OF WINTER – BRIGHTENED BY HONEYWELL’S TOTAL CONNECT

When the days get shorter, do you dread pulling into the driveway of a dark, cold home? Have you ever thought about how nice it would be if your cheery, warm bright home welcomed you instead?
It’s possible – you can experience increased convenience and safety without wasting energy — with a Honeywell Total Connect “smart home”.
As we move into fall and push our clocks back, it seems that getting home in the dark is the norm. Wouldn’t it be nice to turn select indoor and outdoor lights on or off automatically every time you arm or disarm your security system? You can do that with Honeywell Total Connect! Even better, you can tell your system to turn a set of lights on 30 minutes before you get home from work and another off an hour after you’ve gone to bed. You can program schedules for ambience, or security, and control your lights from any remote location.
If you are on the go, a “smart home” enables you to stay connected to your family, pets and property 24/7. You can receive real-time alerts (e-mails, text messages or video alerts) of important events such as a child arriving home from school, a pet leaving the house, a parent taking their medications or any recent system or sensor activity. It’s like having mobile control of your home in the palm of your hand!
And your system can help avoid some of life’s hassles and mishaps. Like when you’re at work and your kids or parents forget their house keys, or maybe you need a neighbor to pick up an important package and take it inside so it’s not on your porch for hours? Imaging unlocking the door from the comfort of your office with your smartphone or PC. As an enhanced security option, you can view camera feeds from your Skybell Video Doorbell on touchscreens, televisions, tablets, smartphones or PCs and keep an eye on your kids, pets, screen visitors at your entranceway and view activity occurring around the interior or exterior of your home whenever and wherever you want.
Finally, when your home enjoying a movie and you notice your child is out with the car and it is getting late, calm your worries with Honeywell Total Connect Tracking Services. This puts you in the driver’s seat – letting you know where your vehicles are and where they’ve been 24/7 – anytime, anywhere, from any web-enabled smart device! You’ll have real-time GPS location information at your fingertips – a great way to keep tabs on teenage drivers, elderly loved ones, or even assist in recovering missing vehicles and monitor or recover lost or stolen valuables. You can even get email or text alerts when vehicles exceed speed limits or predetermined geographic boundaries.
When your life is demanding, our Honeywell Total Connect system can help ease your mind and reduce the stress and worry of everyday life!
Call or contact the experts at Secur-Tek for more information or an estimate on a Honeywell Total Connect system for your home.

 

 
 
 

Connect Amazon Echo to Control4 for Voice Activated Home Automation

It’s not Rosie, the Jetson’s robot maid. But the future envisioned decades ago is getting a little bit closer every day, especially when it comes to home automation. The latest example is the Amazon Echo.

The Amazon Echo is a small black device that sits in your room. Using voice commands, you can ask it questions about the weather or sports scores, have it order something for you on Amazon, play your music, and more. Just like iPhone has Siri, the Echo has a female voice answering to the name Alexa. One woman says she loves to play a version of 20 questions with Alexa.

By connecting Echo to other systems, you can do even more. One man figured out how to use Echo to pull his Tesla car out of the garage.

Home Automation

Customers often ask us about voice commands for home automation and this is the answer. The Echo connects to smart home devices such as Nest thermostats and the Control4 system so that you can use voice commands to control some of the home automation you have created. At Secur-Tek, we have set up the Echo to work with our Control4 systems so we can turn lights on when we arrive and off when we leave. We can also turn on a TV in our lobby and raise and lower the volume of our lobby music.

While these features are on a limited scale right now, more features are coming every day.

Security Warning

One feature some might consider is using the Echo’s voice command feature to turn your home security system on and off. While this is possible to set up, the Echo does not have individual voice recognition. That means if you set up this option, anyone could come in and tell Echo to turn off the security.

Many of the features offered by Echo you can set up on your own. However, Secur-Tek is happy to help you set up Echo with your Control4 system or other enhancements you request.

Rosie the robot maid may not greet you when you come home, but Alexa is the next best thing. Give us a call if you want to learn more about how we can prepare you for the future.

Secur-Tek’s Home Automation Featured in Parade of Homes

Parade of Homes logoA home with Secur-Tek systems is part of the Parade of Homes in October.

