Thursday, September 24, 2015

The new tech fad: smart homes. Surprisingly helpful, surprisingly affordable.

When you're not home, nagging little doubts can start to crowd your mind. Did I turn the coffee maker off? Did I lock the door? Are the kids doing their homework or watching television?

With a smart home, you could quiet all of these worries with a quick glance at your smartphone or tablet. You could connect the devices and appliances in your home so they can communicate with each other and with you - from anywhere you may be (as long as you have Internet access).

Any device in your home that uses electricity can be put on your home network and at your command. Whether you give that command by voice, remote control, tablet or smartphone, the home reacts. Most applications relate to lighting, home security, home theater and entertainment, and thermostat regulation.

The idea of a smart home might make you think of George Jetson and his futuristic abode or maybe Bill Gates, who spent more than $100 million building his smart home (source: CNN Money). Once a draw for the tech savvy or the wealthy, smart homes and home automation are becoming more common.

IES now offers smart home installation services. From in your house to around the world, you can control any of the following devices and more:
  • security cameras
  • locks
  • sensors / alarms
  • doorbells
  • garage doors
  • shades / curtains
  • lights
  • fans
  • outlets
  • thermostats
  • appliances
For as little as $250, you can get your smart home up and running. Costs include equipment & installation. There are no monthly fees to pay or equipment to lease - you own all your equipment.

Interested? Call 781-816-9437 and ask for more details on smart homes. We'd be glad to answer any of your questions or setup a free estimate.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Less than 1 month until EMV kicks your business ready?

If you are a business owner, you should have heard by now that the United States is transitioning to full adoption of EMV chip enabled cards to reduce credit card fraud. The change is coming October 1, 2015.

How could EMV affect your business?
Today, if businesses swipe a counterfeit or stolen card, the bank assumes the loss. To encourage businesses to adopt the more secure technology of EMV chip cards, a liability shift is going into effect on October 1, 2015, where card issuers plan on shifting that loss to merchants.

What do I need to do?
Your credit card processing company should have contacted you by now to inform you of the changes and schedule new equipment to be delivered. (If they have not, you may want to call them). Depending on the company you use, that equipment may or may not come with a charge.

Do I need to switch all my equipment to EMV technology?
This scenario is most likely for small business owners who are being forced to pay for new equipment. It's just a matter of risk measurement...Consider the amount of your typical sale - are your customers buying a $10 pizza or a $500 laptop? Do you personally know most of your customers? What percentage of your customers use credit cards?

Will it be illegal to run a credit card without using EMV technology?
No, it will not be illegal to run a credit card using a typical mag card reader; just be aware that in the case of a charge back or fraudulent use, your business will be forced to take the loss not the bank.

If your business is facing challenges with EMV, give IES a call at 781-816-9437. We can answer your questions and help streamline the change, should you choose to upgrade.