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Why Security Pros Should Look at Telecoms for Inspiration, Not as Threats

The race for residential revenue is heating up as more and more competitors enter the fray. Here’s a few reasons why you should get to know your competitors.

Why Security Pros Should Look at Telecoms for Inspiration, Not as Threats

The residential security market and by extension home automation has never been more exciting in terms of products, technologies, connectivity and opportunity. But it has also never been more competitive, cutthroat and intense.

Advancements in consumer-focused design, user friendliness and convenience features have opened the floodgates for the influx of large corporations, equity investors, venture capitalists, and do-it-yourself (DIY), monitor-it-your-self (MIY) and do-it-for-me (DIFM) products and services retailers and providers.

The market has also captured the fancy of telecommunications, satellite TV and cable TV companies — the subject of SSI’s Smart Home Issue cover story spotlighting Comcast’s Xfinity Home.

“We thought there was a unique opportunity for us to be in the business with a differentiated value proposition,” says Xfinity Home Vice President of New Business Dennis Mathew. “Up until then, if we looked at the security industry there was little innovation and we were excited to be a part of launching a business that had not just home security but also home automation capabilities, the ability to access it through a mobile app, the ability to view cameras and also control IoT [Internet of Things]-connected devices. We were laser-focused on home security because we knew there was an opportunity to come to market and be disruptive.”

Why highlight what from a competitive stand-point may be viewed by some as the electronic security industry’s enemy — an outsider threatening to undermine the status quo? First off, the old saying, “keep your friends close and your enemies closer,” is also applicable to business.

The better you know your competitors, the better your chances are to outfox them. Secondly, there are always things you can learn from other successful operators that you may want to adopt for your company.

Lastly, the evidence of commitment and market penetration being achieved by newer players like Xfinity Home signifies a shift in which it may be time to start considering them as security industry members rather than marauders.

While the bulk of traditional security industry firms have a head start, in some cases having spent decades building their businesses, communications-based competitors like Xfinity have some significant advantages over most residential alarm companies.

First, they have a large existing customer base attached to services most consumers value above security (and are more willing to pay for) in phone, broadband and entertainment. Such is the power of bundling: leveraging the perceived necessity of those other products and services to extend into security and home automation products and services.

Not only does that mean just one provider and one bill for the consumer to deal with, but any issues with the pipelines themselves to the home are also the same company.

Lastly, companies like Comcast have almost unlimited resources to devote to new product introductions, staffing and marketing.

“The combination of being able to bundle security into the package and offer a compelling value proposition has allowed us to grow this business,” adds Mathew. “A major factor I looked into as we got started was in the traditional space of ADT, Vivint and Monitronics and how they have developed a standard for the home security operational model. We needed to not only surpass that but also make sure those standards were met within the model of the bigger Comcast framework. Thus we have invested as much in operational tools and customer experience as in consumer-facing product features as we believe both are critical. As a one-stop shop, customers find us very unique compared to the rest of the industry.”

Today more than ever if you’re a security dealer competing in the residential security space you had better have every facet of your business firing on all cylinders.

Upholding the belief that there will always be a place for smaller, local companies with personalized service and more intimate relationships depends on it. Watch the Xfinitys and other new competitors of the security world closely and differentiate your offering. Otherwise it might be time to initiate an exit strategy or concentrate on commercial business, although . . .

“We’ll enter the commercial business market we’re already in as Comcast,” says Xfinity Home General Manager and Senior Vice President Dan Herscovici. “We’ve decided to enter the market offering video surveillance to small businesses. You’ll hear more about that soon.”

It will be interesting to see how that develops. In the meantime, drop me a line and tell me how your business is outmaneuvering the ever-fiercer residential competition.

About the Author

Contact:

Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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