Can Alarm.com’s emPower® Solution Really Empower Your Home?By - 01/06/2017
Alarm.com is a known leader in security solutions. They use innovative technology to let people interact with their security devices through a single app. But Alarm.com isn’t just about security; they also provide home automation solutions.
Their first home automation service was released in 2010, which included live video surveillance through your smartphone. Months later, they released emPower®, their home automation solution.
What is emPower®?
emPower® is like Alarm.com’s home security solution. However, it’s built for home automation and energy management. emPower® is built on Alarm.com’s interactive platform which relies on their mobile app and web interface. Simply put, emPower® allows easy remote control of home automation devices through any web-connected phone or computer.
How does it work?
To get started with Alarm.com’s emPower® you need a compatible panel and Alarm.com service. They support panels by Interlogix, DSC, 2GIG, and Qolsys. Compatible Z-Wave devices such as connected lights, smart thermostats, smart locks, garage door controllers, and smart switches are then connected to the panel to create a smart home system.
Beyond integration, the system adds intelligence, including smart schedules, scenes, triggered automation, intelligent lighting, and more.
How much time do you spend setting your lights and thermostat before you leave and again when you get home? Some say at least 2 minutes a day; that’s 730 minutes or 12 hours per year. Ridiculous really.
emPower’s Smart Schedules allow you to set rules for certain times and days. For example, you can tell it to turn off all lights and the thermostat at 7 AM and turn them back on before 5 PM. You can also tell it to do so on weekdays only, then set other rules for the weekend.
Scenes are another handy trick to make multiple actions happen at once. However, instead of running on a schedule, they run with the push of a button. For example, with a wake-up scene I can have my panel disarm, adjust my thermostat, and turn my lights on.
Triggered Automation aka Rules
Since your devices are all connected, you can set rules that trigger by certain actions from other devices. You can have the thermostat shut off if you leave the door open, or you can have your system turn on the lights when you unlock the door. These rules are similar to the IFTTT platform and work on an “If This, Then That” format.
From the web portal, you have four “trigger” options. Your rule can trigger when there is an alarm, when your system is armed or disarmed, when there is sensor activity, or when people cross a geo-fence.
Intelligent Lighting For Security
Intelligent lighting works with smart schedules. You can have your lights vary intervals to make it appear like you’re home even when you’re not. Or you can have your lights come on at sunset, which means different times every day. Also, you can control lights individually or group them together to make them all behave the same way.
Alarm.com’s emPower® allows you to have on-the-go control of your smart home, and they make it easy by putting several features into the app. From the app, you can set scenes, turn lights on or off, adjust the temperature of your home, and more. However, you can’t do everything you can do using the web portal from the mobile app.
The app is available for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone users and can be accessed by any web-connected device through m.alarm.com. Recently, Alarm.com also released support for Apple Watches, Pebble Watches, and Amazon Fire TV.
Location Based Automation
Imagine a fence built around your house. Every time you go beyond the fence, the thermostat dials down to save energy. It only goes back up if it senses that you are back. Location based automation uses geo-location (geofencing) to know where you are and when you’re leaving to optimize your home’s temperature and save energy. Of course, geofencing can trigger more than your thermostat. You can also set rules to remind you to arm your system if you’ve left without doing so or you can have your doors unlock when you return home.
Alarm.com Smart Home Equipment
Alarm.com partners with different hardware manufacturers to make their products compatible with emPower® but they also have their own hardware.
Alarm.com’s Smart Thermostat
Alarm.com has their own smart thermostat, appropriately called the Smart Thermostat (ADC-T2000). The thermostat is connected through the control panel and will monitor the temperature inside your home as well as the temperature outside. It also:
- Connects with all of your security sensors including door/window sensors and motion detectors.
- Can provide room based comfort when paired with a temperature sensor.
- Connects with geofencing services.
- Receive an alert if your system detects an unexpected high or low temperature.
When connected to other sensors, the thermostat becomes even more intelligent. For example, if your smoke detector detects smoke or if you leave a door open, the thermostat will stop running.
Alarm.com also offers several home security cameras including indoor cameras, outdoor cameras, smart doorbells, and image sensors.
At CES 2017, Alarm.com announced that they are developing drone cameras to be used for home security. They are not the first to do so. Other security drones including Sunflower Home Awareness System, Rook, and Hawkeye are also planning to protect your home in a similar manner. Alarm.com’s advantage is their multi-sensor system, which can help make their future drones more aware of what’s going on. They will combine their system’s intelligence with the Qualcomm Snapdragon Flight drone platform to create flying cameras that can autonomously investigate alerts.
In addition, they are also looking into possible applications for professionally monitored systems. In theory, your drone camera will fly to where the alarm event is, so you can use it for visual alarm verification, which can speed up police response.
Is emPower® A Good Solution?
There are so many home automation solutions on the market today. By far, Alarm.com’s emPower is one of the best. Would I recommend it to a friend? Of course. Alarm.com is a stable platform that is continuously growing.
If you want to know the cost of automating your home, contact one of Alarm.com’s dealers. We recommend either Frontpoint (1-855-951-7980) or Link Interactive.