Rogers – Shuts Down Rogers One Number Service

rogers-1Most Rogers customers were unaware of the Free VOIP Service available to them known as Rogers One but I used it frequently when travelling and saved hundreds of dollars on long distance and network charges.

Rogers One Number allowed you to make and receive calls via Wi-Fi on my iPhone but also on my Wi-Fi Only iPad and Laptop. Friends of mine travelled all through Europe for two months using their iPad with Rogers One Number to make and receive calls for Free during their trip.

Rogers One Number will be shut down on January 31st, 2017 and will be replaced by Rogers Share Everything Plans and a relatively new service Wi-Fi Calling.

Wi-Fi Calling sounds similar to Rogers One however it requires you to have an LTE Sim in your phone with some sort of Data Plan.  Wi-Fi calling can be setup right on your phone and doesn’t require an additional app or web portal like Rogers One did.  The beauty of Rogers One was the ability to use Wi-Fi only tablets or laptops to make and receive calls without the added expense of a Cellular Equipped Tablet or additional Data Plan.  The new Wi-Fi Calling service will only work on devices that have Sim Cards.

While most Canadians never used or even heard of Rogers One, those of us that did use this little gem of a service we are going to miss it.  So goes the price of progress and innovation.



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Lutron Smart Connected Lighting Solves Problems


When building a new home or renovating and existing home sometimes the location of the light switches doesn’t work well or efficiently and changes need to be made.  Moving hard wired light switches can be costly but sometimes using wireless Smart Light Switches like Lutron’s Caseta and Radio Ra can solve the problems economically without the expense of ripping open walls and costly re-wiring.

We recently met a home owner who wanted to automate their kitchen cabinet lights and outdoor lights along with adding a three way switch for the garage interior lights.

img_5152The kitchen lights were wired to a single gang double switch along with two other light switches into a 3 gang box.  The outside lights were wired as a traditional 3-way hardwire configuration and the garage lights were wired on a single gang on/off switch.  The home was brand new and the basement was finished so re-wiring the hard wired switches was not an option.

Doyle from Ion Security was hired and tasked with the plan of Automating the Kitchen and Exterior Lights and making the garage lights work on 3-way switch.  No additional wiring was to be added and all the all the new switches had to fit into the existing wall boxes.

img_5179Using Lutron Caseta Smart Light Switches along with an Ion Smart Home Control Panel, Doyle was able to configure the kitchen lighting to provide Smart Lighting Control to the kitchen under cabinet lights.  Some minor rewiring and the installation of a Lutron Caseta Smart Hub Pro, Light Module and Pico controller enabled the home owner to control the under cabinet lighting with the wall mounted switch in addition to having the lights automatically turn on and off on a schedule as well as be activated by a motion sensor through the Ion Smart Home Alarm System.

The next job was to automate the outside lights.  Once again replacing the existing 3-way switch with a Lutron Smart Switch and Pico allowed Doyle to integrate the outside lights into the alarm system and then automate them to work with schedules, rules and even turn on automatically if the security system is triggered.

The last problem to tackle was the installation of a 3-way switch to control the garage lighting where no 3-way switch or 3-way wiring existed.  Using a Lutron Caseta Smart Switch and 4 Button Pico Controller.  Ion was able to convert the existing single pole switch into a 3-way switch and thanks to the 4 button Pico controller both the outside lights (also a 3 way) and the inside garage lights were able to be controlled by a single 4 button switch inside a single gang junction box.

img_5162Once all the Lutron Smart Switches were installed they were PAIRED with the Alarm System and automation rules and schedules were set up to allow the home owner to automate their lights and save energy costs.

With the Ion Smart Home Alarm system the kitchen lights turn on automatically in the morning when the motion sensor is activated and then turn off automatically once the sun comes up.  The outside lights turn on at sunset and off at dusk and the Garage Lights and Kitchen lights automatically turn on when the home owner approaches the home or when the garage door is opened.  The Ion Smart Home Alarm panel knows when it is daylight or night and also knows when the home is occupied or empty and adjusts the lights and schedules to maximize energy savings. One additional feature of the integrated Smart Lighting is the ability for the Alarm System to Turn ON the lights in the event of a Fire or Burglar Alarm.

Smart Lighting and Home Automation can be complicated and confusing.  If you would like more information on affordable, hassle free Home Automation and Smart Lighting that just works, give Ion Security a call 780-489-5522.



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Panasonic Revamps Lumix Lens Lineup @ CES2017

lumix-12-16Panasonic introduced a new 12mm-60mm, f/2.8-4 Power O.I.S. Micro Four Thirds lens at CES this year.

This lens perfect for shooters looking a high quality all-in-one lens for their micro four thirds camera.  I just purchased a new Panasonic G4 last month and can’t wait to get my hands on this new lens.

Specs for the new lens include a 24-120mm (35mm equivalent) zoom range, high quality Leica optics, fast F2.8-4 aperture and Nano Surface Coating.

