emPower by alarm.com is a feature-rich home automation and energy management solution built on Alarm.com’s interactive platform.

It allows you to have complete remote control of the critical systems in your home with any web-enabled computer or mobile device. Control your locks, lights, and thermostats!

You can customize your emPower services through a robust online account to create the environment most suitable for your family. With the convenient Alarm.com mobile app, you can quickly and easily control your door locks and your thermostats while staying in touch with your home while on the go.

For more information, contact HS Tech Group and find out the best way to get a professional installation, call us today at 1-888-947-8476 or email us at customercare@hst-group.com

Locks come in Venetian Bronze, Polished Brass, Satin Nickel. They also come in deadbolt style.

Call us today for pricing!

Video Surveillance with Alarm.com

One of the biggest benefits to having a video surveillance system in your home is peace of mind.

Wireless cameras mounted around your house can potentially identify intruders, but Alarm.com is about so much more.  This video surveillance system is designed to give you remote access and save short video clips to view at your convenience.  You can check in and watch live video at any time and watch short clips based upon your schedule.

With Alarm.com, you can monitor your property or your surrounding property while you are out of town, 24/7.  For Parents, check and monitor your home while away.  Ensure your kids are being taken care of with wireless cameras positioned throughout the home.  If you have elderly parents staying with you, you’ll be able to check in on them as well.

With an internet based system, Alarm.com can send direct alerts to your phone or email whenever it detects motion or tampering.  Any camera can be triggered to notify you when the front door opens, or if the gun cabinet is opened.  With Alarm.com, you can automatically capture a video clip and send it to your phone or computer, whichever you choose, watch the clip on your own time.  Move the wireless camera’s view via your smartphone and watch different areas in the same room.

What Camera System is right for your home?

“And what the other companies won’t tell you.”

When deciding what to install in your home, many homeowners are familiar with what they have seen at a store or in an advertisement.  Camera systems vary in quality, functionality, and costs just as much as cars do!  What is the primary reason for installing your surveillance system and how much are you willing to spend to get your desired result?    For residential systems we offer two main options:

THE FIRST OPTION

Uses your WiFi network in your home to connect to the Internet.  The cameras interface directly with the HS Tech Group app (which is free) for your Android or iPhone device. These cameras allow for 24/7 live viewing from a smartphone or computer on your HS Tech Group account.  They also will record up to 40 seconds of video when the camera sees movement or when an alarm is triggered.  These cameras cost between $200 – $350 each and you can install them yourself or have HS Tech Group install them. Some allow remote control of the viewing image by moving the camera left, right, up and down and others have a fixed viewing area. One model has IR illuminators that let you see in the dark. They require an outlet, so keep in mind, they will need to be positioned close to an electrical outlet, and you will see a wire. They are designed for inside your home.  This is the quickest and least costly type of installation.  Keep in mind these cameras have range limitations due to the fact they use your existing WiFi.  If you are a current CFL customer with HS Tech Group, the monthly service fee is included. Otherwise, there is a monthly fee to access your cameras online and for remote video storage.

THE SECOND OPTION

Would be to install a true camera surveillance system in which the cameras are wired to a permanent recording device or a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) in your home. These cameras can record 24/7 for a week or months depending upon the recording parameters and the size of the hard drive.  The cameras come in all different shapes and sizes, and some can even capture license plate information. The video (Both Live and Recorded) can also be accessed by a separate app from a smartphone or computer.  A typical 4-camera system with hi-resolution vandal resistant domes can be installed for around $3,500 – $4,500.  Keep in mind, this type of installation requires hiding wires inside your walls as well as possibly running wires outside your home. The installation usually requires 1-2 technicians for a day or more.  Most companies think it’s okay to let wires run down your walls or arbitrarily drill holes to make their job easier, not us! Remember, security companies don’t patch holes or paint after they are finished, that’s why we do it the right way the first time and hide the wires. It may cost a little more to do it the right way, but we believe the bitter taste of a poor installation lingers long after the sweet smell of a cheap price disappears.

