So let’s talk locks. As in, locks as part of home automation.
I’ve been experimenting with our new toy over the last couple of days. You probably saw the little starter video on our Facebook page. Yes, it does lock. Yes, it also unlocks. All the little features you’d expect are there, including the audio alerts of opening and closing, and the annoying alarm when you do something wrong.
But I’m not here to tell you basic stuff about locks and their features. Safe to assume you know that already. No, the inspiration for this article is what we learned after I bound it to our Z-wave hub.
So here’s the thing.
I had a few criteria for adding z-wave devices to the alarm system that had to be met to consider it safe to sell as a security product. You may have others not answered here. Ask away, but let’s list the answered one first.
- Do the alarm and Z-Wave interact at all?
Your alarm cannot be disarmed by a deadbolt. In fact, I’m relatively certain your deadbolt is not even really aware of the alarm system at all. You can add and re-add all the devices you want. Z-wave devices are what we call “slaves” to the hub. They take instructions, but they do not give them.
2. Can devices be used from app?
Yes. You can unlock and lock whatever locks are attached to your network. But that’s all you can do. The rest has to be done from inside the account page we set up for you during an install.
That said, most features on z-wave devices have to be programmed either at the device or using the methods described by the manufacturers. Once programmed, they will do exactly as told and the app will bring you their status with some essentially operating capabilities.
3. Can devices by programmed from the app?
The lock I set up showed up as a separate, z-wave device. The phone app showed little-to-no programming capability, only able to lock and unlock it remotely.
This may sound like a drawback, but I’m gonna come right out and say it. It’s not. It’s a feature. And it’s a wonderfully safe feature.
If the answer had been yes, the Helix would not have been our system of choice. Again, the last thing I want is to expose your security to outside influence. Keeping the programming at the device is 100% necessary. At least at this point in time.
The only exception is the “scenes” function. “Scenes” are basically one-touch arming scenarios that process commands to separate devices based on what the design is for. For instance;
“Scene”; Patio open – Unlock electronic lock on patio door only, Bypass patio door contact, keep rest of perimeter armed
Basic. Scenes can only be programmed from a computer, but your phone will show them as operational functions once they are complete.
Those were the major questions
At this time there are still some programming hoops to jump through for scenarios, scenes, timers and auto-arming that I’m working on, but we expected the added depth from this Hub.
The most impressive feature of the the Helix is the versatility it’s maintained while also keeping it’s security levels high.
I’ll break down some basic scenes as testing continues. Who knows? We may even have some demos to show as we build these systems out. That would be nice for everyone.