Leaders in the Integrated Home: An Exclusive Security Dealer Roundtable

Panelist discuss:

Manguno: No matter what the demographic and how sophisticated the residential security/automation system is, homeowners want simplicity, quality and reliability. A home could have the latest and greatest security, life safety, environmental and lighting control equipment available on the market, but numerous studies and surveys have confirmed that the vast majority of homeowners still want to control all of these “cool gizmos” with 1 or 2 buttons. Likewise, impeccable customer service and timely responses are critical.

Geiser: We spend a lot of time helping our dealers win in the new construction arena—so we suggest dealers work with builders to educate them on the added value, convenience and differentiation that automation and other digital living products provide. Focus on solutions to end user problems. Developing targeted messaging to potential homebuyers typically works best (e.g. home office for working professionals, home theater for families, etc.).

Root: We recommend integrated packages that include security and whole home automation; a solutions approach that outlines specific applications to educate consumers. Customer service is an important part of our business and an increasingly important up-sell opportunity.

Brady: Since dealers have the technology knowledge required for security and many are now getting IT-educated, do you feel security dealer integrators have an edge on ways they can profit from increased consumer demand for the latest product and technology?

Hauk: IT is the way of the future! With the knowledge of networking, dealers now have unlimited opportunity at their fingertips. New product offerings such as IP cameras, automation touch screens, Windows Media server and related items, they have the tools to sell a full system and be a one-stop shop.

Burge: You bet. When we asked that question to 300 folks who attended our recent dealer event (a Caribbean cruise), the majority of our dealers indicated that they are actively involved in marketing and selling additional products and services, thus complementing their traditional alarm business. The convergence of technology, public acceptance and new entrants into this space has made it easier for dealers to penetrate this new “frontier.”

McLellan: Home automation is a natural evolution of the security industry. Items that people are familiar with today, like security panels, thermostats and light switches are still on the wall. Remote monitoring and access is a hallmark of both security and home automation. Yes, security dealer integrators definitely have an edge.

Gartland: The security dealer often is the first person on the project. They have a tremendous opportunity to offer a complete menu of services: audio, video, communications, lighting control, etc. Be the “low voltage architect” for your clients. Don't be afraid to tie it all together and charge for it!

Yu: Security dealers that have been in the business for a long time definitely will have an edge because of their ability to integrate security with home automation to deliver the best all around solution.

Geiser: Dealers who embrace new technologies generally have a better opportunity to deliver focused solutions with more compelling user experiences. Security dealers who have traditionally relied on an RMR revenue model have a specific advantage because of their focus on generating recurring revenue by focusing on the lifetime value of the customer through things like maintenance contracts. Moreover, these dealers are in a unique position to provide “one-stop-shop” support for multiple residential technologies (like structured wiring, security, lighting, etc.).

Root: Yes. Home automation and control is an enormous opportunity for security dealers.

Brady: Residential electronic systems should simplify or automate tasks, entertain and protect homeowners. Do you feel there are any negative factors in the technology out today that are holding back market growth?