Threat Detection Thoughts Uncensored

Forecast to reach more than $2.4 billion in 2011, the global intrusion industry is poised to recover steadily as the industry capitalizes on new growth opportunities, according to IMS Research USA, Austin, Texas. Growth for intrusion development climbs the chart for retrofit applications as evident developments in remote monitoring, SMS text messaging, video verification and HVAC connectivity top the list for interactive services, with the most notable advancements in panels and wireless sensor technology.

This month SD&I asked several leading intrusion market technology developers: What ways-direct mail, social media, smartphone ads or other-are you generating interest and leads for your dealers or your own company, to grow business? What methods work with what age groups and which don't? Here's what the intrusion segment's thought leaders had to say:

With Telular's Telguard Advantage Program (TAP), "dealers can use free marketing material such as the invoice stuffers we provide them and other types of marketing collateral that they can use to brand themselves," explained Shawn Welsh, vice president of Marketing and Business Development, Telular, Chicago. "It's a combination of sorts. Some dealers are still using postcard mailers. Yard signs are also a big plus for our dealers and are probably one of their largest marketing expenditures. We now let our dealers add a small sign that states 'wirelessly protected' [a phrase trademarked by Telular] which affix underneath the yard sign. This helps them brand that extra accessory feature. Dealers are also looking for voice verification in the alarm panels, which is an added up-sell to existing panels. And while the hallmark of our business has been retrofit and working with existing panels, now we're developing systems-including interactive services and features-that are more ubiquitous with new panels. To meet those needs, we launched two-way voice service that works with any panel. The millions of alarm panels already installed are not all capable of these new features. What I see for next year is enabling existing panels do what the most current panels do, built in. A focal point for our smaller to mid-sized dealers has also been in revamping their Websites to make them more appealing to the homeowner. We help them by providing imagery of our Telguard Interactive app that they can use on their sites."

"About 99 percent of our products are sold through dealers," said Mark Ingram, president, Visonic Inc., Bloomfield, Conn. "Literature appropriate for end users is critical. Dealers cannot afford to create their own literature. The literature we provide our dealers helps them explain to their customers how an alarm panel works. Ours is a 'show me' country. We want to know what an alarm panel is going to look like. We want to touch it. And outside of a salesperson hauling around massive demo boxes, literature provides a quick and easy visualization method for the consumer that lets them see what a panel or keypad is going to look like. We adhere to this need as the literature that we provide is in the size and shape of a keypad or alarm panel. This allows the dealer to hold the literature up to any space in the customer's home, letting them truly see where an alarm panel may fit best. This helps create that 'wow' factor for the customers. It's all about the end-user experience. And part of that is a result of the CEDIA market, this sort of cocooning phase where nowadays everyone stays home. This has enlightened a lot of security guys to realize that you have to enhance the customer experience with a security system. Unless a dealer really turns up that volume on the customer experience, sales are going to go down. Video verification, an area that we're very strong in, is becoming a very important part of that customer experience. If a homeowner is afraid to use an alarm panel for fear of triggering a false alarm, with video verification, now that alert goes to the central station, in which the operator can see live what is going on and can make the determination how to respond. That is a big advantage for the end-user experience."

"We've been providing critical condition monitoring solutions to the security industry for 30 years with niche products that offer total asset protection by monitoring for temperature, water, humidity and more," said Paul Machacek, director of Business Development, Winland Electronics Inc., Mankato, Minn. "We inform our distributors and end users via a variety of methods to ensure an understanding that Winland solutions are an extension of traditional fire and burglary coverage for total asset protection."

Enter the land of the QR code

"In addition to direct mail, e-mail communications, public relations and print advertising, we also educate our partners and potential clients by participating in trade shows," said Machacek. "We recently launched a new product at a trade show that included developing new marketing materials, communicating the offering with industry media and conducting show seminars to educate attendees about the product. With the rise of QR code use, we knew it was essential to include targeted codes on our printed materials to provide smartphone users with quick access to additional information."

"For targeted communications, we utilize the channels offered by our distribution partners that include e-mail blasts, monthly promotional flyers, newsletters and more that enable us to illustrate how our products can be used in a wide array of industries-from healthcare and commercial, to grocery and agricultural," he added. "We also continue to research new communication channels, like social media, to keep our dealers, partners and customers up to date about our latest offerings."

New innovations and existing upgrades in intrusion panels and detection devices continue to filter through the technology pipeline. Keep an eye on this hot industry segment and stay in touch with your customers to understand their needs and what you can offer that will be above what the competition might suggest.