Home Automation

Below are links to articles posted in Home Automation.

Smart Homes Keep Kids Safe After School December 15th, 2016

Do you leave your kids home alone?

According to a survey of working parents, one in five children ages 6 to 12 is regularly left without adult supervision after school. For many families, this is the best solution. Of course, children must have some basic skills, a level of maturity, and their parent’s trust to be left at home alone. Smart home technology is helping to put working parents’ most common worries to rest and making it safer for kids to stay at home alone.

How does Smart Home technology help working parents?

Smart Locks

Welcome to the life of the modern latchkey kids. Thanks to smart home technology, latchkey kids no longer have to carry a key around their neck. Gone are the fears of your child losing their key on the playground and being locked out of the house until you come home after work. Smart locks have the ability to be controlled by the parent from afar. If you know your child always walks in at 3:15 you can set the door to unlock then. Or if they are going to be late with an after-school activity you can unlock it from your smartphone at the new designated time. Children can also have their own “digital” key, which means they input a code into the lock to get into the house. A great safety feature of this technology is you can lock the door directly from an app on your iPhone or Android smartphone. No more sitting in a meeting worrying if your child locked the door after they came home.

Remote control access and video feeds keep kids safe

Another great safety feature is you can monitor who comes in and out 24/7 with an activity log on your smartphone.

Once a child is safely at home, you can arm or disarm the alarm system from your phone or computer. Managing the home environment is easy too. With a smart home you can set specific lights to come on at 3:15 and for the air or heat to kick in a few minutes before your child comes home, making the house comfortable for them.

Now that your child is safe inside, you can also monitor what he/she does with internal IP video feeds. With a click on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, you can see what is going on in different areas of the house. Is homework being done or are video games being played? Are healthy snacks being chosen or junk food? You can easily check-in and see. Children appreciate rules and routine so this kind of parental involvement, even while you are at work can add needed structure to their day.

Remote notifications of fire or carbon monoxide leaks and more

A smart house is equipped with the alarm system also to monitor for fire or carbon monoxide. If either were detected an alert would be sent to your phone as well as the call center.

Another great safety feature that is easy to incorporate into a smart home is a video doorbell like the Skybell video doorbell. The doorbell rings at 4 o’clock. Both you and your child on separate devices can check and see who is there. Is it your son’s best friend asking him to come over and play? An important package that needs signing? Or a dreaded door-to-door salesman? With a video doorbell, you decide if you want your kid to get the door. Even better, you can “answer” the door from afar. Using your smartphone, you can speak through the Skybell video doorbell and tell the salesman you are not interested. They will never know your child is in there alone since an adult just “answered” the doorbell.

Smart homes are making after school safer for kids today. Call us or fill out this form to get in touch with us about Honeywell smart home technology from Fortress Security, a leader in Texas home security, professional monitoring, and smart technology.


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Home Automation and Remote Monitoring – The Simple Way to Manage your Security System August 17th, 2016


Home automation is the wave of the future, and the future is now. Now all of your devices, and we are not just talking tablets and smartphones, can connect to the Internet. In the industry, it’s called the Internet of Things (IoT). Today your alarm, garage door, lights, doorbells, appliances, thermostat, really, almost anything, can take commands and communicate.

You can install or upgrade your security system to be able to monitor your home, inside and out, from a simple app on your smart phone. No need to be home to arm or disarm your system. You can turn it on and off virtually with your smart phone from afar. Say you already made it into work, and you realized you didn’t activate the security system, simply arm it from the security app you downloaded to your phone. This also works great if you locked up the house, set the alarm, headed out for the day and then realized the housekeeper is on her way and she doesn’t have to code to get in. You can “keep tabs” on your home while you’re away. To life even easier, multiple people in the house can have the same app in a household.

How widely adopted is Home Automation?

That is just the beginning of the age of home automation. According to current research, the home automation industry will reach 22 billion dollars in revenue by 2020. Right now you can also lock and unlock doors, make sure the garage is closed, turn on and off the lights, manage the thermostat, and watch streaming surveillance camera video from your front porch all from your iPhone, Android or tablet. Fortress Security’s Total Connect smartphone app lets you control your complete smart home security system from the palm of your hand from inside or away from your house.

Another great feature of home automation security systems is the ability to create a variety of home events like, “bedtime” or “leave for work.” Program an event and your security system and other smart home features will automatically control or activate selected devices throughout your home for that particular event.  For example, your “leave for work” event can arm the security system, dim lights, lock doors and adjust the thermostat.  Your “bedtime” event can arm the alarm, turn down the thermostat and turn off all lights.

