Buzz surrounding the smart home and Internet of Things (IoT) has yet to falter; in fact, current data and research support its continued growth and evolution. Business Insider recently reported that “the IoT will result in $1.7 trillion in value added to the global economy in 2019” — that is a lot of money and opportunity up for grabs. But if you have not yet branched out beyond alarms and security monitoring, how you can capitalize? And where do you begin?
My advice to security dealers and integrators is simple: Be different.
Gartner Inc. forecasts that 4.9 billion connected things will be used this year alone — that is up 30 percent from 2014 — and the analyst firm projects further growth, with 25 billion connected devices expected by 2020. Better yet, new research from home technology company IControl Networks names security as the number-one driver of smart home adoption. With growing consumer awareness — generated in part by flashy, new mainstream product introductions, as well as the role of key companies such as Google, Apple and self-served mass merchants — adoption is reaching an all-time high.
These market forces are creating monumental consumer demand, and with that demand comes the need for someone to fulfill consumer technology needs. Yes, you may find a tech-savvy millennial who wants to install their own DIY security system, but inevitably you will find those homeowners who put their trust in the experts and appreciate the professional installers who will manage and maintain their system for them. If you don’t step up, someone else will.
Customers buy differences…so be different. It’s true, a dealer/integrator’s biggest competitive advantage over big box brands and online suppliers is the genuine connection they build with their customer. The face time, consulting and education that today’s dealers and integrators offer homeowners is often leaps and bounds above what is available through other means. Continue to cultivate those connections and personal relationships, while also fostering your own professional development.
Expand Your Knowledge, Grow Your Business
To truly grow your own business, you must grow yourself. Just as I encourage my distributors to add a new line or expand into new categories, dealer/integrators should be encouraged to do the same.
Each business year you should strive to augment your professional offerings by adding one new product category or innovative skill set. For example, there is immense opportunity for dealer/integrators to become more aware of their state-specific security protocols and garner the proper certifications to install and manage monitored security systems. There’s also a strong need for IT professionals and network gurus — understanding the network allows for integrators to own a big piece of the pie when it comes to complete, seamless connected home systems. Attend training, listen in on webinars and take advantage of local dealer events and expos.
Specifically, PowerHouse Alliance — a growing national consortium of 12 regional wholesale distributors that provide AV and security products to installers and dealers — works hard to make training and educational resources available to dealers across the nation.
As we expand our categories to include enhanced security and surveillance solutions, we work quickly to prep dealers and integrators on product benefits, installation best practices and consumer-facing marketing tactics. Our events calendar (available at http://powerhousealliance.com/events) is always packed with training, vendor days and tradeshow exhibitions that allow us to get product in dealers’ hands, enabling you to touch, test and explore these solutions fully, before installing.
With safety and security driving initial mass market smart home adoption, this is your chance to not only offer peace of mind, but to deliver the ultimate in convenience. The smart home is growing and alongside security features, it encompasses everything from entertainment, lighting, climate, comfort and more — and you can be just the pro needed to handle the job.