Security Watch

Highlights from the First Alert Professional dealer convention, the latest on the newly merged iControl Networks

Connect to Success: FAP Members Hear From Their Peers
Two-plus decades strong with double-digit year over year growth despite recession

By Deborah L. O'Mara

Hundreds of dealers turned out to hear about opportunities and new technologies and network with their peers at the 21st annual 2010 First Alert Professional authorized dealer convention in Boca Raton, Fla., in November. Amidst fun activities and good food as well as smashing entertainment, the crux of the conference was networking, emerging technologies and preparing dealer members for the future with new offerings.

New products in intrusion, especially wireless, video and access control and others for the home that are still under wraps will be launched in 2011. But the overriding message was on video and the "much more than security theme" former president of Honeywell Security & Communications and current head of Honeywell Security Group Ron Rothman alluded to at last year's meeting.

Kicked off by Joe Sausa, president of First Alert Professional, he issued a call to action to attendees to gain new business by taking it away from competitors by offering the latest services and technologies. Sausa said the 2010 event included more sessions from dealer's peers per their request, providing insights on managed access control, the government market, integrated systems, sales tools and business builders and legal considerations.

Break the residential 'ceiling' with video

JoAnna Sohovich, president of Honeywell Security & Communications, gave keen insights into the company's research and development and marketing plans, focusing on video and perhaps eventually the end of the alarm control panel, according to one product roadmap session gathering.

"There are some very interesting trends right now," Sohovich told the audience. "Some say technology will leave us behind. Some say Google and Cisco will leave us out-but don't count on it. Don't count out the entrepreneurial spirit and the agile dealers we have. It's the knowledge they have that will help us deliver connectivity solutions."

She said statistics indicate only 20 percent of the country has active security. "There are some who say millions never will want security, but they value information and lifestyle functions beyond security delivered to their mobile devices. You can appeal to them with advanced technology offerings. We want to focus on video as a standalone offering, one which will drive recurring monthly revenue," she continued.

Sohovich added that convenience and lifestyle functions can be accomplished without a security system. "Sell standalone video to appeal to the lifestyle conveniences customers want. You can do all this without a security system. You can do it with video driven to the smartphone. Take a look at the lifestyle customers who value connectivity. Expand your customer set beyond the current ones. We want to help you tap these new customers," Sohovich said.

Emmy-award-winning comedian and writer Ross Shafer entertained and inspired the audience with a keynote address on customer empathy, personal motivation and business relevance. "In this culture, you have to understand the tears and the fears, especially of the female of the house," Shafer said. "You need to get into the heart zone. It's about emotions-the business winners will get into heart zones," he said. The keynote session culminated with the presentation of the 2010 Life Safety Award to Palm Beach County EMS Captain Craig Prusansky. The final FAP event lauded companies with five to 20-year service awards; sales consultants and dealers of the year; as well as others who have helped FAP become a successful authorized dealer network.

iControl Networks Ramps Up On Differentiators for Home Security

By Natalia Kosk

Just one month into news of newly merged company iControl Networks, Palo Alto, Calif., the reception has been extremely positive, according to Paul Dawes and Jim Johnson, co-chief executive officers of the company. The company merged iControl Networks, a software provider for the home management market and uControl, Austin, Texas, a Home Security, Monitoring and Automation (SMA) software firm.

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