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Posts Tagged ‘Smart Home Monitoring’
What celebrity duo ruled Instagram this year? And how do you program your Christmas lights with Rogers Smart Home Monitoring system? We’ve got answers to all that and more in this week’s edition of the weekend reading.
The New Year is right around the corner, but everyone is already starting to share their year in review lists. Twitter rolled out its #YearOnTwitter, with highlights in news, entertainment, sports and a showcase of the “hand-picked” best tweets of the year. You can also browse previous years’ selections.
Google, meanwhile, released the Google Zeitgeist for 2013, offering up a year in review video as well as the top 100 searches of 2013 – everything from the most searched Canadians (including a certain mayor) to our favourite cocktails. Over on Facebook, the most talked about topic was Pope Francis.
The BBC also pulled out some online highlights of 2013. While the list is a little bit UK-centric –be prepared for lots of One Direction – we learned that Justin Bieber and Will Smith starred in the top photo on Instagram and the most popular place to upload an Instagram photo was the Siam Paragon shopping complex in Bangkok. Runners up included Times Square and Disneyland.
Don’t feel left out –you too can create a photo highlight of your year on Facebook. Logging in with your personal account, you can have Facebook curate your top 20 moments of 2013. The “Year in Review” feature includes life events and popular posts – check it out at: www.facebook.com/yearinreview.
We’ll soon be revealing our tops hits of the year that was– so stay tuned! What was memorable for you in 2013?
Your ideas in action!
Since Rogers Idea Box launched in August, our customers have submitted more than 130 ideas about how Rogers can improve your customer support experience. After ideas are posted, they’re shared and voted on, with the most popular ideas reviewed by our team. And this week we shared that six of your ideas have already launched! From changing the process of downloading your My Rogers bill online and additional tech support to better reporting of malicious activities and making the MyRogers App available on WiFi, customers are already seeing Idea Box posts in action. Have an idea? Share it today!
Home has been top of mind this week. Not only am I headed home for the holidays, my bags are all packed and I’m ready to go! But like many travellers, I worry about my home while I’m away, so I brushed up on home safety tips from our Rogers Smart Home Monitoring team.
We also caught up with three Canadian bloggers who have been testing the Smart Home Monitoring system for the past year. During our Google + Hangout, we learned about keeping an eye on loved ones, family fun and games and hunky firefighters. Watch the full conversation here.
How do you keep your home safe when you’re on the road?
Weekend Reading will return in 2014.
Canadian bloggers Heather Hamilton, Mara Shapiroand Rebecca Stanisic have spent the past year trying out Rogers Smart Home Monitoring, while sharing their favourite features and how the service helped them keep their house and family safe whether they were travelling or staying home. We joined them for an online chat about what life was like with the home monitoring security system.
Hamilton, Shapiro and Stanisic all rave about the cameras – they allow them to feel safe at home. For example, they always know who is ringing the doorbell and can check in remotely on the kids, a package waiting at the stoop, or even their husbands, while away from home. They say the system’s security and alarm features were customizable and straightforward to use.
The women also say they love being able to control thermostats, lights, and air conditioning from the console as well as from their mobile apps or the web. And setting rules to your thermostat or your lights is super easy! (Learn more about that at 6:42 in the video.)
We also learned how the system became part of their family life. Their kids loved checking the weather from the console (11:26) and even played tricks on each other with the cameras (13:10). Hamilton also explains how she and her 10-year-old are using Smart Home Monitoring to help him feel ready to stay home by himself (13:59).
There’s more to learn in the video below, and make sure you don’t miss the story about the hunky firefighters(23:40)!
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The second Dec. 1 hits, it always feels like my calendar has been kicked into overdrive. Where previously I had listed carefully scheduled workout classes and date nights, I’ve suddenly got back-to-back shopping trips, holiday parties and dinners. Not to mention the all-important travel plans to visit my parents back East.
