Wearable devices: The next frontier in home security tech?

March 16, 2015
Alarm.com app takes center stage in Apple Watch launch

Last week during the rollout of the new Apple Watch, the Alarm.com app was featured prominently in the company’s presentation as it highlighted how seamlessly consumers will be able to interact with their home security system once the watch becomes available next month. While the proliferation of smartphones and connected devices have already changed the way that people think about and use their alarm systems, the advent of wearable technology stands to create yet another layer of value that dealers can leverage to enhance customer experience.

According to Jay Kenny, senior vice president of marketing for Alarm.com, the launch of Apple Watch is generating a lot of buzz and awareness around wearable technology, which alarm dealers should be poised to take advantage of by being able to talk about how the system they offer can integrate with this new user experience.  

“From our perspective at Alarm.com, we are always looking at where technology is going and how new technology makes the security system and the smart home/home automation features more accessible and useful to people and so we think that the Apple Watch has the potential to do that,” Kenny said. “You think about the last real transition in the security system from the user experience when it went from a traditional POTS line to a system that had a mobile app that you could arm and disarm and control; that really changed the interaction by the end user and also the perceived value because they pulled the phone out and interacted with it more.”

While it is difficult to predict what the actual impact of the Apple Watch will be on the market as a whole, Kenny believes that it will undoubtedly help reduce account attrition for some dealers and also give some customers the impetus to pay for additional services.

“We think it will help dealers create stickier customers,” he added. “I think the place where it impacts RMR is the more ways a customer interacts with a service, the more devices they’re potentially going to add. The watch puts everything right on your wrist and yeah you’ve got your security system, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a lock on that for the garage door? The easier it is to interact and control the different things in your house, the more likely the customer is to add those things into their system.”          

While wearable technology is not a new phenomenon given the introduction of devices such as Google Glass and even other smart watches in recent years, Apple should help grow the market.

“If you go back a few years to maybe 2010, we’ve seen tremendous growth in in interest and demand for the use of mobile devices with Alarm.com systems. Now most people log-in through the mobile app to access and use their system and it is becoming more and more a standard feature as opposed to what used to be kind of an add-on of a security system. That has really become a consumer expectation and really a standard feature among what our dealers are selling,” said Kenny. “In terms of wearables… I think the issue with Google Glass was that it was so expensive that it never became a practical thing. I think the Apple Watch has real potential, but the real question is what are you going to do on it that’s valuable and what’s going to make someone want to pay money for it and keep it on their wrist?

“I think there are three things, generally, with the watches that can have value. One is this whole trend in wearable fitness devices and tracking your heart rate, steps and all of those things. The smart home is another kind of killer app for the watch where having the ability to see what is going on in your home to quickly send a command and to get alerts right when you need them is going to be really compelling. The last macro category would be payments like with Apple Pay and being able to just tap your watch on a payment terminal.”

Additionally, Kenny said that end users will be able to view and control all of the smart devices in their home including their security system, thermostat, locks, and garage door using the Alarm.com app on the Apple Watch.

“I think the watch itself is more of an extension of the app and there are some cool features like ‘Glance’ so you can instantly see what’s going on in your house. You’ve got actionable notifications… so if you leave home and forget to arm your system you get a notification and now that will show up on your watch and you can just hit ‘arm’ from that notification,” said Kenny.