Scheduled release date for the new lens is Q2, 2017 along with updates to some other lenes included the 12-35mm, 35-100mm and 45-200mm.  Panasonic’s long awaited GH5 was also on display at CES this year and should also be released in Q2

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D-Link’s New Whole House Wi-Fi System

covrD-Link’s trying to make extending the Wi-Fi network in your home a little simpler and easier with their new Covr Wi-Fi System (DKT-883) and the Covr PowerLine Wi-Fi System (DHP-W732AV)

The Covr Wi-Fi System is simple to set up and provides a powerful high performance router along with a matched,  pre-configured Wireless Access Point (WAP).

The benefit of the Covr system is the seamless integration of WAP and PowerLine extenders to create a network with the same SSID that’s easy to set up and administer while supplying superior 2.4 and 5Ghz coverage.

Look for D-Links DKT-883 Covr Wi-Fi Kit to be available Q2, 2017 for a MSRP of $299 USD.

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D-Link Introduces 3 New Security Cameras @ CES2017

d-link-camerasD-Link introduced three new Security Cameras this year at CES2017.

dcs-8100lh-side_rightThe budget priced DCS-8000LH is a self standing table top camera with 720p HD video, 120 degree field of view and 16 foot night vision.

The higher end DSC-8100LH is a compact Wi-Fi camera that can be desktop, wall or ceiling mounted and features two-way audio, 180 degree field of view, 720p, night vision and a micro SD card slot for on camera storage.

dcs-8700lh-side_leftThe best looking camera of the bunch is the D-Link DCS-8700LH and strangely enough this outdoor camera may not be released in the USA.  The DSC-8700LH features 180 degree field of view, two- way audio, 1080p HD and a micro SD Card Slot.  This camera would compete head to head with the Nest Outdoor cam and in my opinion come out on top because of the hidden power cable.  The D-Link DCS-8700LH has a much better mounting base and cleaner install options than the Nest Outdoor Cam making it a clear winner.  I’m not sure why D-Link is not releasing this camera in the USA but the other two cameras are scheduled to be available in Q2 of this year.

Let’s hope D-Link will release the DCS-8700LH in Canada if not in the US.

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How to Fix HDMI Syncing Issues

vanco-2Anyone who’s worked with HDMI extenders knows eventually you will run into a problem where no matter what you do the HDMI Signal will not stay synced with the display/TV.

HDMI distribution is like VooDoo Science to me.  Sometimes it works perfectly and sometimes no matter what you do the HDMI signal will not sync with the TV display or will temporarily sync and then drop in and out sporadically for no reason.

For the past seven months I was experiencing an HDMI Sync problem with a Samsung 55 inch LED TV.  The HDMI signal was carried to the TV by Category Cable and a HDMI Extender was used.  We were lucky enough to have three Cat5 and 2 Cat6 runs to the TV and all cables were tested for polarity, continuity and speed.  During the seven month trouble period we tried five different models of HDMI extenders from four different Manufacturers including Atlona, Binary, Monoprice, Vanco and two No Name Generic Brands.  Two of the extenders were HDBaseT while the other three were non-HDBaseT.  While some extenders worked better than others in the end we experienced the same syncing problem with all five extenders.  After some period of time the Samsung TV would give the Blue Screen of Death with the Message ‘No HDMI Input’. During our trouble shooting the last test was to try different HDMI inputs however that didn’t work either.

vanco1I reached out to my distributor and the manufacturer Vanco explaining the problems I was encountering with the HDMI extenders and TV.

Vanco Division Manager Michael K and Q.C. Manager Sandor R. both wrote me back making a couple troubleshooting suggestions and recommendations.

Both Michael and Sandor described the problem I was experiencing as a Voltage Issue with the Samsung TV’s video card.

The first recommendation was to connect the HDMI Cable to the MHL/DVI HDMI input on the TV.   I tried that however the Sporadic HDMI Sync Problem still remained.

The next recommendation was to install a Vanco 280571 HDMI Clock Re-synthesizer/Conditioner.  I never heard of this product before but I thought it was worth a try.  The Vanco 280571 hooks up at either end of the HDMI line, either at the source before the Extender or at the TV after the extender but before the TV input.

vanco-3For my application I installed the Vanco HDMI synthesizer/conditioner at the HDMI output of my Marantz AVR.  So the output of the receiver goes into the Vanco 280571 then out of the conditioner and into the HDMI input of my Vanco Extender.

Based on all my previous troubleshooting and repair attempts I must say I was very skeptical that this Magic Box from Vanco would work but much to my surprise IT DID!

With the Vanco 280571 installed inline on the HDMI connection from the receiver to the Samsung TV the HDMI syncing issues disappeared and the connection to the TV was rock solid.  No Syncing issues, no HDMI drop outs and No Samsung Blue Screen of Death.