By Jan. 2, I always wonder if the holiday decorations were worth it – I haven’t been home in a month! In between, though, I worry about how safe my home is while I’m out of town.
So just in time for the holiday season, the Rogers Smart Home Monitoring team shares five simple ways to keep your home safe while you’re travelling.
- Lock it down. Double check that all windows, doors, gates and garage doors are locked. While you’re at it, remove any spare keys from obvious hiding spots such as under your doormat or flowerpots.
- Get a helping hand. Arrange for a friend or neighbour to check in every couple of days to verify all is well, bring in any mail and water your plants.
- Automate your security system. Advanced security systems can now do way more than a simple alarm. For example, In addition to sending real-time alerts via email or text message, Rogers Smart Home Monitoring can control heat levels, lights and small appliances through an app on your smartphone or tablet.
- Be energy efficient. Manage your holiday energy costs by automating your lights and thermostats and unplugging small appliances such as your toaster and coffeemaker. To help prevent your pipes from freezing, don’t turn your heat down any lower than 13°C.
- Make it look lived in: To keep your absence on the down-low, try to make your home look occupied. Put your newspaper subscription on hold and automate your lights with Smart Home Monitoring.
Download the Rogers Smart Home Monitoring Demo App to get a sneak peek of the Smart Home Monitoring system features.
Safe travels this holiday! Where will you be travelling this year?
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Whether you’re travelling to score some sales or to visit family for the holidays, it’s hard not to worry about your home when you’re away.
For Rebecca Stanisic, also known as @BitofMomsense, Rogers Smart Home Monitoring reassured her that all was well at home while her family travelled this summer, visiting Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Windsor, Ont. Thanks to the app on her smartphone, she was able to check in on her home from the beach, see if a parcel was left on her stoop, and make sure the doors and windows were all secure.
“I love knowing a text, email and phone call will come if something happens, but we weren’t looking at the security of the house so much as the other utilities – the temperature, the camera and so on. It’s just that extra peace of mind that I love,” explains Rebecca, who is test-driving the system for a year. While she was in P.E.I. in July, Ottawa was hit by a heatwave, but Rebecca was able to adjust her air conditioning on the go.
The system has become part of their family routine, with the console in the kitchen letting them do everything from check the weather to arm their security system at night.
Rebecca says Smart Home Monitoring has also given her a sense of freedom. Impromptu weekend trips are easily planned “without worrying about anything. If there was an issue, we would have gotten notified.”
Do you protect your home when you go away on vacation or for a weekend?
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Our furry friends are adorable, but they require some work. We need to walk them, feed them and, of course, they do need some adult supervision. That’s where Rogers Smart Home Monitoring comes in.
Stacey O’Handley’s family – which includes three kids, three dogs, a cat and fostered rescue dogs – likes to use their system to check on the home and allay fears “that someone left the stove on (or) a door open.” Her husband also likes to check the history to make sure their 15-year-old has left for school on time. But recently, just a few weeks after the family started to foster a five-year-old lab named Oscar, her husband checked in – then raced home.
“As soon as he logged in, Oscar walked right into view of the camera with a steak knife in his mouth!” He drove home immediately, and made sure the knife – with a few new chew marks – was safely stowed away.
The family has since adopted Oscar, and Stacey says her husband likes the peace of mind of being able to check in on his beloved dogs wherever he is. She feels she sleeps more soundly being able to check that all doors and windows are all secure. And her nine year-old boy, “just likes to look on the camera to watch [her] husband kissing all the dogs goodbye at the front door every morning.”
Sometimes, the concern isn’t just about what your pets are doing when you’re away – but also includes the people looking after them. When you work full time and have a dog sitting at home, a dog walker can help break up the long days. Jake Watson hired a walker, but started to worry that his dog wasn’t actually getting the promised exercise. Using his Rogers Smart Home Monitoring cameras, he “set the system to film the first 15 seconds after someone opened the door and then send the clip to me via email,” he explains. “That’s when I saw that our dog walker would come in and pick up the money from the table and then leave without having taken the dog for a walk.” Problem solved.
