Where IoT and 2G Intersect

Oct. 14, 2015
How the Internet of Things can protect your company from the ramifications of the 2G sunset

We are living in a time when technology is evolving faster than ever; and along with this rapid development comes trends, phrases and acronyms created to help spread the word to the masses. The Internet of Things (IoT) is obviously a technology trend that has gained lots of buzz and momentum with consumer products. IoT refers to the universal concept of connecting devices directly to the internet. While the trend is somewhat new to the security industry, the concept has actually defined alarm communications for more than a decade.

In comparison to IoT, the 2G Sunset is a term that is very much a part of the security industry and has been for at least the past five years. As we approach Jan. 1, 2017 — the day when AT&T will officially shut down the 2G cellular network — it is fortunate that we are seeing this event intersect with the IoT trend at just the right time.

It is no secret that all 2G cellular devices and communicators that are part of hundreds of thousands of residential and commercial security systems will stop working with the 2G sunset. Now is the time to aggressively roll out a 2G upgrade program to your install base while creatively — and inexpensively — offering functionality freely enabled by IoT. Here’s how:

IoT in the Home

In early 2015, IoT research from Parks Associates predicted rapid growth in the smart home in 2015, as 37 percent of U.S. broadband households intended to buy one or more smart devices this year. The current positioning for consumer IoT products creates an expectation with consumers that IoT products like the Nest Learning Thermostat or Philips Hue should easily interoperate with other IoT devices in the home.

Given the fact that 20 percent of homes have professionally monitored security systems, there will be a high level of overlap between your current customers and this segment of smart home IoT early adopters. The opportunity for security dealers is to be savvy enough to tap into the IoT trend by making the security panel appear simply as one additional smart, connected IoT device in the home that they happen to already own.

If IoT, Then More Flexibility

Imagine giving your customers the ability to integrate more than 200 smart home products and web services with their security system using the free IoT services of IFTTT. IFTTT, (pronounced like “gift” without the g), is a service that lets consumers create powerful connections with one simple statement — if this then that. With IFTTT and certain security products, such as Telguard’s residential cellular alarm communicators, end-users leverage wearables, their cars, daily habits, work schedules, almost any part of their lives and devices in their home, to connect with their security system easily and affordably.

With new hardware and software channels added every day and millions of daily users, the IFTTT ecosystem is constantly adding the newest smart home products and web services your customers love. The beauty of the combination of IFTTT and security products is the fact that your customers will always have the latest innovations, but you will never have the costs or headaches that come with supporting them. From classic home automation scenarios involving lights, locks and thermostats, to more unique actions like using location to disarm their system when approaching their home, simple IFTTT recipes are all your customers need to connect to their security system.

“IFTTT helps people get the most out of their connected life,” says Linden Tibbets, CEO of IFTTT. “As more household products come online, everyone needs a simple way to control the devices around them. IFTTT serves that need by connecting hundreds of apps and devices in a way that anyone can understand."

One professionally monitored, security-centric IFTTT channel lets end users easily integrate their lives with their security system. With Telguard’s HomeControl Flex (see more at www.securityinfowatch.com/12069282), for example, security dealers can simply sell the life safety hardware and monitoring they have always confidently sold and their customers can remotely arm and disarm their system through IFTTT using the ever expanding list of consumer products and services they use every day.

Upgrade Your 2G with IoT

It is time to aggressively replace your 2G customer base with 3G/4G and CDMA solutions — and IoT can help make that transition easier and more valuable for your end-users. Now, rather than simply swapping out one 2G product for another, you can offer them more flexibility by upgrading to a cellular communicator that allows homeowners to connect their smart devices to their security system.

Start the conversation by asking if they already have an IoT product in their home and if they are interested in using it with their remote arming-enabled security system (there is no additional cost for doing so). For the self-empowered and tech-capable end-user, the possibilities are as varied as their needs. All of it is possible with nothing more than their existing alarm system, a mobile app and their desire to make their home and their lives more connected.

By leveraging IoT and IFTTT for security, when your customer disarms their security system, the light in their entrance way turns on, giving them better visibility. Beyond that, if the alarm system is set off in the middle of the night, the interior light comes on.

Z-Wave is another technology that is almost synonymous with home automation and security. How would you like to offer that capability, without having to sell or support additional hardware that is not part of your typical portfolio? Standalone Z-Wave solutions work with IFTTT too. Through IFTTT, for example, when the alarm panel is armed, the garage door closes. Or when a trigger locks your customer’s self-installed Z-Wave door lock, their security system is armed. Location and notifications are another unique way to interact with a security system that provides value to your customers. Their smartphone or wearable device allows for real-time location, which, in turn, allows them to do things like disarm their system as they pull into the driveway or arm the system if they turn off of their street.

Instead of a typical email notification, they can now receive a Twitter Direct Message when their alarm system is disarmed by a family member. A text-to-speech message tells them when the alarm system was armed by the last person to leave their home. Whatever IFTTT recipes they decide to activate using the ever growing list of services, they’ll never be more than an instant notification away from total home awareness.

In such a competitive market like residential security you have to find ways to stand out and offer unique options. You can either install fully turnkey home automation solutions like everyone else; or, embrace the IoT trend and also deliver professionally monitored security while allowing your customer to self-integrate and self-support consumer products via free IoT services.

Shawn Welsh is VP of Marketing and Business Development for Telguard. To request more information about the company, visit www.securityinfowatch.com/10215328.