Speco’s New HD Over Coax (TVI Solution) ISC West

We had a chance to talk with Alex Goussev with Speco Technologies about their new Speco HD over Coax Cable solution using TVI Technology.

This week Speco will be releasing their new HD-TVI DVR’s and Cameras which will provide 720P and 1080P high resolution camera recordings over existing coaxial cable.

Upgrading to HD-TVI is an affordable way to increase the resolution of an existing camera system while using existing wiring and without running new cables. The best part of HD-Over Coax technology is the ability connect a mixture of low resolution cameras as well as new High Resolution cameras all to the same HD-TVI DVR.

Here’s a video interview from ISC West in Las Vegas 2015.

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Millwoods Boston Pizza TV Upgrade

We recently upgraded the back bar TVs at the Boston Pizza near Millwoods Town Center.  Previous to the upgrade the old back bar TVs were 60″ inch LG PLasmas that were 8 years old and showing their age.  Originally we wanted to install 80″ inch Sharp TVs however since Sharp pulled out of Canada on April 1st, Samsung, LG and Vizio were our only choices for large format HDTV’s.  After comparing cost and sizing we decided to go with the Samsung 7150 Series 75″ inch 240Hz, LED TVs.  240Hz refresh rate is necessary for crisp clear pictures on high motion sports like hockey and the picture quality of the Samsung’s is fantastic.

If  you’re looking for a great place to watch the game and chow down on some great wings and beer check the new TVs at Boston Pizza 5228-23 Ave.

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The NEST Effect …. Smart Thermostats Everywhere!

If anyone doubted the impact Google’s purchase of NEST would have on the security industry it was clearly evident at ISC West this year.  Walking around the show floor, I couldn’t tell if I was at a HVAC Trade Show or a Security Show.

Honeywell displayed their new Lyric Smart Thermostat along with their shinny new Lyric Panel.  Alarm.com showed off their new CES 2015 Award winning Smart Thermostat and 2Gig was displaying a complete new line of smart thermostats.  Not to be outdone Radio Thermostat had four new smart thermostats to show off and Oh ya … Nest was there too.

So who was the winner?  Well nobody in particular, when it comes to smart thermostats it’s all about appearance, aesthetics and personal taste and it looks like consumers will have more choices than ever in 2015 when it comes to selecting a new Smart Thermostat.

The Honeywell Lyric Smart Thermostat is a WiFi based Thermostat intended to be used as a stand alone smart thermostat or in conjunction with Honeywell’s New Lyric All in One Alarm Panel.  Lyric borrows heavily on the industrial design concept and looks a lot like the Nest Thermostat in appearance.

Alarm-com-Smart-ThermermostatThe new Alarm.com Smart Thermostat won the Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA) Mark of Excellence Award at this years CES 2015 for Energy Efficiency Product to the Year.  Designed specifically for the smart home, the new Alarm.com Smart Thermostat combines a timeless, clean, sleek design along with a sophisticated back end with cloud services for  energy management and control.

 

ADC_smart_thermostat2This Smart Thermostat uses the latest Z-Wave chipset for communication and offers multi-sensor learning, room-by-room temperature control, location based automation and even responsive control based on current weather data and information.

Alarm.com went with simplicity in design so there are no confusing LCD Screens or complicated controls on the front  of the Thermostat, just an easy to read LED display that illuminates when the up, down or status button is pressed and the just disappears.

Setup, settings and advanced controls are all programmed by the Alarm.com app and there is even an easy auto scheduling feature which really simplifies the programming process.

CIMG9801

2Gig Showed off a couple new Go Control Smart Thermostats which match the style and look of their GoControl Alarm Panels.  Go Control eventually will have three smart thermostats in their lineup, The Standard, Premium and eventually a Color Touch Screen Model.  At ISC West this year 2Gig had the Standard and Premium Smart Thermostats on display in their booth.  The Premium GoControl Thermostat has a clean front face with no buttons and a full Backlit LCD Touch screen panel.  The Standard GoControl Thermostat has four front panel buttons and a Non-Touch LCD Display.  Both panels use the latest Z-Wave chipsets for communication and pair with the 2Gig GoControl Smart Alarm Panels. Look for our video preview of the new 2Gig Thermostats on a separate post.

