3 Smart Home Advantages

Published May 26th, 2017 | By

Technology is changing how we interact with daily life—how we communicate to one another, how we travel (think of the emergence of self-driving cars), and now…how we manage and control items within the home. When thinking of smart home gadgets and accessories, you automatically think of how that makes everyday tasks easier. And with that comes 3 great advantages: home automation, enhanced home security and greener living.

Here’s how each is a key advantage of having a smart home—with examples of products available to homeowners.

Home Automation

Home automation enables the remote access of household products using a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet. This means that anywhere you go, things such as thermostats, lights, door locks, garages and appliances can be controlled and monitored. With an app and a centralized home hub (such as the Amazon Echo, Lenovo Smart Assistant, Samsung SmartThings, etc.) homes are being quickly transformed. The following products provide a small example of home automation devices.

Ecobee3 Thermostat with Sensor (2nd Generation)

The Ecobee3 is a smart thermostat that connects via Wi-Fi. It also comes with room sensors that individually read and can adjust the temperatures in various rooms—unlike your run-of-the-mill thermostat that only reads one home temperature. What’s more is that when no one is occupying a room, the Ecobee3 automatically sets a temperature that will help enhance energy savings (such as increasing the A/C temperature during the summer, rather than keeping it cooler).

Much like many smart devices available, the Ecobee3 is compatible with Amazon Alexa, for hand-free voice control—you just need a device that supports Alexa (such as the Echo or Echo Dot). It is also compatible with Apple HomeKit (a home hub that operates through Apple TV). Temperatures can also be remotely adjusted via the Ecobee app. So this one device not only has remote accessibility when away, but it also operates via voice command while at home.


• Wemo Light Switch


Get home, go turn the lights on; leave the room, turn the lights off—it’s a process everyone does…until now. The Wemo light switch allows you to remotely automate lights anywhere you are. Whether it’s a living room lamplight, porch light or hallway light, you can remotely turn them on or off with the touch of a smart screen.

Imagine getting home late at night; rather than fumbling around in the dark, you can turn your lights on before leaving the car. The Wemo also has additional features, such as: light schedules for both day and night & an “Away Mode” that essentially replaces traditional light timers for the instances that you are out of town. In addition to the app for remote accessibility, this device also works with Amazon Alexa. So it’ll respond to voice commands while you are at home.

• NEXX GARAGE Remote Garage Door Opener

There are times that you question whether or not you’ve closed the door—usually after you’ve driven off and are away. The NEXX remote garage opener can be managed remotely via an app (as long as your smartphone or tablet has a Wi-Fi connection). You can even monitor the history of your garage door opening and closing—a great security feature. A particularly great thing about this device is that it can be easily installed yourself and it’s compatible with most garage door openers.

Enhanced Home Security

Smart devices help enhance home security by allowing homeowners to view and monitor what happens both inside and outside their homes. Some devices are even compatible with home security providers, but you’ll have to check to see what devices are compatible with various security systems. The following devices help boost home security protection.

• Ring Video Doorbell Pro


The Ring Video Doorbell Pro combines the simplicity of a doorbell yet adds a security camera and 2-way voice. So any time anyone approaches and rings the doorbell, the homeowner is alerted on their smartphone/tablet of the visitor. They can both see the visitor with the built-in camera AND be able to speak to them. If the homeowner is unavailable to answer, the Ring Video Doorbell has an away feature that delivers customized away messages.

• Nest Cam Indoor security camera


Devices such as the Ring Video Doorbell provide remote security outside the home, but other devices, such as the Nest Cam Indoor security camera, monitor what’s occurring within the home. The device can be mounted nearly anywhere and features 2-way audio for voice communication. The Nest Cam Indoor security camera also has a motion detector; when it detects motion, it will take snapshots of the detected area. Alerts are then sent to the homeowner’s phone via text or email.

Greener Living


In particular, home automation capabilities greatly help homes cut down on energy consumption. Since devices can be managed and controlled anywhere using a smartphone or tablet, it’s easier to program the thermostat to a specific temperature or turn lights on/off. Just as a reference, home heating is 40% of an energy bill. Each degree lowered (in the cooler months) or increased (in the hotter months) saves about $5. A light bulb accidentally left on during the night costs over $20. So home automation is a great component when it comes to green living. Your energy bill will thank you with this smart home technology.

