What I Learned from Honeywell’s Scott Harkins in a Pre-ISC West Google Hangout

I, along with 9 other media professionals dedicated to the security industry, was privileged to participate in a Google Hangout with the President of Honeywell Security Products Americas, Scott Harkins. In this informal and rather candid, pre-ISC West Show event, complete with coffee in hand, Harkins' goal was to explain consumer trends and how each trend connects to the home space as well as business. Overall, consumer trends are changing as consumer's expectations are changing, and the way the security industry responds is the key to success.

According to Harkins, there are six trends that are shaping the way in which the security industry must respond to consumers, whether in the residential or business sector.

Smartphones – These devices are becoming the way that we, as a society, interact with the world. In fact, Smartphones have taken command of the market by becoming 75% of all cell phones within society. Therefore, whatever type of security product that a consumer purchases, it needs to interact with a Smartphone to create ease-of-use.

Pervasiveness of Broadband – Basically, whoever wants the Internet has it, so the security industry must find a way to fill this pipeline by providing products that interact with the Internet as well as the consumer.

Touchscreen – Consumers are seeking an interactive experience with the world around them due to Smartphones, televisions, computers, cars, etc. all having touchscreen capability. Historically, the security industry utilized no touchscreens, with only 2% of the whole industry implementing keypads.

Integration – Consumers are expecting more and more from their security systems. They want products that will turn the lights off and on, lock and unlock doors, adjust temperatures as well as protect their environments. Basically, consumers are seeking connections, so products must be able to do more than one task.

The Cloud – "Approximately 74% of all businesses use some sort of cloud service," said Harkins. He believes that the term "cloud" is a overused, but agrees that it is the beginning of a significant transition that allows security product solution providers to create and deploy systems at a cheaper cost and pass the savings on to the consumer.

Overall User Experience – Every interaction with a security product must impact consumers, whether they are the end users or the dealers. From how a product is packaged to how it comes out of the packaging to how it hangs on the wall to providing an app to control other things, the consumer expects each of these experiences to provide them with some type of impact.

How is Honeywell responding to these consumer trends?

Honeywell invested, and is still investing thousands, of dollars to interview numerous consumers to determine their expectations when it comes to security products. So far, Honeywell has learned that consumers want to make sure the experience in their home, at their wall, with their security system is rich. Consumers do not want to be totally dependent on their Smartphones or tablet to interact with their system, although they do want this option offered to them. So, Honeywell makes sure that each of their products is intuitive, easy-to-install, and provides life safety and life style functionality.

"The reality is trying to understand what the consumer wants," said Harkins. And, by taking such a proactive approach to learning the consumers needs and wants seems to be one of the keys to Honeywell's overall success in the security industry.

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