iBridge Connects the Dealer Program

Wanted: Authorized dealers

It’s known as many things. The “home of the future,” “connected home,” “smart home,” “automated home,” and the like, all defined with unique aspects by companies, but all with one cohesive trait...to stay connected. Media headlines and national advertising campaigns have brought this concept alive to consumers, and now, more than ever, people are seeking the ability to stay connected with their homes at all times.

In its basic form, connected homes offer home owners the ability to dim lights, open and close garage doors, communicate with appliances, raise and lower window shades, see real-time video of what’s happening in their homes, and even more. This is how the connected home creates value for customers by giving them control over their homes, which, in turn, makes this a lucrative addition to any security integrators’ list of offerings.

There are many brands offering such products and services, but no one does it quite like Napco with their iBridge Connected Home technology and Connected Home Dealer Program, the security industry’s first and only connected home dealer program.

A Snapshot of NAPCO

Since 1969, NAPCO has been a strong manufacturer and solution provider of high-quality security products that use the most advanced technologies. Headquartered in New York, this company touches verticals such as intrusion, fire, video, wireless access control and door locking systems with their products being sold and installed worldwide by security professionals. With a focus on technology, the company’s product development team stays busy analyzing trends and creating new technologies to help shape each vertical.

Known as “your security blanket in an uncertain world,” NAPCO is dedicated to serving the security industry with the most diversified products, systems and services while delivering unmatched products, service and opportunity as a partner to security professionals. This is what makes iBridge Connected Home technology and the iBridge Connected Home Dealer Program so appealing. Not only do security dealers work with the latest, most effective technology, but they are actually considered partners by NAPCO.

Just a Little about iBridge

About a year ago, NAPCO introduced the iBridge Connected Home as a concept, one that would allow consumers to control a variety of devices in their homes via their smartphones or tablets. At the time, the connected home concept was just gaining traction.

“Extensive qualitative consumer research completed by us has shown that the success of the connected home space will be determined by the amount of intrinsic value these products and services represent to the eventual consumer,” said Jorge Hevia, SVP, Sales and Marketing, NAPCO.

By analyzing what consumers wanted - safety, energy efficiency and convenience - NAPCO made the connected home concept into a reality by offering consumers 24/7 control of their homes, anytime, anywhere. With a smartphone, tablet or access to a computer, home owners are empowered by iBridge to access their security system and video cameras to view local and remote video, turn alarms and lights on and off, lock and unlock doors, set thermostats, set moods and scenes as well as receive email messages and video clips.

All of this control is made possible by NAPCO’s pioneering in remote video services, with its iSee- Video service, over 10 years ago, and its relationship with Z-Wave Alliance, a wireless mesh network technology that has become a standard in wireless home control. Because of Z-Wave, devices can be activated manually, locally or remotely, and set to respond with custom scenes, schedules or occupancy. For example, one scene could be programed so that when someone enters a room in the home lights automatically turn on while the temperature is set to increase, even if the system is disarmed.

Perhaps the most immense value that iBridge technology provides to the consumer, though, is its ability to communicate and enable interactive responses, quickly and intuitively.

“The architecture of the iBridge system makes it so that any component can communicate in real time with any other part of the system,” said Richard Soloway, NAPCO CEO. “This makes permutations of value to the consumer endless. As an example, you can monitor an ailing parent at home remotely, either via video, motion detection or panic sensor. Should there be an emergency, after calling for help, one could remotely unlock the door and disarm the security system of the home to assist emergency responders.”

Trends in the Connected Home Space

Industry analysis is important when it comes to security integrators deciding on which technologies, services and products to incorporate into their businesses. This helps determine the success of their business based on estimated profit generated from incorporating manufacturer’s technologies into their businesses as well as assessing the number of direct competitors currently selling the manufacturer’s products or services.

To make industry analysis complete, however, having working knowledge of industry trends plays directly into this decision-making process.

The following trends have been identified for the connected home market and should be taken into consideration by security integrators seeking to incorporate this into their existing businesses.

Smart home adoption by consumers. Due in part to media hype, people see and hear “connected home” everywhere, so much so, that it has become a part of mainstream society at a very rapid pace.

“The trend is clear, and consumer adoption is increasing,” said Hevia. “Consumers increasingly recognize the benefits of monitoring and controlling their home systems from almost anywhere via their smart devices.”

