Integrating Z-Wave Technology with a FrontPoint Security System

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Smart homes continue to grow in popularity and, companies across the globe, including FrontPoint Security, have embraced home automation. Last month’s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) featured a lot of new ‘smart’ devices, adding to the current ‘Internet of Things’ trend. By all accounts, it looks like smart homes are here to stay.

As home automation becomes more prominent, it’s important to understand how it works. This begins with learning about Z-Wave technology, a critical component of home automation.

The Basics of Z-Wave Technology

What is Z-Wave? Straight from Z-Wave.com:

Z-Wave is a wireless technology that makes regular household products, like lights, door locks and thermostats “smart”. Z-Wave products “talk” to each other wirelessly and securely and can be accessed and controlled on your phone, tablet, or pc.

Simply put, Z-Wave technology is the ‘brain’ behind smart home technology. It was designed to be smart and easy to use.

Z-Wave products communicate using low frequency channels. This allows them to avoid more crowded frequencies — such as those associated with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Z-Wave is optimized to make sure that there is no interference or interruption of the communication between your home automation products.

Even if you’re in a large house, there’s no need to worry about interference due to the distance between devices. Z-Wave runs on a “mesh network,” which creates a relay system between Z-wave products. This allows the signal to bounce to each other until it reaches the intended destination.

To sum it all up, Z-Wave is smartly designed and reliable, which explains why so many companies have been eager to adopt and integrate the technology.

Z-Wave and Security Systems

FrontPoint Security has embraced Z-Wave technology, with help from General Electric (GE). As many of you know, GE manufactures our security systems. They’re also part of the Z-Wave Alliance.

This has allowed us to seamlessly integrate Z-Wave technology into our security systems. In addition to reliable home security, FrontPoint customers can take advantage of a wide selection of home automation features. The best part about this is that some of the staple home automation features – like wireless light controls and automated locks – also provide security benefits.

The Z-Wave products are very easy to install and use. If you can use a smartphone, you can use a Z-Wave product. Our wireless light controls for example, come pre-programmed to work with your system. All you need to do is plug it in! (Did you expect anything else from a FrontPoint system?)

The Future of Z-Wave

If this year’s CES is any indication, 2014 promises to be a huge year for smart home, home automation, and, by extension, Z-Wave. We’re looking forward to the future of Z-Wave and home automation technology.

Comments (43)

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  1. Mark Hochstein

    When will you implement zwave control of the garage door? Your competitors offer it with the same equipment throught Alarm.com integration.

    • Katie Rynex

      At this time we are looking into it’s compatibility with our system and will let you and all of our customer’s know when this is available! Thank you for reaching out Mark!

    • Daniel

      Use Liftmaster, Craftsman, Chamberlin garage door openers, and make sure to get the bridge control. Do not set up the bridge with the company site, instead call front point and have them set up the bridge. Works flawlessly for over a year now.

  2. Wesley

    Is the z wave carbon monoxide /smoke alarm from First alert compatible?

    • Katie Rynex

      Wesley, at this time the First Alert carbon monoxide/smoke alarm is not compatible with your Frontpoint system. Thanks for the great question and please let us know if you have any other questions going forward!

  3. Michael

    Hi. I was thinking of buying Bali motorized light shades for my windows that are z-wave controlled. Can I have control of these shades using my frontpoint app, or will I need to use another app to control them? Mike

    • Katie Rynex

      Great Question! At this time we do not Support this particular Z-wave product, so you will have to use another app to control them. Thanks for reaching out and we hope this was helpful!

  4. Tim Dugan

    What about this thermostat: https://goo.gl/texeQH – would that be compatible?

    • Katie Rynex

      Thanks for reaching out Tim! As our system is only compatible with Z-wave equipment, this wi-fi thermostat will not work. Hope this was helpful.

    • Daniel

      Go to amazon, they have a couple that are compatible. I installed 2gig’s thermostat, no issues, hooked up right away. So nice not having to step out of bed on a cold morning to adjust thermostat.

  5. Jason

    Does the Frontpoint system support Z-Wave Plus so that encryption can be used? Also is the wireless communication between the control unit and the sensors encrypted?

    • Katie Rynex

      Great question Jason! We are not able to use Z-wave plus but our product development team is testing the compatibility with our system. If and when this becomes available we will be sure to let you and all of customers know! As far as the encryption between the panel and sensors goes: this is not something that’s available as encrypt-able data is not being transmitted. The sensors only send what is called an “opened” or “closed” signal to the panel. These are signal types and cannot be manipulated, only physically deflected by being in the premises. Hope this was helpful!

  6. Gary Hansen

    Will Frontpoint work with a GE Z-Wave In-Wall Smart Switch? Models 12722 or 12724.

    Thanks.

    • Katie Rynex

      Great Question Gary! Yes, this is compatible with your system!

      • Kevin C

        I have two switches and two outlets that are coupled with my new Frontpoint system. How do I view/control them from the iPhone app and Frontpoint website/my account home? Thanks

        • Katie Rynex

          Kevin, we are happy to see that you were able to speak with our Support Team and that they were able to help you view/control those switches and outlets. Thanks for reaching out and please let us know if you ever need anything going forward!

  7. Alex

    I currently have a SmartThings hub. Will Frontpoint Security work with my existing hub, or will I need to replace it with one provided by Frontpoint?

  8. technologia 1g

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    When I take a look at your website in Safari, it looks fine
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  9. Paul Kinsella

    Hi, can the CT1oo T-stat be controlled with the mobile App?
    Thanks,
    Paul

  10. Peter Kurtz

    Will any of the lightbulbs with z-wave technology work with the system? It seems like a simple thing to try compared with switches and wall outlets. Thanks!

