Honeywell to dealers: Future is now for remote services

First Alert Professional dealers urged to sell new technology to compete with telecoms
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Thursday, November 17, 2011

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.—Ron Rothman, president of Honeywell Security Group, told dealers at the First Alert Professional 2011 Convention here they need to start offering remote services or the telecoms, cable companies and other competitors will take their customers away.

“If you don’t think there is going to be a difference between the digital dial-up, tin-can version of RMR and the remote-services version, I think you better take another look because it’s coming and it’s coming fast,” Rothman said at the opening session of the Nov. 10-12 gathering, which drew about 700 attendees.

And he warned: “If you don’t really believe that, someone will take your customers because end users have already got the technology in their hands and they’re willing to pay for those applications.”

Rothman noted that he started addressing the annual convention about technology trends starting in 2006.

But he likened the technology he talked about then to “two tin cans and string” compared to what is available today.

“It is truly amazing the amount of transition and change that we’ve seen just in those five years,” Rothman told dealers. “And we know that’s going to continue to escalate each and every year.”

He said two things are driving the market: broadband penetration—he said about 70 percent of homes have a broadband connection—and smartphones. He said about half the general population has smartphones and the number is higher for those age 25-35, about 65 percent.

“We’re now in a position where every single person has access to the proverbial cloud and the portal is in their hands,” Rothman said. “We literally have more computing power in our hands than people went to the moon with.”

However, he said, the security industry is lagging behind. “The reality it is, we’re not really doing it yet,” he said.

Out of 100 million homes in North America, only about 200,000 have remote services like Honeywell’s Total Connect, he said.

“Think about it. That’s a couple hundred thousand out of 100 million. Why do you think the cable guys are so interested?” Rothman said. “There are 100 million homes out there that essentially no one has sold new technology to.”

He challenged dealers to start doing that, which he said may require a new approach by some.

“We as an industry don’t tend to go back to our customers,” Rothman said. In fact, he said, some dealers have told him, “I don’t want to go back to my customers because they might find out I'm charging them $40 a month for a burglar alarm … If I call them they might disconnect, so I don't want to remind them.”

“Well,” Rothman continued, “you’d better remind them [and sell them remote services], because if you don’t, somebody else is going to because the technology is here.”

He urged dealers to learn from other companies that are already offering remote services and said Honeywell is there to support them. “The tools are there, our products are here and the DDG (Dealer Development Group) is here,” Rothman said.