Last week, Resideo announced that it has acquired LifeWhere, a Pittsburgh-based company that leverages machine learning and analytics technology to alert homeowners and contractors when major appliances within a residence, such as a furnace, air conditioning unit, or water heater, are on the brink of failure. Since officially being spun out of Honeywell last October, the company has also acquired water usage and leak detection tech provider Buoy Labs, as well as energy efficiency monitoring firm Whisker Labs.
By bringing these companies and their respective technologies under the Resideo umbrella, the company has expanded its capabilities well-beyond intrusion and fire detection into the brave new world of whole-home security and safety monitoring. According to Scott Harkins, VP and General Manager, Connected Home at Resideo, they view homes as a set of independent networks that work together for the common good of consumers.
“First, you have a network of piping that distributes water around the home and Buoy and some other water leak technologies we have in our portfolio now help protect against any kind of serious or catastrophic leaks,” Harkins explains. “The second network we think of as duct work and how air moves around and is distributed throughout the home. Air is what makes people comfortable and, by the way, indoor air quality is a key component of health and we are already a leader in that space with lots of damper controls, venting, air filtration products, etc. The third network is the copper wires that run throughout a house in the electric network and how energy is transmitted through a home. The acquisition of the energy management asset from Whisker Labs really helps us to create new and interesting energy management and control (products) within the home.”
LifeWhere fits into what Harkins refers to as the “security network” that helps to provide peace of mind for homeowners.
“This is where data is transmitted around the home – whether that is from a motion sensor, window or door contact, or maybe with LifeWhere now, it could be the air conditioning unit or sump pump,” Harkins adds. “It allows all of that data to be transmitted and for the unique ability of a contractor or security dealer to provide new services.”
Ultimately, Harkins says that combination of technologies that LifeWhere, Buoy and Whisker offer give security dealers another point to monitor in the home and an opportunity to increase their stream of recurring monthly revenue. “Not only am I monitoring for burglar or fire alarms, I am also now monitoring for things in the home that, when they fail, tend to have really bad outcomes for the consumer,” he says.
While Resideo may be best known for security, Harkins says the company has four main businesses – distribution (ADI), home security products, comfort (HVAC) and residential thermal solutions (RTS, an OEM provider) – that have all become synergistic with one another with the advent of the capabilities provided by the Internet of Things.
“When you think about our offerings across these businesses – there are products that we put on the outside of the home, think about cameras and doorbells, and there are products that we put on the wall on the interior of the home, all of the sensors that make up a smart home like thermostats, door/window sensors, indoor air quality monitors and those types those things and we’re leaders in most of those categories,” he says. “We couple that with the things that go behind the wall, which is really our big differentiator with residential thermal solutions – water heaters, furnaces, air conditioners, etc. – and then we tie all of that together with our software.”
Ultimately, Harkins says that extending the portfolio of dealers beyond traditional security monitoring and some of the incremental smart home features that exist today will help to reduce some of the RMR pressures that many of them are under.
“Whether they charge more or not will probably be a business-by-business decision and ultimately a customer-by-customer decision. We think it is foundational to expand what they do in the home,” Harkins adds. “
In addition to security dealers, Harkins says the integration of LifeWhere’s technology into the Resideo portfolio will also provide increased recurring revenue opportunities to the HVAC contractors that they work with and possibly create partnership possibilities between the two industries.
“Bringing high value maintenance agreements may no longer require a truck roll and allow (HVAC dealers) to better predict failure before it happens to make better use of their workforce. We think we can not only create recurring revenue for HVAC contractors that they don’t have today but also really help them with workforce optimization,” he explains. “If you go one level higher and think about this in the context of the smart home as opposed to a security solution or an HVAC solution, we think there is a really interesting opportunity for these two industries to work closely together and kind of revolutionize the home services market.”
Harkins also says that more acquisitions may be forthcoming as the company looks to further build out their suite of smart home offerings.
“Trying to drive or work towards innovation is obviously one of our core goals in the business and we will do some of that inorganically, meaning we will do more acquisitions. We are looking at several other companies as we speak and I wouldn’t be surprised if in the coming weeks you’ll hear of more,” he says. “We’re also driving (innovation) organically. We’re finding new use cases by having our comfort business, security business and RTS business sitting in the same room and same offices versus in the past where we were really unrelated.”
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Joel Griffin is the Editor of SecurityInfoWatch.com and a veteran security journalist. You can reach him at email@example.com.