INDUSTRY PROFESSIONAL

The Changing Marketplace

As the Internet of Things (IoT) has continued to evolve, so, too, have the options for pairing smart home integration with both professionally monitored and self-monitored home security solutions. As an industry, we have come a long way from the push-button keypads hardwired to units in closets that had dial-up connections to a central station. Advances in technology, including LTE and 5G networks, Bluetooth and Z-Wave, have allowed home security providers to make our systems a seamless part of everyday life for millions of Americans who own or rent a home.

We have moved beyond providing professional monitoring for deterrence and intrusion only—life safety monitoring is now possible because of products such as connected smoke and CO detectors, flood sensors, temperature sensors and more. Coupled with other home automation products (smart locks, smart lightbulbs, smart thermostats, etc.). A smart security system can streamline the home experience for customers and provide them with security, and peace of mind, for life. While self-monitored systems are popular with entry-level consumers of smart security, a professionally monitored system still offers the most value for money, as customers know that a central station is there in any emergency, 24/7/365—whether they are home or away.

The smart home market is booming, with newcomers to the industry offering budget-friendly options that are tempting more Americans to try adding automation or video cameras to their homes. In fact, research shows that 30 percent of U.S. broadband households now own at least one smart home device. Security is understandably a concern as customers add devices to their home Wi-Fi networks—it’s important to encourage customers to check their network security, install firmware and antivirus protection updates regularly, and keep technology current to avoid threats. While some manufacturers offer devices that can integrate with other smart home products, many of them run on separate proprietary apps, which can make the customer experience a frustrating one. Imagine having to open separate apps to disarm your alarm, open your garage, and unlock the back door—it is not the simple … streamlined life that smart home commercials promise or that customers are telling us they want.

This is where security providers have an advantage over smart home only companies— by being able to integrate many common smart products into a home’s security system, providing a way for one app to control everything from locks and lights to the alarm itself, at the push of a button. And, because of professional monitoring, the customer is in complete control with 24/7 (emergency) coverage should it be needed. This is particularly useful if a connected smoke detector or CO alarm should trip while a homeowner is away—with monitored security, their app will notify them, and their provider will automatically dispatch emergency personnel—potentially saving property and lives.

Another advantage to professionally monitored security is the discount offered by many homeowner’s insurance policies for having a system in place. Self-monitored systems often do not qualify, and most police departments will not dispatch units to a self-monitored home when the owner is not present.

Video is another area where a security provider’s app integration makes a world of difference. Customers who choose to add indoor or outdoor video cameras can now see those feeds in real-time and even reply to video doorbells from within their home security app—whether they are on the couch or away from home. Video analytics and customized notifications allow customers to truly choose the experience that works best for their lifestyle.

It is not just self-monitored systems that are tempting to customers, we know from data shared by Parks & Associates that self-installed systems are on the rise—last year 55 percent of new security systems were DIY installations. About onethird of those customers chose this route due to COVID-19 concerns, which means that as the world starts to emerge from the pandemic norms, professional installation will continue to grow. DIY systems do offer self-service but we continue to see the interest of customers who want a professionally installed and monitored system where a trained technician ensures that everything is connected and set up properly. Customers know that their system is communicating properly to the central station, and all of their smart devices have been properly integrated into their system correctly. The technician will also show them how to use the system in the way that works best for their lifestyle and how to make changes as their needs change.

For Brinks Home, it is an exciting time to be part of the smart security industry, as more and more customers are looking for the peace of mind that a smart home + security system offers.

This article originally appeared in the July / August 2021 issue of Security Today.

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