You’re creating a whole-home proposal for a client who wants a cutting-edge AV system, inside and out, with some of the latest features, and a big wow factor. And, naturally, a security system. Maybe you leave the security system details for the tail end of your proposal/presentation or even push it off onto a vendor partner. But that may not be the right way of looking at it.
“Security is frequently the jumping-off point to a larger deal,” says Dennis Beatty, operations director, SmartHouse Integration, “2GIG has several basic automation functions, and once a client needs to exceed the capabilities of the system, the ELAN platform is the natural step up to bring everything together.”
There are, of course, challenges when suggesting smart security to prospective clients. “Cost can be a challenge; security on its own can be perceived as expensive when you expand beyond the two-door and motion package,” he adds. “When you start adding cameras, light switches, thermostats, and door locks it can get a little pricey for someone not looking to invest that much.”
Another big barrier concerns functionality between products, notes Chris Carney, CEO, abode. “Customers want smart home technology and home security, and they want the devices they put into their homes to not only ‘work,’ but to function harmoniously with any other solutions they have already installed. That’s why abode has put such a focus on creating an all-encompassing solution with deep integrations across the board so that we can help customers round up the devices they rely on for convenience and security into one easy to use dashboard and app.”
What are the questions and concerns you will encounter from clients? A frequent question is about what happens if something breaks down, given the integration of multiple technologies in the project, Beatty says. “We always make sure that all systems function on their own before integrating them. This way we can ensure that, should an issue arise with the automation platform, all of the subsystems will continue to function on their own.”
Home size/type is an obvious factor as well. “Large homes present endless opportunities, whereas a condo, for example, has some limitations,” he notes. “What is different in the proposal is really more scale-based. With today’s wireless technologies we can offer almost all of the same services to a smaller project, with few exceptions. The 2GIG platform gives us the abilities to offer cameras, door station, garage/gate control, lighting control, climate control, and door locks. The ELAN system includes that, as well as audio/video in an award-winning interface, both with wireless options.”
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As tech evolves so quickly, so does the smart approach to presenting smart security. “The rapid changes can present challenges,” Beatty says. “At SmartHouse Integration we train our techs constantly to stay ahead of the curve. We pride ourselves in our ability to take advantage of emerging technologies and integrate them into our designs. We have won several awards for innovation for that exact reason. Our approach remains the same — to provide the best possible design, installation, and support.”
“The old school approach to home security was to call up a company and have someone come out to your house to tell you what you needed,” Carney explains. “They would come back, do that installation for you, and tie you into a long-term contract for monitoring and maintenance because, at the time, there was no other way. At abode, we’ve always felt that that approach was backward and we wanted to give the power back to the customer when it came to what technology to install and when.”
While technology may be evolving rapidly, the customer’s desire to be in control of the devices connected to their home remains, he adds. “Our approach has always been to align ourselves with what’s best for the customer and to educate them along the way where we can. We want to be the experts they call on to learn more about how they can integrate a new technology solution into their home, and we let them know how abode allows them to do that, easily.”
What’s in Store
Beatty sees the traditional headend for equipment getting smaller and less centralized. “With more and more devices joining the IoT, and wireless technologies making great strides ahead, the need for a large centralized location for equipment may be on the way out.”
And because today’s average consumer demands flexibility, Carney foresees disruptions in professional monitoring services on the horizon. “abode has always been a pioneer in this regard with our ability to offer professional monitoring capabilities on demand for three-days or seven-days without any long-term contracts. If a customer would like to monitor their own system 99 percent of the time but have professional monitoring when they go on vacation, we’re here to help. We’re also happy to help the customer who wants professional monitoring 100 percent of the time with our annual or monthly plans. Looking toward the future, it’s not unreasonable to see services like professional monitoring going the way of usage model whereby you only have to pay for the service when you actually use it, like we currently do with other utilities such as water or electricity.”
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