How to Take ADT with You…Anywhere

Published June 21st, 2016 | By

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Now with the summer officially here, it’s common to want to go out and travel to various places. After all, there are plenty of destinations to explore and cultural wonders to discover. Whether you are going to another area in Canada, or are about to journey to another country, you can now remotely monitor and control your home from nearly any location (as long as there is an Internet connection).
ADT Pulse enables you to monitor your home using your smartphone, tablet or laptop. So now you can always know the status of your home security system with the simple glance of your mobile device. Other benefits of ADT Pulse include a number of useful home automation features. These include: lighting control, thermostat control, appliance control, the ability to lock/unlock doors and open/close the garage door.

Home Automation Enhances Remote Security

Having the ability to do the features listed above can greatly enhance your home security while you are away from home. For instance, being able to both lock/unlock doors and open/close the garage door ensures that your home is properly sealed.
It seems that every time someone leaves the house, there’s that nagging worry about whether or not a door was locked, or whether the garage door went down. Now that can all be put to rest with the simple touch of your touchscreen. Perhaps you are concerned about your home looking dark and unoccupied. Pulse’s remote lighting control is a great feature to use while away—and it works with Z-Wave connected indoor and outdoor lights.

Receive Custom Alerts and Notifications

When it comes down to it, ADT Pulse really means never leaving your home alone ever again. This is especially true since you are able to set up which types of alerts and notifications you’ll receive via email and text. Want to know when a scheduled maintenance worker has arrived, or when someone approaches the property? No problem. Just set up which type of notifications you’d like to be aware about.

See How Pulse Works

Want to know more about ADT Pulse? Learn more about it’s remote security features.

Fort McMurray, Alberta is Up in Flames as Wildfire Wrecks Havoc

Published May 6th, 2016 | By

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A raging wildfire is sweeping across Alberta, Canada. The hot, dry, windy weather in the area have helped fuel the fire (which started on May 1st) and continues to cause widespread devastation in the city of Fort McMurray Currently, roughly 90,000 people have been forced to evacuate; and those who lived in the Northern parts of Fort McMurray had to be rescued and flown over the uncontrolled fire. People continue to scramble southward for safety.

 

How the Wildfire Started

 

No one knows how the fire began; it’s unclear whether it is from natural causes (such as lightening) or whether it’s man-related (such as from a cigarette butt or arson). Either way, a total of over 200,000 acres and growing have been incinerated and countless homes and businesses have been ruined. To put that into perspective, the fire is larger than Chicago and Boston put together.

 

Recent reports indicate that upwards of 2,000 structures have gone up in flames—although there are no confirmed fatalities. With so many evacuees who have lost their homes and businesses, the best way to currently help is to get in touch with several organizations that are providing assistance.

 

How You Can Help Fort McMurray Evacuees

 

There are several great organizations that are providing assistance. Please feel free to get in-touch with any of these:

     

    • The Edmonton Food Bank is accepting food-related assistance. They are taking both food and monetary donations. To sent a direct online money donation, you can go to here. Food items can be dropped off at any number of Alberta grocery stores and fire stations. Check with your local grocery store and fire station to make sure they are receiving donations.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    • The Canadian Red Cross is able to provide shelter, food, clothing and a number of personal services to Alberta fire victims. Monetary donations can be sent here.

     

     

    Hopefully with your assistance, and the assistance of many others, we can help alleviate some of the suffering of these fire victims. A community is as strong as it’s people. Fort McMurray residents currently need our help—and they will prevail.

     

    Source:

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/05/world/iyw-fort-mcmurray-alberta-canada-wildfire-how-to-help/index.html 

    Spring Safety Tips

    Published March 24th, 2016 | By

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    It’s officially springtime, which means there are some gorgeous days and enjoyable weather to look forward to. We can finally go outdoors and partake in strolls through the park, day hikes or just piddle more around town—all without the bitter cold to consider. As things feel fresh and new, there’s a number of home safety tips to consider this spring. Call it a spring-cleaning for your home’s security.

     

    Here’s what you can do to ensure the safety of your home and family:

     

    1. Replace Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Batteries

     

    When is the last time you replaced your smoke detector and carbon monoxide batteries? It’s easy to forget to replace something that is generally out of sight and mind. But it’s an essential thing to do…which could even prevent an injury or death.

