The Smart Money: Home Wi-Fi Opportunities

Dec. 13, 2022
Additional smart devices require a better network, which is causing difficulties for many residential integrators

This article originally appeared in the December 2022 issue of Security Business magazine. When sharing, don’t forget to mention Security Business magazine on LinkedIn and @SecBusinessMag on Twitter.

Wireless network issues that impact the smart security owner also impact residential security integrators, who are increasingly called upon to resolve issues tied to network performance and stability.

According to Parks Associates research, these integrators report that on average, 35% of residential system installations include both interactive services and smart home devices, with IP cameras, video doorbells, smart door locks, smart garage door openers, and smart lighting the most popular integrated devices. Integrators also increasingly report that they are incorporating many of these devices into a security system that consumers already own. This integration process requires simplification. Nearly 75% of the integrators say find it somewhat difficult to add these consumer-owned smart home devices into security systems, and nearly half find it very difficult. More training, more tools to help, and simplification are necessary to optimize sales opportunities.

After installation, integrators must support a growing number of smart home devices integrated with security systems. The impact on support demand is dramatic. In 2021, 54% of security integrators who install interactive systems with smart home devices said that smart home devices had a high impact on support costs. This is up significantly from the prior year – 27% in 2020, according to the research firm.

Truck Rolls vs. Virtual Support

While most of these issues can be solved with remote diagnostics, 9% said they most commonly roll a truck – which is expensive and has become even costlier with rising inflation leading to all-time-high fuel prices. Labor costs are also increasing due to staffing shortages and new training required for more complex smart home and security installations.

The average cost of a truck roll is well over $350. According to the Technology Services & Industry Association (TIA), the true cost of a field visit can exceed $1,000, factoring in administrative expenses, repeated field visits, and equipment needed to diagnose and fix issues.

One virtual appointment roughly costs a quarter of what it does to send a technician into the field, due to savings on labor, fuel, and truck maintenance costs. Additionally, if the technician gets “porched” (a customer is not home or does not answer the door), it still costs time, fuel, and wages. On the other hand, when a customer does not keep a virtual appointment, the agent can move on to next customer in a matter of seconds.

Companies like ADT are finding that remote and automatic support solutions can help dramatically reduce the number of truck rolls and related costs. In Q1 2022, ADT reported a net income of $52M in Q1 2022 vs. a $48M loss in Q1 2021. The smart home and security company pointed to its remote support program – which performed more than 200,000 virtual service visits during Q1 2022 – as one of the contributing factors to its success. This has resulted in an 80% truck roll avoidance rate and consistently high customer satisfaction scores.

Integrators who take advantage of remote diagnostics and virtual support reap benefits beyond hard cost savings such as gained efficiencies in cost of materials, increase customer satisfaction and stickiness, retain technicians with flexible work, and improve the integrators’ environmental impact.

Jennifer Kent is VP of Research for Parks Associates. Research Analyst Tam Williams also contributed to this article, which is an excerpt from Parks Associates’ latest whitepaper, Control the Network, Control the Costs: Solving the Wi-Fi Problem in Home Security, in collaboration with Johnson Controls. Access it at