Multi-screen control. “Fueled by nationwide broadband availability, the rapid US household penetration of smart devices, and the overall internet-ofthings boom, today more than ever, consumers want control of their homes by interacting with their home security systems, lighting, garage doors, etc.,”added Hevia. “They want this type of control on a variety of devices including smartphones, both iOS and Android, tablets, laptops and desktops. This type of app-based control is the bridge for today’s security dealers to provide desirable, connected home technology. This new user experience, combining security and home technology has made security ‘hip,’ and it’s a game-changer for the security industry in value proposition, new RMR and account valuation.”

People have the overwhelming need to have information immediately. The Big Data trend is all the buzz in the media, with a great bit of focus on hacking and hackers getting access to sensitive data. However, in the connected home space, Big Data is what consumers are craving. They want to know what’s going on at and inside their homes, when and see it any time they want. This gives ultimate control as home owners can analyze this data and then decide what, if any, action is needed.

Threat of mass-marketed, DIY, connected home solutions. It seems that everyone wants a piece of the connected home pie, DIY, Google and Apple and then some. In fact, some retail companies are creating their own systems and stocking their shelves so that consumers can purchase, take home and set up the system themselves. This seems appealing, but, with new alarm verification requirements at local levels, security professionals are still needed.

“Our iBridge solution is the most sophisticated, yet simplest to install,” said Hevia. “It’s an affordable professional solution on the market thanks to NAPCO’s interactive video service roots and server-based technology, which makes our iBridge solution plug-and-play.”

Becoming an Authorized Connected Home Dealer

According to Berg Insight, a marketing research firm dedicated to the smart home vertical, 36 million homes in Europe and North America will be smart by 2017. This statistic alone is enough to encourage becoming an authorized dealer, but NAPCO offers the tools to be successful by allowing you to offer your customers the total connected home experience.

Technology. iBridge gives dealers leading-edge technology that allows for comprehensive connected home security, video and smart automation by empowering customers to remotely control their security, video, appliances, lighting, HVAC and Z-Wave locks.

“iBridge is the integration of all the advanced services that NAPCO has been developing over the past 10 years,” said Brandt Phillips, sales director at NAPCO.

New to iBridge is the iBridge Messenger that allows text as well as multimedia notifications with live video alerts within the messages. Connected home owners are able to see pre as well as post event clips of chosen time frames.

“Z-Wave integration allows complete interoperability of all technologies,” said Phillips. “iBridge is based on a Z-Remote module that ties the security system into customer’s network. Z-Remote devices allow interoperability with NAPCO cameras and communication via the Internet and apps.”

Ease of installation. iBridge is backwards compatible with all Gemini Security Systems. This means there is no need to rip out old technology to replace it with new technology. Also, one module provides remote services and Z-Wave support, and Z-Wave range is typically twice that of competitors as well as easier to set up with standard Z-Wave devices.

“Z-Wave communicates directly with locks,” said Phillips. “This allows for direct feedback from locks so there’s never any question about the status of the home.”

Cost. With iBridge, the users smart device can be their interface, in lieu of a traditional keypad, or even a fancy touchscreen (unlike competitive units); therefore, dealers save hundreds of dollars on equipment costs and are able to pass this savings on to their customers. This creates life-long, recurring income as customers learn to trust their dealers to keep their best interests first at all times.

Reportedly, integrators, such as those visiting iBridge at CEDIA, however, seemed to favor the optional award-winning iBridge Touchscreen, with its WiFi and magnetic wall dock/charger. Its operation mirrors the App, plus offers weather, photo frame and Internet browsing.

iBridge dealers are able to offer their customers a free app that is compatible with their favorite smart devices, again putting the customer in control of their safety and security while saving them money.

Training/Support. Being the first and only turn-key connected home dealer program in the security industry, NAPCO doesn’t hold back when it comes to dealer support. From up to a 32 percent discount on iBridge subscriber services to custom branded marketing materials as well as a free, brandable video tutorial, dealers will be confident in their decision to represent iBridge. With an authorized national network being formed, interested dealers and integrators can go to http://www.napcosecurity.com/connectedhome- dealer-program.html.

There is an exclusive lead generation website dedicated to iBridge connected home dealers and NAPCO will help dealers upgrade their company websites to ensure that established clients and all potential customers know about this astute offering.

A venue to share best practices, NAPCO will host an annual members meeting, awards event and outing to celebrate and show appreciation for their dealers.

“The trend toward technology to facilitate a connected home is clear, driving the sales growth we are experiencing for our comprehensive iBridge solution,” said Hevia “NAPCO is excited to be part of this emerging and accelerating trend.”

And, you should be too.

This article originally appeared in the November 2014 issue of Security Today.

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