New Potential in Residential
While few may think of residential business encompassing access control and video surveillance solutions, there is money to be made out there for those who do. Cashing in requires knowing what to recommend and how to sell homeowners on it.
Expanding your services to include camera surveillance and access control in the residential arena can be fraught with issues and pitfalls. However, residential customers are looking for these services and a security company with market savvy can easily diversify into these areas. If you are purely a security company with mostly commercial experience than this article is for you.
The greatest difference in supplying residential systems is the fit and finish of the supplied gear. Target your marketing to medium to luxury homes. Starter homes rarely have the funds for camera systems and access control. Having said that, don’t discount condominiums and small luxury homes because of size, but focus on the price per square foot of the homes in a particular location. Use your judgment and client interviews as to the customer’s wants and needs.
According to SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION‘s 2008 Installation Business Report, installing security contractors attribute 10 percent of their video surveillance system revenues to residential business, and 5 percent of their access control income to residential clientele. Clearly, despite the housing lull there is not only money to be made in this realm but also a tremendous growth opportunity. Let’s take a closer look.
How Video Helps Out in the Home
Working in the residential market means you must specify products that will be aesthetically pleasing to both interior designers and spouses. Box cameras with housings are out. Instead use small domes and lipstick cameras. Also, black-and-white cameras are out; it’s the 21st century. Day/night cameras, at night, produce the only acceptable b&w images.
Now we ask the question, “What kind of system does a residential consumer want?” Camera systems may be as simple as a front-door camera connected to the video input of the main TV, to as elaborate as multiple pan/tilt/zoom (p/t/z) dome cameras (typically for multimillion-dollar mansions).
Let us now consider camera priorities, or what to focus the cameras on.
Normally, the front door has the highest priority. Customers like to see who’s at the front door before opening it. Gone are the days of the peephole. Be prepared to offer the customer an upgrade to an intercom system with the camera, and to integrate an open door/gate button. Panasonic and Aiphone have some good products for this.
The next priority is the pool. Having a camera system with audio monitoring at the pool is highly desirable. Parents can monitor kids on the main TV and listen for emergencies. Another good use for a camera with audio monitoring is the famous baby cam or nursery camera. A third priority would be a driveway camera.
Follow the first three areas with outdoor perimeter monitoring, inside common areas, and in a family with teens, the liquor cabinet. Customers expect to be able to view their cameras over the Internet now, so discuss the requirements to make this happen (e.g. static Internet connections or DNS services).
Integrating Cameras With Security
As mentioned above, security systems, and their sensors, can be integrated to trigger the camera systems. Camera system DVRs have contact closure inputs, so all one has to do is assign a security system sensor to a DVR contact closure.
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