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5 Ways Nest Indoor Camera Helps You Keep an Eye on Your Home Even When You’re Away

5 Ways Nest Indoor Camera Helps You Keep an Eye on Your Home Even When You’re Away

5 Ways Nest Indoor Camera Helps You Keep an Eye on Your Home Even When You’re Away

The Nest Indoor Camera can help you look after your home and family even if you’re away from the property.

Here are 5 key features of the Nest Indoor Camera that will help you keep an eye on your home even when you’re away:

1. Super Clear 1080p HD Video Quality

The Nest Indoor Camera has come a long way from the early days of surveillance cameras. Remember the days when surveillance cameras only produced grainy, blurry footage? These grainy and blurry images proved to be useless to police, private investigators and others using video surveillance for identification purposes.

The Nest Indoor Camera has a super clear 1080p HD video, which allows you clearly identify the people captured on the footage. Many video images captured by the Nest Indoor Cameras have helped police to capture home intruders.

In February 2016, police were able to positively identify the intruders in the home of a Massachusetts resident because of the clear footage that the Nest Indoor Camera was able to capture.

In April 2016, two men broke into the home of a Texas resident. The homeowner took a screenshot of the Nest Indoor Camera footage featuring the clear faces of the two intruders. They then made a flyer out of it and warned the neighbors. One of the burglars saw the flyer and turned himself in.

2. Built-in Speaker and Microphone

The Nest Indoor Camera is equipped with a microphone and built-in speaker, allowing you to not only hear what’s going on in your home, but also speak to whoever is there.

Using the Nest app, which you can download to your smartphone or tablet, you can watch, listen and speak to whoever is at your home.

In April 2016, a New Jersey resident saw intruders at her home through the Nest app. She drove the intruders away by yelling through the Nest app “Get out of my house!” Using the Nest Indoor Camera footage provided by the homeowner, police were able to find and arrest the perpetrators.

These amazing features of the Nest Indoor Camera also allow you to watch, listen and talk to your pets at home. For instance, if you see your dog sitting on the couch, you can speak to him through the built-in speaker and tell him to get off the couch!

3. 24/7 Live Streaming

Your Nest Indoor Camera doesn’t sleep on the job – it plugs into power so you never have to worry about a drained battery.

If you subscribe to Nest Aware, you won’t miss a thing. Nest Aware continuously records everything that’s going on, 24/7 for up to 30 days. You can review the full footage within the last 30 days – not just clips – just in case you haven’t had time to monitor your home.

If you don’t have time to review the entire footage, the Sightline feature of Nest Aware allows you to find what you’re looking for within seconds to avoid scouring through hours of footage.

Nest Aware pinpoints critical moments – actions that are worth watching – so that you aren’t watching random events.

You can also turn any footage that is captured by the Nest Indoor Camera into a clip and share it with friends, family members or the police – in the event that someone breaks into your home.

4. Person and Activity Zone Alerts

When you subscribe to Nest Aware and download the Nest app to your smartphone or your tablet, you can receive person and activity zone alerts.

The Nest Indoor Camera can differentiate between a person and a thing. For instance, if someone enters the room or if a person’s head appears in the frame, you’ll automatically receive a person alert via your mobile phone or tablet.

You can also identify important areas inside your home, like window, crib or the safe. If something happens in these identified areas, you’ll automatically receive an activity zone alert. By default, you’ll automatically receive an activity zone notification if there’s activity near your door.

5. Connectivity with Other Smart Home Products

The Nest Indoor Camera connects with other smart home devices that work with Nest products, such as the Nest Protect, the Nest Learning Thermostat or the Lutron Caseta Smart Lighting. It doesn’t take much effort to get these seemingly different smart home devices to work together.

With your smartphone or tablet, you have control over these smart home devices. These smart devices use sensors and algorithms to communicate with each other. For instance, when the Nest Protect senses carbon monoxide, your Nest Learning Thermostat can automatically turn off your furnace which could be causing the carbon monoxide.

In another instance, if no one’s at home and the Nest Indoor Camera senses a person, the Lutron Caseta Smart Lighting can turn on your lights to make it appear as if someone is home. Even if no one intrudes your home, this smart lighting system can randomly control lights to make it look like someone is home.

To connect other smart home devices with Nest, look for smart devices with the logo that says “Works with Nest”. To connect Nest products with the Lutron Caseta Smart Lighting, sign into your Lutron Caseta app and tell it to connect to Nest and then verify your Nest Account. Once you connect another smart home device to Nest, these connected smart devices will begin to do things for you, without you needing to program anything.