     

    Did you know that two-thirds of home fire deaths were the result of smoke detectors not working properly? Most detectors operate using inexpensive 9-volt batteries. It’s easy to replace the batteries—you’ll just need a ladder and someone to spot you.

     

    If you don’t have either a fire or carbon monoxide detector, both are truly essential. You never know when a disaster can happen, so it’s best to be prepared. And not every danger is obvious—carbon monoxide is a silent killer. It’s a deadly gas that has no odor or color. In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that nearly 170 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning every year in the U.S.

     

    2. Maintain your Lawn

     

    Having a well-manicured lawn not only looks great; it actually helps detract potential burglars. It signals that the home’s residents aren’t out of town and makes entry points clearly visible from the outside. And visible entry points are a good thing. A burglar can hide better when there’s a lot of tree and bush overgrowth near window and doors.

     

    3. Check your Window & Door Frames for Damage

     

    The winter months can warp the trim around your window and doorframes. A warped frame is easier to force open—making it a vulnerable spot in your home’s defense. You’ll want to also make sure that the warped frame hasn’t impacted your alarm system’s window and door sensors as well.

     

    4. Lock your Doors & Close your Garage

     

    A burglar could target even the safest of neighborhoods—no residence is immune. Locking a door only takes a second, but could easily deter someone from breaking in. The same is true for closing your garage door. Not only can someone enter your garage and take items, they can also enter your home more easily. Remember, it’s not the 1950s anymore; every house needs to take proper home security measures.

     

    5. Invest in Outdoor Motion Lights

     

    Lastly, having outdoor motion lights are a great deterrence for unwanted visitors. If it’s dark, there’s no better way to make someone known than to have outdoor lights turn on.

     

    Enjoy your spring with ease! Protect your home and family while you adventure out. Be sure to check out all of ADT’s home monitoring benefits

     

    Staying Safe In the Great White North

    Published February 3rd, 2016 | By

    If one thing is true, is that life throws some curve balls.

    This video demonstrates why an ADT home monitoring system is essential.

    You never anticipate having to experience a home burglary, fire, flood, carbon monoxide leak, etc. After all, your home is supposed to be a safe place– a personal refuge from the outside world. Unfortunately, there are a number of home dangers that can occur to anyone, living anywhere. Even the safest of neighborhoods aren’t immune to potential catastrophe. So what exactly can you do?

    The best way to protect both your home and your family is with a home monitoring system by Apex Direct, an Authorized ADT Dealer. We provide home monitoring services throughout Canada. So whatever life throws your way, you’ll be prepared. Systems provide 24/7 monitoring, giving you a peace of mind you otherwise wouldn’t experience.

    3 Energy-Efficient Tips During the Winter

    Published January 29th, 2016 | By

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    Canadian winters can be brutally cold. Whether you are knee deep in snow, or just want to escape the frigid air outside, you can stay warm while being energy-efficient. This winter, don’t let your energy bill break the bank.

     

    Here are 3 tips to help you save energy this season:

    1. Use the Sun as a Free Heat Source

    It’s amazing what a little sunlight can do. By opening your south-facing window blinds and curtains during the day, you could save anywhere between 2 to 21 percent on your heating bill. Just remember to close them when the sunsets! Also keep in mind that you can further use the sun to your advantage if you have good window insulation. After all, sunlight won’t be of much help if you have cold air streaming into your home from poorly insulated windows. An issue like that could be costing you hundreds or thousands of dollars in utility costs.

    2. Use Ceiling Fans for Better Airflow

    Ceiling fans can spin in two different directions: clockwise and counter-clockwise. All you have to do is look for a small flip switch on the base of the fan to adjust the settings. Setting your fan to spin clockwise will create a warmer airflow (set it to this during the winter). So during the summer months, be sure to change the fan direction to counter-clockwise. It’ll push the warmer air up…and away from you. Using your ceiling fans correctly will greatly help your thermostat settings.

    3. At Night, Turn Down The Temperature

    Most people use heavier bed quilts, blankets and sheets. Also, the body generates plenty of warmth when it’s at rest. You can conserve a lot of home energy by turning down the thermostat before you turn in for the night. The U.S. Department of energy lists that you could save nearly 10 percent of your energy bill each year, just by lowering the thermostat by 10-15 degrees for eight hours.

