Leaders in the Integrated Home: An Exclusive Security Dealer Roundtable

Panelist discuss:

Hauk: Currently the only thing holding back the industry is mainstream consumer awareness and product compatibility. Many homeowners believe that custom installations are expensive and reserved for high end homes, but with more focus on educating the consumer, the market can move toward greater awareness and acceptance of home technologies. Products that are not compatible with each other are often difficult for dealers to integrate, making them labor intensive for installers. We need more collaboration between vendors with complementary product lines. As an industry, if we can work toward the “plug and play” model, it will streamline installations and in the end it will be beneficial not only for the dealers but also for homeowners.

Burge: The only negative factor that will is if manufacturers make the system so complex, the homeowner becomes frustrated and does not use the system.

McLellan: The only negative factors holding back the growth of the market are consumer and in some cases, dealer, misconceptions that systems are too expensive or complicated. Once people understand how affordable and easy to operate they are, they don't know how they lived without one.

Gartland: Dealers need to design and install systems their customers want to own, not systems they would like to own. Well-designed, repeatable systems will provide better long-term solutions for homeowners and more profitability and scalability for integrators.

Yu: One of the main issues most home automation users face is programming. Many dealers will do the initial programming and walk through the procedures with the consumer. However, when something goes wrong, most consumers will have to take out the manual and resolve the problem themselves. This is just unpredictable and too time consuming.

Manguno: From a lighting control perspective, there is general consumer perception that current systems are complex and difficult to operate. While this may have been truer in years past, evolving technologies and new products have greatly simplified the operation of lighting controls and integration with other products.

Geiser: Residential automation systems have typically been difficult for end users to understand and operate. It's also been difficult and confusing for dealers to develop turn-key solutions which are cost effective and easy to replicate in the builder environment when so many installations have involved extensive customization and third-party product integration.

Root: Awareness is the key issue. Home automation and control does not have to cost upwards of $50K for homeowners to enjoy the added security, comfort and convenience benefits of home automation/control.

Brady: What has been the most positive development in the residential electronics systems market to date? What is your overall view of the future of home systems?

Hauk: The two most significant developments in the market have been HDTV and the iPod. HDTV has really driven the video and home entertainment market and the iPod has brought music back to the forefront. Networking everything from HDTV, audio, lighting, security cameras all working over the existing infrastructure with “no new wires” will make products easy to install and take the objections away about tearing up the drywall in the home.

Burge: The most positive development in the industry is the convergence of security and entertainment. We also see connectivity to the home as another positive development in this market, giving consumers real-time information. This is key to the growth of the residential market. We are bullish on the future of the residential market.

McLellan: Remote access to the home is growing very rapidly right now. Internet, telephone, touchscreen, hand held tablets, and television interfaces are very popular.

Gartland: Home systems that integrate with each other offer high end, “plug and play” solutions and will open doors for more dealers to provide better engineered systems .