The Nest Indoor Cameras’ key features, including 1080p HD video quality, built-in speaker and mic, 24/7 live streaming, person and activity zones alerts, and connectivity with other smart home products, will give you peace of mind even when you’re away from home.

How to Protect Your Home from Water Damage via Flowie & Floodie Sensors

How to Protect Your Home from Water Damage via Flowie & Floodie Sensors

How to Protect Your Home from Water Damage via Flowie & Floodie Sensors 

Water damage is the number one reason why homeowners make insurance claims. This household disaster can be prevented through the use of the Flowie water sensor and Floodie companion sensor.

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), water damage trumps fire damage as today’s primary reason behind homeowner insurance claims.

Insurance companies typically don’t cover flooding in areas where flooding is a regular occurrence (since insurance isn’t designed to cover regular occurrences), but rather to protect against random, unpredictable risks. Damage to a home caused by the sudden and accidental bursting of plumbing pipes and appliances, according to IBC, is usually covered by all home insurance policies.

According to Northbridge Insurance, many of these water damage insurance claims are preventable through the use of the Flowie water sensor and Floodie companion sensor. The insurance company offers homeowners annual savings of up to $150 on home insurance when they purchase an Alert Labs Home Solution package, consisting of a Flowie water sensor and a Floodie companion sensor.

What is Flowie? What is Floodie?

The Flowie is a water sensor that can be installed in less than 2 minutes without the need of tools or technical expertise; it just straps onto the municipal water meter.

The Floodie is a sensor that can be installed in flood-prone areas of the house such as toilets, sinks, under or near hot water heaters, laundry areas, window wells, dishwashers and garages.

The Flowie gives you real-time notifications regarding leaks, water consumption, pipe freezing warnings, weather, temperature, power outages and humidity. The Floodie gives you real-time notifications whenever your toilet, sink, nearby water heater, laundry area, window well, dishwasher or garage is flooded.

Both the Flowie and Floodie – made by Alert Labs, an IoT technology company based in Kitchener, Ontario – send notifications to your computer or mobile device in real-time whenever the above-mentioned incidents take place. Both sensors are fitted with a back-up battery and can work without a Wi-Fi connection. Each sensor uses a cellular connection which guarantees continuous operation even during a power outage.

“Our technology tracks and analyses water consumption and customers are notified of incidents that could point to a leak, such as continuously running water,” said Alert Labs CEO George Tsintzouras. “This makes us different from a lot of other solutions that focus on alerting customers after a flood has taken place. Our goal is to help homeowners avoid the expense and hassle of water damage in the first place with technology that’s easy to use.”

Facts on Leaks

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a leaky faucet, dripping at the rate of one drip per second, can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water per year – this is the amount of water needed to take more than 180 showers.

EPA added that more than 500 gallons per year can be wasted by a shower leaking at 10 drips per minute – this is the amount of water it takes to wash 60 loads of dishes in your dishwasher.

According to EPA, the most common types of leaks found in the home, such as worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets and other leaking valves, can be easily corrected.

Here are some of the traditional ways to detect water leaks:

  • Observe water usage during colder months, including January or February.
  • If your household only consists of 4 family members, yet your water usage exceeds 12,000 gallons per month, this is a sign that your home has serious leaks.
  • Check water meter prior to and after a 2 hour period when water isn’t being used. If there’s a meter change, most likely your home has a water leak.
  • Put a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If any color shows up in the bowl after 10 minutes, then you have a leak. After this test, flush immediately to prevent staining the toilet tank.
  • Check pipe fittings and faucet gaskets for any sign of water leakage.

How Flowie Water Sensor Works

When the Flowie water sensor is strapped onto your existing municipal water meter, it measures how much water your home is using – it basically reads what your meter is reading.

The Flowie uses its own antenna and internal cellular device (similar to a smartphone) to communicate the information that it senses to Alert Labs’ servers.

If the sensor observes something out of the ordinary (perhaps a leak or water left running), a text message, email and in-app notification alerts will be sent to you right away. You can also set up “delegates”, such as a property manager or neighbor, to be notified of events.

You can monitor your home through the use of the Alert Labs app. Using your computer, tablet or smartphone, you can view data analytics that capture various statistics for your property, such as daily or monthly average water consumption and basement temperature vs. outdoor temperature.

