Young & Old Alike Ripe for the Residential RMR Picking
Security dealers need to understand their residential customer’s needs and which vendors can help them reach your goals based on the smart home market conditions.
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A perfect storm of market conditions has positioned security professionals as key beneficiaries of the smart-home technology boom. Numerous analyst studies have high-lighted safety and security as the leading drivers of smart-home technology adoption. The price of entry has dropped to mainstream levels and mobile devices have given a majority of the population the ability to control and communicate with smart-home devices.
There’s certainly a growing DIY market but the overall demand for home automation products and services is higher than it’s ever been and growing more every year. All of these trends converging are a positive sign for dealers who choose the right home control solutions and apply them creatively.
Over the past two years, home control technology has really cemented itself in the mainstream tech conversation. The ever-multiplying number of standalone smart-home hub controllers, apps and subscription-based services from startups, major home improvement stores, telecommunications providers, and more, has given users more choices at lower prices than ever before. On top of that, network TV commercials, massive banner ad campaigns and in-store promotions have raised smart-home technology awareness to never-before-seen levels.
Of course, awareness doesn’t equal adoption, but the revenue growth rate is predicted to be around 30% every year due in large part to security, government regulations, rising energy costs, and elevated mindfulness with respect to environmental concerns. History has shown that the majority of late adopters aren’t DIY customers, and even DIYers need a pro sometimes, so it’s safe to assume that demand for professionally installed services will only increase.
All this paints a rosy picture of the future, but home automation nirvana is not quite here yet. A lot of fragmentation still exists in the smart-home segment with different devices supporting different communication protocols like Z-Wave, ZigBee, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and others. No universal standard exists to tie everything together yet, but there is growing convergence and compatibility that will ultimately lead to some level of standardization. Until then, it’s important to understand your customer’s needs and which vendors can help you reach your goals based on the market conditions.
Make Pricing and Service
Once an integrator decides which home control solutions he wants to work with, it’s important to understand the nuances that make each one appealing to consumers and how to market them effectively, while at the same time how to market against competitive options. For example, some DIY systems do not require customers to sign a one-year or longer contract. It’s important to note that the DIY systems resellers also offer a “premium” service plan for advanced automation features, and offer nothing but the most basic smartphone-activated features (i.e., on/off) free of charge. If a customer only needs remote on/off and single device control, then the basic plan might work. However, getting the most out of a system using a smart-phone will likely involve an automation services agreement.
It is common for home automation providers to bundle Z-Wave and other remote service programs together with other primary services, such as security system monitoring, so that the monthly fee for remote service and advanced automation is somewhat masked by the primary service. Dealers need to make sure they know what services options are available from a home automation panel’s manufacturer. Many manufacturers have partnered with a number of alternatives so that dealers have more choices in automation with smart-phone/remote management capability.
Leverage Interoperability and Safety Accessories
Despite the overall fragmentation of home control standards and products, there is still a great deal of interoperability between systems, especially with open standards protocols like Z-Wave. A customer who comes in and asks for a basic alarm and one-camera system to monitor windows and doors needs to be educated about the variety of other control options available to them.
For instance, technology is available that can keep guard against potential water damage through smart valves, manage electrical consumption though smart AC outlets, and manage ambient lighting with smart window and skylight controls. Not every customer wants all these features in a first installation, but many do become interested over time.
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