How consumer habits are shaping the modern alarm system

How consumer habits are shaping the modern alarm system Featured

Written by  Lori Herder September 28, 2011
The modern-day consumer’s purchasing habits are changing more rapidly than ever. And in the security industry, both residential and commercial consumers have far higher expectations when it comes to the solutions they ultimately select for their homes and businesses — even more than they did just a couple of years ago. In general, consumers today are more tech-savvy, resulting in an increased demand for more high-tech solutions.
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One of the best examples is the way we communicate: first, landlines were out, and cell phones and VoIP were in. Now, smart phones are all the rage, and cell phones are “so five years ago.”

 “I noticed it more this year than last, and last year I noticed it more than the year before. More and more people are opting out of landlines and going with cell phones only,” said Paul Ingram, of Halifax-based DNS Systems.

As a result, forward-thinking dealers are even opting to include IP capabilities right away, whether or not the customer demands it in the first place.

“In the past, people have called us up and have wanted to make the switch to VoIP solutions, and it would leave us scrambling to keep up. Now by installing panels that use Internet communication, we can activate that portion of the panel when customers are ready to make the switch to IP – without having to charge for an add-on or issue a new agreement,” said Bob Hoevenaars, of London, Ont.-based Alarmtech.

Customers are finding these options to be incredibly attractive due to access to services like remote monitoring which keep them connected to their homes while they’re away.

More established customers and early adopters have already tested out this new technology, such as Honeywell’s Total Connect 2.0, and started to incorporate it into their security systems.

“With the home automation aspect, customers being able to get a text message from their security system really upped the interest for them to have it,” said Elisha Walsh of Calgary-based AE Security.
“The older generation has already bought into security systems, and the younger generation is now meeting the older demographic in terms of seeking security with remote access solutions.”

Walsh noted that the younger demographic is demanding more smartphone capabilities, but it’s a trend the older generation is starting to seek out as well.

“Twenty-to-40-year olds are used to having that information at their fingertips,” said Walsh. “They want smartphone capability to remotely access these systems. And now, with baby boomers beginning to retire, they like the new toys as well with the option to check in on their vacation homes while they’re away.”

There’s an app for that
In terms of smartphones, it’s an app-filled world. Security vendors are starting to catch on with apps to help customers access their systems on their iPhones, iPads, and similar devices to virtually transform the screens on their devices into fully functional keypads.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for residential users. Remote monitoring services allow for lighting control and viewing surveillance cameras from your mobile device. Through the Internet, we can take our homes with us on the road,” said Ingram.
 
As technology like remote monitoring services improves, many dealers are noticing that the price point decreases, which only increases the buy-in for the younger generation.

 “Things like video monitoring used to be a high-end solution only, but it’s becoming more and more affordable, causing growth in both the residential and commercial spaces. Customers that would originally shy away from these systems due to expense or price are now entering the marketplace,” said Hoevenaars.