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How to Use Your Smart Phone to Add Security to Your Alarm

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Over the past few years, the use of smart phones has spiked tremendously. While you have likely noticed this trend through simple observation, statistics help back this statement up as well. For example, this Pew Research study from last year tracks American consumption of different forms of technology. Unsurprisingly, the survey found that 77% of Americans now own a smart phone. This statistic has created a couple of outcomes related to our industry. First, many customers have gotten rid of their home phone lines altogether. Why pay a home phone bill when smart phones are so much…well, smarter than an expensive landline?

In addition to ditching their landlines, our customers have gotten used to using to performing a variety of tasks with their smart phones. As a matter of fact, many customers have asked us how their cell phones can interact with their alarms. We always recommend monitoring your alarm system through an interactive cellular dialer. Cell dialer monitoring adds extra layers of monitoring security and convenience to your alarm system. Just as importantly, adding a cellular dialer puts you in direct communication with your alarm through custom alerts. We will begin this post by showing you how you can use your smart phone to take greater control over your security system. Then, we’ll discuss which alerts you’ll want to make sure not to miss out on. Let’s begin by exploring how you can use your smart phone to control and manage your alarm.

Use Your Phone to Take Control

In this age of smart phone apps and smart home appliances, customers expect a certain amount of communication between their smart phone and their security system. Interactive cell dialer monitoring can create this for you. Our interactive cell dialer, powered by Alarm.com, gives you several options that standard alarm monitoring does not. Once installed, you will have a direct path of communication and control between you and your alarm. Additionally, the same dialer that monitors your security system can also connect to a variety of smart home devices. Let’s look at how interactive cell phone monitoring allows you to take greater control over your security system and your home.

Several smart phones with Alarm.com apps open, showing security system and smart home controls

Interactive cell dialer monitoring, such as the Alarm.com service pictured, allows you to control your alarm system, as well as smart home devices such as thermostats, cameras, and lights.

Control and Manage Your Smart Home Devices

In our post on Important Security System Add-Ons for your Smart Home, we discussed some of the more popular smart home appliances that our customers install. Once you add interactive cell dialer monitoring, your security system will act as a smart home hub. This gives you the ability to add smart locks, thermostats, garage door openers, lights, and more. Additionally, you will have control to all of these devices at your fingertips. The same Alarm.com app that allows you to control your security system remotely (pictured) will also act as your complete home automation control center. Speaking of remotely controlling your alarm system, let’s explore a couple ways this adds security for our customers.

Arm/Disarm Your Security System Remotely

We’ve all had a scary moment where we’ve left home and realized we forgot something important. For some of our customers, that “something” is arming their security system. Interactive cell dialer monitoring allows you to simply pull out your smart phone to check on your security system’s status. If you did forget to arm your system, now you can do so with the push of a button.

In addition to adding convenience, this feature also adds tremendous security. As we pointed out in our Vacation Security To-Do List, letting people into your home without giving them an alarm code is always preferable to giving away codes that may be used later to rob your home. If someone needs to enter your home in your absence, now you have the ability to disarm your alarm for them remotely. You can even give visitors a timeline for them to arrive and leave. Once you expect your guests to be gone, simply re-arm your system with your phone. This ability ensures that the wrong people do not have access to your alarm codes.

Activate Your System from Your Phone at Any Time

The ability to arm and disarm your security system with a smart phone provides tremendous additional security and convenience. However, a new feature takes this concept one step further. In our post about Panic Button Options for Your Security System, we described the many reasons that customers want the ability to activate their alarm at any time. Recently, we added the ability to use your cell phone as a panic button to our interactive cell monitoring service. This means that even if your security system is disarmed, you can use your smart phone to create an alarm. If desired, you can use your phone to sound your alarm’s siren to scare someone off. Or, you can activate a silent alarm that sends for an immediate police response without a blaring siren.

