How Security Dealers Can Survive ‘Alarmageddon’

Learn what security alarm installers can do to survive this potentially grim dilemma.

Today’s security industry is grappling with disruptive technologies, which always cuts both ways toward opportunistic success stories and tales of becoming irrelevant. The hosted technology environment that is creating an unparalleled opportunity for the industry is also creating a threat to its traditional revenue sources for installation and recurring services. Dave Hood, president of San Francisco’s First Alarm, has coined the term Alarmageddon – “when the devices become intelligent enough that they no longer need our industry” – to refer to a potentially grim predicament.

The invasive technologies of companies like Google and Apple are already having an impact. Just go to Best Buy, an Apple Store or Verizon and you can see the new formidable competitors with which legacy security providers are being confronted. January’s Consumer Electronic Show (CES) was filled with numerous DIY (do it yourself) and MIY (monitor it yourself) products and services. It is not going away anytime soon.

Clearly, there are plenty of companies and investors betting big on the security space, and then doubling down on their new hosted and cloud-based services to disrupt life as traditional security practitioners know it. And it all seems to be based on different and proprietary software platforms and hardware to boot. These disrupters are finding new ways to provide and monitor devices, including monetizing them via RMR model. However, the established security industry remains uniquely positioned to fulfill the hosted and cloud-based security services if it rises to the challenge.

RELATED: Serving Up Security as a Service

“The available market is big enough to absorb the people who will consume DIY and MIY products and services; however, it will not end there – existing clients will be attracted to this paradigm technology shift,” says Electronic Security Expo (ESX) Chairman George De Marco. “We must take this shift very seriously, and not think we are entitled to our customers. We must determine how to best go to market with products and services that differentiate us and resonate with our customers, like hosted and cloud-based services, and understand how they can augment our traditional security offerings.”

Choosing to just install alarm systems and process alarm signals could lead to being replaced by the Internet of Things (IoT) more quickly than many security companies realize. Video verification is a key area providers should seriously consider adding to their portfolios.

Security as a service technology has made video alarm verification more affordable than ever before,” says Protection 1 CIO Don Young. “In addition to driving down costs, end users can now benefit by reducing false dispatches, mitigating risks, increasing safety and security for employees and maximizing the value of their security investment. Video verification through our 1View service is a leading creator of value and RMR for Protection 1.”

Large and small security companies are going to have to become better operators and better competitors or they will risk losing market share to new entrants and more aggressive competitors that have figured it out. The consumer is becoming better educated and will have a much greater say in how they will and want to consume security in the near future. The security industry’s clear ace in the hole to exploit and capitalize on is delivering professional (or commercial-grade) installations and monitoring.

Larry Folsom is President of I-View Now.

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