The Parade of Homes is a free open-house tour of new homes in Durham, Orange and Chatham Counties. Visitors can tour some of the area’s most beautiful homes and learn more about the latest products and technology available in new home construction.

The Secur-Tek team set up a home security system and automated lighting at a home on Seneca Court in Pittsboro. Automated lighting is a popular home automation feature, offering convenience, security and energy savings in many ways:

● Timed control of all lights, based on sunrise and sunset, even taking into account Daylight Saving Time.
● Outside lights can be set for motion, enabling you to enter your home safely after dark.
● Inside lights can turn on automatically when you enter a room, and can be programmed to turn off after a certain period of time.
● Lights can be connected to the security system, which can shut down interior lights when you are away. Key lights can be left on at night to simulate the appearance of someone at home.
● Lights can turn on if the security system detects an intruder.
● Lights can also flash to signal the doorbell or phone ringing in addition to or in place of sounds.

The homes will be judged Oct. 1 and winners are invited to a special banquet. Cross your fingers for Secur-Tek’s home! Then, take the tour to view these amazing homes.

This year’s parade takes place during the first three weekends in October: October 3-4, 9-11, 16-18. Homes are open between 12 and 5 p.m. Visitors can stop any of the dozens of homes on tour during those times, no appointments needed. Get a map online starting Sept. 28 at http://www.hbadoc.com. You can also pick up a map at one of several locations in the area.

Learn more about how Secur-Tek can set up home automation for your home.

How secure is your home network?

hackersWe call it The Internet of Things. And it’s very likely that you have it in your house: you know, the connection of electronic devices to the Internet so that you can have access to them. It could be your baby monitor, your home security network, your heating/cooling system, your coffee pot or your refrigerator—all these things can be connected to the Internet so that you can check in and/or make adjustments to them via your computer or smart phone. The Internet of Things allows us to be connected to most everything these days, making it more convenient for us to access and control our devices from almost anywhere there is an Internet connection, as well as monitor our homes and the goings on inside.

No doubt the Internet of Things gives you peace of mind, knowing that you can check in on your baby from another room or while you’re out. It allows you to adjust the temperature in your- home, so that it’s that perfect 68 degrees when you get home from work. Or you can lower the temperature of your refrigerator so that your favorite beverage is chilled when you walk in the door. You can lock or unlock your doors from another location. The ease of it all is amazing, isn’t it?

Let’s take a minute, however, to play devil’s advocate. If you can access your home, others can, as well. The Internet opens the doors for many great things; yet at the same time that it opens the doors for you, it also presents the opportunity for hackers to get inside your home and take control just as you would. A hacker could take control of your home security system and disable your locks or cameras. A hacker could take control of your baby monitor and speak through it. That same person could take control of your computer and use the installed camera to spy on you.

A recent article in the News and Observer highlighted the risks to using companies that don’t  know what they’re doing – the non-experts that have got into the security game purely to make money.  So, how can you protect yourself and your family against these invasions of privacy?

To protect yourself from hackers, you need to make sure you have a system that is secure. Choosing a professional security company to install your systems is the best route. Security professionals can make sure that the equipment you use in your home conforms to safety standards and that any data you transmit over the Internet in order to control your devices is encrypted. They can set your system up so that the Internet of Things is convenient and secure, minimizing your risk to a hacker’s intrusion.

For more information on securing your family and home, contact Secur-Tek at 919-387-1800.  All consultations are complimentary.

Home Automation Ideas

Automated Life* How many remote controls do you have on your end table? Is there one for the TV, one for the cable box, and one for the stereo system?

* Do you find yourself following the kids or your partner around the house, from room to room, shutting off the lights?

* Is taking a last walk-through of your home, checking whether all the doors and windows are locked, part of your nightly pre-bed ritual?

* Do you often wonder, after you’ve driven away from your house, whether you locked the front door or closed the garage?

Wouldn’t it be amazing if somehow, some way, all those things that you checked on every day were just “right” all the time? Could you imagine if instead of all those controls for all those devices in your house they were somehow combined into just one device—where you wouldn’t have to sit there and struggle with programming or fixing or doing anything to get that one device?