CIMG9779CIMG9775Radio Thermostat had four New Smart Thermostats on display at their booth in the Z-Wave Alliance Pavilion.  The new CT32, CT101, CT102 and CT110 all have Backlit LCD Screens and some models have full touch screens while others have side mounted push button controls.

The new CT102 and CT110 Thermostats are especially attractive with White High Gloss almost Glass-Like front panels.

The CT101 is the thinnest Smart Thermostat we saw at the show and the all white front panel is nice improvement over the white and grey panel of the former CT100.

Look for a full video review of the Radio Thermostat lineup on a separate post.

 

 

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10 Mothers Day Gifts you can Buy Online for Under $100

Mothers Day is just around the corner (May 10th) and if you haven’t purchased a gift yet for mom and don’t have time to go shopping, here’s ten gifts ranging from $3 to $1000 that you can buy online for mom and still get shipped and receive before mothers day if you order this weekend!

apple tv1 – Apple TV:  Three years ago we gave our 70 year old Mom an Apple TV and she absolutely loves it.  AppleTV turned moms kitchen TV into a smart TV allowing her to watch Netflix and Youtube as well as receive photostream pictures from her kids. Price: $89  Apple TV

periperfect 12 – Pediperfect Pedicure Electronic Foot File: With Pediperfect you can give mom a Spa Day and the perfect pedicure right at home.  This battery operated foot file is great for doing in home Pedicures. Price: $39.99  Link: Amope Pediperfect Pedicure Electronic Foot File for Smooth Skin

anker lipstick3 – Anker Lipstick USB Charger:  Mom’s a busy lady and has lots of stresses in her life, one worry she can do without is a dying cell phone battery.  The Anker Lipstick portable charger will allow mom to keep her cell phone fully charged so she can make and receive those all important phone calls from her kids!  Price: $25.99  Link: Anker Lipstick Case

juice extractor4 –  Jui Jiuce Extractor:  Nothing beats a cup of freshly squeezed orange juice.   With the Jui Juice Extractor you can make mom freshly squeezed orange or vegetable juice right in your home kitchen.

Link: JUI JUICE EXTRACTOR

spiralizer5 – For The Love Of Cooking – Vegetable Spiralizer:  Even if your mom is one of those ladies that has everything , chances are she doesn’t have a Vegetable Spiralizer.  The FTLOC Spiralizer will allow mom to make delicious noodles from zucchini and other vegetables as well as some fabulous garnishes and salads.  This is a must have gift for any Vegan!  Price $22.95  Link: Spiralizer

thanks mom book6 – Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks to my Mom 101:  Mom does a lot for us and sometimes feels unappreciated, Chicken Soup for the Soul Thanks to Mom 101 is an excellent book to give to mom to say Thanks for all she does!  Price $12.96 Paperback, also available on Kindle Edition.  Link: Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks to My Mom: 101 Stories of Gratitude, Love, and Lessons

mom pendant7 – Mom Heart Necklace Love Pendant Charm:  What mother doesn’t love jewellery.  Say I love you mom with the stylish Heart Pendant necklace and charm.  Price:  $22.31

Link: Mom Heart Necklace Love Pendant Charm for Mother’s Day Gift Jewelry

casio watch8 – Casio White Women’s Dive Series Watch:  This watch is great for the mom that is sporty or a mom who is a doctor or nurse.  White goes with almost everything and this Casio watch is the perfect combination of sport and style.  Price $24.80  

Link:  Casio Women’s LRW200H-7E2VCF Dive Series Diver Look Analog Watch

pink tool set9 – Pink Tool Set:   Women love pink colored tools so why not give mom a Pink tool set.  Price:  $29.45

Link: Apollo Precision Tools DT9706P General Tool Set, 39-Piece (Pink)

pink case10 – Pink Earbuds Case:  Mom will appreciate this little pink case.  She safely store her earbuds or other small items in this case and best of all, find them easily and tangle free inside her pocket or purse when she needs them.  Great gifts don’t have to cost a lot.  Price $2.59

Link: niceeshop(TM) Hard Clamshell Handsfree Headset Hard Case With Zipper Closure,Light Pink

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Coolest Demo at ISC West This Year

One of the coolest demos at ISC West this year was the FIBARO Mount Everest Challenge.