Want to keep an eye on Fido and Fluffy? Rogers Smart Home Monitoring is expanding to 28 additional cities and towns in New Brunswick and Newfoundland this fall for all families, with or without pets!
How do you check in on your pets while you’re out of your house?
Ottawa blogger Rebecca Stanisic has been test-driving our Rogers Smart Home Monitoring system for six months and recently blogged about her experience. The good news? She loves her Ultimate Home setup, which includes all the bells and whistles: an outdoor camera, glass breaks, a water alarm, carbon monoxide detector, temperature control, motion detectors and door/window alarms, as well as the central control hub.
Or, in her own words:
“Most of my friends and family when they ask me about the system want to know one simple answer: Do we like it? I can summarize this post with this easy statement and spoiler alert: We are extremely happy with the system (I’ve been known to use the word love) AND will likely be purchasing a plan when my year of review is done. (Stay tuned in December for a final post to see what our final decision is!).
So what are we liking about it? I’ll start with the monitoring set up. It’s very similar to our old system – there’s a station that is monitoring our alarms, and when needed will send police to the home, if we don’t request otherwise. That for us hasn’t changed. However, here’s a big difference. Our false alarms are handled much more efficiently. When we forget to turn off the alarm and open up the patio door, setting it off, we can disarm instantly and rather than having to wait for the monitoring station to call and for us to report a false alarm, if we disarm it within a short amount of time, the monitoring station isn’t notified. Perfect.”
Check out her blog for her full review, including a breakdown of the individual features and where she’s hit some snags with the service.
What safety features give you peace of mind when you’re away from home?
Jennifer is a regular contributor to RedBoard.
As Earth Day approaches, we chatted with blogger Heather Hamilton, A.K.A. @tjzmommy on Twitter, about how her family does its part for the environment, websites that help teach her kids about energy savings and how Rogers Smart Home Monitoring (a system she’s trying out for a year) is helping her family, as well as the Earth.
What energy savings strategies do you use at home?
We are very conscious of our energy consumption in our house and it’s great to see that our kids have also jumped on board with our strategies. As a family, we are vigilant about turning off lights when we aren’t in the room and turning down the thermostat when we are not home. Since we have two boys, they do like to keep the lights on at night, but we have all worked hard to limit the energy to a small nightlight in the room, rather than leaving on a full bathroom light!
How do you teach your children about energy savings? Any cool apps or games you could recommend?
My kids love anything interactive on the computer, so here are our favourite energy- and eco-focused sites for kids:
- EcoKids has some great online games for kids to teach them about being energy efficient around the house and allows them to be part of the solution;
- Earth Rangers is such a great site to educate kids about animals and ideas on helping to give back to the environment – lots of opportunities to earn rewards along the way for helping;
- The US Department of Energy has a really kid-friendly site to engage kids, educate them and let them have fun while saving energy!
How is Rogers Smart Home Monitoring helping you save energy?
We left on a weekend away, shortly after the Rogers Smart Home Monitoring installation, and I totally forgot to turn down my thermostat! I’m far too cheap and eco-conscious to allow that to happen, so I logged onto my iPhone app and adjusted the temperature to be cooler while we were away. On the drive home, I logged back in and turned up the heat for when we got home.
Which feature(s) will be the handiest for Earth Day?
We will be using all of the features to save energy on Earth Day! We have created a list with the kids on how they can be active this Earth Day and work with us to reduce the energy we use, turn off taps, turn off lights and be more aware of paper products that they use.
Did you know that with Rogers Smart Home Monitoring you can get your lights and small appliances to turn on and off according to your schedule? You can read all about the system’s easy home automation features here.
Today, residents of New Brunswick – in Saint John, Fredericton and Moncton – and residents of St. John’s, Newfoundland, can book a FREE in-home assessment by visiting www.rogers.com/smarthome
What do you do to save energy? Share your tips in the comments below.
