New Rules for Police Dispatch in Toronto – January 2016

Effective January 1st, 2016 Toronto Police will require no longer be responding to Non-Verified alarm signals.

The current alarm response drafted in 2012 reads “A verified call for service will be dispatched to the first available police field unit at a higher priority level.  A non-verified alarm signal will be dispatched to a police field unit at a lower priority level.  It should be noted that police response is determined by the nature of demand, priorities and resources available at the time of the request for police response.

Effective January 1, 2016, All Alarm Responses will need to be VERIFIED by one following processes:

  • Audio Device
  • Video Device
  • Multiple Zone Trips
  • Eyewitness (ie private security, guard service or person at the scene)
  • Key Holder Notification.  Unanswered calls at the premise or from the calling list are not considered to meet the requirements of the “verification process”

Panic Alarm signals are not included in the required verification process.

What this means for alarm owners in Toronto is that the police are no longer going to respond to an alarm signal without verification, unless that signal is a Panic Alarm.

Lower budgets and higher demands for service are taxing police resources not just in Toronto but across the entire country.  Most police services have employed or are moving toward a VERIFIED ALARM requirement before dispatch.

What does this mean to alarm system owners?

  1. Make sure you have a proper alarm permit for your city … if required
  2. Install or Upgrade to an interactive alarm system.  Interactive alarm systems can send voice, text, email and push alerts to your smart phone almost immediately, allowing you to confirm and verify alarm signals quickly and minimize false alarms.
  3. Two-way Voice Systems are preferred since they enable the monitoring station to Listen In and communicate with the premise.
  4. Video Cameras or Image Sensors can help Validate Alarm Signals.
  5. Installing Extra Sensors helps to meet the Multiple Zone Verification Requirement
  6. Get to know your neighbours, they can help you Verify Alarm Signals from you home as an eyewitness
  7. Add additional people to your call or notification list, especially those people who live close to your home.
  8. Inquire with your alarm company about private guard response

For more information about security systems and alarms in Edmonton contact Doyle at Ion Security

 

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Apple silently acknowledges iPhone needs a longer lasting battery

apple252520case25252021In the race to make phones slimmer and lighter, iPhone is clearly the frontrunner but sadly at the cost of diminished battery performance. Anyone who uses an iPhone knows they can’t make it through a day without having to plug in and top off the battery at some point during their day.

Today Apple released a smart battery case for the iPhone 6s and with it silently acknowledged the poor performance of the iPhone 6s battery.

Apple claims the new Smart Battery Case will add 80 percent more battery life to the iPhone 6s while doubling the thickness of the device to 14.1mm.

The new Apple Smart Case  for iPhone 6 is a one piece case design which loads from the top and unlike other cases its fairly easy to insert and remove your iPhone.  The case itself has a velvety silicone rubber feel to it and the rear battery bump wraps around your hand nicely.  The case has a built in a lighting connector, cellular antenna booster and an intelligent battery status integrated into iOS9 … all these things make this case very easy to use compared to other third party cases.apple252520case2525201

It’s unclear what Apple’s strategy is with this product.  Have they finally realized that their iPhones need bigger batteries and perhaps shifted their focus on future iPhones from make them slimmer to making them more functional, slightly thicker with bigger batteries.  Perhaps Apple is just trying to capitalize on the ever growing market of battery pack cases from third party manufacturers.  Whatever the strategy … one thing is clear,  Apple finally has acknowledged that their devices simply need bigger batteries.

There is no word from Apple if similar cases will be available for the iPhone 6 Plus models or older iPhones.

Perhaps the New Apple Smart Case for iPhone 6 will become the impetus to change Apple Design thinking away from the slimmer is better philosophy to perhaps a little thicker with a larger battery isn’t a bad thing.  Who knows.

I can’t wait to see if iPhone 7 will be thicker with a larger built in battery or perhaps … heaven forbid a removable battery?  Ok maybe that’s asking too much from Apple.

The Smart Case for iPhone 6/s comes in two colors, Charcoal or White and Sells for $99 in the US and $129 in Canada.

Links:

Apple USA Store Product Link

Apple Store Canada Link

 

 

 

 

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SanDisk 32GB microSDHC Card with SD Adapter USB 2.0 Reader – Review

Costco in Canada is currently selling this SDHC Card bundle for $23.99 which is a great price for a 32GB SanDisk Ultra SDHC card and you get the full sized SD Card adapter and a handy USB2 Adapter included in the package.