    So what should you set the thermostat to while you are home? During the winter, set your thermostat to 68 degrees Fahrenheit during the daytime. And for the summer, set your thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit during the daytime. And if you have an ADT Pulse monitoring system, you could even remotely manage your thermostat for the optimum daily temperatures.

    Contact us if you want to learn more about ADT Pulse and it’s home energy benefits!

    Holiday Safety Tips

    Published December 1st, 2015 | By

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    The holiday season is finally here! As you prepare to spend some quality time with friends and family, there are a few holiday safety tips to consider. This time of year, it isn’t uncommon for burglars to target specific homes—looking for items, like: cash, jewelry, watches, small electronics, guns and more.


    Homes without a security system are three times more likely to be burglarized. Good thing you (hopefully) have an ADT home monitoring system! But, if you currently don’t have one, don’t leave things up to chance any longer. It’s time to protect your home and your loved ones 24 hours a day; seven days a week. ADT home monitoring is the solution to having a complete peace of mind.


    We’ve compiled a list of safety tips that can help minimize the likelihood of you experiencing a home invasion; here they are:

    • Keep your lawn well landscaped. It’s essential to keep your trees and bushes from hiding the view of potential entryways. Try to keep all windows and doors from being visibly blocked. A burglar could take an unruly landscape to their advantage.
    • Keep all presents and valuables from being out in the open. It’s beautiful to see everyone’s holiday lights outside and a number of Christmas trees in people’s windows. Unfortunately, these very things that attract you also attract the unwanted attention of potential burglars. It’s crucial to keep all of your presents and valuables away from plain view. It just puts a bad spin to the phrase, “window shopping.”
    • Remember to lock all of your windows and doors—even if you are home. You never know when a home invasion will occur. Surprisingly, a high number of burglars will even enter from the front door. Also, don’t leave a spare key outside…no matter how well you think it’s hidden. People are inventive…someone could find it easily under that inconspicuous rock or pot.
    • If you are going out of town, don’t share your holiday plans on social media. It’s a great way to broadcast which days a potential burglar could “come on over.”
    • Set your holiday lights on an automatic timer. If you are away, it’s a good idea to make it look like people could be home.
    • Ask your mail carrier to hold your mail; do the same with your newspaper service.
    • Be cautious of anyone doing door-to-door solicitations during this time of year. They could be scouting the area.
    • Be careful how you toss out empty boxes that contained presents. Putting these out for recycling advertises the contents that’s now inside your home.

    We hope you have a safe and happy holiday season! Please contact us for any other holiday safety questions!

    Do You Have A Medical Condition?

    Published August 14th, 2015 | By

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    It’s frightening to have an on-going medical condition. You never know when something could happen. But, if anything is true, it’s that it is always good to know that you aren’t alone. There are other people in your same shoes. And with ADT home monitoring in Canada, you are in good hands. If or when a “rainy day” occurs and you find yourself in a medical emergency, we are quick to respond and assist your specific situation. Just take it from Gilles Jones. Here is his amazing story:

     

    Gilles Jones, who lives in Lantier Quebec, is 73 years old and has diabetes. One day, he was in the kitchen, preparing some pizza in the oven when he suddenly collapsed in a diabetic shock. The fire alarm went off in the kitchen, which ADT’s monitoring center received. ADT was unable to contact Mr. Jones, who was still unresponsive, so the local fire department was contacted and dispatched. Mr. Jones was able to answer the phone on the second time that ADT tried to contact him. He was in bad shape— crawling on the floor, unable to turn off the oven.

     

    By the time the firemen arrived to the house, Mr. Jones was unresponsive on the floor and the house was filled with heavy smoke. The only way for them to enter was for them to break down the front door. Mr. Jones was not only in a dire medical situation; his house was about to be engulfed in flames. Quick action was needed to prevent two tragedies.

     

    According to Mr. Jones, had he not received assistance, he wouldn’t be alive to tell his story. He says, “As far as I’m concerned, ADT is part of my life.” He was so thankful by the entire situation; he even asked the fire fighters to take him to see the Myriam Nagy, the ADT operator who responded to his fire alarm alert.