This sensor also provides you with the following analytics and insights:

Relating to Water:

  • Usage, flow rates, costs, trends
  • Leaky toilets, running taps, water left on, burst pipes, etc.
  • Abnormalities identified and flagged for investigation
  • Flood alarms (start and stop)

Relating to Power:

  • Property power status
  • Power outage notifications
  • Power restored notifications

Relating to the Environment:

  • Outdoor/indoor temperature
  • Outdoor/indoor humidity
  • Storm warnings
  • Drop in temperature warnings
  • Freezing pipe alerts

Here is How to Save Money with Flowie

According to EPA, homeowners can save up to 10% on their water bills by fixing easily corrected household water leaks.

With the Flowie water sensor and Floodie companion sensor, $600 can be saved annually from a single leaking toilet; $42,000 can be saved from a flooded basement (average repair cost); $150 per year can be saved for insurance coverage that offers up to $150 or a 10% discount for installing Alert Labs’ Flowie and Floodie sensors.

3 Ways Google Home Helps You Do More in Less Time

3 Ways Google Home Helps You Do More in Less Time

3 Ways Google Home Helps You Do More in Less Time

Smart devices including Google Home are designed to make our lives easier and help us be more efficient. Google Home has rolled out 3 important updates to help you accomplish more tasks in less time.

1. Broadcast Your Voice

Shouting throughout your house to speak with a family member in a different room can be bothersome.

Google Home is introducing a better way to call out to family members through its update called “Broadcast”. You can use Google Home to broadcast your voice throughout your home to eliminate the need to shout.

Simply say, “Ok Google, broadcast:” followed by your message and it will be broadcasted to all Google Assistant enabled speakers in your home.

This is a great feature because it is quick and convenient – you don’t even need to touch your phone!

You can also broadcast your voice from one Google Home device to another. To get started ensure that all Google Home devices are on the same Wi-Fi network, at least one member of the household has signed into the Google Home app on each of the Google Home devices and turn off the “Disturb Not Disturb” function.

Broadcast also allows you to broadcast your voice from your smartphone to a Google Home device. To get started ensure that your smartphone meets the Google Assistant requirements, the same Google Account is signed in on both the smartphone and the Google Home device and that the “Do Not Disturb” function is off.

2. Voice Match

Google Home supports multiple users – up to six family members can now connect to one Google Home device.

What if you say, “Ok Google, good morning”, will it be able to give your daily briefing and not the daily briefing for your husband or your daughter?

Google Home can distinguish your voice from other family members. It’ll only provide your own commute time, your own appointments, your own playlist and your own personal contacts (in case you want to use the hands-free calling feature).

How to Use the Voice Match Feature

To use the voice match feature, follow these steps:

  1. Install the latest Google Home app.
  1. In the app, look for “multi-user is available” card. If you’re unable to see the card, click on the icon located in the top right corner to view all connected devices.
  1. Once you’ve located Google Home in the list of connected devices, choose “Link your account”. From here, you can teach Google Assistant – the AI behind Google Home – to distinguish who’s speaking.

How Voice Match Works

To interact with Google Home, you need to say one of these phrases “Ok Google” or “Hey Google”.

According to Yury Pinsky, Product Manager of Google Assistant, once either “Ok Google” or “Hey Google” is uttered, certain characteristics of the person’s voice is then analyzed by the AI.

Every time you say “Ok Google” or “Hey Google” to your Google Home, the AI will match your voice with its earlier voice analysis in order to determine who’s speaking. This matching process, according to Pinsky, happens in a matter of milliseconds.

3. Hands-Free Calling

Hands-free calling is another feature of Google Home that allows you to do more in less time.

Whether you’re in the kitchen preparing for dinner or in your room putting things back in order, you can now place calls by using just your voice via Google Home.

This functionality is only available in Canada and the U.S. It’s also completely free as long as your call recipient is in Canada or in the U.S.

Calling your Mom to wish her a happy birthday or simply ordering a Pizza is just an “Ok Google” or “Hey Google” away.

Up to six members of your household can connect to Google Home and connect their personal contacts. This device can distinguish your voice from your husband and your children. Therefore if you want to call your Mom, it will call only your Mom and not your husband’s Mom.

Broadcast, Voice Match and Hands-Free Calling are just three features of Google Home that’ll help you accomplish tasks more efficiently.

With Google Home, you can also control your other smart home devices with your voice. Google Home can be connected to smart products such as Nest, Philips Hue, Wemo, TP-Link, SmartThings, IFTTT, LIFX, Legrand, Lutron, Awair, D-Link, Deako, Emberlight, Hive, iDevices, iHome, Leviton, Nanoleaf and many more.