Security systems with home automation are easier than you think for the end-user. You might be surprised how easy it is to bring home automation into your home and simplify your lifestyle.

Fortress Security offers a wide range of home and business security capabilities and system options to protect your valuables. Give us a call or fill out an online to form to request a free quote today.

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5 Obvious (and Not so Obvious) Ways a Home or Business Security System Can Save You Money August 4th, 2016

If you run a business, small or large, you know how important a security system is to your bottom line. You are aware of the obvious ways a business security system can save you money, for example against theft protection. But there are also some less visible ways a business or a home security system can offer long-term savings. For example, a good home or business security system can help you save beaucoup bucks on electricity costs among other savings. Here are five other reasons why installing a security system is a good investment for your home or company-

  1. A Security System Deters Theft

Theft can happen from within your company and outside your company.

Inside Jobs – According to 2015 research provided by Statistic Brain, $50,000,000,000 is stolen annually from U.S. businesses by employees. Clearly, there are many, more complicated, ways to steal from a company, other than just taking cash from a register. From inventory theft to stealing customer data or copying digital assets that belong to the company – it’s all stealing and hurts your bottom line. A business security system can prevent and deter common theft and make employees think twice before they take what is not rightfully theirs. Most of the time employees take because it is easy, not because of financial reasons.

Outside jobs – Your company may be the target of theft from the outside too. From professional thieves to someone desperate for money to fuel an addiction, an unprotected workplace is an easy be a target.

According to the Crime Doctor, a home burglary occurs every fifteen minutes. Most residential burglaries happen during the day when homes are not occupied. A home alarm and a visible sign can go a long way to protect your residence and offer home security system savings. The most popular time for a burglary to occur is right now- during the summer months. According to the FBI, the average dollar loss per burglary in the U.S. is $2,185. Loss actually accounts for much more than that as you can’t put a price on the loss of peace of mind.

  1. A Security System Can Provide Insurance Savings

Installing a home or business security system can offer you plenty of property insurance savings. If you own a business you are going need something to offer and… insurance. Depending on the kind of business you have you may need, among other coverages, general liability insurance, property insurance, commercial auto insurance, workers compensation and a business umbrella policy. Your needs will likely be a mix of these coverages. Needless to say this all can be a good chunk of change and any way you can save it helps. A business security system can help gain some valuable insurance discounts from your insurance company.

This goes for the homestead too. An initial investment in a security system can offer long-term insurance savings. Insurance agencies can offer discounts up to 20% for auto insurance when a home security system is installed.

  1. Automation of Lights Offered from a Security System Offers Energy Savings

John is the last to leave the office. He’s in a hurry, and he doesn’t have the time to walk through the office and turn off all the lights. Your energy savings just went out the door with John. In an office environment, light sensors can detect activity in a certain area and go on when you enter the room, and turn off soon after the last occupant has left the room. They are easy to install and this kind of automation can offer a company significant savings in the long run. It is the future of electricity management and an easy to manage cost-saving business measure.

This also goes for smart homes. When you get tired of yelling, “____ turn off the lights when you leave a room.” It’s time for a smart home and some smart savings.

  1. A Security System Saves Money with Automated Climate Control Systems

Did you know that a thermostat controls half your energy bill? On average a smart thermostat saves 10-12% on heating and 15% on cooling. Most homes and offices waste vast amounts of energy heating and cooling areas that are vacant some of the time. For a home or office, automated climate control systems can be set to adjust to patterns observed and learned. An automated climate control system for a home or office can provide huge savings from controlling the temperature. You can program it to be off when people aren’t home during the day or aren’t at an office at night. If no one is in the office 7pm -7am then the air should be off. It can also be programmed to heat and cool only certain rooms or zones. If no one is ever in a board room then you can shut it down – just like with an unused guest room in the house. 

  1. Water, Fire and Gas Detection

You can’t put a cost on the safety and protection of your friends, family and colleagues. Knowing that your company or home is protected against a gas leak or a fire is immeasurable. Carbon monoxide sensors guard against the threat of invisible, odorless carbon monoxide poisoning. Monitored smoke detectors can protect your home or office and can catch a fire in its earliest stages. The statistics are shocking. According to the National Fire Protection Association in 2014, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 367,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 2,745 deaths, 11,825 civilian injuries, and $6.8 billion in direct damage. According to the same association three out of five home fire deaths happen from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Flooding and storm damage, leaking appliances, busted water heaters, overflowing tubs can be expensive endeavors to fix in a home or an office. According to Homewyse, it can range from $11.30 – 24.40 a foot to repair in a residence. Water leak detection monitoring can catch a problem early when it is much less expensive to fix.