On April 16, at 11:00am a live Skype conference call was established with mountain climber Mariusz Malkowski live from his base camp on Mount Everest.  Various Z-Wave sensors were tripped on the show floor in Las Vegas and Malkowski received notifications on his device at Mount Everest.  Malkowski then send Z-wave commands to remotely control the various devices at the Z-Wave Pavilion on the show floor.

The demo went smoothly with Malkowski opening and closing garage and door locks and controlling a Z-Wave water valve all from the slopes of Mount Everest.  There was a bit of nervous apprehension at the end of the live demo when Malkowski tried to activate the coffee maker and it initially didn’t work … Yikes!  As it turns out the coffee maker was receiving the Z-Wave command from Malkowski on Everest however someone forgot to close the lid on the coffee maker.  Once the lid was properly closed Malkowski sent the command again and the brew began to flow along with the smiles and cheers from the crowd.

Overall FIBARO’s Mount Everest Challenge Demo was a success and showed off the reliability of the Z-Wave platform for Home Automation and Control.  If you can control your home from Mount Everest … you can control it from anywhere!

Below is the video we shot at the show.  The quality of the audio during the first 20 seconds of the “LIVE” demo is very poor but does get better.  Unfortunately the PA system in the booth wasn’t very good and we couldn’t get our mic close enough to the presenter to get better audio.  The video is just over 11 minutes long in total.

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New Alarm.com App Now Available

new app

Alarm.com New App

Alarm.com’s new iOS App Version 3.2 is now available for download on the Apple App Store.

The New iOS App adds support for the Apple Watch and will allow you to arm/disarm, control locks, garage doors and thermostats all from the Apple Watch.

Some Notifications are now Actionable right from the notifications screen without the need to launch the app.  Actionable notifications include arm/disarm, door lock/unlock and garage door open and close.

Old New T-Stat

The Thermostat section of the App has been enhanced and allows you to control your furnace fan and edit schedules right from the app.

lutron screen 1Next up is huge improvements and better integration with Lutron Caseta and Radio Ra2 systems.

Previous to this upgrade Lutron integration with Alarm.com was clunky and awkward.  The new App organizes Lutron devices into Switches and Dimmers, Picos, Keypads and Scenes and Shades.  The new interface is more intuitive and easy to navigate and control.

This app upgrade is a must for Lutron users.

lutron 2

Not to be outdone by Lutron, the Z-Wave lighting section in the new 3.2 App also gets a minor upgrade.  Z-Wave lights and switches are now directly controlled by clicking on the on/off, dim icons next to the device name and gone is the SET button.

Two-Way status feedback is now provided to all Z-Wave and Lutron devices so the user can know if lights have been left on or off, or if shades have been left open or closed.

Lastly, Version 3.2 adds new features to the Water Value Control, allowing you to monitor your sump pump and remotely turn water values on or off via the app or by rules settings.

Overall the new Alarm.com Version 3.2 iOS App is a great improvement over the previous app.  The new interface is more intuitive and makes controlling the devices in your home smooth and easy.

If you would like more information on Home Automation or the New Alarm.com App call or email Ion Security Systems 780-489-5522.

 

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New Smart Thermostats Announced At ISC West

2Gig just announced it will be showing off a complete line of New Thermostats tomorrow at ISC West.

“HVAC management represents one of the top trends in smart home control, so we’re excited to bring this solution to security dealers,” said Duane Paulson, senior vice president of product and market development, Nortek Security & Control.

The new GoControl Thermostat lineup will include black and white and color LCD touch screen models as well as a non-touch screen version.  Right now we only have a picture of the B/W touch screen model to show you, but will post more pics from the show floor tomorrow.

In addition to 2Gig,  Alarm.com and Honeywell will also be showing off their new thermostats.

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New Alarm.com App Coming Soon

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 1.04.38 PMLas Vegas hosts North America’s largest security and tech show this week ISC West.  The trade show opens up in just two days (April 15th) but the new product announcements have just begun.

