We normally use the Bonka Blog to talk about our top picks for  bird toys and cages. But today, we will switch things up and discuss Alarm Grid, the alarm monitoring and security company keeping our warehouse full of products safe and protected. Thank you Alarm Grid for doing such a great job!

As the world's leader in bird toys and supplies, we need a big space to hold all the products that we ship out to bird lovers everywhere. And with a big space comes its own set of challenges. We needed a  security system that could effectively monitor our warehouse, offer us all the smart automation features we want, and be easy enough for a team of a few guys to set up on their own over the weekend. Alarm Grid checked every box, and we couldn't be happier.

Another big reason we chose Alarm Grid is their close proximity to Bonka Bird Toys. Alarm Grid is an international company, providing central station monitoring service throughout the United States and Canada. Alarm Grid also offers  self-monitoring plans without central station coverage to customers from all corners of the globe. The company operates a small handful of various offices and locations across the eastern portion of the United States. But their main headquarters and largest office in Lighthouse Point, FL just happens to be located a few miles from the Bonka Warehouse. It was cool to work with a local company that understood our needs and biggest concerns for the area.

Alarm Grid specializes in DIY security. This means that instead of sending a professional installer and charging you for the trouble, you simply order the equipment and set it up yourself. Then you have Alarm Grid activate the system, and you're all set! Going this route saved us thousands of dollars, and it only took us a couple of hours to mount the equipment throughout our huge warehouse. Now we have a state-of-the-art alarm system, complete with a beautiful touchscreen alarm panel, smart automation featuring Z-Wave Plus technology, and high-tech cameras that we can easily view from our workstation desks. We just check the cameras if we hear anything suspicious.

Setting up your own security system with Alarm Grid is much easier than you might think. We had to drill some holes to mount sensors and run some wires to install cameras. This was easy for us, as we have a couple of guys at Bonka with prior experience doing electrical work. But if you don't know your way around a toolkit, then fear not. Alarm Grid offers many  wireless security systems that can be fully installed and activated using nothing more than a screwdriver. This is great if you are just looking for an easy-to-use and effective alarm system for an apartment or smaller home. If you need something more robust for a larger home or business, then Alarm Grid has you covered as well. This versatile company can help anyone from the average homeowner to a fledging global business get the security services they need. And if you simply have no desire to roll-up your sleeves and install your own system, then Alarm Grid can help you find a third-party installer through their own network that they have been actively establishing.

For our security system, we went with the  Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. This was an good choice, as we love its sleek and modern design and its intuitive user interface. The system is easily controlled using a full-color 7-inch touchscreen. This was important for us, as we knew that some of our team members at Bonka would be less than thrilled at the prospect of operating an old-fashioned numeric keypad. The IQ Panel 2 Plus makes it easy to know exactly what you are doing on your system, and as long as you remember your code, you shouldn't run into any problems. By the end of the day, we were all operating the system confidently. It could not have been any easier. We also love how the system communicates using both WIFI and cellular connectivity. This means that even if an internet outage occurs, the system will remain connected thanks to its cellular backup. Alarm Grid refers to this as dual-path connectivity, and we understand it is crucial for helping to ensure that Bonka Bird Toys always stays protected and monitored.

Our Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus System supports a lineup of wireless sensors called  PowerG Sensors. According to Alarm Grid, these wireless sensors offer some of the best wireless communication range in the security industry. They can supposedly communicate from up to 2,000 feet away from the IQ2+ in an open air environment. We can speak personally and say that we have experienced zero communication problems thus far using these wireless sensors. Considering that our entire warehouse is about 10,000 sqft and full of large metal objects that could cause interference, the fact that these sensors are able to provide our system with consistent and reliable communication is pretty remarkable. We also understand that the PowerG Sensors use 128-bit AES encryption for enhanced wireless security and protection. We're not exactly experts when it comes to encryption, but the added layer of protection does give our team peace of mind. Alarm Grid put out a great article explaining encryption in a bit more detail, which you can view here.

Of course, having just one control panel in our massive warehouse wasn't going to cut it. That is why we also added four extra  Qolsys IQ Remotes. These are like additional mini systems for extra convenience. They pair with the main system across WIFI and then mimic the screen so that you can easily operate them. Instead of mounting the IQ Remote Keypads, we decided to just keep them loose. They're basically little tablets that we can easily carry around the office for quick and easy operation on the go. We usually just keep them at our desks so that we can check on the system while we're working.

But a security system today is used for more than just protection. We also made sure to integrate a nice selection of Z-Wave Plus automation devices with our Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus for added functionality. What's great about these devices is that we can conveniently control them from the main IQ Panel 2 Plus, from any of the IQ Remote devices we added, or remotely from anywhere by using an app called  Alarm.com on our phones. Speaking of Alarm.com, it's awesome! Its interface is super easy to navigate, and we love having the ability to check the status of our system, arm and disarm, view our camera feeds, and control our automation devices from pretty much anywhere in the world. All we have to do is open up the app and login to one of our accounts, and then we have full access to our system!

We haven't even mentioned all the awesome automation devices we paired with our Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. We obviously had to add some  smart lights, but we also went above and beyond by adding multiple front door locks and a Z-Wave Plus thermostat for controlling the temperature. We even added some temperature sensors to monitor the temperature across multiple sections of our warehouse. Each Z-Wave device can be controlled individually, and Alarm.com also makes it possible to control multiple devices at once using customizable Smart Scenes. We haven't gotten too invested in the Smart Scenes just yet, but we have made one for opening the warehouse at the start of the day, as well as one for closing up the shop at night. Alarm.com also allows Smart Scenes to activate automatically based on a schedule or with predetermined system events. Setting these up can be a bit involved, but it's really neat once you get the hang of it. So far, we have only made a couple of automated smart scenes that have the lights turn on upon walking into a room and activated a programmed motion sensor for the system. It may sound simple, but having the lights turn on automatically when we walk inside the warehouse blew our minds!

Perhaps our most favorite part of the entire setup is the cameras. We decked out our security system some high-end commercial cameras from Alarm.com, including the  ADC-VC736 Large Outdoor Camera and the ADC-VC836 Outdoor Turret Camera. Our team was highly impressed with the clarity of the footage and our newfound ability to get a live look at both the inside and the outside of the warehouse using the Alarm.com Mobile App. We even added the Alarm.com Commercial Streaming Video Recorder so that we can achieve a continuous recording setup. But the coolest part is how we can conveniently stream our cameras from the main IQ Panel 2 Plus, as well as from all of our IQ Remote Keypads. We keep an IQ Remote device at each workstation so that way we can easily keep tabs on anyone who may be visiting our warehouse. Our cameras are also connected to a large central monitor that we can all look up and view whenever needed. The most useful part about this setup is that we know immediately once a new shipment of bird toy parts has arrived. Once we see the truck pull up, we right away get to work greeting the driver, confirming the shipment, and unloading the truck full of parts that we use to make toys for the feathered friend in your family. Now we wonder how we ever lived without this convenience before!

Whether your security needs are big or small, we cannot recommend Alarm Grid enough. If you want to get started with Alarm Grid, email them at support@alarmgrid.com, and they will be there every step of the way. Alarm Grid has business hours of 9am to 8pm ET Monday thru Friday, so keep that in mind when emailing them. And of course, stay tuned to the Bonka Bird Blog for more information about toys, cages, and more. We promise to get back to usual business next time around, but we thought this was a great chance to highlight what a fantastic job they did for us. And if you do decide to join Alarm Grid, then make sure to tell them that you were sent by Bonka Bird Toys!

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