Nortek Security & Control Executives Share Secrets for Connected Home Control Success
SSI spoke with Nortek Security & Control Senior Vice President Product and Market Development Duane Paulson and Numera CEO Tim Smokoff for an exclusive discussion on business strategies, the DIY market and more.
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Exercise aversions notwithstanding, most security dealers and integrators are probably more familiar with the NordicTrack brand of fitness equipment than they are with Nortek. Wait just a minute, how about Linear? What about 2GIG? Now those are names security professionals are well aware of and hold in high regard, particularly in the residential sector. They also happen to be among the premier brands owned by Nortek, a diversified industrial conglomerate that announced this past year it was placing those lines under its new Security and Control business unit.
Founded in 1967, Providence, R.I.-based Nortek manufactures a range of commercial, industrial and residential technology-driven products. Operating within six business segments, the company’s offerings include: ventilation products such as range hoods and bathroom fans; security and audio/video solutions; heating and cooling products; air management systems; and ergonomic and productivity solutions. In 1987, Nortek acquired Linear and set the equipment innovator on a path of steady and strategic expansion. Among key acquisitions that rounded out Nortek Security & Control‘s portfolio was buying 2GIG in 2013 and personal emergency response system specialist Numera a couple of months ago.
This year has seen all of those brands — along with others unified under the Nortek Security & Control umbrella — with a strong presence at tradeshows and through other industry channels. It is clear Nortek is serving notice of its intentions to rise as a major player in the security and connected home control market, but why and what does it ultimately mean for installing dealers and monitoring providers?
To retrieve those answers and much more, Security Sales & Integration queried two of the business’ top executives, both of whom have more than two decades of industry experience: Nortek Security Control Senior Vice President Product and Market Development Duane Paulson, and Numera CEO Tim Smokoff. The duo discusses Nortek Security and Control’s business strategies and differentiators, product offerings, commitment to the dealer channel, and why the do-it-yourself (DIY) market should be welcomed with open arms.
Let’s dig in with Nortek Security & Control’s most recent acquisition, Numera. Talk about the strategic reasoning behind it and how the integration is progressing.
Duane Paulson: We’re organized around three different product and service pillars. Access control and video integration is one of those, which is where we’re using the Linear brand. Then there’s security and control, and the health and wellness space. We look at those three pillars and try to flesh out our portfolio across them. That’s one of the reasons we made the 2GIG acquisition a couple of years ago. The organization at that time was very light on a security offering and we needed something in order to be competitive in the marketplace.
As we looked at the health and wellness space, there’s a great move toward mobile PERS. We did not have a solution and we were actively looking for one. When it comes to product, there’s only three things you can do: You can build it organically, partner with someone or buy someone. We felt Numera was a great fit, not only for a product category we needed, but strategically and personality wise.
Tim Smokoff: At the root of it, Numera was more of a health IT company and its history had been around remote patient management and telehealth services. We saw the industry opportunity toward convergence of personal security, home security, with a health-related context to that. We also saw a strong opportunity to move from what is largely our reactive mode of engagement today — everyone has seen “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercials — to one of being proactive. It’s about taking advantage of various sensors and signals, whether they’re home control sensors and signals or device-related signals, and being able to use that in an intelligent way.
So while Nortek Security & Control purchased Numera for the mobile PERS product, it was also quite interested in the cloud platform and the set of services we’d built out around analytics and proactive engagement, and the ability to take a variety of different sensors and consume that, and report back, and notify in an intelligent way. From our perspective, Nortek had a portfolio of sensors and signals and offerings that really nicely extended the scope of what we were doing within Numera. We also saw a very strong fit from a market-view perspective as there was virtually no overlap of portfolios.
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