Overall this SanDisk Ultra SDHC card is great for recording HD videos on your GoPro camera and for storing music and apps on your smart phone.

Read and Write speeds.  Benchmarks on the SanDisk Ultra range between 10-15MB/s which is plenty fast for shooting 4K Video on your GoPro Camera without any problems.  Equally important is reliability and for my money SanDisk is one of the better, more reliable brands of SD cards available.

Most micro SD cards come with a full sized SD Card adapter but one of the benefits of this package is the Handy microSD to USB2 reader.  While some computers have SD card slots built in for the ones that don’t transferring files from a micro SD card to a computer generally means using  two adapters, first a micro SD to SC card adapter and then a SD card to USB adapter.  SanDisk avoids all this by allowing you to plug the micro SD Card in directly to the USB port with one convenient adapter.

Digital Cameras:  While it is possible to use Micro SD Cards adapters in place of full sized SD Cards in digital cameras it is not recommended since you may experience slower write speeds due to the adapter.  This is especially important when recording video.  Don’t get me wrong, micro SD cards will work in digital cameras, you just may experience occasional write errors which can be frustrating.  Personally, I’ve had this happen several times.

Thumb Drives:  Many people like using micro SD Cards as USB thumb drives because of their size and portability.  While it may be possible to use a Micro SD card as a USB Thumb Drive is is not recommended since read and write speeds will vary and are prone to drop outs due once again to the USB adapter.  While a micro SD card to USB reader is great for transferring data it can be problematic when streaming music or videos.

Conclusion:

Overall the SanDisk 32GB micro SDHC Card with SD Adapter and USB 2.) Reader is an excellent value with exceptional performance and good reliability.

This SanDisk Micro SD Card package is available for a$23.99 at Costco Wholesale Locations across Canada while supplies last.

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D-Link Water Sensor Review

Damage from water leaks, burst pipes and broken appliances totals more than 9 billion dollars a year in property losses for North America.

The key to preventing or minimizing water damage to floor, carpets, drywall and baseboards is early detection. If left unchecked, water damage can cause mold which is not only costly to repair but can be a serious health hazard.

I have personally experienced water damage four times in my life, the first when a hot tub pipe flooded the basement. Next when a hose fitting broke on our kitchen sink faucet.  A few years later the evaporator coil in our furnace froze up and flooded a portion of our basement.  Most recently our hot water tank sprung a leak and flooded the utility room. Each one of these leaks resulted in thousands of dollars in damage and in each case, the damage would have been less if the water leak was detected sooner.

The D-Link DCH-S160 is a simple, easy, cost effective way to detect water leaks in your home. The D-link water sensor consists of a main unit which is gloss white and plugs into a 110V AC electrical outlet. A 3.3 foot telephone type cable plugs into the bottom of the main unit and then a 1.6 foot sensor cable plugs into the extension cable completing the assembly. The water sensor probe is located near the area or appliance where you want to be notified of leaks. Sump pumps, water pumps, washers, dishwashers, water tanks, hot water heaters, toilets, sinks, air conditioners and hot tubs are just some of the places you might want to place a D-Link Water Sensor.

Once the sensor is in place pairing is done using the WPS button on your router. Once the main sensor unit is paired, you need to download the Mydlink Home App on your tablet or smart phone and then a private Peer to Peer (P2P)connection is established between your device and the water sensor by scanning a QR Code that came with the D-Link Water Sensor.

My home has 2 routers in it so I was concerned that the P2P connection may not work since port forwarding can be pretty tricky when two routers are involved. It took two tries but on the second attempt the MyDlink Home App was able to find and connect with the water sensor, and I’m happy to say it’s been a couple of weeks and the water sensor has stayed connected to the mydlink services and MyDlink Home app without issue. I even unplugged the water sensor and moved it to another location and the mydlink app was still able to connect and find it.

How Does It Work:
I hooked the D-link, DCH-S160 up to my sump pump and then behind my washing machine for a couple of weeks and in both cases the water sensor performed perfectly. I didn’t have any leaks however I did simulate leaks in both scenarios to test out the sensor and it performed well. It takes only a few drops of water on the sensor to activate the alarm and when it is triggered a local siren beeps and a notification is sent all the phones and tablets with the Mydlink Home App installed on them.

