7 trends affecting the security technology business

Honeywell President Scott Harkins' take on what's changing our business


March 29, 2012, Las Vegas -- At ISC West, Scott Harkins, the president of Honeywell Security Products for the Americas detailed what he sees as top trends affecting his business. We tend to agree that these are the technology and service-shaping changes and paradigms that our industry has to adapt to:

Smart phones & tablets: These are the devices your customers prefer. Companies like his are providing solutions that leverage customers' usage of these devices. From remote access to alarm systems to tablet control for security and home automation, companies like Scott's are heavily investing in supporting these devices through units like their LYNX Touch solutions.

Home automation: Harkins says this is no longer for just higher-end homes, and no longer just hard-wired controllers. "We think it is coming downstream in the market in a very fast way."

Interactive services: "If you don't have the ability to control your alarm system via your phone, tablet or PC, you just can't be a viable player in the market today."

Integration beyond security systems: HVAC, HR software, lighting, anything with data output is part of what the "security" industry has to bring to market today.

Cloud services: Honeywell's Total Connect is a cloud services and with Video Software as a Service (vSaas) offerings across the board, customers are moving away from huge investments in hardware and looking for cloud-operated devices. "Honeywell has been in the cloud for about 25 years with our AlarmNet services, although we certainly didn't call it the cloud back then," he adds.

Standards: The buzz in the video industry is from standards-like specifications such as PSIA and ONVIF but Z-wave and Zigbee are shaping the intrusion market and directly allowing connection to home automation devices (see Item #4). "The one thing I know about standards is that standards really aren't standards. People implement all of these 'standards' in different way, but at least guidelines are better than nothing at all. We believe standards are the future, and we believe the time is now."

Apps: More than just remote access via web browsers, clients need apps that empower their lives. It means unified control. Walk the show floor and you'll find more apps than you can shake a smart phone or tablet at, and even more are coming each week – and they're getting more robust every year.

Scott's take on these trends is that the industry has to be on top of these or be left behind. "It's our duty to track these trends and adapt how we deploy them to the security industry. What has traditionally been a technology-driven industry is rapidly becoming more of a consumer-driven industry." And with an estimated 90 new products coming out of his business unit in 2012, you can bet they'll be focused on those seven key trends he detailed at ISC West.