Value of Wi-Fi Security Keeps Flying Higher
While some potential pitfalls remain, Wi-Fi is emerging as a reliable communications protocol for electronic security systems.
It’s a simple formula: increase your recurring monthly revenue (RMR), and reduce operating costs.
At its core, that’s the recipe for success in the security technology industry (and really, almost any industry). The good news is that opportunities for the first part of that equation seem to be at an all-time high for security installers. Both residential and commercial end users are increasingly willing to pay for peripheral devices to more effectively protect their properties and feel more connected to their homes and businesses. One could argue consumers’ appetites for technologies such as IP cameras, thermostats, lighting controls and others have never been greater. This is largely because concepts like the connected home, the connected business and the Internet of Things are more visible in the public eye than ever.
It’s the second part of the equation, though, that still feels challenging. Part of this is due to some perceptions that creating connected homes and businesses means requiring a different type of skillset on staff. And it does, to a certain extent; for example, knowledge about installing home routers and IP cameras is needed more today than in the past. This doesn’t necessarily translate into higher operating costs. However, the growth of Wi-Fi use in intrusion technology could very well end up becoming one of the great equalizers that allows more dealers to creep closer toward the winning formula that pairs more RMR with fewer operating costs while delivering a connected experience. Let’s delve into some pertinent considerations as to why security installers ought to be high on Wi-Fi.
Installations Less Costly, Infrastructure in Place
The argument for implementing Wi-Fi is actually quite simple: fewer wires equals an easier, faster and less-expensive install. This is true both from the perspective of connecting systems to wireless routers for the purposes of alarm communications, as well as adding peripheral devices such as IP cameras and thermostats.
“The intent all along was to eliminate wires and reduce labor for putting those wires in,” says Ron Ross, president of Detroit-based Vigilante Security Inc. and a 35-year veteran of the security industry. “In the long run Wi-Fi makes a huge difference, as long as the quality of the equipment is high.”
And then there’s the biggest reason Wi-Fi holds great promise for security installation professionals: millions of people are already using it. The most recent research from Strategy Analytics’ Connected Home Devices reports there are roughly seven Wi-Fi devices in use per household. And the latest quarterly Connected Home Report from research firm NPD Group says 67% of survey respondents cited the ability to connect devices over Wi-Fi as their biggest concern when it comes to connectivity and user experience.
“The vast majority of residential customers I come across already have Wi-Fi,” says Ben Abrams, head of research and development for AFA Protective Systems in Syosset, N.Y. “That’s one less wire I have to run to the panel.” AFA recently deployed these types of units in a New York City multitenant high-rise building, where the panels’ Wi-Fi support allowed them to use at least 32 fewer wires – one for each apartment unit.
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