For Security Integrators, There’s No Place Like Home

I believe the progression of integrating security into overall home systems must be embraced.

They say home is where the heart is. For the immediate and foreseeable future, home is also where a wealth of opportunity awaits the installing alarm dealer.

Having just returned from the Electronic House Expo in Orlando, Fla., my mind is reeling with exciting thoughts about the amazing advances in products and services I observed at the show, and the profitable selling and installing possibilities these technological breakthroughs hold for the security industry. Take the General Electric-Smart Connected Home for instance. The concept combines broadband Internet access, home ethernet, satellite and cable television, and powerline home control into a single integrated system. It’s designed to reduce energy costs, improve efficiency, enhance security, and produce a higher level of overall comfort and convenience. The system combines seemingly limitless automated functionality. Impressive, isn’t it? Are a lot of homeowners going to want connected homes? You better believe it!

Shortsighted alarm dealers may be intimidated by these developments or even feign disinterest, but the fact is that networked homes present the greatest single opportunity for alarm installers since the advent of digital communicators. Dealers have already been established as experts at doing residential installations. Furthermore, they already have “an in” to the millions of homes in which they have installed and serviced security systems. Thus, security professionals are uniquely qualified and positioned to capitalize on this trend.

Why limit your business to the shrinking returns of alarm installations when expanding into a related market holds the promise of more jobs at greater margins? According to Dallas-based research firm Parks Associates, the home networking market will surpass $7 billion by 2004.

A dealer I spoke with at the House Expo told me his company is clearly moving in this direction. He has incorporated a lot of audio/video installations into his workflow and vouches for the attractive profit margins. A home theater installation alone can fetch several thousand dollars.

I believe the progression of integrating security into overall home systems must be embraced. Security dealers need to educate themselves about emerging home technologies and products, determine which ones make the most sense for their clientele, get thoroughly trained in installing and servicing those products, add them to their service offerings, and effectively market them.

Imagine being able to offer a customer such options as smart appliances, satellite TV, HVAC, lighting and wholehouse audio to go along with their new security system. The total value of the account could dwarf a typical security-only installation. After the job, you not only still have the recurring monthly revenue from the alarm system, but a service and maintenance relationship for all the other equipment as well.

I urge dealers to check into this burgeoning market for themselves by reading Security Sales, attending shows like the Electronic House Expo, and contacting organizations such as the Home Networking and Automation Association (HANA; 202-712-9050) and the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA; 800-669-5329).

Opportunity is knocking at the connected home’s door; are you going to answer?

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