Tapping Into Energy Management
By 2017, an estimated 90 million homes worldwide will employ home automation systems. These projections by ABI Research hint at where this market is headed, but the fact is home automation technology is already making its presence felt with residential security today.
The flood of products and technologies dangling before security dealers and integrators, ranging from smart thermostats to wireless keypad door locks, offer multiple paths to consider when creating customer solutions for consumers. While the full potential of home automation and home energy management is not close to being realized, evidence suggests the greatest perceived consumer value to be when home automation is tightly integrated with an underlying security platform. Research by Parks Associates backs this up, finding that 40% of consumers with security systems are interested in energy management compared to 25% of those without.
By integrating home automation with the security platform, data becomes a valuable asset for customers to make more informed decisions on their use of lights, thermostats and locks for energy savings and improved security. By leveraging sensor data from the security system and setting sensor-triggered optimization rules, customers gain insight on activity in the home and can more accurately control home thermostats via ‘smart schedules’ or automating lights to turn on when a customer disarms the security system at night upon returning home.
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts — an end-to-end integrated solution delivers significantly enhanced value to the customer compared to a set of standalone products unable to communicate with one another.
Dealers Are Well Positioned
The bottom line is that technology is changing the residential security market — with or without the security dealer. New entrants in cable and wireless are bringing these new products and services to market, but security dealers and integrators still hold a powerful position as the provider that consumers trust to deliver security solutions.
By thinking strategically on how new technologies can positively benefit the consumer, security dealers and integrators can generate new revenue opportunities and foster a stronger relationships with their customers.
Monitoring External Conditions
One of the more recent technologies changing residential security is the shift from simply monitoring events that occur inside the home to systems that can account for external factors and conditions ranging from weather to power outages. External condition monitoring technology has emerged over the past 12-18 months, allowing consumers to receive alerts to their security panel if extreme weather is approaching, so there is time to act before disaster strikes.
Security dealers and integrators can now also layer in technology for consumers to automatically set thermostats during periods of extremely hot or cold weather, which helps individual consumers save money by reducing energy consumption.
Another technology innovation now working its way into residential security is the use of a person’s location to trigger security system events, a.k.a. location-based services (LBS). Security dealers and integrators now have access to LBS technology that is integrated with the security platform, providing customers with the ability to automate system rules and notifications for the security system, lights, locks and thermostats based on their mobile phone location.
For example, based on the physical location of a smartphone, LBS enables a reminder notification to be sent to the customer if they move a certain distance (one mile, five miles, etc.) from their house and forget to arm the security system or turn off the lights.
Jay Kenny is Vice President of Marketing at Alarm.com, a provider of interactive security solutions. He can be contacted at [email protected].
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