What would you be willing to do to simplify your life and your home? Would you be willing to pick up the phone and call 919-387-1800? That’s all it would take to get started on home automation.

Secur-Tek of Apex NC has a solution to all the things that you need to keep up with in your home and in your life so that you have a sense of peace. Control4 Home Automation has a system that brings all your devices, electronics, and even the lighting in your home, under one control panel, that you can easily access at home or from anywhere in the world via the Internet.

With the Control4 Home Automation solution, you can have the lights in your home turn on and off via motion sensors or based on the time of day. You can set the lights in different rooms of your home to turn on or off to a certain level, depending on need and usage. Not only does this spare you the need to walk from room to room switching off lights in unoccupied rooms, but it saves you time and frees you up to think about and do other things.

You can even control remotely the locking of your doors. If you in fact did leave the front door unlocked on your way out one day, you’d receive an alert on your cell phone. From your smart phone, you can then lock the door. No need to worry or turn back.

With the addition of the Control4, things can be simpler because you’re bringing many things under one central command center, from which you can control it all. You can simplify your home, secure your home, and even reduce utility bills through this automated solution.

Contact Secur-Tek to find out more about its home automation solution and how it can help make your life simpler and your home more enjoyable.

Automation! 3 Ways to Simplify Home and Office with Secur-Tek

Control4When talking about home or business electronic systems, the terms integration or automation may not be especially familiar to everyone.  Secur-Tek of Apex, NC specializes in building system upgrades.  Whether it’s a home, office building or business, Secur-Tek can install and maintain everything from alarm systems to surround sound.  We can set up computer networking, optimize wireless capabilities throughout a building, and even install central vacuum systems to make it easier to keep every room clean and improve the air you breathe!  Technological upgrades are a way to improve the conveniences in any building, and Control 4 automation is the ultimate system upgrade!

What are the benefits of Control 4 automation?

Here are three examples of how automation can make home and office functions easier:

  • Operate appliances remotely from any room.  Turning functions on and off from anywhere in the room or building makes life so much easier.  For example, when having guests over, blinds can be lowered or raised, music can be changed easily and lights can be dimmed, all from the touch of a button on a tablet or cell phone.
  • Total control of electronic functions.  An easy to use application on a cell phone can keep tabs on all electronics.  Having control of the on/off functions of appliances is also energy efficient.  Knowing which appliances are running, and which are off, at all times will optimize the power bill.  This is also a great function to remotely monitor the functions of a Secur-Tek alarm system in a home or office!
  • No more remotes to keep up with!  When everything is synced to a tablet or cell phone app, worrying about finding the remote to the air conditioner is no more a chore!  All home and office functions are controlled by a single unit with a total automation configuration.

Considering these wonderful benefits, what home or business wouldn’t appreciate total electronic integration?  Secur-Tek can configure and maintain Control 4 automation for any size building, from apartments to businesses or office buildings.  Don’t be left in the dark ages!  Call or contact Secur-Tek today to learn more about how automation works, and get an assessment of the possibilities for your home or business!

Also, take a look at this video for a great example of how Control 4 automation can benefit a home!

Conferencing … in Style.

Looking back to when I first started my journey in the working world, the conference rooms I remember were nothing more than glorified cubicles. Thin walls, a pull down screen, a long table and a door. Quite simply, boring. Nowadays, businesses are taking their meeting rooms more seriously—offering a space that embodies both character and functionality for potential clients and employees. Case in point, the Union Square Conference Room – located in the offices of Cloud9 Smarthome at the historic Union Square intersection in downtown Manhattan. From an automated chandelier to a full kitchen, I certainly wouldn’t mind having back-to-back meetings in these digs (or partake in the occasional cocktail party)!

Check it out here!

