ELK Products Is Making Its Reputation Known Beyond the Security Channel
Todd Hudson, director of sales and marketing, ELK Products
ELK Products first made its name in the security channel, where it has helped lead the migration toward more automation offerings. Initially its customers were strictly alarm dealers looking to venture out into other lifestyle enhancements like lighting. Now, according to director of sales and marketing Todd Hudson, more and more custom integrators are looking to ELK to help them broaden their offerings beyond AV, into automation/control and security. ELK, he said, prides itself on a long history of creating simple, yet innovative products, with its flagship M1 Control System able to integrate with more than 50 manufacturers and control almost any electronic system in a residence. “At its heart, it is a security system with 30 years of design evolution,” Hudson said. Here’s how he answered our other questions about the company and its view of the industry.
How does ELK differentiate itself from others in the channel in terms of its service, training, and product focus?
ELK is one of the most friendly, helpful, and technically competent companies you will encounter. Our dealers have told us that our tech support team is the best in the industry and has enabled us to grow long-term relationships with our dealers. The products we offer have industry-leading warranties, many of which are lifetime. Our products were designed from a dealer’s point of view and are extremely flexible and dependable. We offer in-house and field training as well as bi-monthly training webinars.
ELK’s Navigator touchscreen keypad is available in white, black, or silver.
How has the demand for cloud-based solutions and smart phone integration played into Elk’s product plans, and what are some other technical challenges or trends the company is grappling with?
Cloud-based services have been established in our market as a method to achieve a recurring revenue stream for automation. Our customers seem to be very happy with our ability to provide automation services to them without a fee-based cloud system. We utilize an open connectivity platform that makes our product easy to communicate with by our partners and enables us to be an important part of a wider integration platform. End users still get full capability and control of their systems, both locally and remotely, through a variety of apps for smartphones, tablets, and laptops. The main technology challenge for ELK is to stay ahead of the curve of the future market needs in an industry with long product development cycles.
Energy management is a component to your product mix. What are the biggest challenges of selling energy management as part of an overall solution?
It is difficult in this economy to sell a “spend money now to save money later” solution. Dealers, however, are very successful selling a more basic system that has upgradable comfort and energy management features. A controllable thermostat or temperatureadjusted ceiling fan is an economical way to add basic energy management. Automatically turning lights on or off based on occupancy and/or time of day is another simple, yet effective, way to save energy. That is the beauty of the ELK system. It can grow and change with the homeowner.
What new products in your line received the most interest at CEDIA EXPO 2011 and why?
We have a new, very attractive and simple-to-use touchscreen keypad called the Navigator that has stormed out of the gate since its introduction just before CEDIA. We also received a lot of interest in our two newest interfaces for Lutron’s RadioRA2 and Z-Wave. The reason for the interest is that these products were created because of dealer requests. They give dealers a broader range of tools to further enhance their customer’s lifestyle. CEDIA continues to be one of our most exciting shows, because integrators venturing into security and automation understand the value of a sophisticated security system designed to seamlessly mesh with everything else they offer.