Sarah is a regular contributor to RedBoard
Are you going away this spring? Lucky you!
What about your home?
When planning a vacation, we often take the time to protect ourselves by getting insurance, learning about our destination, and reading about helpful tips for staying safe. But how about the things we leave behind? York Regional Police has put together a great list of home safety tips for you and your family.
We also spent some time with @BitofMomsense (aka Rebecca Stanisic) who is trialing Rogers Smart Home Monitoring for a year, to ask her how the service helps her when she’s away from home:
What insider tips would you like to share with families who are going away this spring?
Take the usual precautions when going away:
- Tell a neighbour or someone that you trust that you won’t be around and have them drive by or keep an eye on the house.
- Be sure to notify anyone on your monitoring system contact list too!
- Ask someone to pick up mail or newspapers.
- One of the things we do before we go is unplug all unnecessary items like coffee makers or toasters.
- Before leaving, do a walk around the house to ensure that things are in order!
How did having Smart Home Monitoring help you feel safer when you were travelling?
Being able to connect with our home monitoring system via an app on our mobile is like having our security, and peace of mind, in our pockets. I can check the system to see if anything has been triggered, check the camera and know that I will get a text should the alarm go off.
When we travel, it’s nice to know that if there is a problem we will be notified immediately, via email and text (and then phone). It’s not just if the house gets broken into, or if the glass breaks. Fire, gas and water leakage alarms are also set up which definitely is an added comfort. The house is well taken care of when we are away!
Did you have an alarm system in the past?
We did have a system beforehand that included monitoring and motion sensors. We had it installed when we first built the house 9 years ago.
Rogers Smart Home Monitoring offers much more than our old system did. Not only do we still have the motion sensors and monitoring, but we have the front door camera (my favourite feature), the touchpad, the App, the texts and emails. I feel like the communication is better and the service is better.
What are your favorite features of Rogers Smart Home Monitoring?
I truly am most impressed with the camera. Being able to quickly look to see who is at the front door when the doorbell rings just adds extra peace of mind to me, plus the kids enjoy seeing who is there!
We also have the ability to control appliances and lamps remotely, so we can have a light go on and off while we are away. We haven’t set one up yet but we are looking forward to using that option.
One of the most stressful things for me used to be setting our house alarm as we left for trips. Often I was doing this by myself on my way to pick up my husband at work before we left. It meant I would arm it, run out the door, get in the car and wait to make sure it set properly. Now, I am able to set it anywhere and anytime I want. If I forget, I can do it from a parking lot!
I remember reading on Twitter that you adjusted the thermostat from your car on your way back home – that must have been handy, tell us more about it!
Yes! Being able to adjust the thermostat from anywhere (including my bed!) is a pretty neat feature. We have to remember to take it off the programming before we travel to be able to control it (the program tries to override us sometimes) but it’s excellent. Before we had Rogers Smart Home, we would turn down the air conditioning or the heat while we were away and return home to an extremely hot or cold house. Now, the house is at a perfect temperature when we arrive home, and it’s as though we had never left.
Are you going away soon? Share your tips on keeping your home safe in the comments below.
Elise is a regular RedBoard contributor.
Do you live in Hamilton, Oakville, Burlington, Niagara Falls, St. Catharines and other Golden Horseshoe areas? As of today, we’re happy to announce that you can now sign up for Smart Home Monitoring by visiting this link.
Mara Shapiro has three kids and two dogs, works in social media, spends a lot of time on Twitter and writes about parenting teens and life in general all over the Internet. Parenting is her way of life and she’s always happy when she finds new solutions to make her life and parenting easier.
So when we invited Mara to try out Rogers Smart Home Monitoring for a year, she jumped at the opportunity. She thought it would help her manage her home better, little did she know it would become another tool in her parenting kit. See how by reading about Mara’s experience:
How is this system different from your previous old-fashioned alarm system?
