The Importance of Understanding New Technology

Ken Kirschenbaum isn’t ashamed to admit he didn’t know the meaning of IoT. Read why he believes it’s important to get with the times and stop being afraid to ask questions.

Customer smartphone-controlled applications are rapidly expanding.

From cameras, audio, garage doors, doorbells, personal and vehicle tracking, turning the lights on, starting the coffee machine and turning the heat or air conditioning on.

Oh yeah, almost forgot, a security system with smoke detectors; I know you’re familiar with that.

So the question today is, are you going to adapt in this fast-changing electronic world of Internet-connected devices, offer the equipment and services that will not only be available but demanded by consumers, or will you slowly, maybe not so slowly, become obsolete?

If you stockpiled dialers waiting for their return it’s time to wake up! Use your smartphone to start the coffee. What I think is going to be most challenging to the security industry is that competition has changed.

You are no longer only competing against your buddy who has the alarm company across town or down the block. Today, you continue to compete with that local company, if still in business, as well as with the 800-pound gorilla ADT and some new big nationwide operations that probably don’t deserve mention.

But on top of that, you are now competing with the manufacturers that make and sell you the equipment and, even worse news, well healed businesses and investors that are from outside the alarm/security/ fire business.

And there’s potentially one additional player, your local government that decides to offer alarm services. I recently read an article that talked about IoT. I’d seen that abbreviation before and must confess did not know what it was.

Well, I too have been risking becoming obsolete! Hey, at least I am not above admitting when I don’t get something. It is amazing how often within companies or for those attending seminars and such, most people will not let it be known or communicate when something is unclear to them.

They are embarrassed – but it’s those who ask questions that typically better advance their lot.

If you think of those who were in on the ground floor when the alarm industry began offering its services as pioneers of the industry, then you need to come up with an analogy for what you must now become, perhaps astronauts, space explorers.

If you regularly read Security Sales & Integration, I am sure you are already familiar with the IoT term, but for those of us more on the business as opposed to technology side of the industry it can take us a little longer to catch up.

I must say, though, one of the many things I really appreciate about how SSI conveys information is that the editors go out of their way to spell out and fully explain terminology before just throwing around acronyms willy-nilly. Some people go way overboard with the alphabet soup stuff.

Anyway, in that article, Dick Soloway, the CEO of NAPCO Security Technologies, was quoted using “IoT,” and the term was bandied around by others as if we should all know what it means. And at this point, we all should.

It stands for “the Internet of Things” (whatever that means!).

I suppose what it boils down to is that soon just about all parts of our lives, at least the electronic aspects, will be controlled by consumers’ smartphones. What you need to think about is whether you’ll be part of this startling evolution of technology.

From a contractual perspective, I can’t say those at our firm didn’t see this coming. The Standard Form Agreements (found at, particularly the All in One Agreements, have changed significantly since 2013.

They require updates regularly because systems and services change, creating new opportunity for sales and recurring monthly revenue (RMR), and new areas of risk; they seem to go hand-in-hand. The do-it-yourself (DIY) market is just the beginning for this new technology explosion.

It’s interesting to me that some DIY operations limit themselves to certain products and services, some offering only cameras, others only security, others including some fire detection equipment, others two-way audio, environmental controls, lighting, and yes, coffee machines.

Is this business really going to be fragmented this way, or is someone going to come around and offer all of it, a single package with every bell and whistle available?

If you think of those who were in on the ground floor when the alarm industry began offering its services as pioneers of the industry, then you need to come up with an analogy for what you must now become, perhaps astronauts, space explorers.

What you need to become are titans of industry; the security/ fire/home automation/GPS tracking/PERS/IoT industry. If you don’t, rest assured that others will. Don’t find yourself in a room staring at shelves of dialers waiting for your phone to ring!

See you in the future; it’s here.

READ NEXT: How Dealer Programs Can Give Security Professionals the Upper Hand

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About the Author


Security Sales & Integration’s “Legal Briefing” columnist Ken Kirschenbaum has been a recognized counsel to the alarm industry for 35 years and is principal of Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum, P.C. His team of attorneys, which includes daughter Jennifer, specialize in transactional, defense litigation, regulatory compliance and collection matters.

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