In my tests the notifications on my devices were almost immediate, say 5-10 seconds, which is pretty amazing. I do have two concerns regarding the water alarm alerts. First the built in siren is only rated at 70db which is pretty quiet and probably would go unnoticed in a noisy house.  Likewise the built in siren probably wouldn’t wake you up if you were sleeping. The notifications on the iPhone are just regular notifications also and not very loud.  There is no way in the app on the iPhone to customize the notifications to be louder. Lastly regarding notifications and sleeping if you are like me an put your phone into sleep mode before bed, all notifications are silenced so in this case a loud local alarm siren would be very beneficial.

D-Link does make an optional wireless siren (DCH-S220) which I’m told is much louder (110db) and can be installed anywhere in the home where there is a 110V outlet. I haven’t been able to test the siren yet so I can’t say how well it works. If d-link sends me one, I’ll test it and let you know if it’s worth purchasing.

Overall the D-Link DCH-S160 Water Sensor is well built and exceeded my expectations. The water sensor is affordable, easy to install and notifies you quickly when the water alarm is triggered.

For more information about the D-link water sensor and to see it in use watch the video.

If you wish to purchase a D-Link Water Sensor just click the Amazon link below for US or Canada stores.

Amazon.com Link:  D-Link DCH-S160 mydlink Wi-Fi Water Sensor

Amazon.ca Link:   D-Link DCH-S160 mydlink Wi-Fi Water Sensor, White

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Wi-Fi Assist on Apple iOS 9 Can Cause a Spike in Cellular Data Use

Apple’s new iOS 9 has several significant improvements from its predecessor but one new feature called Wi-Fi Assist is being blamed for a spike in cellular data usage and can lead to considerable expense if you’re not careful

Wi-Fi Assist is a new mode on iOS 9 that automatically switches your iOS device from Wi-Fi to cellular data when it encounters weak or poor Wi-Fi Signals.  At first many iOS 9 users thought this was just a glitch in the operating system but Apple designed it to give the user a better streaming experience albeit at the expense of cellular data.

If you have an unlimited cellular data plan then you have nothing to worry about, however if you live in Canada where data rates are some of the highest in the world,  having your iPhone or iPad switch from Wi-Fi to Cellular data while watching your favourite YouTube video could cost you big time if you exceed your data cap.  Cellular data rates in Canada average 5¢ a megabyte when you’re over your cap.  Watching streaming video from YouTube or Netflix using cellular data could set you back $20/hour.

In order to avoid burning up your cellular data and avoid extra charges I recommend turning off Wi-Fi Assist on all devices running iOS 9.  This is especially important for children’s or teenager’s devices.

To Turn Off Wi-Fi Assist in iOS9 :

Go to Settings

Select Cellular,

Scroll down to Wi-Fi Assist at the bottom of the page

Then Move the Slider to “OFF”

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Sony Closes On-line Stores


In the first quarter of this year Sony closed all of their stand alone retail Sony Stores, now it looks like their online retail stores are next.  Sony announced the closure of it’s On-Line Retail Stores in North America,  https://store.sony.com/ in the USA and http://store.sony.ca/  in Canada, effective August 28, 2015

Generally the cost of operating an on-line retail store is much less than a Bricks and Mortar locations so the closure of Sony’s online stores is surprising but speaks to the state of consumer electronics industry and the continuing decline of television sales.

If you have any Sony Store gift certificates or credits you might want to use them up before August 28, 2015.

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Netgear Arlo Wireless Camera System

Netgear’s Award winning Arlo Wireless HD Camera system finally available in Canada at a retail price of $379 for a two camera system with the option to expand the system up to 15 cameras.

Arlo is designed for the do it yourselfer who wants a high definition security camera system but doesn’t want the hassle of running wires. The system consists of a Hub which essentially creates a private wireless network for the Arlo Cameras and then handles the local camera network traffic as well interfacing with your broadband router to get your Arlo camera video up to the cloud for offsite storage and viewing.

Cameras: Arlo cameras have a 720P resolution, a 130 degree field of view and are powered by four CR123 lithium batteries. Netgear says you should get 4-6 months battery life from the cameras under optimal conditions but is should be pointed out that the Lithium Batteries don’t work very well in cold weather conditions which is why Netgear rates the Arlo Camera operating temperature from -10C to +50C. At -10C you can expect the voltage of the lithium ion batteries to die pretty quickly, I’m talking days not months. Another factor to consider with the Arlo Camera system is the cost of replacement batteries. CR123 Lithium batteries cost $4.50-$9.00 each, so replacing a set of 4 batteries on a single Arlo Camera will cost you $18 – $36 each time you have to replace them. Assuming you will get 4 months use out of a set of batteries a two camera Arlo system will run you $108 – $216 per year just in batteries. A four (4) camera Arlo system will cost $216-$432 per year in batteries. The cost of batteries is significant and really adds up. The total cost of operating a four camera Arlo system with the basic hardware over a period of four years is $1725 – $2599. When you compare that to the cost of a Wired HD four (4) Camera system the cost of the wired system is comparable and the reliability and resolution is far greater than with any wireless system.

