2019 is going to be a great Year!

 

A smart home can increase your safety and convenience to help you enjoy it!

It’s a new year and believe it or not, spring is right around the corner. Now is the time for planning those 2019 home improvements you’ve been thinking about. Installing smart home features is not only a great investment and wonderful convenience; it can give you greater peace of mind.  

How does it do that you might ask? Think about:

           Traveling– If you are a person that travels a lot – either job related or if you just enjoy exploring on the weekends — you can check on your property and valuables anytime you like. Furthermore, it allows you to let family/neighbors into your home to check on plants, pets and/or elderly parents you might have living with you.

            Maybe you have children that are at the age where you know they will be okay staying at home alone but just want the peace of mind and convenience of being able to check and monitor what is happening while your away. Or even let them in when they lock themselves out (as kids often do). Again, it is also a great way to handle the logistics of senior care or infant babysitting, freeing you up to do what you need to do.

            Beyond providing essential home security, smart home system can also save you time and money. Say goodbye to wasting PTO being stuck at home during one of those infamous “anytime between noon and 5 pm” delivery windows – just have us add a Skybell video doorbell to your home security system.

            When you have smart door locks, you can let people in to drop off deliveries or make home updates from your smartphone app. An exterior door camera lets you see exactly who is arriving, indoor monitors watch the progress while they are in your home, so you know everything that is happening. In addition, a Smart Home can start saving you money immediately. Your system can turn lights on and off and smart thermostat can help automate your temperature settings saving energy while making sure your home is comfortable when you arrive. You’ll be able to remotely access and control the thermostat, set up schedules, and receive temperature alerts, all through the app on your smartphone or tablet.

            It’s a Great Investment! Statistics prove that a home security and automation system can actually help sell your home. Coldwell Banker’s annual smart-home survey, published in January 2018, asked potential homebuyers about the importance of smart home devices:

                        63% want smart locks pre-installed

                        66% want smart home security cameras pre-installed

                        75% want smart smoke detectors pre-installed

                        77% want smart thermostats pre-installed

            Flexibility, with a Smart Home from Secur-Tek, Inc. – you can start with the level of features you would like and based upon your timeframes and resources, build on as you go!

As you can see, installing a Smart Home in 2019 can make sense from an economic, safety and convenience perspective. At Secur-Tek Inc., we have highly trained, reliable and friendly people to help you choose the features and level of Smart Home that is right for you.

If you would like to learn more about the Smart Home features offered by Secur-Tek, Inc. give us a call or fill out the form below.

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.

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.

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

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