Conferencing

 

Control4 Blog

Halloween Edition – How To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse: Control4 Style

HalloweenWe all know it’s inevitable, and only a matter of time..No not for another Frankenstorm or a Republican in office again, but the Zombie Apocalypse. Assuming there isn’t a massive outbreak of the T Virus, and our Zombies resemble that of Shaun of the Dead, here are the 5 basic rules for surviving with Control4:

  1. Motion Sensors; Using Control4 and a CardAccess motion sensor you’ll know when a Zombie has wandered near your front door.
  2. Automated shades; once the motion sensor is triggered your shades all over the house automatically lower. I heard a rumor that Lutron was working on a steel reinforced roller shade. I highly recommend these when they become available
  3. Automated lighting; a motion sensor can trigger your lighting as well. Inside you have a strategic light (set away from any windows) set to flash warning you that your perimeter has been breached. As a bonus, all the LED’s on your lights switches change from blue to green as a secondary visual warning. Your lights in your safe room come on automatically, and all other lights in the house dim. What’s next? Grab your shot gun, and push a button on your three button keypad as you head to your safe room…..
  4. Automatic Door locks; pushing the button automatically locks your front door, and all the deadbolts that you have installed, I recommend 3 per door, and a reinforced door frame.
  5. Cameras; Using the Control4 door station with camera, or a number of installed IP cameras you can wait safely until the coast is clear, asking when you emerge from your safe room, you do not become zombie fodder.

As an added precaution, I’d run some speaker wire out to the far perimeter, and attach a speaker to it. In the worst case of a horde, you can trigger the speaker to play a Justin Beiber album at full volume. This will guarantee the horde will gravitate to the speaker, trying to kill it, sparing your life. Good luck and Happy Halloween everyone!

 

Control4 Blog

How Control4 Has Changed My Life

Today’s blog post is from Control4′s Beta Program Manager, Matt Sand, on how home automation has truly changed his life:

Have you ever worried that you forgot to lock the doors at night? Have you ever wondered, “what if someone breaks in and takes my kids during the night?”  What would you do if a water leakage occurred while on vacation? Have you ever just wanted to turn on your thermostat without getting out of bed?

Changed Life

In 2006, the ability to do all of this and more came true for my family and I when I installed Control4. Control4 provides me the opportunity to have my family feel safe and secure.

My entire Control4 project consists of 7 water sensors, 9 zigbee automatic door locks, 61 motion sensors, 15 contact sensors, 2 thermostats, and my house is all completed with wireless lighting.

When you walk into my house and open the front door, you are presented with the tone from The Jetsons. This alerts us when the kids decide to go out or if someone is coming in. At 2:00 in the morning, my Control4 system is programmed to find out if my door is unlocked, and if so, the system automatically locks it. Every time my doors lock or unlock, my wife and I receive a text message letting us know that someone has either entered or has left the house.

With the help of motion sensors, the lights in our home automatically turn on and off through motion detection. Who needs a light switch? If motion is not sensed for 20 minutes, the lights automatically turn off. This has saved my family and I a lot of money on my electric bill and has prevented wasted energy. Also with motion sensors and timers, if the house has reported no one at home, our thermostat will automatically turn to 75 degrees.

My entire basement has water leakage sensors. When water is detected, my wife and I immediately receive a text message, the entire house is alerted with an announcement, and all the lights in the house start flashing for 10 minutes until the leak has stopped.

If a fire were to occur in my house, all the lights in the house would turn on and an announcement would play, warning my family to leave the house immediately.

When Elizabeth Smart was abducted right from her bedroom, the whole state (and country) was affected by the news. I immediately took precautions in my own home. All my windows, doors, and gates have been outfitted with contact sensors which will alert me when the gate, windows or doors are opened. I have also placed motion sensors in my backyard and during the hours of 2:00am – 5:00am, if motion is detected while my house is in the “off mode,” it will alert me – flashing my bedroom light and playing an announcement throughout the house.

And on a lighter note, notifying the kids of dinner time has never been easier. With the intercom solution Control4 provides, I simply push a single button and broadcast the message throughout the home.

These are some of the awesome things Control4 allows me to do. If you are looking to make your life safer, more secure, easier and catered to your preferences, Control4 is your answer.

Control4 Blog

Project Spotlight: How Sports Bar Restaurant Technology Can Improve Business

It’s football season! And while there are several ways to enjoy a good football game (or games) one of the best is to find a great sports bar that provides several viewing angles and great food. We’ve found exactly that at a local sports bar in Norwood, MA. Conrad’s has recently installed Control4 automation into their bar to give their employees and customers more control and provide the best viewing experience possible. Take a look at the video below.

 

Control4 Blog