Alarm.com just announced a New App for iOS and Android will be coming soon.

The new App with include:

1 – Fan Support:  Control of Furnace Fan Settings via the app.  We’re not sure if this is for All Alarm.com supported thermostats or just the New Alarm.com branded thermostat they showed off at CES 2015

2 – Enhanced Support for Lutron Devices:  We can’t wait to see this feature.  Previously Lutron Support on the Alarm.com App has been hit and miss, (Mostly Miss) ,  any improvements to Lutron Integration will be welcomed.

3 – Remote Water Management: I briefly discussed water management last year with Alarm.com and their product development team was just beginning to work on water management last year.  It will be great to see what they’ve come up with and how they are going to integrate Water Management into the Alarm.com experience.

4 – Actionable Notifications:  With the New App some notifications will be actionable directly from the notification screen without opening up the app.

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 1.25.56 PM5 – Apple Watch Support:  Anyone who watched the Apple Watch launch last month saw a demo of the Alarm.com app on the Apple Watch.  The biggest takeaway for me was watching the garage door camera screen pop up and show the garage door automatically when the open door button was pressed on the Apple Watch.  Currently with the Alarm.com app you have to do two things separate steps to enable viewing of the alarm.com camera and garage door opening.  1 – Press the open garage door button on the app, then second 2 – Press the garage camera icon button on the app.  The Apple Watch app during the demo seemed to integrate BOTH These actions into one step.  I’m curious if the iOS App and Android App will work the same as the Apple Watch App?

Stay Tuned for more news and events from the ISC West Show later this week.

 

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Twelve South Book Arc Stand – Review

If you’re looking for a dock for your MacBookPro laptop you might want to check out the Book Arc from Twelve South.  While technically not a dock, the Twelve South Book Arc is the perfect stand to use with a MacBook Pro and 27” Thunderbolt Monitor.

The combination of this stand and the Thunderbolt monitor allows you to easily remove the laptop and take it with you when you leave home,  then slide it back into the stand and connect the power and monitor cables to quickly dock with my MacBook with my thunderbolt monitor and external hard drives.

I love the fit and finish of the Book Arc.  It’s carved out of a single piece of aluminum and has silicone feet on the bottom to prevent slippage and a silicone sleeve insert which gently cushions and hold my Macbook Pro in place. The color and finish of the aluminum matches my MacBook, monitor and keyboard perfectly and looks awesome.

The Twelve South Book Arc is not only good looking but functional too. Buy holding the MacBook in the vertical position I save a lot of valuable space on my desk and the built in cable management makes everything look neat and tidy.

If there’s anything to fault about this case it would be the price … Yes it is expensive but for the fit, finish and function of this stand, I believe it’s worth it especially if you have a Thunderbolt Display … this is a must have accessory!

Links:

Amazon Link

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Future Shop Closes Stores All it’s Stores Across Canada Today

Future Shop closed all it’s stores in Canada today much to the shock of dismay of employees and customers.  There was no advance notice given, employees were greeted with a sign behind locked doors that read “This Store is Permanently Closed.  We Thank You for your support and look forward to service you at a nearby Best Buy Store.

Best Buys is the parent company of Future Shop.  The company employs approximately 2000 worker across Canada, many who are now unemployed.  Best Buy plans to re-brand and reopen some of the Future Shop locations as “Best Buy’s” but the majority of Future Shop stores will remain permanently shut down.

Customers who have prepaid purchases and service booked with Future Shop will now be serviced by Best Buy.

The closure of FutureShop is just the latest shoe to drop in the fragile consumer electronics industry.

Earlier this month we reported tech giant Tiger Direct is closing all it’s retail outlets,  Sharp Electronics is pulling out of Canada and maybe even North America as it struggles to restructure and Target will close all 80 of it’s stores by Easter Weekend.

Now with Future Shop closing the next question will be what’s going to happen to some of their Exclusive Brands like Vizio, Martin Logan, Marantz and others.  Some of these brands are available at Best Buy right now, and the others may also become available now that Future Shop is no more.  The real question is “Are brands like Vizio now going to allow other Canadian retails to sell their brand … I think the answer is going to be yes”.

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