More details of Rogers home security service emerge FeaturedWritten by Linda Johnson 31 August 2011
Rogers Communications new home monitoring system may be a sign that it’s not enough anymore for an alarm system just to prevent break-ins. The system has to be able to turn on the lights and turn up the heat before you come home.
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The new remote system, Smart Home Monitoring, which allows an owner to control alarms and sensors from a computer or smartphone, can be used to do everything from turning off the coffee pot to reminding you to put the garbage bins out.
“This is very far advanced,” said Ian Pattinson, vice-president and general manger, Smart Home Monitoring, at the system’s official launch at a Toronto townhouse. “But it’s very easy to use, even for new users.”
The system provides real-time, 24-hour monitoring. When an alarm is set off, a signal goes to a central monitoring station, which alerts police.
The central feature of the system is a touchpad, a box that runs on both Rogers cable and wireless networks and is used to control alarms and sensors throughout the house. It also has a speaker phone, activated when an alarm goes off. The phone allows a person to speak to someone at the central monitoring station.
A person can also use the touchpad to get access to a host of apps — so at a touch, you can get sports highlights, the day’s weather forecast or find out what the traffic is like. Multiple screens allow a person to add the apps of their choice.
That’s done through the other key feature, the Rogers web portal, where the customer sets up “rules” — the instructions that control not just when alarms and sensors go on and off but also when to send out an email or text message. You can tell the system what to do if an alarm goes off or when a certain password is allowed. You can tell it to alert you by email or text message when your 15-year old is arriving home (with video or photo, if you like) or if a front window is opened when everyone is out.
“There’s nothing worse than not knowing what’s going on in your home,” Pattinson said. “This gives you incredible peace of mind.”
Rules also control the sensors, which can be set up anywhere. You can tell the system when to turn off the curling iron and at what temperature to set the thermostat.
“You tune it to what you want, and we’re learning that customers are finding interesting ways to do something,” Pattinson says.
The customer receives alerts by smartphone and can also use it to arm or disarm a door or window in the house and to remotely view an area. This means, of course, that when an alarm goes off and the central monitoring station sends an alert to a customer’s smartphone and web portal, the owner can see if it is a false alarm and prevent police response.
“The number one problem with traditional alarm systems is false alarms, but now I can control it from multiple devices,” says Pattinson. “If an alarm goes off, I have a much better idea of what’s going on.”
The system is available only in Ontario, in cities currently serviced by Rogers. (So it’s available in Kitchener, but not in Hamilton.) Customers must have Rogers cable high speed Internet. Installation costs and monthly packages run from $39.99 (Basics) to $48.99 (Essentials) and up to $57.99 (Ultimate). Installation costs $99.99, and the touchpad starter kit is $149 on a three-year term, or $749 with no term.
The two more expensive plans include smoke and fire, carbon monoxide and water leak monitoring.
Rogers will be taking advantage of their bundling pricing system to promote the new service, Pattinson suggested.
“This is not just about home security. It’s also about home automation and energy management and a connected life with the rest of Rogers’ products. When you’ve got Rogers cable and you’ve got Rogers wireless and you’ve got Rogers Smart Home Monitoring, the entire service is going to be better together,” he said.
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