The ability to control your alarm from your smart phone is an extremely popular feature. This direct connection between your phone and home alarm takes other forms as well. In addition to controlling your security system, you can also set up a variety of security alerts. Once monitored with an interactive cell dialer, your security system will gain the ability to send important security alerts to your cell phone. Let’s look at some of the most important security alerts that you may wish to receive.

Take Advantage of Alarm Notifications

If you monitor your alarm system through a home phone line, you depend on communication from our central station to hear about any alerts from your security system. Cell dialer monitoring makes this situation a thing of the past. These dialers can send you text notifications that provide immediate security updates. Additionally, they allow for notifications that your security system never had before. Besides alerting you to alarm events, these notifications help you track your alarm activity more closely than ever. Just as importantly, they also help you track activity in your house. Let’s take a look at the most important and useful smart phone notifications for your alarm.

An Alarm.com notification showing an open office drawer.

A contact sensor (right) can create a notification when the door, gate, drawer or cabinet that you’ve installed the sensor on is opened.

Sensor Notifications

This type of notification allows you to track system use even when you’ve disarmed your security system. We discussed some of the most popular sensor locations in our post on Unconventional Uses for Contact Sensors. Contact sensors provide alerts for activity whether or not your security system is armed. This level of control over your alarm is not possible without interactive cell dialer monitoring.

Knowing when certain doors open and close can help you ensure safety and security for those at home. Pool gates, home office doors, and liquor cabinets make popular locations for contact sensor installation. Your cell dialer also allows you to track sensor use at all times, even if you haven’t set up notifications. For example, you can always check to see if your home’s exterior doors are open. The ability to track sensors with this level of precision helps keep you well connected to activity in your home at all times.

Arming and Disarming Notifications

Knowing when others arm and disarm your security system adds a unique layer of security. Occasionally, homeowners with a security system still get robbed. This often happens because an alarm code has fallen into the wrong hands. Arming and disarming notifications alert you to any surprise activity with your alarm. As pointed out earlier, you can even use your phone to re-arm the system or activate the alarm manually. In our Vacation Security To-Do List, we also discussed the importance of creating multiple alarm codes. You can then assign different codes to each individual who may access your alarm. This allows you to know who is arming or disarming your security system, in addition to when.

An Alarm.com notification showing that a security system was not armed when expected.

If you receive this alert, it may mean that you’ve forgotten to arm you security system before leaving home.

In our post on Summer Vacation Security, we also discussed creating schedules for arming and disarming alerts. You may expect someone to disarm your security system by a certain time. In this case, you can program your system to send an alert if this does not happen. Likewise, you can set up notification timelines for arming your system. For example, you may want the system armed every morning by 9am. If you receive an alert at 9 stating that nobody has done this yet, simply arm the system remotely. Taking advantage of these interactive cell dialer monitoring features helps ensure that your alarm is always monitoring your home’s alarm when you need it.

Low Battery/System Trouble Notifications

Learning about a potential system trouble status helps your alarm stay up and running. If the battery in a wireless sensor dies, or if the alarm itself loses power, that can leave you vulnerable. Your security system will alert you to the likelihood of these events. However, people away from home for an extended period of time often miss these system alerts. The ability to have advanced notice sent to your smart phone gives you the opportunity to address any trouble with your alarm. Now you can ask a neighbor or relative to stop by and fix the issue before it disables part of your alarm. Even if the issue requires a service call from us, we can take care of the issue in your absence. Having part of your alarm disabled during a vacation or extended business trip can hurt your security right when you need it most. Receiving these alerts goes a long way towards alleviating that danger.

Creating a Complete Security Plan with Interactive Cell Dialer Monitoring

After reading this post, you should have some ideas for using cell dialer monitoring and your smart phone to increase your home security. Perhaps you have a security system that you wish to make smarter by adding these features. Or maybe you don’t have a security system yet, but want to make sure that you have these features once you get one. Either way, please do not hesitate to contact us. We provide free home site surveys to help you evaluate your security needs and make recommendations. Additionally, we will create a plan to ensure that your security system provides security and convenience that is never farther away than your own phone.