Using only your voice through Google Home, you can control your C by GE lights, find the perfect temperature of your Nest Thermostat, control your Whirlpool microwave and oven, control your LG washer, dryer and refrigerator and keep an eye on your home via Nest indoor and outdoor cameras.

Contact us today to learn more and make your home smarter with the latest technologies!

Benefits of Keyless Entry Using August Smart Lock

Benefits of Keyless Entry Using August Smart Lock

Benefits of Keyless Entry Using August Smart Lock

Your front door is the most frequently used door in the house. This is the point of entry and exit and is the point where you grant people access to enter your home.

Installing the August Smart Lock on your front door gives you the benefit of entering your home without a key.

August Smart Lock eliminates the need for keys. You’ll no longer have to fumble through your bag in search of your keys. You won’t need to search through a bunch of keys on your keyring to find the right one for the door. There will be no need to worry about being locked out because you forgot your key. With the August Smart Lock, you will no longer have to worry about losing your house key.

How Keyless Entry Works

Keyless entry or auto-unlock is one of the unique features of August Smart Lock. Without having to grab a key or your phone, August smart lock will automatically open the door for you as you approach it.

Technologies behind Auto-Unlock Feature

August Smart Lock uses the auto-unlocking action by relying on the following technologies:

  • August App
  • Bluetooth
  • Wi-Fi
  • GPS

For the auto-unlock feature, the Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS are regulated by the August App. In order for this smart lock to work, you need to download the August App to your phone. The auto-unlock feature recognizes whether you are at home or away to determine whether or not to unlock the door.

Home Mode

Auto-unlock will enter the “Home Mode” when you’re at home. During Home Mode, nothing happens automatically as you’re presumed to be at home. Home mode is activated after auto-unlock successfully unlocks your door.

Away Mode

Once auto-unlock recognizes that you’ve left your home – specifically that you’ve travelled over 200 feet away from home – auto-unlock will enter the “Away Mode”.

Upon returning home, the auto-unlock feature will start looking for your lock’s Bluetooth signal. Without needing to take out your phone, auto-unlock will detect when you are 10 to 15 feet from your door and will unlock it for you. It will then enter Home Mode again.

How to Optimize the Auto-Unlock Feature

1. Turn on your phone’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

The auto-unlock feature works best if you turn on both your phone’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth as your phone uses these two technologies to establish your true location. If your location can’t be determined, the auto-unlock feature won’t work correctly.

2. Take advantage of the August app notifications.

By default, the August app will notify you every time you are in the Home Mode or Away Mode.

3. Enter and exit with August Smart Lock installed.

Come and go through your front door without the need to use keys or your phone.

4. Turn on your August app.

If you turn off your August app, your Home or Away status can’t be determined. If your location can’t be established, August app won’t auto-unlock your door as a security measure.

5. Turn on your phone.

If you’re away from home, don’t turn off your phone as this disables the August app, your phone’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth – technologies that are necessary to power the August Smart Lock.

Turning off your phone will also result in failure to establish your Home or Away status. Once this happens, auto-unlock won’t function as a safety measure.

Keyless Entry for Family, Friends, Housekeepers

With the August Smart Lock, you’ll no longer have to worry about someone making an unauthorized copy of your key.

When you need to let family, friends, housekeepers etc. into enter your home when you’re not there, you can grant them access by sending each of them an invitation via the August app. After accepting your invitation, they’ll have instant access to your home based on the access levels that you’ve set.

Keyless Entry for Authorized Delivery Personnel

Early this year, August Home and Deliv, a leader in same day delivery services, announced a partnership for in-home delivery.

“With this new partnership, August Access customers will be able to opt for secure in-home delivery after the transaction with the retailer or business is completed,” August Home, in a statement, said. “If the customer authorizes an in-home delivery, August generates a one-time passcode. When the Deliv delivery specialist arrives, they ring the doorbell and a notification will be sent to the customer’s phone via the August app that the delivery is occurring. If no one answers the door, the Deliv delivery specialist will use the one-time passcode to unlock the door and drop off the package. Customers can even choose to watch the delivery take place in real-time through the August app or view a recording of it any time.”

Check out our smart bundles and give us a call to help you choose the right solution to make your home smarter, cozier and more efficient.

How August Smart Lock Keeps the Bad Guys Out, Keeps the Good Guys In

How August Smart Lock Keeps the Bad Guys Out, Keeps the Good Guys In

How August Smart Lock Keeps the Bad Guys Out, Keeps the Good Guys In

How many times have you run back to check if your front door is shut? Probably, too many to count. Consider incorporating the August smart lock into your smart home system.

