The connected home is here to stay
- By Ginger Hill
- Mar 01, 2015
Our homes are becoming living, breathing, speaking organisms
a buzz with device-controlled door locks, thermostats, shades,
video cameras, garage doors, etc. that produce the ability to open
and close window shades and garage doors, allow people access
into your home via a one-time access code and keep watch on your home—all
from mobile devices. We can be anywhere and still monitor our homes.
Becoming extinct are metal door keys, wall-controlled thermostats, opening
and closing blinds by hand and waiting until the homeowner returns to
watch surveillance video.
As security manufactures up the ante in the arena of the connected home,
producing products that easily integrate to create systems that protect as well
as make interacting with the home easier, dealers need to become more educated
as to what this means for them. According to BI Intelligence, a research
service from Business Insider, connected-home device sales will drive over
$61 billion in revenue this year. That number will climb at a 52 percent compound
annual growth rate to reach $490 billion in 2019.
“Connected smart home technology is no longer the stuff of the Jetsons,”
said Jorge Hevia, SVP, Napco. “It’s the business of connected home dealers
and the security space.”
It’s time for security dealers to embrace the connected home.
The Essential Piece of the Connected Home
To understand the possibilities that dealers have, it’s important to know exactly
what a connected home system consists of, starting with the basics.
There must be a secure Internet connection to thwart the possibilities of
attacks, hacks and thefts as the “bad people” are getting more and more sophisticated
by the day. Most people today have wireless routers; therefore,
here are some basic tips to ensure your customer’s wireless routers are secure:
- Router name: Change the default ID to a unique name that is difficult for
others to guess.
- Pre-set password: Create a new password that consists of a long string of
capital and lower case letters in addition to numbers and symbols in an
order that is unique.
- Security: Opt for WPA2 (if available) or WPA as they are more secure than
the WEP option.
- Guest password: If this option is available and your customer has frequent
visitors in their home, set up a guest network.
- Firewall: This software is like a guard constantly scanning for attempts to
access the system and in defense, blocks communications with sources
that are not permitted.
Once a safe Internet connection is established, now it’s time for security
dealers to jump in and start talking security options before customers select
from the seemingly limitless options to create a one-of-a-kind “living” home
that functions for your customer’s daily life. After all, the main goal is to provide
a safe and secure environment for customers.
When adding the component of security to the connected home, dealers must
know their customers to determine what they want and ultimately deliver
what they need. Some top security additions to the connected home is the
ability to receive smoke/fire alerts; carbon monoxide/gas leak alerts; water
leak alerts; doors/window opened alerts; electricity usage control of electrical
outlets, all of which increase personal security.
Connected homes should have a home security system that includes a security
control panel so that during an emergency, a monitoring company will
be contacted using standard cellular connections. It may also be wise to incorporate
phone lines as backup as well as broadband connectivity for video
“iBridge Connected Home Services provides an affordable add-on to any
Napco Gemini security system,” Hevia said. “While the traditional security
system remains behind the scenes, the consumer interface doesn’t have to be
a security component or keypad at all - it can simply be their favorite smartphone
or tablet instead.”
Next, think of doors and windows that need motion sensors to track activity
and movement throughout the home. These sensors can also be used to alert
when certain doors are opened. And, while we’re on the subject of motion sensors,
think video cameras inside and outside of the home. This allows customers
to see real-time video or still images on their device of choice, so it may also be
important that the camera has night vision as well as pan-tilt-zoom for a wider
viewing area and more control of what is able to be seen. Other safety sensors to
consider are smoke and fire, carbon monoxide and flooding.
By layering other automation features, dealers can further increase security
for their customers. The ability for home owners to turn lights on and
off as well as dim them based on a predetermined schedule or from their
connected device can help to deter burglars while saving on the energy bill.
By lighting homes at night, burglars are less likely to break in from fear of
being easily seen, and it gives the illusion that the homeowner may be inside
their home. Another element to consider for enhanced safety and security is
programmable door locks as they can be monitored and remotely activated.
With these locks, homeowners are able to give time-sensitive key codes to
guests—the baby sitter, dog walker, maid, plumber—to open the front door,
allowing controlled access into the customer’s home environment.
With the iBridge App and any smart device, consumers can use whatever
they’re already comfortable using to control security, video, temperature,
small appliances, ‘Scenes’ and more,” Hevia said. “The new iBridge Messenger
takes that a step further and even adds SMS text notifications and reminders,
plus live video alerts, which adds to the professional security dealers’ arsenal
of salable, attractive connected home services.”
Perhaps another useful feature to add to a connected home is thermostat
control, allowing the homeowner to easily adjust the heating and cooling of
their home. Also, a unique idea is connecting the home to the garage door so that when the homeowner pulls into their driveway their garage door senses
the homeowner’s Smartphone or device and automatically opens, giving immediate
garage access. There’s even the ability to control faucets in the kitchen
and bathrooms as well as electrical outlets from Smartphones and other devices;
however, designing a connected home should be based on security first
and pleasure and convenience second.
How to Get St arted in the
Connected Home Market
The great news is that the time is now for security dealers who are eager to
enter the connected home market.
market, ahead of the curve, is now, because consumer demand for connected
home systems, inclusive of security, is already all over mainstream
media,” said Hevia, citing the example that as part of USA Today’s CES show
coverage, they projected the number of U.S. households with connected smart
home systems to be over 15 million in less than 5 years.
“The longer a security dealer waits to transition into connected home services,
the hotter the competition,” Hevia said. “And, not just from Telcos and
cable companies, but from DIY and self-monitored systems that are already in
great supply down the aisles of Lowes, Home Depot, even Costco.”
Because of this retail market penetration, security dealers have even more
of a reason why they should exploit their security expertise to help consumers
make educated decisions about security and the connected home. Therefore,
when seeking manufacturers to work with in the connected home vertical, it’s
important to determine that the manufacturer:
- Creates a superior product;
- Offers a robust support system, complete with training, marketing help
and field support
- Provides other dealers as references for you to contact; and
- Listens to dealers concerns and suggestions, acting upon them appropriately
“Security dealers should insist on a professional, integrated system offering
verses a ‘quicky’ unit that mimics the look, feel and low know-how to
install one of those do-it-yourself systems,” Hevia said.
Napco offers a truly integrated, professional-caliber system and continues
to showcase their expertise to provide superior security and convenience
to their new customers as well as their long-time, loyal customers
with the iBridge Connected Home Dealer Program. According to Hevia,
Napco is the first and only manufacturer offering a full turn-key connected
home dealer program.
“At Napco, we feel strongly about protecting our security dealers and helping
them grow in this great new marketplace,” Hevia said. “The iBridge Connected
Home Dealer Program comes complete with training, customizable
products and apps, preferred partner discounts, co-op advertising, marketing
As a security dealer, are you still trying to decide if the connected home
vertical is right for you? Consider this: There’s a strong, definable reason why
the giant Google spent over $500 million buying Nest and Dropcam, not to
mention the cable and phone companies “practically falling all over themselves
to get into security.”
“Connected homes are the game-changing, watershed moment for the
professional security dealer looking to grow their business exponentially,”
Hevia said. “Technology and consumer demand have met at an intersection,
and security professionals are already there.”
This article originally appeared in the March 2015 issue of Security Today.