Uptake in Home Automation Will Drive Home Security
Bundle may be the catchphrase of the decade. What started as combining phone service with an Internet plan has grown considerably during the past few years. Most of us have some kind of bundling package that includes all or at least part of our communication needs.
Now you can add something else to that bundled mix — the home security system. Homeowners who may never have thought about installing a security system are now getting marketing flyers in their monthly statements and seeing ads on television. The idea of adding a home security system is being increasingly planted into their minds.
What does that mean going forward? It may mean the end of traditional home security providers as we know them today. Those companies are going to have to find ways to offer integrated infrastructure if they’re going to keep up with the cable and telecom industries.
For a homeowner, adding a security option from the cable or telecommunications provider makes some sense. First, there is that bundling option; you still have to pay a fee but you don’t have to think about it. In some cases, it is just added to the same monthly bill and itemized with the other services. Second, customers are working with a company they are already familiar with, and with a company they know services their home market. Thirdly, home security is part of the increasing popularity of home automation.
Consider there are now cable companies offering a home entertainment package that allows your DVR settings to follow you around the house so you can stop the ballgame on a TV in one room and pick it up again in another. So, if the cable company is making it that much easier for you to watch television, why shouldn’t it also make it easy for you to set up a little extra protection for your property?
Moving into the home security arena is a strategic maneuver by these companies. Cable and telecom providers are trying to get their infrastructure installed in homes via home security systems. That puts their foot in the door for the home automation services that will exist tomorrow.
A primary selling point for these security packages is the ability to monitor your home from anywhere, on virtually any device. Of course, it makes sense that these companies can offer that feature, given they are providing your wireless and Internet connectivity. Plus, they are already wired into your home via cable. Let’s face it, from the consumer point of view, turning to the cable guy for security — and general home automation — makes things a lot easier.
Be Nimble to Compete
While cable and telecomm providers are making a lot of noise about their services, we don’t know yet what the long-term impact will be for traditional security dealers. Right now, these companies are taking advantage of new technologies and also what is mostly a fragmented home security market.
Nevertheless, the new competition is a wake-up call for the security industry. Homeowners want technologies that simplify their lives, are energy efficient can be monitored anywhere. Home automation is the direction all home-related technologies are headed; security has to be bundled into that concept.
Security companies need to develop home security systems that work in tandem with other functions of the home, like HVAC systems. They also have to provide homeowners the option to monitor (and perhaps control) their homes from multiple devices. ADT has already recognized the need to incorporate new technologies with the introduction of its ADT Pulse wireless system, which provides home security along with home automation capabilities.
It may also mean reaching out to consumers to find out what they want in a home security system and tailoring the industry to operate from a new perspective. Or it could mean reaching out to new market areas. Cable isn’t everywhere. Wireless has dead zones. But security systems are needed in all areas.
Most importantly, it is a matter of the security industry keeping its focus on what it does best, while being deft enough to become the provider of choice for new technologies and services sought by customers.
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