A complete surveillance system comes with custom wiring, cameras, a monitor, DVR, and software.  It allows you to view live and playback recorded video from a local and a remote PC.  The DVR will be wired to all of the cameras and stored in an inconspicuous area. The DVR should have a backup power supply.  It is configured based upon the number of cameras you have, the amount of recording you wish to save as well as the size of the recorded image files (which is based on the video compression used by the DVR). Again, it’s a professional installation.

HS Tech Group releases Alarm.com’s Geo-Services Arming Reminders

You can be more connected to your home than ever before. This new feature lets you receive automatic notifications if you leave a specified geofence without arming your security system. Through our Interactive app, you can then arm the system immediately and enjoy peace of mind knowing that your home is protected.

The Arming Reminders feature is the first release based on our new Geo-Services technology, which leverages the mobile phone as an additional input for system rules and notifications.

As we build out Alarm.com’s Geo-Services technology, you will be able to automate home settings and initiate additional notifications based on the location of your iPhone or Android phone relative to your home, office, or any other “geofence” you have specified.

Geo-Services have been layered into Alarm.com’s Interactive Services at no additional cost, allowing you to begin leveraging location awareness to enjoy greater system flexibility and even more relevant notifications.

Imagine coming home one day and the temperature automatically adjusts to your “arrive home” setting” and lights come on just as you pull up to your home.

What is Enhanced Call Verification and how does it work?

Enhanced Call Verification is a simple and effective way that you can prevent law enforcement from responding to a false burglar alarm at your home or business.  It requires your alarm company to attempt to verify a burglar alarm activation by making a minimum of two phone calls to two different numbers before dispatching law enforcement.

The first call is to the home or business where the alarm is occurring, and, having failed to reach a responsible party, a second call is made to a different phone number that will be answered after hours or when the alarm owner is away.

The most effective second call is to a cell phone.

The Enhanced Call Verification procedure is only used for burglar alarm signals.  All fire, medical, panic, hold-up or duress, and robbery signals would follow the dispatch procedures required by your local ordinance and policies and by the alarm company’s standard operating procedures.

What is a typical scenario where Enhanced Call Verification would be used?

You are in your car getting ready to go to an appointment.  You realize you have forgotten something you need inside.  Instead of turning off your alarm system, you think you can beat the exit delay, so you just run in, get what you need, and run back out.  You are a couple of blocks away when your cell phone rings.  It is your alarm company notifying you that your alarm has activated.  They already called the premises, but received no answer and want to know if law enforcement should be dispatched.   You realize that you set off the alarm when you re-entered your premises because you did not beat the exit delay on your system.    You provide the appropriate password and prevent a law enforcement response to a false alarm.

This is one common scenario demonstrating how Enhanced Call Verification can work to eliminate unnecessary law enforcement responses, save police resources, and save alarm users from unnecessary false alarm fines.

Enhanced Call Verification works because it provides two opportunities to cancel accidental alarm activations before requesting law enforcement response.  As the alarm user, you are familiar with the activity occurring at your home or business, such as home repairs, cleaning crews, employees closing, etc.  However, when that activity causes a false alarm, you may not be present to cancel the alarm activation, and a request for law enforcement response is made.  With Enhanced Call Verification and the knowledge of what is happening at your home or business, you can prevent these types of false alarms from occurring.

How can Enhanced Call Verification benefit you?

Enhanced Call Verification provides alarm users with a simple way to help avoid false alarms and the fines imposed by many cities and counties, including alarms caused by:

After-hours cleaning crews, scheduled maintenance work, or employees who forget their password;

Forgetting to close a window or door before activating your alarm system, leaving pets in areas protected by motion detectors or by authorized users returning home and not remembering their password.

How will Enhanced Call Verification benefit the community?

