Alarm.com Smart Lighting

This is a minor rant with some questions interspersed, apologies in advance. Recent blog post from ADC on smart lightning: http://www.alarm.com/blog/smart-lighting

For smart home beginners, smart lighting is one of the easiest ways to dip a toe into the bright new world of smart home tech. An off-the-shelf smart LED lightbulb is fun to control through an app, easy to install, and can be had for less than $100.

For on/off and dimming I’ve found putting the automation in the bulb is a frustrating solution for most applications. If the bulb is automated you must use an app or controller to turn it on. Better to have the automation in the switch. The exception is bulbs that change color temperature (Philips Hue, etc) - I see the value of those. But I haven’t seen any way to integrate them with an ADC solution.

As part of a smart home, smart lights can deter burglars by making your home look occupied when you're not there. As well as controlling them remotely, you can set realistic schedules that mimic real life, such as having your lights come on at sunset, or at slightly randomized times.

This is all true. BUT if you want simulated occupancy you have to remember to log into ADC and turn on those rules every time you leave the house. This is not practical. MUCH BETTER would be schedules that are active only when the system is armed away. Please tell me if I’m wrong that this feature is still not available.

You can also take advantage of motion sensors to turn front porch lights into motion-triggered security lighting.

I am not aware of any usable outdoor Z-Wave motion sensor. Again, tell me if I’m wrong.

No more ‘app clutter' Most off-the-shelf connected devices need their own app to control them. By consolidating your smart lights and other devices around a single platform and vendor, you get a single app for everything in the home. This unclutters your phone and makes it simple to interact with your home.

Yes, as long as you don’t want color temperature control of the lights.

Not just smart, but proactive. The other advantage of the ‘whole home' approach is that other devices will share their intelligence with your smart lights. This enables them to do proactive, helpful things based on an understanding of what you're doing. For example, you can have your porch lights turn on automatically when you remotely unlock your front door's smart lock – a great feature on dark evenings when you're loaded down with groceries.

Yes! But you know what would make this function even better? If you sunrise and sunset were available parameters for rules, so you know, it could only turn on the porch light if it’s actually dark out. Right now my lights are happy to come on even if the sun is blazing away because the best I can do is “between 5pm and 7am”.

End rant.

For on/off and dimming I’ve found putting the automation in the bulb is a frustrating solution for most applications. If the bulb is automated you must use an app or controller to turn it on. Better to have the automation in the switch.

Yep. I am with you there.

This is all true. BUT if you want simulated occupancy you have to remember to log into ADC and turn on those rules every time you leave the house. This is not practical. MUCH BETTER would be schedules that are active only when the system is armed away. Please tell me if I’m wrong that this feature is still not available.

That I wouldn’t think would be too hard to implement, and yes, would be awfully valuable. I recall bringing this up to ADC in the past and I want to say it was something they were looking into. I’ll get an update on it.

I am not aware of any usable outdoor Z-Wave motion sensor. Again, tell me if I’m wrong.

They are referring to sensor RF motion detectors or wired motion detectors connected to sensor transmitters, etc. Rules created based on sensor activity then control lights.

Yes, as long as you don’t want color temperature control of the lights.

I may be wrong, but I was under the impression Philips Hue was Zigbee only communication. Alarm.com controllers use Zwave.

Yes! But you know what would make this function even better? If you sunrise and sunset were available parameters for rules, so you know, it could only turn on the porch light if it’s actually dark out. Right now my lights are happy to come on even if the sun is blazing away because the best I can do is “between 5pm and 7am”

Ha. Yes, I too would love to see this one. I am concerned with its likelihood on current panels though, given the abnormally large amount of memory needed for sunrise/sunset rules as it is. They require a very detailed algorithm to run locally, and I wonder if the current hardware would store and run it very effectively as a parameter for many rules.