One more thing about battery life with the Arlo Cameras. There are three settings or modes with Arlo Cameras, “Best Video”, “Optimized” or “Best Battery Life”. The higher the streaming and resolution quality the shorter your battery life and the sooner you’ll be replacing those pricey CR123 batteries!

Range: Range is another consideration with any wireless camera system. Arlo says the cameras will work up to 300 ft from the hub under optimal conditions. In the real world due to interference from other wireless devices and structural factors the “usable camera range” is more like 50-150 feet.

Set Up: The Arlo camera system is quick and easy to set up and can be done in less then 10 minutes. Step one is connecting the hub to your router. Step two is downloading the Free iOS or Android app. Step three is creating an account either using the mobile app or on the web. Step four is adding the batteries to the cameras and syncing them to the hub. Step five, installing the cameras within range of the hub.

Smart Phone App: The Arlo app is not the most intuitive security camera app but it does show you all of the cameras on your account and provides you with FREE, 7 Day Cloud Recording and Storage for up to five cameras. If you want longer storage there is a 30 day option for $10/month (for up to 10 cameras) as well as a 60 day storage option for up to 15 cameras for, you guessed it$15/month. The Arlo app allows you to view multiple streams at once or a single camera at Full Screen . While watching you can record a video stream or take a snap shot. In addition to Live Viewing there is a Mode section which enables you to set recording schedules, motion detection, push notifications, video quality and manage your cloud storage among other things.

Summary:
Overall the Arlo Camera system is a good quality wireless security camera system with some tradeoffs and limitations, namely battery power and cold temperature operation. The cameras work well in above freezing temperatures and provide good 720P HD image quality in both day and night modes. Freedom from wires makes installation fast and easy and allows Arlo cameras to be installed in places where it would be time consuming, costly or impossible to install conventional.

Lithium Ion Batteries are expensive so the cost of using an Arlo system is high when you factor in replacement batteries. Lithium Ion Batteries also lose power in cold weather so Arlo cameras will not work well in colder climates.

Next is the problem with motion capture. To save battery power Arlo cameras SLEEP until they detect motion and then power up and begin recording. While this saves battery power it often leads to missed recordings especially with fast moving action. Several Arlo camera owners have commented how their Arlo cameras missed recording events because the action happened before the cameras woke up from sleep mode. Waking up from sleep mode or detecting motion seems to take the longest at night when the cameras are in Black and White IR Mode. The response in daylight seems quicker. Cold weather also adversely affects the wake up response time as well as motion detection sensitivity. The colder the temperature the longer it takes to wake up from sleep and the closer you need to be to the camera to detect and trigger motion recording.

If you’re looking for completely wireless DIY Security Camera Solution Arlo’s worth a look but before you purchase an Arlo system you should also consider Nest (formerly DropCam), My D-Link, FlirFX and perhaps even a professionally installed security camera system.

Here’s an video clip we shot with Christine Tarver in the Netgear Booth at ISC West 2015 in Las Vegas.

Amazon – Arlo Camera Link

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Aukey BR-C1 Bluetooth Wireless Receiver


My work van has a Jensen Stereo with 30Pin iPod docking cable which no longer works with my iPhone 6 with lighting cable. I tried various lighting cable to 30Pin dock adapters however the firmware in the Stereo did not recognize the iPhone when connected with any of the adapters I tried so the next solution was to try and find a Bluetooth Adapater that would pair with my iPhone 6 and dock with my In-Dash stereo using one of the auxilary audio inputs.

I found the Aukey Portable Wireless Bluetooth Reciever on Amazon and this little adapter did the trick.  The Aukey Bluetooth Reciever paired easily with my iPhone and docked perfectly with the auxilary input on my in-dash stereo.  I ran power permanently to the Aukey receiver and installed it beneath my dash out of sight.  Once the install was complete I now had upgraded my old car stereo to bluetooth.

If you’re looking for an easy way to add bluetooth to your home are car stereo components check out the Aukey Portable Wireless Bluetooth Receiver from Amazon.ca

Link: Aukey Portable Bluetooth Receiver

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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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