Communities, where Enhanced Call Verification is required, have seen law enforcement response to false alarms reduced by 30%-50%.  These reductions lower costs, save tax dollars and help ensure officers will be available to respond to real emergencies.

How do I request Enhanced Call Verification from my alarm company?

Contact your alarm company and tell them you want Enhanced Call Verification monitoring procedures for your account.  Most alarm companies already offer this service at no cost to the alarm user, and many have made it their standard operating procedure for burglary alarms.

Make sure your emergency call list is up-to-date and provide your cell phone number.  Ensure the person selected for Enhanced Call Verification is educated on the correct procedure and knows the necessary passwords.

Enhanced Call Verification is endorsed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the False Alarm Reduction Association as an effective tool in reducing the number of police dispatches to false burglar alarms.

Rest assured that HS Tech Group practices ECV as a standard part of its business practice.

Always remember your security systems needs a phone line or some other method of communication to the monitoring station.

What is VoIP?

VoIP is a new internet or cable phone service option available primarily to cable subscribers.  VoIP allows phone calls to be made over an internet connection instead of through the traditional Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS).  VoIP offers unlimited local, regional and long-distance calling within the US and Canada along with popular calling features, at an attractively low monthly rate when compared to traditional phone service.  However, at this time VoIP is not fully regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) because it is viewed as a service option, not a primary means of phone communication.  Consequently, while standards are being created to promote uniformity, nothing is mandating that all VoIP service providers abide by these standards.

The process of transmitting voice as digitized data used in VoIP has created an unreliable means of communication between security systems and monitoring centers.  Many VoIP suppliers specify in their literature and web pages that alarm systems should not be connected to VoIP.  They encourage customers to keep one POTS line available for emergencies, such as 9-1-1, which also does not always work through VoIP.  The following information provides an overview of the problems associated with VoIP internet and cable phone service, available partial solutions and what the future holds.

Why VoIP Will Not Allow Alarm Signals to Reach the Monitoring Company.

  • The VoIP adapter is not wired to the phone jack correctly.
  • The VoIP adapter is wired correctly but signals will still not go through for various reasons, such as the alarm user is accessing other Internet services at the time an alarm goes off.
  • The VoIP service cannot accurately reproduce the sounds from the alarm communicator over the internet or cable service.

Even when the internet or cable phone service is working fine, alarm signals may cease to transmit properly.

VoIP providers use different internet communication methods, depending on cost savings, to carry their internet and cable phone service.  The customer will not be aware of any change until the alarm system is no longer able to transmit signals.

The VoIP service will most likely not allow the alarm company to download changes to the alarm control panel remotely.  This will result in the alarm user having to pay for a technician to service the system.

POTS systems are required to have their own power supply and will usually work in a power outage.

VoIP is not required to have a backup power supply and may not reliably work during a power outage.

Because internet and cable phone service technology changes so fast, alarm users MUST regularly test the ability of their alarm system to transmit signals, per their alarm company instructions.  If you are unsure how to test your alarm system properly, call your alarm company for instructions! Alternatives to Help Ensure Open Communication Lines Keep at least one POTS line and connect your alarm system communication to it.

Buy a backup communicator such as a long-range radio, cellular line, or IP alarm transmitter. Backup communication transmission methods must be paid for separately and could increase the monthly monitoring rate as well.

The Future of VoIP

VOIP is here to stay.  It is estimated that there will be a 1,700% increase in VoIP households by 2014 (since we’ve written this post, new information has come to light, HERE). Although some companies have written very good standards and specifications, which other companies have adopted, currently there are no federally mandated comprehensive standards.  It seems that in the immediate future, standards will be regional in nature so that alarm system communications over internet or cable phone service will work in one area and not in another without significant changes.  The alarm industry is working diligently with other organizations to find solutions.

Learn More

Visit the websites of the following organizations involved in the issue of VoIP internet and cable phone service and alarm system compatibility for their latest information: