The Future Of Security Monitoring And Home Automation?

The classic approach for consumers wanting these services is to pay fairly sizeable monthly fees. Those fees are increasing as large providers add more services / options.

On the other hand, smaller new entrants are offering lower cost, self serve options that leverage the power of mobile Internet and smartphones.

What do you think will happen here? Will consumers largely shift / upgrade to these higher cost, more sophisticated packages or will we see a significant shift to new entrants that can disrupt these traditional offerings?

"True" home automation - dynamically adjusting lights, HVAC, lighting scenes, water and irrigation control and so forth involves some moderately complex programming. Because of this it has traditionally been the domain of either geeky homeowners, or those that could afford to have a home automation integrator on call to make tweaks and updates for them.

I see some current trends allowing for more practical If-Then controls - turn all the lights off at night, turn down the heat if nobody is home making it easier to homeowners to do the basics themselves, after the system has been installed by an integrator.

It's really hard for an integrator to make a living from just doing HA, you need to do security, cctv and A/V systems as well. For all of these reasons home automation has failed to catch on a default technology in the standard household. Personally, I don't see this chagning any time soon. Have companies like Comcast that can offer entry level home automation for slightly less than horrifc prices is probably the most effective way to move the concept forward.

Marty, you provided a list ironically of companies who are trying to beat off disruption in their own core business of telephony and TV. To the extent that this is undermined, why are people going to pay even for more for these companies to provide ancilliary services like home automation and monitoring?

I never said that the Cable/Telcos would be good at it, nor that they have a sustainable model. But it's still what's coming. And you are right.... they are encroaching into physical security now primarily to open up other revenue streams to battle weakening positions due to their own market disruptions.

However, I find the real irony to be in the fact that traditional physical security has overtly ignored this segment for decades, simply because the channel business model made it financially impractical to service - and now all the industry pundits are openly endorsing entry into the space for integrators looking for 'new' markets. :)

Beyond the irony though, I think that recommendation is flawed anyway.

The key value drivers that integrators represent to end users are their skills, reputation, experience and knowledge that the end user can rely on to provide them with quality security solutions. End users in situations where security is paramount (the traditional physical security space) see this value and will pay for it. Resi/SMB - since they either aren't looking for a real security solution, or they want it, but don't have the Cap Ex to afford it - will never see the value.

The Pain Equation:

Low-end, inferior equipment + low-end, inferiorly-skilled end users = Nothing any integrator wants

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