There’s plenty of coverage around smart homes, but what about smart apartments? According to the U.S. Census, there are more than 43 million renters in the country – about 37 percent of the total home dweller market. For the most part, the residential security industry has left this huge segment of the market untapped, until now.
Editor's Note: This article appeared as a sidebar to SD&I magazine's Residential Market Report (Aug. 2017 Cover Story).
“When you think about some of the people who have not been in the security market, like renters or people with low credit scores, there are products out there now that are at a cost that is not prohibitive for them,” explains MONI Smart Security President and CEO Jeffrey Gardner. “Almost everyone is working on this – when we can find a way to manage the product costs, it will lead to a new level of penetration. All those people can use smart home capabilities too.”
Honeywell’s Lyric Gateway, as a case in point, is specifically designed for what the company calls the “mobile lifestyle” – with that mobility hopefully opening a path for dealers to sell to renters, condo owners, college students and frequent movers.
“They are looking for systems that are not as large, because they live in smaller spaces,” says Inder Reddy, President of Honeywell Security Products Americas. “They like the idea of being able to take the security system with them when they move, so they need a system where nothing is built into the wall.”
The idea is for dealers to sell the system in the apartment setting – creating customers that stick with those dealers when they move to a different dwelling. “There are two advantages,” explains George Janelis, Honeywell’s Sr. Channel Manager for Connected Home Markets. “The advantage to the consumer – who is not going to be long-term in one place, so they can take it with them; and the advantage to the dealers who will have a new opportunity. (Dealers) typically want a three-year agreement – now they can still do that, and when the user moves from apartment to apartment or rental house to permanent house, they can take the system with them.”
Adds Reddy: “With this type of system, I think the break-even is much faster. If the end-user is willing to pay up front a few hundred dollars for the equipment, (the dealer) already knows the installation costs will be very low and the labor is significantly lower – so from then on, even if the customer goes on an annual contract rather than three years, it is still profitable for the dealer.”
Paul Rothman is Editor in Chief of Security Dealer & Integrator (SD&I) magazine. Access the current issue, archives, subscription links and more at www.secdealer.com.