A Dealer's Perspective on Wireless

General Security

Michael Garetano is the sales manager for General Security, a 45-year-old alarm installation and central station company. And he said he has seen big changes in wireless intrusion detection devices, in their integrity and how customers feel about deploying them at the protected premises.

General Security, a Honeywell First Alert Professional Dealer located on Long Island in Plainview, N.Y., is using a good deal of wireless in its jobs. It counts on it for reliable detection, and for the cost savings it retains in wireless installation, testing and maintenance.

"Wireless detectors and devices have changed so much," said Garetano. "In the past, it wasn't supervised and now it's supervised and there are UL smoke detectors. It's much more reliable and it also is more aesthetic and fits the d‚cor of the customer's home, which is extremely important to them. That's critical to the customer-the reliability and the ability to flush mount and conceal devices," he said, adding that the transmitters for the devices are smaller in size allowing for sleeker products for doors and windows.

Garetano said General Security has also seen a change in the acceptance on the part of customers with regards to the inherent integrity of wireless. "In the past, customers would ask about interference and if the devices were as reliable as hardwired products. Now that wireless is part of their everyday lives, such as with cellular phones and the likes, it is much more accepted."

"In addition, it takes about half the time to install a wireless device and you don't have to get involved in drilling holes," he said. "The equipment costs are a bit higher but you have the cost savings in labor," he confirmed, adding that the prices of wireless devices have dropped. "We use wireless in both residential and commercial and because of the time savings in labor-we can do another job or customer call."

Dial One Security

John Lindberg is the president of Dial One Security in Cincinnati and has been a Honeywell First Alert Professional Dealer for more than a decade. He's been in the industry since 1979, so he has followed the technology transformation in wireless detection throughout his career.

Lindberg says improved battery life has given wireless detectors more stability, reliability and a much longer shelf live. "We used to have to go out and change the batteries regularly; now they can go years without being changed out, another service plus," Lindberg said. The supervision, also tied to the more robust battery life, allows the transmitter to send in a 'heartbeat' signal and to keep the central station and customer apprised of any maintenance or communication issues.

"We are getting very close to the point where the battery life will exceed the life of the detector. We may see permanent batteries in the future. The reliability is due in part to the robust supervision and the long battery life." He added that devices will continue to shrink in size on the whole, making for a much smaller device in the future.
The higher cost of the device, he said, is outweighed by installation labor savings, especially on window applications. "We don't have to drill holes on new windows with wireless and that makes more sense too-especially for the homeowner or the new home builder."