February 10, 2015
Different connected home devices – while billed as “smart” devices – don’t all deliver the same level of intelligence. Many simply work on command: you open a mobile app and send a command; the device responds. Other devices are smarter, predicting what you need based on what they have learned about you in the recent past. Some predict based on a narrow, incomplete view, while others work with other devices for a more complete picture.
The real leap to intelligence, however, happens when connected devices are integrated into a Smart Home ecosystem, via a cloud-based platform like Alarm.com. Thanks to the platform’s huge range of data inputs and information, devices can act together on patterns informed by multiple sensors picking up real-time information from both inside and outside the home.
One such source of information is your location. Geo-Services, Alarm.com’s location-based automation service, uses the real-time location of your smart phone to help you reduce energy waste automatically, keep your home more secure, and personalize your smart home experience to better serve every member of your family. This opt-in feature set is easy to turn on and off, and is included in the majority of Alarm.com packages.
We recently announced an expansion to Geo-Services with key new capabilities. Every Alarm.com user from core interactive security features to whole home automation can now use these advanced capabilities. Here’s how Geo-Services helps make your Alarm.com smart home safer, smarter and more efficient.
Note: if you ever lose your smartphone, you can disable your Alarm.com smartphone login from a desktop computer.
When Geo-Services detects that you’re leaving, it checks things around your home and sends you a reminder if something was overlooked.
You’ll get an alert if you forgot to arm the security system, or if any doors or windows were left open, so you can take action to keep things secure. You can address most things directly from your Alarm.com mobile app – arming your security system, closing your garage door, or locking your door locks for example – enabling you to secure your home from anywhere.
Beyond reminders, Geo-Services also enables your smart home to do things automatically on your behalf.
Automating the lights in your home can provide both added safety and efficiency. While using your app to turn lights on and off is cool, having them respond automatically to your location is truly smart and extremely convenient. This feature helps you reduce energy waste and also enhance your home security by making your empty home look occupied – just one more way that Alarm.com helps your home anticipate your needs.
Geo-Services can also adjust your video monitoring settings based on your location, flexibly adjusting your recording settings so you have complete control. When you’re gone, you’ll want to know if there’s activity around the home, with your Alarm.com video solution sending you alerts and clips of what’s happening. When you’re home, however, Geo-Services can turn recordings off your video clip recording off for greater privacy.
Turning down the heating or cooling when you leave home can be a hugely effective way to save money on energy bills. However, as a device that runs in the background, your thermostat is rarely the first thing on your mind.
Geo-Services solves this problem by making automatic adjustments to your Alarm.com-powered smart thermostat, based on your location. When you leave home, you can have your smart thermostat kick down to ‘savings’ mode. Later, on your way home, it can do the opposite and turn back up to ‘comfort mode’ again. Once enabled, this ‘set it and forget it’ feature offers significant energy savings without lifting a finger or sacrificing comfort within the home. It’s a truly great way to maximize efficiency without sacrificing comfort.
How Geo-Services Works
Geo-Services is a next-generation Smart Home feature that takes actions based on three ‘ingredients': device automation, your smartphone’s location and a circular ‘geo-fence’ you define around a specific location like your home or office.
Geo-fences are created by you, the user, on a map within the Alarm.com app. They can be as small as one mile in diameter and customized to almost any distance with increments down to one tenth of a mile for fine tuning. When you cross your geo-fence with your smartphone, the Alarm.com platform responds – it can either send a reminder alert to you, or a direct command to a device in your home such as a smart thermostat or light switch.
You can set up as many geo-fences as you like, in order to optimize different tasks. For example, heating and cooling your home from savings mode to comfort to the right temperature takes some time. The solution is to set a specific geo-fence that gives your home enough time to a comfortable temperature right as you arrive home. For immediate tasks like turning on the lights, you can create another fence, closer to your home.
You can also create geo-fences for multiple locations; for example, a geo-fence based on your workplace location which activates your thermostat when you leave.
Does all of this drain your smartphone battery?
While other location-based services may keep your GPS on all the time, quickly draining your battery, Alarm.com’s Geo-Services is designed to keep battery drain to a minimum by optimizing for efficiency. Depending on your smartphone, it can combine a range of tracking technology to use less power than GPS alone.
Geo-Services is included at no extra charge with most Alarm.com-powered packages.