14 Unusual Uses for Security Sensors
Keep the kids out of the liquor cabinet, trigger the exhaust fan when someone sits on the toilet, virtually bark at the deer, and more.
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March 15, 2010 by Julie Jacobson

8. You’ve got mail
When the great room PIR goes off and we’ve just arrived home and there’s a new message on the HomeLogic [home automation] box, the system annunciates [in my voice] that there’s new voice mail. - Tom Ardolf, Cybermation, Waite Park, Minn.

9. You’ve got company
If the house is in “Vacation” mode and someone comes down our driveway, the vehicle/driveway sensor calls my cell so I can see who’s there. If it’s in “Away” mode, then it just emails me, as I’m more than likely just at the office, and I can just maximize my Homelogic screen interface. - Ardolf

10. Extra fire protection
If smoke/heat detectors go off, all types of events are initiated—basic things like turning off the HVAC system, and more advanced activities like calling, emailing and flashing the lights. – Ardolf

11. Hello, cleaning lady
When the security system is disarmed by the cleaning lady’s security code – she only comes on Wednesdays – the system waits until she enters the house (judging by the door sensor), she is greeted by my voice and whole-house music … until she leaves the house. - Ardolf

CE PRO FAVORITE
12. Go away, deer
I don’t get unwanted visitors in my back yard, so I tied my security system into the paging output of my Niles distributed audio/video system. When the outdoor motion sensors are tripped, the alarm system’s contact closure activates the Niles system, and a 12-second recorded message blasts through two zones (four rock speakers) at 50 percent volume. The message? My dogs barking. - Shawn Kelly Stermer, Niles Audio

13. Alert the neighbors
If an alarm triggers, then all outside lights start flashing to alert neighbors. – Kelly Driscoll, Audio Design Innovations, Stillwater, Minn.

14. Kids home safe
One customer wanted to know when his kids got home everyday so we setup the system to send him an email when the front door opens or when the alarm was armed or disarmed. – Driscoll

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Julie Jacobson - Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson is co-founder of EH Publishing and currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro, mostly in the areas of home automation, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. She majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. Julie is a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player with the scars to prove it. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.

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