Pittsburgh—The lines between consumer and security products are crossing. We caught a glimpse of this from some manufacturers earlier this year at ISC West, such as Panasonic Security Systems Company who showcased a consumer line of surveillance products, but it is more than present at this year’s ESX trade show in Pittsburgh, Pa. It is evident that customers want more control and manufacturers are giving them just that. From the residential side, we’re seeing more home security panels packed with multiple controls, a unified solution in which the homeowner can control settings and features such as audio, intercom, weather, messaging and lighting, right from their PDA or iPhone.
This was present at this year’s ISC West in a small dosage but does not compare to the amount of interest and information available from vendors on the ESX conference show floor. Consumer interest is driving this push and both integrators and manufacturers need to get out there and educate the user on all the technology that is available. Honeywell, ADT, Telular, NuVo, Lutron, UTC Fire & Security, heck even Comcast is now getting into security with their Norton Security Suite from Symantec—all these manufacturers are coming out with new technology that offers the user more options and you can expect to see the crossover between security and the consumer market only continue to evolve.
“A lot of folks don’t know that this technology is available and it’s our job to educate them on this,” Bill Graham, vice president of Sales and Marketing, Guardian Protection Services, Warrendale, Pa., explained in the “Leveraging New Control Interfaces to Increase Sales” educational session. “Forever we’ve been known as the alarm guys and that’s fine because that is what we do. Now we have an opportunity to be that contractor to take all this technology and provide it for the consumer—to take it to a compared retail level that blends the line of standard security—and to add more marketshare.”
And although raised questions regarding problematic issues such as electrical components integrating with HVAC do exist and will need to continue to be addressed, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks in the long run, continued Graham. Instant notification through iPhone, Blackberry and other PDA apps, “It does require more work and will require more callbacks but it’s important to understand that those apps and services are also just coming out.”
But another advantage in getting more involved with add-on services can mean a possible lower attrition rate, added panelist Nate Natale, vice president of Sales for Alarm.com, Vienna, Va.
And although it may be a bit too early to fully tell about attrition, confirmed Graham, this technology will continue to grow because “consumers are starved for information—they want to know what is going on in their homes when they are not there,” he continued.
As far as price point goes, there really does not seem to be any indication that there is an issue. “Price point is an important point to this emerging technology,” explained Bob Fallert, vice president of Sales, On-Q, On-Q Legrand. “A lot of these interfaces have been around for a long time but with the technology and added-features that is out there right now, we’re bringing that price point down.”
Products such as televisions are also becoming a part of the interface. “Samsung has 50-inch television panels equipped with an Ethernet interface” Fallert added.
And regards to additional obstacles that come with this technology, well, the vote is unanimous that the importance of educating the consumer on this technology is No. 1. And as Graham mentioned earlier, it comes back down to consumer awareness. You can’t sit on the sidelines, waiting until the technology changes or until someone else adapts to it and starts implementing it first. As Natale concluded, “if you’re not going to be doing it, your competitor will.”
Be sure to check out SD&I’s July issue, which will highlight a number of products supporting this technology, straight from the ESX floor.
Natalia Kosk, Security Dealer & Integrator