After all these years, home security may finally get its calling. With a penetration rate hovering around 20 percent for many years, perhaps this is the time that detection and protection comes home—but through the back door if you will.
There’s nothing wrong with that. Consider security protection and detection another value-add service, and rightly so. Remember that first and foremost new customers and in particular the younger generation want convenience and automation, the likes of which have been brought to the forefront with mobile surveillance, energy management and lighting control—all through smartphone and remote connectivity. There’s so much appeal to remote control of anything and everything, and that goes for security and video surveillance.
So now that these customers crave their conveniences, they will be able to want to check in on occupants of the home or their pets with mobile apps, or find out who delivered a package, or when the cleaning or construction crew came and went. They will now value security bundled with other conveniences and that’s good news all around and perhaps the key to grabbing more market share in the residential vertical.
Give them killer apps and conveniences
So just how do you position it? Sell the customer or the prospect on all the conveniences first. Maybe you don’t even have to point out the fact that it’s security. Give them what they want and how they want it delivered, and they will find value from top to bottom. Perhaps they want to control system parameters with their iPads. Make sure you have your sales team and technicians iPad ready and can demonstrate with these devices in the field. Perhaps they love their iPhone and all it does? Show them how they can control all the parts and parcels of the services you offer with their smartphone.
The following Honeywell First Alert Professional Dealers seem to confirm the trends noted above. We recently went to them to find out what’s hot in the residential market and here are their insights on what they are seeing and hearing.
Automation first, security as an add-on
“I’ve been in the industry for 32 years and I’ve seen more change in the past two years than the previous years combined. Manufacturers are catching up and adopting the technology that’s been out there and it’s now produced more simply and affordably. The market for these services used to be small, but now there’s more awareness and mass appeal. This raises awareness of what security companies can do in addition to providing traditional systems.
As technology like the iPhone or Android becomes more commonplace we’re seeing a growing familiarity with and interest in security systems that have remote monitoring and home automation capabilities. Customers are attracted to the virtual keypad function that they can access and control from smart devices. These are basic, entry-level automation processes that can be done remotely and affordably using a simple, easy-to-operate touchscreen.
Seventy-five percent of the buyers of these types of technology are in the 20 to 45 age group. They grew up with these kinds of technologies and have been exposed to them for many years. For example, my daughter is a college student and when she was looking at housing and apartment complexes, the first thing she and her friends checked was wireless capabilities at each location. Young people are accustomed to this type of technology and it’s a natural fit for them. Often, they’re interested in home automation first, then security—or not security at all. To them, security is an add-on.
Many are concerned by the players from outside the security industry that are beginning to move into our space. However, security companies are typically more trusted than cable companies or telecomm companies in terms of providing services. The process still starts with security, with enhanced services layered onto the security system or panel. I believe end users will still look to the security industry first for services, even though other entrants will attempt to provide these types of products and services. End users have confidence in the level of service that comes from a one-on-one relationship with a local security company.”—Jim Callahan, vice president of Sales, Ackerman Security, Atlanta