How to Remotely Control Your Home Alarm System During Vacation

One of the main reasons families invested in home alarm systems in the past was to protect their homes while they were on vacation. As time has passed, alarm systems have become more advanced and offer families many more options in this area. A perfect example of this is home alarm systems that integrate with your home’s lighting controls to turn lights on and off at random intervals, giving the appearance that someone is home.

Perhaps no technology has advanced home security during vacation than the smartphone. Using smartphone apps, you can do all sorts of things with your system, starting from tracking your Trick-or-Treater Kids on Halloween to keeping an eye on your home alarm system when you’re on a vacation thousand miles away.

Here are some of the kinds of things you might want to do, whether you’ve just won a bundle in Vegas or whether you’re sitting on a Florida beach, soaking up the sun:

– Arm or disarm your system. This one’s basic. Get halfway from New York to Disney World and realize you didn’t turn on the security system? Pull out your iPhone and arm it from the road. You can also enable or disable the system to allow a house sitter access, for example.

– Open locks or lock doors. There are some alarm systems today that use specialized door locks that can be controlled remotely. If there’s an emergency and you need to be able to grant access to your home to a friend or neighbor, you can save the hassle of a broken window by simply opening the locks from your vacation spot. This means you don’t have to hid a key in the rose bushes or under the mat – where a home invader is likely to spot them anyways.

– View your home security cameras. This feature isn’t available on every system. If your system doesn’t have this, you can install third-party camera control applications instead. There are a number of apps, such as WebCam Monitor, Active WebCam, Ugolog, ZoneMinder, and EvoCam that can interface with your home computer to create a  video server, which your smartphone can then access. Some security systems do, of course, have this functionality built-in to their smartphone app.

How your smartphone app works is a function of your alarm company. For most functions, you need to use your home security company’s private app in order to control your system. Here are some of the most popular:

Alarm.com. This app is rebranded by most of Alarm.com’s resellers. It might have a Frontpoint Security, APX, CPI, Vector Security, or Protect America label, but it’s essentially the same app. It requires an additional monthly charge to use.

– E-secure for Protection One. Protection One’s app is unique in that most of its functions can be controlled via SMS only, without a data connection. It also requires a monthly charge.

– Pulse from ADT. Pulse lets you control any device that’s connected to your ADT system. There’s a web interface, or you can use smartphone apps directly.

– LifeShield. This is the only home security app from a major vendor that doesn’t require payment of an additional monthly fee.

Check with your home security vendor about smartphone app options for your vacation today.

Guest Author: This is a guest article written by Jeremy Kushner, who is a home alarm systems enthusiast and blogs on topics related to crime and security. You can find more of his posts at HomeAlarmSystems.com.

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