If you're still on the fence about getting into the home automation and integration business here's a few items that crossed my desk just the other day.
    DWG Distribution is promoting 2GIG Technologies for complete home automation.  According to its promtional material, as of 2009 over 25% of households abandoned POTS lines and 700,000 a month are being cut each month.  In 2010 there were 397,000 shipments of home automation systems and figures for 2014 are 4.14 million. According to Security Systems News, Security Stats, the North American access control market will rise from $2 billion in 2014 to $$5 billion in 2020, namng Honeywell and AMAG as top vendors for access control.  Alarm.com had a full page in Security System News advertising its Smart Thermostat, and in that same newsletter Affiliated Monitoring had a two page spread announcing Intergrate with the Best Home Automation Solutions, advertising that it integrates all major interactive service providers with latest features for remote arming, temperature control and real-time system activity alerts.  The major vendors were identified as Honeywell Total Connect, Uplink, SecureCom Wireless, Alarm.com and HomeControl.  Rapid Response's [listed on The Alarm Exchange] two page spread touts Videofied Home Control Service, among others.  Home automation is used for security, temperature control, safety, lighting, entertainment and applicances.  Smart homes are certainly the future.  New homes typically include some automation and smart homes for resale are more desirable and sell faster for more money.  Unlike some other home improvements, automation add value to a home.
    The Home Automation boat has left the dock but it's still close enough for you to jump on board.  Get started today by getting the new Standard Home Automation and Integration Agreement [you can continue to use the Standard Residential All in One Agreement as long as you are connecting the home automation devices to a security system.  
    Door knocking groups surface every year and prey on the unsuspecting consumer. Their success is often attributed to negligence of the security industry in general.
In many cases, customers are easily swayed by a new face at the door, simply because they have not heard from their current security company in years.
We can attest to this from first-hand experience. Over our 45 years in the security business, we have seen these sales groups swoop in with effective spiels and dupe customers into signing agreements. I could waste your entire day relating these stories, but the bottom line was simply an erosion of our customer base. Sure, we managed to recover some,  but the most damage was caused to the customer who was exposed to this unprofessional experience and they now view the entire security industry with a jaundiced eye.   
    As we spoke to customers who had switched, the most common reason was; they had not heard from us in years, in some cases - decades. When you hear statements like,   “ the only time we hear from you is when we receive your invoice”, we realized the problem was us, not the competition. So, once we understood the problem, we placed a program into gear that is showing enough positive results, that it is worth sharing.
    We assembled a mailer, designed to inform the customer on something worthwhile. In one case, simply information on a new bylaw that would affect them. This information piece was not designed to sell them anything, simply an information piece they would benefit from. The importance was, simply placing the name and logo in front of them, just keeping in touch with our customer base. Ironically, sales were generated from this mailing piece in different ways.
    Bottom line is, we in the industry, take our customers for granted and then whine when they leave because of our negligence. These customers have choices and if we don’t pay attention to them, the competition surely will.
    As always Ken, your input and professional advice to the industry is appreciated, keep up the good work.
Brien Welwood
Alliance Security Systems
Cambridge Ontario