Crossing the Great Divide

The converging residential and light commercial markets allow dealers and integrators to add value and services in additional disciplines

SD&I magazine recently interviewed Jason Williams, general manager of Yale Residential, Yale Locks & Hardware, an ASSA ABLOY Group Co., based in New Haven, Conn., about the Yale Real Living portfolio of residential access control and home security solutions and the ongoing integration of security, access control, audiovisual and IT functions. Here are his insights:

Q. What are some examples of how integrators should pitch security systems today?

A. “I think the smarter integrators are evolving their business models and pitching their services less as one-off installations but instead as a consultant-type proposition that enables their residential and commercial clients to have customized integrated systems coupled with advanced service and support. This typically means tight integration of access control and security technologies with home automation and audiovisual (AV) technologies so it’s a bigger sale for the integrator but it’s also a stickier model—meaning they can retain clients longer and capitalize on design and maintenance service contracts.

For the clients, the value proposition of this model makes a compelling pitch. The primary advantage is a whole home system that adds up to so much more than the sum of its parts—meaning better value and better performance. The secondary advantage is that as we’ve also become a very data-centric society, the ability of these locks to provide actionable information to the homeowner—and to other technologies on the network—has become a strong value proposition: Now the homeowner has real-time input on their single largest investment. Finally, the confidence of knowing if the system needs to be upgraded, troubleshot or repaired, and that there is an expert-partner who knows the technology and knows the home or venue and is immediately on-hand if needs dictate. Clients appreciate this concierge-grade care and they’re willing to pay for it in the increasingly convergent residential and light commercial markets.”

Q. Can you address the current state of the residential security market? Has it rapidly changed even in the last 12 months?

A. “Absolutely; the pace of change of technology has been nothing short of phenomenal. Driven by IP innovation, digital technologies that were once discreet domains are converging rapidly. So you’re seeing access control technologies like the Yale Real Living portfolio existing on the same network as automation, control and AV technologies. Couple this shift with Moore’s Law and these amazing new technologies are increasingly more affordable, so the market universe has noticeably more volume than even 12 months ago. The combined effect of convergent, more affordable technologies has also led to market-level changes as integrators are beginning to cut across disciplines and also cross the residential/light commercial divide.

Economically, the deflated housing market of the past 12 months has meant that many homeowners are staying in their properties longer than in a bullish market. Our experience has been that instead they’re investing in making those homes more comfortable and better equipped.”

Q. How is Yale addressing the future of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology? How is it incorporating this technology into future product developments?

A. “The access control technology community is capitalizing on the infrastructure being built out for banking. You’re also seeing strong innovation from the access control community—notably from Yale’s sister company, HID, that is bringing a lot of experience and innovation firepower to NFC. We are productizing that innovation for the residential marketplace, incorporating NFC into our mobile locks and developing applications to use a phone on the run as a credential.”

Q. What trends are currently driving the security/access control industry and what can we expect to see in the future?

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