Why Integrators Must Ditch the Silo Approach and Sell Whole ‘Ecosystems’

Monitoring sits at the nucleus of myriad technology propositions and business models. Focusing on augmentation of systems can increase customer retention and average lifespan of a subscriber.

Why Integrators Must Ditch the Silo Approach and Sell Whole ‘Ecosystems’

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As a 40-year industry pro, I sincerely enjoy hosting seminars and participating on panels with colleagues. Sharing my knowledge and experiences is important to me. In May, I was honored to sit on the “Funding the Smart Home: View from the Industry” panel at Parks Associates’ 26th Annual CONNECTIONS Conference and yes … it was a live and in-person event!  

The session was moderated by Elizabeth Parks and in addition to myself the panelists included Nancy Green (Aveus), David Sym-Smith (Mobility Ventures) and Michael Meyers (Ethos Capital). This discussion focused on M&A and strategic investments as an important driver within the smart home industry.

We discussed the leading areas of investment within the connected home landscape, identifying priorities among investors and provided advice for smart home players looking for funding and partnerships.  

Ours was the last session of three days of amazing information shared by executives that span security, safety, health and wellness and technology on many levels. The presenters were everyone from Ph. D technologists to MSP executives and everyone in between.

Professional monitoring was a common thread throughout CONNECTIONS. We heard from platform providers (e.g. Alarm.com), MSPs (Comcast and Cox), manufacturers (Johnson Controls), presence detection technologies (Cognitive Systems), central stations (Rapid Response Monitoring), AI developers, health and wellness giants (Electronic Caregiver) and financial experts.  

It was apparent how monitoring sits at the nucleus of all these great value propositions and business models. Furthermore, professional monitoring is essential as it’s clearly understood that the human aspect and interactions are irreplaceable.

This is important to state because while technology continues to be leveraged toward automating many aspects of monitoring, augmentation is the path rather than replacement as the human aspect of monitoring is what provides the greatest value to any platform.  

An important factor to understand in providing the utmost in support services relates to the holy grail of the channel customer retention and, most importantly, average lifespan of a subscriber. For the most part, the security and life-safety industries maintain a focus on attrition mitigation and extending the average subscription life of a client.

This should always be a primary focus of maintaining a value proposition that leads to longevity of engagement. When it relates to PERS and mPERS, it is also about attracting earlier adoption toward a longer subscription.

With the convergence of security, smart home, safety, wellness and aging in place with telehealth technology, providing a path to earlier adoption while laying the runway for longer subscription life through the building of services over time is of paramount importance.

In the past, the channel only had so many tools for future upgrades and most were more related to hardware sales. With convergence and interoperability of systems and services, the industry is finally at a juncture where we have true “cradle to grave” solutions.

Platforms exist that may start off fundamental and build to be more comprehensive as life changes and dictates additional needs and requirements. A young couple may simply need entry-level security as they start their life together.

With the purchase of the first home and arrival of their first child, some additional emergency features and monitoring may become more prevalent. Later as their child progresses and starts school, they may steer them to use automation and video as part of a latch child monitoring structure.  

As time passes, mPERS may be a need for a parent they care for along with in home PERS.  You get the idea. Although the needs were always there, now we have platforms that scale rather than ripping and replacing every time needs change. 

Along with the security and safety monitoring services, it appears that the senior and elder market is the most underserved. The Parks data clearly states that the elder and senior market has tremendous potential for growth given the low penetration. Getting away from the analog “button in a box” is essential and focusing on technologies that provide true end to end support is essential. Systems as presence detection and lifestyle monitoring brings so many benefits to consumers of all types.

In addition to emergency monitoring services, seniors are the market that require automation and smart home features more than any other channel. Take a look at what’s been provided to disabled and injured veterans and how the smart home has changed their lives. Although it may be extreme in some cases, most seniors have similar challenges to some of these brave veterans and would benefit in a similar manner. 

Industry leaders have the opportunity to serve clients better than ever before. The technologies to deploy systems and monitoring throughout a longer lifecycle exist and have existed.

It’s been expressed for at least two decades how lifestyle systems serve a great benefit for most consumers. It’s time that the channel takes a step back and focuses on the entire ecosystem rather than selling systems and monitoring in a silo approach. 

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About the Author


Peter Giacalone is President of Giacalone Associates, an independent security consulting firm.

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