Security Watch

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


"It's fair to say that since the merger, there's little that Paul and I have done except talk to our customers about the combined company," explained Johnson. "Now, it's about execution and delivering the product roadmap and the customer support these companies need. We're better able to do all these things as a combined company."

Solutions in interactive residential security, energy management and home healthcare will be provided for broadband operators, security companies, utilities and additional partners of iControl Networks.

"We've each been in the market, coming at it from different perspectives, working with many similar customers and partners," explained Dawes. "The market really exploded in the past six to nine months. ADT's Pulse is clearly driving a lot of that but it's also that similar timing has happened from the broadband side and each of our companies was severely taxed to deliver on a huge list of requirements, features and functionality to help power these launches. Some of the broadband guys want to get into the market faster and to do that, the integration required and level of support and features required is something that we are better equipped to do together. It seemed crazy that we were both building fundamentally the same type of technology for an emerging market when we were both struggling with resources," he continued.

Moving past the basics

One of the direct benefits of the merger is additional resource and support capability that allows the company to differentiate their products for iControl Networks' various customers. "Right now, the platforms feature basic functionality in remote access and home security," explained Johnson. "It's about extending that platform to make it easily customizable to do any broadband home management function that a service provider wants to do and add any applications to the platform."

One way the company plans to do this is by enabling their customers and partners to do that development themselves-to provide a platform that delivers an ecosystem of hardware and software based solutions to make a consumers life easier by focusing on convenience and lifestyle functions.

"Where you've got 23 percent of households with monitored residential systems, we think there's opportunity to grow that to 40 to 50 percent of households because it's not just about security," said Dawes. "Security is the basis but staying connected to one's home is the compelling value proposition."

Dawes stated that utilities are absolutely looking at the types of broadband and home security technologies currently available to homeowners, similar to the offering from iControl Networks. "What we're finding with the utilities we work with is they are all seeing that deploying a standalone energy management solution is hard because 'what is the value proposition?'" he questioned. "Consumers are not going to pay a couple hundred dollars for a system in their home that manages energy. It's too wide of a leap to make, whereas if it is a feature on your home security system it makes total sense," said Dawes.

He foresees a number of partnerships down the road. "I think complete energy management involving utilities and massive integration with smart grids-that proposition is 18 to 24 months away."

While energy use is a big part of the solution for the homeowner, companies trying to build their entire business around energy management will find it's not something that is "going to fly" according to Dawes. "Energy management as a feature set on top of your broadband home management system, brought to you by your security company, cable provider, Telco's-that is what's going to work. The utilities will want to participate," he explained.

Johnson foresees the cost for these solutions being offered at a similar price to current, traditional home security offerings-the basic being developed for around a $99 install with a $30 to $40 recurring monthly fee.

"When you dig into the business case that a service provider has to develop in order to justify this type of roll-out, you find that almost all of the business case is dependent upon the upfront cost, which includes the marketing to generate awareness about the service, the technician's time in the home to get the services installed and the cost of the equipment that is in the home," explained Johnson. "iControl Networks will work on all three criteria to create a secure and cost-effective solution for the homeowner."