I don’t know exactly what this Magic Box from Vanco does but if you are experiencing HDMI Syncing issues and the proverbial Blue Screen of Death you might want to pick one up and give it a try.  It took seven months, 11 service calls and more than 40 hours in labour before we were able to finally able to solve this HDMI Syncing problem for our client.  Ever since this experience we now carry the Vanco 280571 in all our service vans and use it whenever we run into HDMI Sync problems.

If you are experiencing HDMI Sync issues I would highly recommend trying the Vanco 280571 HDMI synthesizer/conditioner.

First Test your HDMI or Category Cables and connections

Next connect the HDMI Cable to the MHL/DVI HDMI input on your TV.

Third:  If steps 1&2  do not correct the problem try adding the Vanco 280571 HDMI synthesizer/conditioner

HDMI syncing issues can be difficult to troubleshoot and even more difficult to solve.

Be patient and Good Luck

Product Link:  Vanco 280571 HDMI Conditioner

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On-Line Shopping Not Just for Millennials

ammazon-caFor several years pundits have been predicting the demise of bricks and mortar retailers, especially in the technology and electronics space.

Last weekend we attended a dinner.  The average age of the dinner guests was 56 and seven out of eight guests remarked they did some or all of their Christmas shopping online this year.  

That’s an online shopping rate of 88% for our dinner group.  What’s most surprising is none of the guests was under the age of 50.

According to recent surveys 3 out of 4  Canadians will shop for Christmas gifts online this  year.  Compare that to just three years ago when the same report 1 in 3 Canadians will shop online and you see a 42% growth in online shopping over the past three years, assuming the 75% ratio is right.  Personally I think the number might even be higher.

Online shopping was once reserved for Tech Savvy buyers and millennials but Baby Boomers and Gen Xer’s have now embraced e-commerce as their preferred method of shopping and the number of consumers shopping online continues to grow at an increasing rate.

Wether it’s ordering Pizza, buying tech gadgets or purchasing new furniture online shoppers love the convenience, product selection and home delivery offered when buying online.  Sites like Amazon have become the Gold Standard for online shoppers and even retailers who have their own private sites are now selling on Amazon in addition to their own sites because of Amazon’s enormous drawing power.  Axe Music and Memory Express are just two examples of retailers who have their own e-commerce websites but are now selling on Amazon too.

Brick and Mortar stores will continue to exist although the number and size of physical stores will continue to decline as e-commerce continues to grow.  There will always be a need for Bricks and Mortar stores.  Many shoppers, for example, don’t want to purchase clothing online, but prefer to go to a store and try on clothes to to see how they look and feel.  The most successful physical retailers will be those who off value added services with their products.

Whether you purchase goods online or from a bricks and mortar retailer most consumers are benefiting from the changing retail landscape by having more choice, convenience and lower prices.

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First Look At URC’s New HomeSet Remote Control

IMG_1110URC (Universal Remote Control) launched a brand new product at ISC West this year specifically designed for Security Dealers and Integrators.

HomeSet is a brand new remote control system built from the ground up and features new technology, new hardware and new software. 

Unlike other URC offerings HomeSet is a cloud-based system and is programmed and maintained from the cloud and integrates with other could based systems.

HomeSet will be able to control Z-wave devices, NEST, Lutron Caseta, and even audio systems such as Sonos.  Audio integration is the one key component missing from most interactive alarm apps and with HomeSet, audio control is now possible.

The basic systems starts out with the C-100 controller hub and smartphone App.  An optional R100 IP Based Handheld Remote is also available.  The handheld remote has an LCD display and is capable of showing Live Video Camera footage directly on the remote screen.

One disappointing note – The handheld remote is IP only and does not emit IR directly from the remote but only from the base station HUB.

HomeSet is currently in Beta Testing and should be available this summer.

Watch the video for a complete rundown on the new HomeSet system by URC Product Manager Peter Pittner :

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Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Preview – ISC West 2016

IMG_1047Qolsys had a huge billboard in the hallway just outside the main show floor announcing the introduction of their new Super Thin, IQ Panel 2.  Not only is the IQ Panel 2 the thinnest alarm panel we’ve seen but the operating system is completely redesigned and unlike any other alarm panel we’ve seen.  The new interface on the IQ Panel 2 uses swipe gestures to navigate between functions. 

In the video Jeremy Mclerran Director of Marketing at Qolsys Inc shows off the new super thin, IQ Panel 2 take a look …

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment’s New Products at ISC West 2016

CIMG0831This year changed things up at ISC West by hosting their own booth on the main Show Floor in addition to their training and demo rooms off the main floor.

The booth was filled with new products and services including a new video doorbell, remote thermostat module, new indoor camera and voice control support using Amazon Echo.

Senior Vice President of Marketing Jay Kenny gave use a hands on demonstration of the new video doorbell and voice control and I have to save the interface for the new video doorbell was very smooth and seamless.  Voice control also worked well even in a noisy booth.

Check out the video to see the new video doorbell in action along with voice control and new indoor video camera.

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