August Smart Lock Keeps the Bad Guys Out

Worrying about your front door lock every time you go out of your home isn’t misplaced. According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, Inc. (InterNACHI), an astonishing 34% of burglars enter through the front door. The burglary rate in Canada is slightly higher than that of the U.S. (746 per 100,000 people), InterNACHI reported.

With August smart lock, you can check whether you lock your front door or not on your smartphone using the August app, available on Google Play and Apple App Store. You can also check the lock or unlock status of your door by asking your intelligent assistant Siri, Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

If you indeed forgot to lock your door, you don’t have to run back to close it. You can use your smartphone or Siri, Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to lock the door for you. Knowing that your door is locked even when you’re far away from home will give peace of mind. 

The August smart lock, when paired with its accessory August doorbell cam, can deter burglars. Most residential burglaries take place during the day when burglars think that you’re at work. The one-way camera of the August doorbell cam detects motion, takes a video and sends you an instant visitor alert to your smartphone.

With the August doorbell cam two-way speaker, you can keep the bad guys out by appearing to be at home even if you’re not by talking to whoever is in front of your door using your smartphone.

August Smart Lock Keeps the Good Guys In

While our front door is meant to keep the bad guys out, it’s also meant to keep the good guys in.

You can keep the good guys in with the August smart lock and doorbell cam. In an emergency situation where there’s a fire alert in your house and no one is at home, you can simply buzz in the fire department to stop the fire. No need for them to break down the door or windows.

In another scenario where your trusted relative or friend from out-of-town is already at your doorstep and you’re running late to meet him or her, you can send a secure virtual key or unique entry code via your August app for him or her to unlock the door.

Your trusted guest doesn’t need to use a smartphone to use the virtual key. Your trusted guest simply has to encode this virtual key on the August smart lock accessory called “August Smart Keypad”. You can also give virtual keys to other trusted individuals like your dogwalker or house cleaner.

These virtual keys or unique entry codes serve as spare keys for people you trust. Unlike traditional keys, these virtual keys can’t be lost or copied without your knowledge. You can monitor anytime of the day the locking and unlocking of your door using the August app.

Here are 2 instances August smart keeps the bad guys out and keeps the good guys in:

1. August smart lock keeps package thieves out.

The prevalence of doorstep deliveries has significantly increased in the recent years due to the rise of online shopping. Based on a survey commissioned by August Home Inc. and carried out by research firm Edelman Intelligence (PDF), the majority of packages delivered at the doorsteps are stolen during the day when the greater part (74%) of homeowners are out.

The Edelman Intelligence survey revealed that more than 1 in 4 homeowners that experienced package theft in the past say it would be ideal if delivery personnel could leave packages directly inside their homes, instead of the doorstep.

Ninety-two percent of the respondents agree that the ability to see anyone at the doorstep via a doorbell cam from anywhere using the smartphone provides peace of mind. Eighty-six percent of the Edelman Intelligence survey respondents mention the value of a smart lock in allowing packages to be left inside the home without the need of leaving the door unlocked.

2. August smart lock secures your short-term rental.

Short-term rental is a growing global business. According to Euromonitor International, the global short-term rental business is projected to hit $51 billion by 2020, due in part to the strong growth of players like Airbnb. A big number of vacationers are choosing short-term rentals over hotels as they feel more at home with all the necessary amenities.

If you’re renting out your home on a short-term basis, the findings below from a survey about smart home system commissioned by August Home Inc. and carried out by research firm Edelman Intelligence (PDF) will give you peace of mind.

  • 92% of business travelers say they are more likely to complete their short-term rental reservation if the property has smart home system
  • 60% of guests say they would pay more for a short-term rental with smart home features, including smart lock and doorbell camera
  • 48% of guests say smart home features allow them not to coordinate with short-rental hosts when arriving or departing the property
  • 46% of guests say smart home features provide an easier system for checking-in and checking-out
  • 45% of guests say smart home features allow them to remotely confirm they have locked the door when they leave the rental property
  • 66% of short-rental hosts say smart lock is a stress-reliever as they don’t have to worry about guests forgetting to lock the door
  • 34% of hosts say that with the smart lock, they don’t need traditional keys where someone other than the guest might find them
  • 35% of hosts see the benefit of being able to see, speak and grant access to someone at the door remotely using the smart lock and smart doorbell cam
  • 45% of hosts say smart locks make their rental properties more secure
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