Security on the move: Transition from hardwired to wireless, home automation
“A major trend for the past few years has been the move to wireless for all security offerings. Two years ago, we switched to a wireless system for our residential business. As a traditional hardwire company, it was a hard decision. While it was a significant business move we made, it was well accepted with few challenges. If a customer moves, it’s easier to move their security system with them. Add-ons are also easy, as is of course the original installation.
Our customers also like our experience with Total Connect remote services and that it’s an available option. For example, one customer uses a basic security system and a Total Connect video camera system. His housekeeper comes once a week, and she is terrified of the security system, so he remotely disarms it for her. He’ll check the camera for when she leaves so he can arm the system. He can also do this from anywhere with his smartphone, which was useful during a recent vacation.
Home automation is truly a learning opportunity—not only for our customers, but as an industry. It’s why we like to be on the cutting edge of technology, with new equipment that has a modern feel to it. More customers are looking for technology based on the aesthetics in their home with touchscreen keypads like LYNX Touch and others that are sleeker.
We expect interest in home automation to continue. Currently, many in the industry are concerned about the market entrance of cable companies. But it’s another opportunity for further educating the public about our industry’s services. There will still be that niche for locally owned and operated businesses that provide better service, quality work and individual attention. That could actually benefit companies like ours. —Jeremy Bates, general manager, Sonitrol of Lexington Inc. & Bates Security, LLC Lexington, Kentucky
Latest and greatest in security: Comparing cellphones and security systems
“My background is in the cellular phone business, which strongly correlates with the security industry. In the early days, cell phones only made and received phone calls. Now you can’t buy a phone without a camera and ancillary features. That’s what’s happening in security. You can still get the basic system, but there’s just so much more that can be added on.
The biggest trend in the past few years has been the move from a wired system to wireless devices. Three years ago, we made a conscious decision to go with the Honeywell First Alert 168 panel and 6150RF keypad, which has the capability for adding wireless devices. We decided to install the equipment to position ourselves for future upgrades to wireless. Many people no longer have traditional phone lines and are seeking wireless security solutions.
We also decided to add Total Connect remote monitoring to our product offerings, and it has generated a lot of interest. We’re also seeing an increased demand for graphic touchscreen keypads. In fact, there’s a TV show, “One Tree Hill,” and our Wilmington location provides security for its stages and sets. They sought the latest keypads, and wanted something with good graphic quality and voice capability. More customers—especially the younger generation—are increasingly drawn to these technically enhanced systems. They’re less likely to have a landline, and they’re used to doing everything on computers or cellphones.” —Dave Foster, sales and marketing manager, Holmes Security Systems, Fayetteville, N.C.
Remote access is now the standard, rather than the option for systems solutions
“The security industry is an ever-changing landscape. Previously, the standard service involved simply installing an alarm system, connecting it to phone lines and considering the account taken care of. Now, add-ons are the norm, and customers want to be able to remotely access their home or business’s security system from anywhere via their smartphones. Traditionally, burglary has been positioned as the primary concern for customers, and it still drives what we do. But security has evolved to entail much more—primarily in the realm of home automation. And remote access is now the standard, rather than the option.