First Alert ‘SOARS’ into second decade of success

Gathering focuses on changing landscape and RMR opportunities

“The phone lines are truly going away. Consumers are making the choice of mobile and the cell phone is the way they get information and services.” — Ron Rothman, president of Honeywell

First Alert Professional (FAP), one of the oldest continuing running authorized dealer programs in the country, celebrated 20 years with style at its annual convention in San Diego in late November. Thousands of dollars in product giveaways and prizes, as well as the presentation of numerous awards and accolades marked the three-day networking and educational event, but the overriding message and theme was the rapidly changing security industry.

From discussions on the demise of POTS lines to new avenues of recurring revenue with mobile communication technology, wireless and software apps, the convention was fine-focused on how systems integrators can position themselves to take advantage of the morphing landscape--and how FAP and Honeywell will give them the tools to do just that. FAP includes some 350 dealers in 500 locations in the U.S. and abroad. (Visit

“There’s no other program in the industry that’s been around for 20 years,” said Joe Sausa, president of First Alert Professional Security Systems at the opening general session kicking off the event. “It’s important moving forward for us to find the right partner in the integrators and that we deliver quality technologies and products to them,” he said. “While fire, life safety and security are critical and core to the dealer’s offerings, integrators have to focus on providing services that help consumers protect their possessions, like flat screen televisions, computers and other ‘stuff,’” Sausa added.

Honeywell Security & Communications President Ron Rothman reiterated the company’s commitment to providing new technologies and services for integrators that will position them for the future. He presented recent research indicating how the emphasis is on protecting the contents of the homes as well as its occupants.

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“We don’t have a choice,” Rothman said. “We have to change or we are going to be left behind,” he told the audience. “Some 35 percent of the homes right now are cell phone primary, and in the age group of 25 to 30, some 42 percent are cell phone only. These are the people who are going to be your customers in the future. The phone lines are truly going away. The consumers are making a choice and the cell phone is their mobile choice to get information. In fact, some 40 percent of the phones being sold today are now what’s considered mobile computing devices,” he said.

Rothman pointed to dramatic consumer market changes as the harbinger of days to come. “The technology trends we are witnessing are representing the future. If we stay with digital dialers we will lose. We can leverage what the cell and broadband carriers have done to deliver the content our customers want. This will be a major investment for Honeywell in the future, especially sensors and detectors and video products that can deliver that content. With the investments we’ve chosen to make we can offer more value to our dealers. The reality is that we’re afraid to call our customers to upgrade them to new services, but if you don’t do it, someone else will; your competitor, and you will lose.”


Highlights of FAP Gathering
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the high points of the conference:

John Bourque of HB Alarm received a special 20-year recognition award. “The past 20 years have allowed us to network; one of the strongest assets of the First Alert program,” Bourque said. Bourque was one of the dealers who initially gathered in Chicago 20 years ago to bring the dealer program to fruition.

The ever-popular Total Connect program will add IP video to its offerings in January 2010 while extending the program deeper into the world of video analytics. Total Connect Video Services are currently undergoing beta testing and will allow users to view streaming video at 25 to 30 frames per second.

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