Smart Homes: From Niche to Mainstream

May 18, 2015
How ADT is leveraging its market position to drive smart home adoption

Smart homes are the tech trend of the moment. With the media conjuring visions of a Jetsons-esque future, and new gadgets, devices and solutions appearing every day, connected home technology is on the cusp of becoming a mainstay in households across the country. However, bringing the automated home from niche to mainstream requires simplifying the customer experience and bolstering widespread awareness, along with educating consumers on what features and functionality will provide the safest smart home possible.

A New Era of Opportunity

The path toward today’s modern smart home has spanned nearly a century, comprising every household innovation, from the introduction of vacuums to the invention of personal computers and mobile phones. In 2010, a new era began when ADT was first to debut a mass-market interactive security solution — ADT Pulse — that has evolved to offer users a platform to view real-time video, receive alerts, arm their security system and remotely control devices such as lights, door locks, garage doors, thermostats and appliances from any internet connected device. Today, ADT counts more than one million ADT Pulse customers among the brand’s nearly seven million total subscribers, and more than 70 percent of new installations are ADT Pulse interactive security systems.

For security dealers and integrators, the opportunity is great. According to market research firm Parks Associates, consumer adoption will rise rapidly with nearly 40 percent of U.S. broadband households planning to buy a smart home device in 2015 — up from 16 percent in 2014. Furthermore, recent reports expect the home automation market to continue growing, bolstered by more players than ever before, from telcos, to retailers, to device-makers.

Importance of Professionally Monitored Security

In an emerging marketplace, this influx of new participants helps drive increased awareness and interest in the category, but also makes it more critical than ever for consumers to be educated on how to make a smart purchasing decision. At ADT, we hear from homeowners every day that they value the peace of mind in knowing ADT can actually dispatch first responders in an emergency, as opposed to sending a text or notification to the user like many DIY and point solutions.

Simply being notified of an event is not monitored security. Should a break-in, fire or carbon monoxide event be treated with the same importance as your Aunt Mary posting a new kitten video on Facebook? Today, we are emphasizing this more than ever to inform consumers who are in search of true security and protection. 

Recently, I participated in an ADT LifeSaver Award event, where we reunite customers with the ADT dispatcher and first responders who helped save their lives. In this particular case, the customer was asleep as high levels of carbon monoxide began to fill her home. Had it not been for the quick response of ADT and the local fire department, the customer doubts she would have survived such a serious event. At the LifeSaver Award ceremony, she got the chance to meet the ADT dispatcher from our professional monitoring center in Knoxville, Tenn., who received the emergency signal, contacted the first responders, awoke the customer and guided her to safety. As they hugged for the first time, the customer said, “Without you, I wouldn’t be here today.”

It is our core belief that safety and security is something one should not compromise on, and it is stories like this, and those of many other ADT customers, that drive this point home. We take a holistic approach, merging the convenience and added value of home automation with the protection of professionally monitored security. Even if a customer is out of town or unavailable for any reason, our team of trained security professionals can respond on a customer’s behalf in the case of a break-in, fire or carbon monoxide incident.

Innovation and Ease of Use

While we continue to deliver the protection and dependability that traditional monitoring provides, ADT is committed to innovation through the development of our products and services to offer even more value to our customers and bring additional consumers into the category. Traditionally, professional installation of a mounted system has required in-wall wiring and a lengthy set up time.

Now with the ADT Pulse Total Security wireless hub, the system can be set up quickly and easily for a headache-free installation experience. Through a single integrated wireless home automation hub and in-home control panel, it combines monitoring services with automation capabilities. It also includes cellular and power backups to help ensure users’ homes are safe and secure through multiple layers of security.

A Final Word

Given ADT’s leadership in the category, we believe it is our duty to educate consumers to provide peace of mind and help keep them and the things they value safe and secure. Part of that education is reinforced in ADT’s newest marketing campaign that asks consumers: “What good is a smart home if it’s not a safe home?”

In the end, it will be the consumer experience that will ultimately determine the rise or fall of the smart home, and we are in an advantageous position to deliver a superior user experience. The service we provide to help protect and connect our customers is critical, and we want to continue to share our passion for helping people live safer, smarter lives.

Alan Ferber is President of ADT Residential. Request more info about ADT at