Greyfox courts security dealers

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Tuesday, January 1, 2002

PITTSBURGH-A home networking equipment manufacturer that's been a behind-the-scenes provider for the last six years is now tapping security dealers as a new sales channel for its structured wiring product.

Greyfox Systems, based here, has begun to court security dealers who are looking to get into structured wiring. The company offers sales and product support for its home networking hub, the central component that controls the home's security, entertainment, communications, climate control and computer data.

Since its beginning in 1994, the company has fast become one of the largest suppliers to other manufacturers such as Pass & Seymour, Cox Communications, US West and Verizon. Although it has traditionally sold its products through distributors, Greyfox is now putting its own label on its product and taking it more directly to market through a national network of 60 installation companies.

"We were finding that we were not participating in that (dealer) channel as much we'd like to," said Dan Tarkoff, vice president of business development and support services. "The OEM strategy was getting us a lot of good business in general but it really wasn't addressing the dealer installer channel for us and it was too big of an opportunity to not go after."

Tarkoff said Greyfox is looking to amass a network of between 100 and 150 dealers throughout the country, with between two and four dealers per geographic area. About two-thirds of the current installer base are security dealers, most of whom were not previously involved with structured wiring. Greyfox is also targeting home entertainment and computer networking companies to be part of its national installer base through trade shows, trade publication advertising and direct mail.

Greyfox offers dealers a business model that explains "how you make a business out of structured wiring and how you leverage it with your current security business," through a software package called Option Express, Tarkoff said. The software guides dealers through pricing and selling a basic minimum package to builders so the builders can include structured wiring as a feature in the home.

"Dealers can then have the ability to meet with homeowners to sell everything from structured wiring to security options to any other low voltage product they might sell, "Tarkoff said. "It's all about upselling and how you position, sell and win builders, and how you balance those two things."

Working more closely with security dealers has begun to drive the company's product strategy more toward the dealer market, Tarkoff said. For example, the company has received feedback from security dealers wanting to put the security panel inside the structured wiring panel, and the company has developed products to accomplish that.