I have had my system for 6 months now and am very happy. The Qolsys panel is decent, but needs some improvement. They need to go capacative touch and maybe beef up the processing power as I find the panel a tad laggy. Some questionable QA on firmware updates as 1.4.3 the home button does not work if the panel is dark. Overall I give the Qolsys a 8 rating out of 10. What I am more frustrated with is Alarm.com. The lag at times for processing commands is unacceptable. Also some of the rules are rather limited. I don’t really see any large alternatives out there, unless I am missing something. I would entertain an alternative that provided tighter integration and rules for automation. Something with better Geo-fences maybe tied to wifi and more rules about sequenced events. Ideally I want to have my door unlock and alarm disarm when I open my My Q garage door.
Alarm.com can be a bit frustrating, especially for power users with high expectations for configurability like me. I’m not aware of anything in the same category that’s better though. Part of the issue is that they tend to prioritize ease of use over extreme configurability. Alarm.com wants to be usable by the majority of customers, not just the power users. The other part of the issue is the difficulty and complexity in building a security focused very large scale (millions of concurrent users) distributed automation system. By distributed I mean that the intelligence of the system is distributed between the cloud, the control panel and the devices. Some have tried to build a competitor but no one has caught up, let alone surpassed, Alarm.com yet. See Honeywell Total Connect, ipDatatel SecureSmart, Uplink Remote, iControl (ADT, Comcast, Telguard HomeControl etc…)
True, but seeing how simple the interface is I can easily see some scenarios that the average person might want.
First the GPS Geo Fence is too big. Create a way for the a phone that registers on the same wifi as the panel to trigger a geo fence. This create numerous easy rules that can be done securely. Most wifi reaches outside the home. When I pull in my driveway I would like to have a rule that says to open the garage door, unlock the inner door and disarm the alarm. Optionally that rule can have a timeout that says if the the inner door is not opened say in a certain time to relock the door.
Also without even a geo fence I would like the option that is I open the garage door that it can unlock the inner door and disarm the alarm. That is a simple rule I think many would love to see implemented.
Just a point of information, the geo-fence uses cell tower triangulation and not GPS. I’m told this is for reasons of battery life. This is the primary reason for the minimum size of the fences.
JP is correct. Geo-fencing is not GPS, it is cell tower triangulation. A Radius under 1 mile is generally too small to function properly.
Battery life is dramatically impacted with GPS usage. Imagine running GPS navigation 24/7 on your phone.
This is speculation, because I have not heard this requested yet I do not believe (disarming, unlocking based on garage opening), but I imagine that triggering a system to disarm based on the garage door opening may be easy to implement but difficult to sign off on. Alarm.com’s back end service does not 100% control the garage door. The Alarm.com back end is integrated with Liftmaster’s. I will be happy to forward the suggestion though. The more requests like these are made, the more likely they become a feature.
Have to admit, the wifi idea occured to me too. There have been a couple time when my wife and I were both home, but we got a geo fence arm reminder. Adding a geofence based on wifi would help that.
At the very least I don’t think using wifi as a trigger is a good idea though. See here.
As an override I could see it, but it would be difficult to implement well.
Relying on Cell Triangulation for Geoservices Triggers/Overrides is dependent on two things:
- Having accessed the Alarm.com app on a smartphone you have on your person.
- The nationwide cellular communications network serviced and regulated by industry professionals in which all users will experience more or less uniform results.
Relying on End User Wifi connection has to contend with:
- The user’s management of wifi network settings. Changing SSID/password breaks all automation.
- A massive variety of consumer electronic options for networking, not all created equal. Not all maintained well.
- A huge variety in network range/configuration capabilities.
- Abrupt connection drops/dead space (taking out the garbage suddenly kicks on all of your “Leave the home” automation.)
- Wide variety in user smartphone hardware quality.
- Network interference
- End User home power loss
- Phones simply being turned off and on.
- LAN access, but internet access outage.
Ultimately it would be very difficult to ensure relatively uniform expectation of functionality I think.
Pesonally, I’m thimking less about security triggers and more about more reliable detection of “being home”. You identify your home network to the app, just like you define a fence. Then, if the app detects connection to that wifi, it knows you’re home. No arm reminders, camera rules that are set to not record while home, etc… You’d still get the occasinal false, but I’d wager less than when relying on location services. While I admit the automation idea is neat, would never want that personally. Someone snags your phone, they have the keys to the kingdom with or without a passcode. But, wifi could make a probably more reliable home fence.
Thank you for the description and use cases. We are sending this suggestion to Alarm.com.
I disagree. There are ways to make wifi more secure and reliable as a fence. Some of it may require the panel makers to implement features in software, but if the panel and phone are on the same wifi subnet then that should be fairly reliable. This allows for far smaller fences that cell triangulation ever will.
Yes, but I was going by your post about opening garage, unlocking door, and disarming when you pull in driveway. So if someone managed to snag your phone, all they would need to do is show up at your house to gain access.
If they steal my car same thing they use door opener to get in my garage, or steal my keys. Mobile phones are quickly becoming our keys and wallet or the past. I always keep a pin code on my phone and the newer phones have kill functionality in them the carrier can disable the phone.
None of those allows them to disarm the system though. If your phone auto-joins the network at home, then that does allow the mere possession of the phone to grant access to your premises without needing your PIN code.
By the time you wake up in that bathtub full of ice with your kidney and phone missing, it will be too late to call your provider to kill the phone