GE Interlogix Security Pro Conference: June 22-25, Lake Tahoe, Nev.

A strong commitment to the dealer channel, acquisitive growing pains, exciting new products and Elvis were all in abundance at GE Interlogix’s 2003 Security Pro Conference at the Horizon Hotel and Casino. Breathtaking Lake Tahoe served as the backdrop while a record-breaking showing of several hundred dealers found out what to expect from Security Pro, two years after it was acquired by GE as part of its Interlogix acquisition.

During his opening speech, GE Interlogix President/CEO Ken Boyda wasted little time reasserting the company’s established stance that it has no interest in entering the installation or monitoring business, despite its acquisition of Monitoring Automation Systems (MAS) just days prior.

“We believe if you are going to be an innovator, you must have control of the software. That’s why we acquire companies like MAS,” he said. “GE is not interested in becoming a dealer; we value our channel partners. That’s why we had no interest in purchasing [the recently sold] Chubb Security, for example.”

Later, Security & Life Safety Group President Charles Durant echoed Boyda’s comments. “We’ve said it time and time again, we are not going into the installation or monitoring industries,” he declared. “We are partnering with, not competing against, the dealer channel. We are going to continue to be a consolidator, but we are very open.”

Although the overall atmosphere was upbeat and enthusiastic, Durant and other GE Interlogix executives fielded several comments from attendees regarding distribution and warranty issues that apparently have yet to be sorted out in the wake of GE’s entrance into the electronic security industry.

“We recognize that we have a customer service issue and that is our major focus right now,” admitted Durant. “We have to bring it up to the level of our unrivaled technology and innovation.” GE Interlogix representatives conceded that distribution is indeed the company’s biggest concern and that it is expected to improve before the year is over.

The event also featured presentations updating dealers on the latest product offerings – such as a user-friendly graphic-based keypad and the NX-8-CF integrated intrusion/fire system – from the GE Interlogix family of brands as well as a four-hour block of hands-on demonstrations.

David Mayne, vice president of Residential, said the company is migrating toward premise management, data management and networked, IP communications. He added that GE is anticipating the demands of verified response. “The MAS acquisition will help us control systems all the way through to the reporting mechanism,” he stated.

The conference was also packed with social events, including an outing to the Ponderosa Ranch of TV’s “Bonanza” fame, a hypnotist exhibition and an Elvis karaoke contest featuring a $300 grand prize.

The Security Pro program is comprised of several hundred dealers nationwide ranging in size from five employees to more than 100 with annual revenues between $2 million and $15 million. “Most of our dealers have a 50/50 residential-commercial mix,” said Michael Benedict, program director and conference host. “Although there is not much turnover, the program is only about 50 percent saturated.”

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