Between Us Pros: A Broad View of the ADT Deal

ADT is taking over the residential security, alarm and monitoring industry! Already a commanding No.1 in market share, Tyco’s acquisition of No. 2 Broadview Security (formerly Brink’s Home Security) will allow ADT to totally eclipse everyone! The end of the independent security dealer is at hand! Get out while you still can! Hey, slow your roll all you Chicken Littles … the sky is NOT falling.

While estimates vary widely (from as low as 20 percent to as high as 50 percent or more; I believe it’s closer to 35 percent)on what ADT’s share of the market will be once the nearly $2 billion deal is finalized later this year (pending regulator approval), the business will undeniably continue to be an evermore imposing force. However, not only is that no reason for the 12,000 or so local and regional operators comprising the balance of market to fret or panic, it could be used as a source of inspiration.

For starters, let’s look at all the positive things ADT has done for the industry at large — and I am not talking about those wise guys who brag about converting all the customers ADT loses! Sure, ADT has faced its share of lawsuits, Better Business Bureau complaints and unfavorable treatment in the media. But I maintain any provider of that size, touching so many customers, and with such a high brand profile, would be prone to similar scrutiny and criticism.

The truth is ADT donates more time, money and resources to trade associations, standards development, legislative activities, false alarm issues and other industry causes than anyone. Of course, a lot of that is likely self-serving, but you know what? Often the results of those efforts benefit the entire industry, your company included. Believe it or not, while you might be out there consumed with helping your business succeed, ADT reps are busy serving (albeit sometimes unwittingly) in your best interests.

ADT is also at or near the top of the list in charitable initiatives with a plethora of humanitarian pursuits. The positive effects of those endeavors spill over to create a higher level of goodwill among the general public insofar as their perceptions of security/alarm companies goes. What’s more is the multimillions of dollars ADT spends on marketing and advertising not only fortifies its own branding but also raises consumers’ overall awareness of security, safety and alarm systems. Again, that’s to the benefit of all providers.

These positive direct and side effects of ADT’s massiveness are only likely to grow as Broadview (a name introduced last spring I will not be sorry to see go) is absorbed into the operation. I have long admired Brink’s as a model provider of alarm systems and monitoring services. The company has delivered as much value to the industry as its impending new owner. I am hopeful that some of Brink’s strongest qualities will filter throughout ADT and help it become an even better industry ambassador. The integration should be extremely smooth given how much synergy there is between the two leaders. Unfortunately, as is often the case in such mergers, some good people will lose their jobs. However, this is a very incestuous industry and I anticipate a lot of those folks will make the most of the first-rate training/experience they gained with Brink’s and resurface with other security services or solutions providers.

Or they may decide to start up their own company (perhaps even joining ADT’s Authorized Dealer Program, or eventually making a mint selling to ADT), following a path that has been blazed with great success countless times before in the security field. This brings me back to my original and main point as it is yet again another positive outgrowth of the ADT-Broadview deal.

No matter how large any single provider becomes, there will always be a place for smaller, independent operators that possess a reasonable degree of business, technical and market expertise, and deliver customers — with nary an exception— true value and premium service. So wish your competitors well because there is enough market for everyone.

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About the Author


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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