Fortress Security offers a wide range of home and business security capabilities and system options to protect your valuables. Give us a call or fill out an online to form to request a free quote today.

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How an Automated Home Security System Works March 14th, 2016


Your milk is about to expire. How do you know? Your smart fridge just let you know. This technology isn’t available at most houses yet, but it will be soon. Every day, an average of 5.5 million smart devices are being connected in homes around the world. According to Gartner research there will be 6.4 billion of these “Internet of Things” devices by year’s end, and 20.8 billion devices by 2020. Automated homes are the wave of the future, and the future is here.

Smart home door locks, smart home thermostats, smart home security systems and cameras: you’ve heard the phrase smart home be thrown around, but what does it mean?

A smart home means an automated home. Tasks are done automatically without the owner manually having to do anything. No more leaving the key under the mat. You can remotely unlock your door from an app while at work to let in your housekeeper. Your smart thermostat “learns” that you leave for work every day at 8:30 AM. Following this pattern it turns down the air while you’re at work and then cycles back on so it’s the perfect temperature for when you get home. Saving you money, around an average of 33% (using this smart thermostat) in the process.

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Best Practices – What is an automated home security system, and how does it work? February 26th, 2016


Simply put, an automated home security system means your home is programmed to your lifestyle needs, wants and preferences. Want your lights to come on when the sun goes down, regardless of if you’re at home or not? Maybe you need to let someone in, but you can’t get to the door? Or, for budgetary reasons, do you want to set your home’s temperature to optimal settings only when someone’s in the house? All of this, and more, are some of the conveniences that come with an automated home system.

With a smart home and an automated system, you can arm and disarm your security system and camera system according to a schedule, remotely control camera monitoring and recording, manage your temperature settings, turn lights on and off, lock and unlock doors, and manage major appliance controls. Just set it and forget it.

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Home Automation Q & A November 4th, 2015

Smart home automation and energy management is still a relatively new concept and many families are starting to add these features to their home, for financial savings as well as home security. Consumers still have plenty of questions about what home automation is and what the benefits are. Let us help you out with some answers.


Q: Is automation the same as timers on thermostats and lights?

A: No, although time-based events can be part of your set up. Home automation combines timed events with the use of “scenes” that you can select with the click of a button. Since your schedule isn’t the same every day, planning out energy management by the clock won’t always work perfectly.

Scenes are designed around a set of circumstances your home will be in daily. For instance, when you choose “Goodnight,” your thermostat, lighting, locks, and alarm will all change to exactly how you would like them to be activated while you’re asleep. So if you go to bed at 11 p.m. instead of 10 p.m., you won’t have to worry about timed alarm settings being armed or the home heat dropping too soon.

A setting like “Away” customizes all of the settings you prefer when you’re not at home. Instead of just setting your home security alarm when you leave the house, you can also change lighting, and heating and cooling settings with the same touch of a button.
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Save on Heating Bills with Home Automation Tools November 12th, 2014

After a brief fall reprieve in home energy costs, get ready to see your bills start to increase again, this time for home heating. But with the right home automation tools, you can manage your utility usage to reduce those expenses.

Mother Nature seems to be unsure which season we are in here in Texas – this fall has been unusually unpredictable! Fortress Security takes the reigns from Mother Nature and gives you control with the Honeywell Z-Wave Thermostat. The savings will add up and you can buy something nice for your significant other or take the family on an outing. Either way you win!

This thermostat is designed for quick installation and easy use. Packed with convenient features, it gives you the ability to remotely manage your home’s temperature and save money by reducing energy consumption.
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Shrink Household Bills with Energy Management Technology July 16th, 2014

If you haven’t heard much talk about smart home automation and energy management yet, you will soon. As household utility bills have been rising, so has the popularity of systems that control heating and cooling digitally.

Also called “The Internet of Things,” smart home technology is the next logical step for a world in which people access nearly every aspect of their lives online, from making mortgage payments to buying movie tickets. Now instead of worrying what the thermostat is set to, or if you left the lights on, you can immediately log in and see for yourself.
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