Rogers Smart Home Monitoring is completely different than what we had before, which was a simple alarm system. The equipment has been completely updated. Before, we had old keypads, door contacts and motion sensors. Now, we can manage our system from our smartphones, the tablet Touchpad, our computer and still use the old keypad. Our old system didn’t integrate our thermostat. It’s so much easier to manage the temperatures in the house now. We didn’t have the cameras either, and those are a fantastic way to see what’s happening at the house. I could go on, from the rules that are so easy to set up using the web portal, to our ability to see when doors were opened. As I said, everything is different, updated, and as state-of-the art as it gets.
What is your favorite feature?
That’s really hard to say. I absolutely love being able to manage my home from my smartphone, see what’s on the cameras, and even control the lamp in my living room. It’s sort of fun to turn the light on and off remotely, and hopefully freak everyone at home out. So, I guess the flexibility of using Smart Home Monitoring from wherever we are is my favorite feature. However, the cameras are pretty cool too. And, setting the thermostat rules from my smartphone instead of fooling around with the buttons and arrows? Oh, who am I kidding? I love everything!
Did anything surprise you about the system?
How easy it is to use surprised me most. In the past, I was not a fan of alarm systems. I was always afraid I would set it off, or put in the wrong code or something. Rogers Smart Home Monitoring is so easy to use and with the Touchpad and smartphone app, so easy to turn on. Setting the rules with the web portal is really simple as well. Overall, anyone with a bit of tech knowledge or training would really be able to enjoy and manage what would normally be a complicated system.
Do you feel that Smart Home Monitoring simplifies your daily life?
Smart Home Monitoring definitely simplifies my daily life. Using the web portal, I can set up everything, from my thermostat to my lamp, to how often the cameras take pictures. I can see when the kids get home from school and what the dogs are doing downstairs. I like feeling secure, knowing that monitoring the status of my house is just a click away. As long as I have my smartphone with me, I can manage my system. I also like knowing that my kids and dogs are secure when we aren’t home. They are getting to an age where we could leave them alone at home for a few days when we travel, and with this system we can do that comfortably.
How does Smart Home Monitoring help you keep your family in check?
We can see when the kids are coming into the house and when they are leaving. For example, my son is supposed to be home by 1 am when he’s out with the car. We can easily check when the front door was opened. That in itself is worth a lot, because it’s important to let the teenagers know we’re keeping an eye out for them. We’ve also got sensors on the garage doors, so I anticipate using that to make sure that the kids haven’t left the garage open when they take their bikes. It’s a great way to keep our eye on the kids without nagging them or asking too many questions.
Mara illustrates how we designed an easy-to-use system that lets you set “Rules” in a breeze that adapt to your life. You can ask the lights to come up at sunset anytime of the year, and you can automate your sensors, thermostat and lights together so that when you leave the house, the heat goes down and the lights are turned off. This is followed by a quick SMS text alert re-assuring you that it’s all happened.
For more information about Rogers Smart Home Monitoring, go to www.Rogers.com/smarthome.
How do you think Rogers Smart Home Monitoring could help you make your life easier?
Elise is a regular Redboard contributor.
Do you have any to add?
- Speed: We put a lot of emphasis on the ever-increasing speed of our networks this year. Have you tried the wild-and-crazy Rogers Speed Experience yet? Santa did! From our LTE network, to increasing our internet speeds to our full range of devices, speed was definitely on everyone’s lips in 2012.
- Innovation: We’ve always been an innovative company. Our Rogers Innovation Reports highlight our commitment to innovation through a series of surveys highlighting mobile and Internet usage by Canadians. Did you check out our latest? It highlights 2012 trends and your tech predictions for the years ahead. If all your holiday sugar and eggnog has made you data hungry, you can check out all our Rogers Innovation Reports on Slideshare.
