Battle for the smart home continues

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06/07/2017

With the invasion of the telecom companies into the smart home space, security dealers have been faced with new challenges and battles as they try to compete for new business created by this new era of smart home connectivity and automation.

Whereas in the past when customers would turn to their security provider first to ask about smart home products, a new report from research firm Parks Associates shows that there has been a shift in homeowners’ purchase behaviors. Among current smart homeowners, 26 percent purchased their device from a retailer such as Home Depot, Walmart, or Sears, followed closely in second by security dealers, with approximately 20 percent purchasing these products through them.

Homeowners now have “more options, increased personalization, and enhanced value across the full spectrum of IoT experiences,” Dina Abdelrazik, research analyst, Parks Associates, said in the announcement of Parks’ annual report, Global Connected Living Outlook 2017: Building on the IoT. “Following early disruptions, many players are now rising to the challenge to create competitive solutions that better accommodate the needs of the connected consumer.”

Although the big retailers are getting a bigger portion of the pie, they are also raising awareness and educating the public, which is creating additional opportunities for dealers to be the channel through which smart home owners purchase all of these interconnected devices, many of which work in tandem with security systems and services.

For example, additional Parks’ research, which was unveiled at the firm’s 21st-annual CONNECTIONS Conference in May, shows that two-thirds of smart homeowners and shoppers want crossover applications that integrate with their home entertainment devices.

“Key crossover use cases include safety and security alerts popping up on a smart TV and video from networked cameras shared across the connected screens in the home,” Elizabeth Parks, senior vice president, Parks Associates, said in the press release. “In both cases, two-thirds of smart home owners and shoppers find these features appealing.”

Security dealers can also provide homeowners with a better level of interoperability and network security and stability, as Parks found that as more products are purchased standalone and then brought into a connected home, the risk of fragmented consumer IoT experiences increases.

“As consumers become more connected, their digital lives in many ways become more complicated, and solving this potentially fragmented consumer experience, addressing privacy concerns, and crossing traditionally separate boundaries will be the dominant challenges for companies in 2017 and 2018,” Abdelrazik noted.

Security dealers can and should be the ones to solve this problem, and from my conversations with dealers, many already are doing this, providing security as well as support, guidance and options to be that smart home provider as well.

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