The New Security Sale
- By Shawn Welsh
- Oct 01, 2013
The reality is that the security industry
is undergoing technology-driven
changes, and nothing can be done to
arrest them. It’s not hard to find signs
of the upheavals. No doubt you’ve seen big-box
store or telecommunications companies’ television
spots in which they advertise new homeautomation
By definition, home automation is the bundling
of life safety and lifestyle services into one
solution that allows an end user to manage his or
her security system and basic household functions
via presets or by controlling them remotely. For
example, no longer does the homeowner need to
worry whether he or she locked the back door or
that the kids have arrived home safely from school.
In the fully automated home, uncertainty is a thing
of the past.
It’s All in the Numbers
Home automation is no longer the province of early
adopters. According to a report by BCC Research,
the U.S. market for home automation systems and
devices was valued at roughly $3.2 billion in 2010
and forecasted to reach $3.4 billion in 2011, the
year of the study. Going forward, the projection is
for strong renewed growth in the home-automation
sector, as it’s expected to exceed $5.5 billion
in 2016, which comes to a five-year compound annual
growth rate (CAGR) of 10.5 percent.
To put a finer point on it, lighting, home entertainment
and security systems accounted for
almost 58 percent of the U.S. home automation
market in 2010. That slice of the market is expected
to increase to $3.8 billion by 2016 (CAGR
of 12.2 percent).
The upshot for you, the small to mid-sized
security dealer? No longer is offering merely the
“usual” suite of security services enough to thrive
in this changing environment. Consumers are already
beginning to demand more, and these numbers
prove it. Be assured that your customer base is
already seeing those ads mentioned above, and the
telecommunications industry and big-box stores
are putting home automation squarely into the
Home Automation and
the Security Dealer
Rather than fearing, or worse ignoring, what’s
going on, recognize that these marketplace evolutions,
if approached and leveraged properly,
present you, the security dealer, with a rich opportunity
The first, and most obvious, step is equipping
your business with a full complement of homeautomation
solutions. This means giving your customers
centralized control of lighting, thermostats,
appliances and security locks of gates and doors
with security cameras trained on points of entry
and throughout the interior of their home. Most of
all, it means the customer has the ability to control it
all remotely via smartphone or mobile device.
For instance, is your customer the parents of
teenagers? You can set them up to receive a text
message any time the sensor-equipped gun or liquor
cabinet is opened. Are your customers worried
about the rising cost of utilities? They can remotely
control the thermostat along with all exterior and
interior lighting systems. Does your customer travel
often for work? From the hotel or even the conference
room, he or she can arm or disarm the alarm
system, lock or unlock doors and control lighting to
make the home appear occupied.
Video Enhances Security
The real game-changer, though, is video. It’s one
thing for a smartphone app to tell your customer
that their doors are locked, their lights are on and
all is well; however, it’s a completely different level
of control to be able to call up live video of their
home at the press of a key or the swipe of a touchscreen
from anywhere in the world.
Of course, the benefits of having video cameras
installed go beyond allowing the customer to
survey their property while on business travel. It’s
knowing when a package has been delivered, that
the dog is staying off the new sofa or seeing the
kids walk through the front door after school or
soccer practice. It’s automatically receiving a clip
when a motion-detector is tripped. It’s being able to turn over to law enforcement the relevant before, after and in-the-act footage
following an attempted break-in.
Indeed, it would be impossible to catalog all the scenarios in which remote
viewing of event-triggered clips, images and real-time streaming video would
benefit a property owner. Simply put, nothing provides the customer with the
situational awareness they want quite like video capability.
Offering Video Monitoring
The marketplace reality is such that if you’re a security dealer of any size in
2013 and you don’t offer wireless-enabled video monitoring, then you’re not
just falling behind, you’re already losing the race.
The good news, both for security dealers and end users, is that video these
days is better than ever in terms of functionality and affordability. The real
impetus, though, is the sense of empowerment that video provides the homeowner
by allowing him or her to take on an active, real-time role in keeping
watch over his or her home, valuables and most of all, loved ones. Not being
physically present in one’s home no longer means relinquishing control of
their home, and it no longer means a compromised level of—and here’s the
Therein lays the obvious overlap with what you do for your customers every
day. Automation services are uniformly packaged with security services
because security services are the driver for any such purchase by the end user.
Convenience is a selling point, sure, but feeling secure when in one’s home
and feeling secure about one’s home when away are the underlying motivations
for the consumer. Plus, you know security better than any cable company,
wireless provider or home-improvement retailer, no matter how big they
may be. You’re the security expert.
Controlling the Home Environment
Home automation is really home control, and home control is about security
at every level of the residential environment. Now, do you think customers,
the existing security-only ones you’re about to upsell or the new ones you’re
poised to recruit, want you, with years of industry experience and security
acumen, to install and maintain these new implements of control? Or, do
you think they want the cable guy to do it? That’s an easy answer provided of
course, you have the right tools. In this instance, the right tools are not only
what works best for your customers, but also what works best for you.
If you’re a small to mid-sized security dealer and you’re one of the many
new to home control, what would you want from a solutions provider? Your
checklist probably reads something like this:
- A trusted provider that has experience in security and offers home control
training to your sales and installation team, and promises readily-accessible
- A provider that offers service-level pricing as opposed to an a la carte
structure. After all, service level means lower costs and easier invoicing on
your end as well as lower costs and appealing simplicity for the customer.
- A provider who understands that your customers need, say, commercial
fire communication paths or PERS, or landline-replacement solutions and
that your business grows through diversification. Since all such products
must be activated, you know that it’s easier and more efficient to standardize
and work with one activation portal and one customer service team.
So, find that one provider who equips your customers with the broadest
portfolio of tiered solutions. Doing so means you’re focused on growing
your business and not lost in the drudgery of managing the back end.
By now, two things should be clear: home automation is here to stay, and
you, the security dealer, can easily position your business to take advantage
of this growing industry. All that’s needed is a strategy of focused outreach to
customers and a trusted partner to help you give them what they want. At this
point, the only way is forward.
This article originally appeared in the October 2013 issue of Security Today.