     

    Myriam Nagy received a lifesaver reward and a beautiful bouquet of flowers—presented by none other than Mr. Jones himself. She and her team work together to save lives and make people feel safe—an honor that she is more than happy to embrace.

    Exactly How ADT Pulse Works

    Published March 28th, 2014 | By

    There’s a new, green, modern spin to home security protection. ADT Pulse provides complete home automation with all of the reliable features of ADT, the number one security provider in the country. The end result transforms an everyday home into a “smart” home— which reduces energy usage and subsequently, the monthly energy bill. It’s all due to the technology of Z-Wave wireless technology and the ADT Pulse mobile app.

     

    Z-Wave Technology

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    Z-Wave wireless technology is the main component to all smart home devices. It’s the bridge that enables your home and your device to all communicate together in one network. Using Z-Wave technology, you’ll be able to remotely set the thermostat, turn lights and appliances on/off. It doesn’t matter where you are— as long as you have a mobile device with Internet and the ADT Pulse app installed.

     

    Before you do anything, make sure your mobile device is compatible with Z-Wave wireless technology. ADT Protect Your Home features a list of Z-Wave enabled devices. See whether yours is one of them. The ADT Pulse app, it is available for download on different Internet-enabled mobile devices. These devices include: Android devices, the iPhone, iPad, and Blackberries. For any additional questions, please feel free to contact a customer service representative. 

     

    Make life less complicated with Z-Wave wireless technology. A press of a button controls your home and the components inside— giving you a peace of mind no matter where you are. You control and monitor what happens; even while on the go.

     

    ADT Pulse App

     

    ADT Pulse Home Automation

     

     When you open the ADT Pulse app, it opens up to the Pulse portal. The Pulse Portal is the control center to the ins and outs of your home. Here you can remotely adjust your home’s setting, view various statuses (thermostat temperatures, lights that are on/off, appliances that are running and more). It’s the eyes and ears to all you want to know—whether you are at home or away.

    What makes ADT Pulse so great is that not only do you have the reliance of ADT’s fast-response in the event of a situation, but you are able to customize your home and personally manage it.

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    Andrea Fisher is an online marketer and content specialist for limo rentals. She has been published in a variety of publications, including the Chicago Tribune and Business Insider. You can follow her other posts on Twitter.

    Holiday Home Safety Tips

    Published December 18th, 2013 | By

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    Everyone loves a good, funny holiday movie. One that may even come to mind might even be Home Alone. You know the film— where little eight year old Kevin McCallister is accidently left home alone…and chooses to defend his home against two, not-so-bright burglars. It’s a great holiday movie that will certainly bring a few laughs, but what if a similar event happened to you? The reality of the situation would be far from comical.

     

    In fact, home burglaries happen at an alarming rate during the holidays. Ask yourself, whether your home fully protected in the event of a break-in. Along with ADT’s advanced home security systems, these safety precautions will go a long ways each holiday season:

    • If you have an alarm system, a visible sticker or lawn sign are great at deterring potential burglars
    • Keep any bushes or trees trimmed back to keep your home more visible
    • Keep your windows and doors locked—a home burglary can happen anywhere, regardless of neighborhood
    • If you will be out of the house for a prolonged time, try setting your lights on timers or leave the TV on—it’s important to make your home look like someone is home
    • Holiday lights are attractive to see; just not for home burglars
    • If you keep gift receipts and also list the serial numbers of the items, it will help police track the items in the event that they are stolen
    • Do not advertise travel plans on social media or gifts received
    • Be cautions with solicitors this time of year; don’t let them come inside your home
    • Try to have packages delivered during times that you know you’ll be home
    • Break down boxes of holiday items—this will prevent items from being advertised out on the curb
    • Don’t advertise your tree and presents through an easily seen window or entry point
    • Have a trusted friend, neighbor, etc. watch over your home
    • Have your mail and newspaper held

     

    Be safe this holiday season. Follow these tips and enjoy what truly matters—important friends and family. Keep the home intruders out of your home—unless, of course, it’s only on the TV.

     

     

    Andrea Fisher is an online marketer and content specialist for iPhone spy software. She has been published in a variety of publications, including the Chicago Tribune and Business Insider. You can follow her other posts on Twitter.