This article originally appeared in the July 2012 issue of SD&I magazine
Wireless is the technology of the future. Both integrators and manufacturers are moving security into the wireless world. According to industry experts, some 70 percent of new access control systems will feature wireless. We spoke to several knowledgeable security professionals about what dealers and integrators should know and expect from this fast-growing field.
Q: What new wireless products are your customers most interested in seeing?
Rosa LaDelfa, senior vice president, Casco Security Systems, Rochester, N.Y.: As we move into the age of wireless technology our customers seem to be interested in cellular back-up (AES Radio, GSM, etc.) with the capability to do Total Connect (Honeywell). Total Connect is the ability to arm, disarm and view your systems from the iPad, iPhone, and similar devices. Wireless panics or personal emergency response is big. However, we are not seeing as much demand for as wireless intrusion and/or fire.
J. Matthew Ladd, president, The Production Bureau, Exton, Pa., and marketing chairman for Security-Net Inc.: Customers are seeing and liking interactive touch keypads that give them the ability to remotely turn the system on and off, access weather updates and control HVAC and lighting. Customers also want the ability to remotely view and interact with their security system through their smartphone. This is one of the biggest developments in the intrusion market in recent years.
Leon Langlais, director of Product Management, Tyco Security Products, Brossard, Can.: The biggest trend we see in demand for wireless products is coming from the lifestyle sensors, which control energy management, lighting and other home automation functions. These sensors not only satisfy the “cool factor” for end users but also offer dealers an opportunity to add additional recurring monthly revenue (RMR) to their business by selling the additional monitoring and service opportunities. Of course, having the most up to date cellular communicators, key fobs, smoke and heat sensors—the core offerings of the wireless life safety portfolio—also remains extremely important.
Q. Does wireless address specific concerns about security? What do customers ask and how are you addressing these concerns?
A. LaDelfa: Concerns around security have not been an issue. On the occasions we have used wireless, the customer has been educated and set up parameters on their systems.
Ladd: If a customer has never had a wireless intrusion system before, it’s not uncommon for the customer to question the battery life of the devices that are part of the system. Manufacturers have made significant improvements in security devices such as door sensors where the battery life is now 10 years. This is now not as much of a concern today as it used to be. Another concern posed by customers relates to systems where the keypad and the alarm panel are part of one single device and people worry about it being ripped off the wall. To solve this problem, one manufacturer has introduced a technology that still enables the system to send a signal to the central station even if the system has been ripped off the wall or disabled.
Langlais: Wireless products have improved significantly over the past decade, to the point where consumers trust that residential wireless intrusion is on par with hardwired systems. In the commercial sector, though, these concerns have been a bit slower to overcome. However, some of today’s wireless systems feature sophisticated 128-bit AES encryption to prevent the wireless signal from being “sniffed” or hacked, so the signal cannot be overtaken through the air. Improved protection against signal interference, along with increased range, is also helping to pave adoption in commercial applications. The more robust systems offer noise immunity from interference from other appliances or systems while improved range means increased distances between panel and sensor without the use of repeaters.