ADT Adding Support for IFTTT

ADTlogoFor those unfamiliar with IFTTT, it’s an app that provides automation between different services. Using “recipes,” you can have certain events trigger various tasks. For example, you can create a recipe that monitors your Instagram account and uploads any new pictures to your Dropbox.

Security system companies like ADT and Vivint have been jumping on the home automation bandwagon lately. This means that in addition to alarm systems, they can provide things like smart thermostats and small appliance controls.

Adding IFTTT into the mix, which ADT is apparently doing according to this article from Engadget, would mean that you could have your coffee maker set to start brewing when your smart watch detects that you’re awake. Or that you could have your front door opening when you get home at night trigger your lights to turn on.

This service is only entering beta testing now, but it’ll be interesting to see how it unfolds once it becomes public.

Why I don’t like motion sensors

Motion sensorMotion sensors have been a staple of home security systems for as long as such systems have existed. But they may not be the ideal choice for most homeowners.

First, motion sensors aren’t always completely reliable. They detect changes in infrared energy within their field of vision. Should someone wear clothing that shields their infrared energy, and/or if they move very slowly, they can defeat a motion sensor.

Motion sensors are also highly prone to false alarms. Any quick changes in sunlight within their field of view, for example, can trip them.

A second big issue with motion sensors is that they only work after the burglar is already inside your home. A better option is to use window sensors and glass break detectors on ALL windows in your house–in addition to door sensors, of course. That way if a burglar opens any door or window, or breaks any glass, the alarm will be tripped BEFORE they actually get inside your home.

Lastly, motion sensors leave one big hole in your home security system: they are not armed when you use the “Armed Stay” function. Of course they can’t be, otherwise you’d trip the alarm as you move about your house. But this means there’s a hole in your alarm coverage while you’re asleep at night.

Use window sensors and glass break detectors on all of your windows, and you’re completely covered, even while you sleep at night.

Testing your glass break detectors

Glass break simulatorIt’s super important to test your alarm system at least once every six months, or after you add new sensors. Easy enough for door and window sensors. What about glass break detectors?

To test these, you need a glass break simulator. You can get one on Amazon by clicking here.

To use it, start by putting the glass break detector in test mode. With the 2Gig/Vivint models, do this by pressing and holding the button on the detector for a few seconds. It will flash when it’s entered test mode.

Next, go to a window within range of the detector. Activate the glass break simulator. Hold it near the window, and hit the glass with your fist–hard enough to make a “thud” sound, but obviously not so hard that you break the window!

When the simulator “hears” the thud, it will emit a glass break noise. The 2Gig/Vivint glass break detector will flash the green LED when it detects the thud, and then the red LED when it “hears” the glass break simulation.

Detectors from other companies will work in a similar manner; make sure to check your owner’s manual for specific instructions.