INDUSTRY PROFESSIONAL

Smart Home Preview

As a product and strategy leader, a critical part of my role is to look ahead and determine where our industry will go. Brinks Home™ is one of the largest providers of home security in North America, and we take our position seriously. Not only do we protect more than 1 million people, but we also want to help drive change in the smart home and security industries.

Our mission is to bring peace of mind to our customers by providing simple, effortless solutions. We combine innovative technologies and products with a user-centric, seamless experience, backed by our fast, reliable professional monitoring and support.

To achieve that goal, we are committed to collaboration with our product and channel partners to bring a shared vision to life. The future of home security is in smart devices.

BLENDED SOLUTIONS ARE THE FUTURE

The term “connected home” is used all the time, but in order to have a truly connected home or building, we need to look at the role product-led smart home innovation plays. There is an opportunity to increase awareness in the home security category of what a truly “smart home” can add to a customer’s quality of life, which allows us to tap into new markets, who may never have considered security but enjoy the latest in home automation.

We strongly believe that offering blended, or piecemeal solutions that combine security with automation offer potential customers a good entry point to a connected home. As people achieve or approach milestones like moving into a new home; having a baby; having young children and pets at home while working remotely themselves; or even hearing about break-ins in their neighborhood, people are more open to a smart home solution. Interoperability and an open ecosystem will become more important and give customers the flexibility to streamline their lives with connected smart security.

While home security is where we see automation being adopted quickly, there is also an increasing appetite to automate other buildings. During the coronavirus pandemic, many companies have adopted electronic keycards to limit touchpoints on doors or elevators. This is just the tip of what smart devices can offer. Automated buildings can include smart lighting, operating on sensors or timers, access control with face recognition, or even connected HVAC systems to help find cost savings and efficiencies in heating and cooling.

It is also important to note that the market for connected homes and buildings is not homogenous. There are varying degrees of feeling safe and comfortable with home automation. These are dictated by both location and a customer or company’s life stage. Understanding what drives customers to desire home or commercial security and connected home or office products helps innovate and provide better solutions to meet their unique needs. We believe more than 40% of broadband households in the United States own or intend to purchase a security solution, and 40 percent of that group also desire a more complete solution that includes smart home products.

THE IMPORTANCE OF PARTNERSHIPS

As the pace of innovation continues to accelerate and advances in technology make new things possible, we will see more collaboration between product manufacturers, integrators and end-users. It is not easy to deliver an end-to-end solution if you are not a technology giant, especially not at the speed needed to stay competitive.

A streamlined home or office requires more than just a product (firmware, software, AI, cloud/edge computing), it also needs a good purchase experience, strong sales operations, installation and set-up help, and care services for customers after the installation is complete.

To achieve this, it’s important to adapt quickly to changing trends and put together a seamless solution by sourcing bestin- class product and technology, then continuously evolving for our customers, as opposed to focusing solely on owning the full layer of product solutions. In order to achieve a truly connected home, it’s not enough to empower singular products or service categories. As an industry, we need to provide more empowered and connected IoT solutions.

SMART HOME SECURITY PRODUCTS

Home security systems stand to gain a lot from overall technological advancements in camera and computing power. We see a case for leveraging AI and computer vision technology to detect a package at your porch remotely through a doorbell camera, and even take programmed actions based on video and audio analytics, such as turning on lights or music, or even having central station dispatchers speak directly through a device to stop suspicious activities.

Smart cameras and speakers see or listen to collect information, which is analyzed and used to predict the wants and needs of people in the home. For example, these smart devices can hear when a smoke detector or security alarm goes off, and begins recording. They can provide that information back to the customer and monitoring company to enable them to take more effective, and immediate, action.

Data privacy will be a top-of-mind concern for companies and customers. People and companies will need to understand how their data will be used and stored, and will need to be comfortable knowing that they have full control over their data.

Biometric capabilities are another area for exciting potential. While it is not a new technology, people have been unlocking their smart devices with fingertips, iris scans or facial recognition for years. There are improvements and refinements being made that will enable faster, more secure access to homes and security systems. Biometrics may soon enable us to offer more personalized customer experiences, based on what AI-backed technology learns about each person in a connected home. As with camera and speaker developments, the biggest barrier is privacy concerns. We’re anxious to see what the future holds for connected devices and smart security.

This article originally appeared in the March 2021 issue of Security Today.

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