- LTE: Innovation and speed came together for us in a big way in 2012 as we built upon our success as the first Canadian wireless company to launch an LTE network, in Ottawa, in 2011, followed by Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. 2012 brought the opening of additional markets from coast to coast, including cities like Victoria, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Kingston, Quebec City, Moncton and St. John’s.
- Rogers One Number: February blues? Not at Rogers! It was the month we launched Rogers One Number. “RON” as the service is known to its friends, lets you talk, text and send picture messages, and video chat with other Rogers One Number users, all from your computer using your existing phone number. By using Rogers One Number, all calls to Canadian numbers, video chats with other Rogers One Number users and outgoing wireless text messages are free. Did you catch our contest winners’ Rogers One Number chat with Canada’s very own Hedley?
- Mobile Payments and Rogers suretap: We teamed up with CIBC to bring mobile payment to Rogers customers earlier this year. Canadian athlete extraordinaire Simon Whitfield was on hand to make Rogers’ first mobile payment. To learn more about how mobile payments and Rogers suretap work, check out our Rogers suretap video on YouTube.
- Next is Now … More than Ever: this 2nd in our ongoing video series looks at statistics that speak to how much Canadians value the Internet, smart appliances, the development of the dual-screen experience with TVs and tablets, smartphone usage, digital wallets, and the impact the Internet is having on health, government, education, and shopping. Have you checked it out yet?
- Windows 8: How proud were we to be chosen by Microsoft as the preferred Canadian wireless partner for the launch of the highly anticipated Windows 8! We’re bringing the largest selection of Windows 8 devices to the Canadian market, releasing the Nokia 920 back in October. For all the latest details on our Windows 8 offering, visit rogers.com/windows8.
- iPhone 5: what would a Rogers year be without an iPhone launch? It sends our sales and marketing teams, our call centres and our clients into an excited frenzy every time. The iPhone 5 brought us a slimmer device with an improved camera and loads of other rich features. Which iPhone 5 feature is your favourite?
- BlackBerry 10: Not to be outdone, the upcoming BlackBerry 10 is causing quite a stir. So much so that we’re already taking orders for it! Head over to rogers.com to reserve yours today.
- Exclusive devices: Whether it’s the Windows Phone 8X by HTC (8 GB), Nokia Lumia 920, the Samsung ATIV Smart PC and ATIV S Smartphone or the LG Optimus G 2600, 2012 brought Rogers customers access to an exciting range of exclusive smartphones, tablets and apps. Which is your current fave?
- Rogers Smart Home Monitoring: Remember the Jetsons? How cool is it that the life George, Jane, Judy and Elroy lived is (almost) here? Ok so maybe we don’t all have our own personal Rosey-the-robot-maid, and we’re not heading off to work in flying cars, but George and Jane would definitely feel at home with Rogers Smart Home Monitoring. From controlling sensors, cameras, thermostats, lights and small appliances remotely through your computer or smartphone, Rogers gives you a taste of the world Hanna Barbara could only imagine when they created the Jetson universe 50 years ago.
- Rogers Anyplace TV: Sports on your tablet. What more could a die-hard fan want? Sure, from Vancouver to Toronto to Montreal and everywhere in between we’re mourning our hockey season, but being able to watch the Jays or Raptors or the NBA or Sportsnet on our tablets helps ease the pain. And if sports aren’t your thing, no worries: Rogers Anyplace TV has something for you too. Ring in the New Year with any one of our new releases. Men in Black 3 maybe? Or how about Resident Evil: Retribution? Paranorman? I know! Why not enjoy the perfect merge of sports and Hollywood with Clint Eastwood’s Trouble with the Curve? So many choices! Stop me now or I’ll be recommending movies into 2014!
Wow! What a year! So … have we forgotten anything? Which one of these great innovations changed your life in 2012? Drop by one of our newly revamped concept stores to tell us all about it! (I just had to slip a 13th in there … we’re on the cusp of 2013 after all!)
Happy new year everyone! All the best to you and yours: health and happiness for 2013, from our family to yours.
Michelle is a regular RedBoard contributor.