Thought Leadership

The alarm

By Colin Walls

I would like your help. I am trying to solve a problem and I need some intelligent input and I thought that this might be a good place to find some.

I quite like to get up early. I often fail to do so because I also like reclining in a nice warm bed. Apart from that, I often start my working day before getting up – just grab the iPad [RIP Steve Jobs] and deal with emails etc. However, I do not like to be woken up with a start. I rarely use an alarm clock, because I seem to be able to wake up naturally at a sensible time. However, there are sometimes external events beyond my control …

It happens every morning at almost exactly 5:15 – at least an hour before I want to be woken – “beep beep beep …”. Some kind of alarm is sounded outside of my house. It only lasts for about 20 seconds, but that is just enough to raise my consciousness to a point of no return. This has been happening for more than a week and also occurred earlier in the year for a while and I want it to stop!

Around my house are some shops, other houses and parked cars – all possible sources of this nuisance. I have looked out of the window while it is sounding, but I have not been able to spot any flashing lights that give it away. However, as it only sounds for such a short period, I do not have time to run around and look in every possible direction.

I would imagine that, if it were a house alarm, the occupants of the house would have fixed it by now, as I am sure that they would not want such an early start. One idea, that I had, was that it might be a shop or office where the heating system is programmed to start up at 5:15 and an electrical spike triggers the alarm, but that would not explain the short duration.

I am considering the idea of getting up at 5:00 and going out into the street, ahead of the alarm, to see whether I can get a fix on it. I would welcome any suggestions for an easier way to improve the start of my day – email or comments welcome.


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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at