ADT’s new hire to focus on technologies of the future

‘Cable guy’ Arthur Orduña says his goal as chief innovation officer is to help ADT succeed as an independent company
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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

BOCA RATON, Fla.—The new stand-alone ADT’s announcement this week that it has hired cable industry veteran Arthur Orduña has the blogosphere speculating that ADT is adding a “cable guy” to make it more “cable-friendly” and ready for acquisition by a telecom or cable company. 

But The ADT Corp. insisted again this week that its focus since being recently spun off from Tyco International is on being an independent publicly traded home security/home automation company focused on the residential and small business market. And Orduña told Security Systems News he was hired to fill the newly created position of chief innovation officer to help ADT, based here, succeed in doing just that.

“I took this job, and I’m incredibly excited about this job, to start really looking and building out where ADT can and should go, looking ahead,” Orduña said. “I’ve been so impressed not only by the company and what it has done from a product perspective, but really impressed by the people, beginning with [CEO] Naren Gursahaney and all the folks I’ve gotten to meet, not just on the leadership team but especially at the operational level. I’m really, really excited and looking forward to being part of this team.”

Orduña will report to Gursahaney and “be responsible for technology vision and strategy across the entire company,” the company said.

Among innovations that Orduña said ADT will be looking at are “newer technologies on the horizon that may not be playing in the security industry today, but there’s no reason why they couldn’t play in the security industry tomorrow.”

Months before ADT, which has more than 6 million customers, officially became independent from Tyco on Sept. 28, there was speculation in the industry that ADT might be acquired by one of the telecoms or cable companies rapidly expanding into the home security/home automation market. 

Gursahaney previously has said that’s not ADT’s plan, stating: “We're going to be a stand-alone public company.” 

However, the hiring of Orduña reinvigorated those rumors this week because of his background. According to ADT, while he most recently worked as a business development consultant to PayPal, a division of eBay, he “spent several years as the chief product officer and chief technology officer at Canoe Ventures, an advertising technology company founded by the top six U.S. cable companies that provide software and services to national television programming networks.” The company also said that Orduña “served as senior vice president of policy and product at Bright House Networks, where he was responsible for all new video, broadband, voice and wireless product development and deployment.”

But Orduña, 47, told SSN his work experience has been extremely varied and has included being the managing editor of a weekly newspaper in Iowa. He’s also held senior positions at Vivendi-Universal and Integrated Systems Inc.

What ties all his work experience together is that it has all been “around that eco-sphere of the home,” he told SSN.

“My start in technology was really looking at how the home and the business could become smarter,” he said. “And I’ve never lost the sight of the fact that—and it’s the thing that really jazzes me—is how you provide that degree of advocacy management and control and put that in the hands of the family.”

Gursahaney said in a prepared statement that Orduña “will play an integral role in spearheading the long-term vision for our portfolio and creating a culture of innovation at ADT."

The company said Orduña “will create a strategic road map for the full life cycle of new and existing solutions; help define future solution and product architecture and functionality; and strengthen ADT’s relationships with key technology companies to position the company as a partner of choice.”

Orduña told SSN he can’t be specific about which companies ADT might partner with, but said that, in general, he doesn’t want ADT “to be limited by what I would call legacy technology.” He stressed that he’s not referring to ADT’s current legacy technology and vendor partners, which he characterized as “extremely impressive,” but simply to a mindset of embracing innovation.

“We should look at trends that may not seem applicable today and assume that they’re going to be important to use, [and explore] how is that important and where would that play,” he said.

As an example, he cited wireless technology. A decade or so ago, Orduña said, “we never really envisioned wireless technology playing such a significant role with what we were doing with security.”