  11. Devoney Dean

    Are Vivint cameras and thermostats compatible with Frontpoint?

  12. Josh

    Alarm.com indicates support for Liftmaster MyQ garage door controls. Does Frontpoint support these and if so, how do I get them connected to my control panel? I saw a post from 2014 that said you do not support it, has there been any update? Same questions for GE 45609 light switch.

    • Katie Rynex

      Josh, at this time we do not have any updates on the garage door opener but we will let you, and all of our customers, know as soon as we do!

    • Daniel

      yes they support if you have the bridge. Do not set up bridge with the company website. Before doing anything with the garage door bridge, call front point to set it up. Takes about 5 minutes.

  13. Kris Turner

    Is the Trane XL850 compatible with FrontPoint?

  14. AlexJB

    So I have what I think is a compatible thermostat. Nothing in the resource center is telling me how to put the frontpoint controller in z-wave ‘INCLUDE’ mode. Do I need to talk to the service center?

    • Valerie Saponara

      Alex, yes! Just give our Support Team a call whenever you’re home and in front of your main control panel and we can walk you through adding that in.

  15. James Walker

    I think I read my answer above, but just in case I didn’t understand what I read, does the 1 Simon XT Control Panel allow for Z-Wave ceiling fan control?

    • Valerie Saponara

      James, the Simon XT Control Panel is z-wave compatible so technically multiple different z-wave devices could work with it, however, we do not sell or support a z-wave ceiling fan at this time.

      • Rueshan

        You can use the GE Z-wave fan switches that they sell at Lowes with your Frontpoint system. They will show up in your controls just like a dimmable light switch. You can turn your fans on and off and control the speeds with the app. You can also schedule on/off events the same way you can with lighting.

  16. Christopher Phillips

    I just signed up with frontpoint and am very excited to get it installed. The main reason I chose Frontpoint is the seemlees capability of Z-wave home automation in conjunction with home security.
    The question I have, and my only disappointment, is why is there only a limitation to use your light automation modules with the Z-Wave features?
    GE manufacturers Z-Wave enabled wall switches, dimmers and wall outlets that would be great to use with the Frontpoint system in order to automate outdoor/entry lights, indoor lights, etc. via a wall switch or direct outlet. Basicly your current system is only limited to “plug-in” lamps and devices.
    In my humble opinion, to have that capability would make the Frontpoint system go from Excellent to Spectacular.

    • Valerie Saponara

      Christopher, thank you for sharing these thoughts with us. I can’t really go into detail about which z-wave devices we are currently testing for future consideration and implementation, however, I can tell you that we only will support and release a product we have thoroughly tested to ensure it’s smooth functionality and the best customer/user experience possible. I hope this helps explain why we maybe only offer a few devices (currently) while there might be many that are “z-wave” technology.

      • Jamie Magee

        Valerie – I’m confused. You imply that only your plug-in light controller is supported, but 18 months ago Jamie Botzer wrote in this comment that all the alarm.com supported devices work with FrontPoint, which include several in-wall light switches and dimmers:
        http://blog.frontpointsecurity.com/z-wave-light-control/#comments

        Can you clarify?

        • Valerie Saponara

          Jamie, no problem! The difference here is what our system is capable of versus what we actually do with it. Various z-wave light options (through alarm.com) could very well work with our system. This is true. However, after much trial and consideration we have chosen to only sell and support one specific z-wave light device. You could go and get just about any alarm.com lighting option and it might work with our system, but we have not trained our team on all the light sensors out there because we found one in particular to be the highest quality and easiest to work with. I hope this makes more sense, and let me know if you have any other questions.

    • Christopher Phillips

      Thank You. I will be the first in line to buy switches and wall outlets when you offer them. Glad to hear something is possibly in the works.

  17. Jason

    Which home automation systems is FrontPoint compatible with?

    • Valerie Saponara

      Jason- great question. Currently Frontpoint works with several z-wave devices. We sell wireless AC light modules and wireless cameras, while we only support automated locks and thermostats. If you would like a list of the model numbers for the devices, locks, and thermostats we support feel free to give our Support Team a call whenever you’d like. Please let me know if you have any other questions in the meantime!

  18. KJ

    Is Frontpoint compatible with Control4 home automation systems?

    • Katie Rynex

      KJ, we apologize but at this time Frontpoint is not compatible with Control4 home automation systems. We will make sure we send your comments over to our product team for future implementation. Thank you for your question!

  19. Tanya

    Why don’t you have set up information online so we have the availability to do so during your weekend after hours?

    • Gilbert Cho

      Hi Tanya, what were you looking for assistance with? We have setup information for all of our equipment here: http://www.frontpointsecurity.com/support-overview/resource-center/user-guides

      • J Chow

        I agree with Tanya, there seems to be scant info for setting up something as simple as a light controller. For example:

        1) Neither the User Guide nor Equipment Guide for the Control Panel talk about how to add a controller
        2) There’s no mention of how you can enable monitoring/controlling of zwave devices via the app or web site (if any)
        3) There are no FAQ entries concerning home automation issues

        I want to use more FrontPoint automation features but weekends are really the only times I have available that I can be at home to tinker with my system. Not having any documentation online is somewhat discouraging, especially considering how thorough you guys are about documenting everything else.

        My 2 cents.

        • Valerie Saponara

          J Chow, we completely understand why you might ask questions about adding in home automation features. The reason we do not provide this information online is because there are certain installer codes and steps you need to go through to add everything in and configure it- but if you do this wrong you could damage to your entire system. We find that many customers prefer to let us walk them through these things on the phone because that way we can make sure nothing is being done to the system that can’t be un-done and you get to ask questions you may have along the way. Hopefully this helps explain things a bit better!

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