Roundup of debut Honeywell Connect2013

 - 
11/13/2013

The Honeywell Connect2013 event, which took place November 8-10 in Los Angeles, was declared a success by all the dealers I spoke to.

Of course, dealers generally enjoy themselves at these conventions. There are networking events and parties, educational sessions and parties, awards and parties, speeches and more parties. You get the idea. Honeywell works hard to ensure that its dealers are treated well.

But this particular event was new; It's the is first time the manufacturer gathered all three dealer programs for one convention in one place: First Alert Professionals, CSS Dealers, and HIS dealers. So you've got resi-focused dealers, commercial installers and systems integrators. Honeywell pulled it off—that's what I heard.

The two general sessions featured Honeywell executives talking about priorities, trends, new products and initiatives. A handful of dealers from all three programs also gave 10-minute talks during the general sessions. Here are some highlights:

John Loud of LOUD Security, spoke about the builder market. It was something LOUD was heavily invested in pre-recession. Business dwindled during the recession, but has since been revamped and revived. Loud talked about the "LOUD way" his company rebuilt the new LOUD Builder Program. In the past 12 months, that program has generated $1 million in new revenue for LOUD Security and also helped generate a 72-percent increase in interactive services revenue.

Dave Hood of First Alarm sounded the alarm about going with the all-in-one L5100 panel. Tradition is good, but staying traditional means losing business, he said.

RFI's Brad Wilson, a systems integrator, does business in Silicon Valley with some of the most tech-savvy customers in the country. Wilson obviously has some insight into how security technology—and Honeywell dealer attitudes and priorities—need to progress. He talked about the importance of "building your bench" in the workplace, the advent and affect of the cloud on the security business, importance of RMR even in large systems integration projects, and how many technologies are coming down market, and fast.

Honeywell Security president Ron Rothman talked about sales and advised attendees to spend more time figuring out why you won the someone's business than analyzing why you lost another job. Think about this, he said, and then share what you learn with your employees.

Keynote speaker Roy Spence, of Southwest Airlines fame, talked about the need for thosein the room to reenergize their "entreprenuerial drive to get the 75 percent of the market [that does not have home security.]" He advised the group to think about "where your talent [in security] and the needs of the world intersect." That intersection, he said, is "peace of mind." The same way Southwest Airlines "democratized air travel," the security industry can "democratize peace-of-mind." He warned that if the security industry doesn't take this task to heart, someone else will.

Arturo Ramirez Jr. received the Honeywell Life Safety Award this year for rescuing a woman and four children from a fire. The award is always given by Larry King via video presentation. This year, Larry King presented the award in person. King said: "I couldn't be here in spirit, so I thought I'd come in person." Yup, it was Larry King Live this time.

Jeremy Bates of Bates Security talked about social media. It's part of the company's overall marketing plan. Bates Security engages in a number of social media but focuses its efforts on Facebook, and it hired a marketing specialist to oversee company efforts. A couple of interesting statistics: 46 percent of consumers turn to social media before making a purchase; 70 percent of people on social media don't post, they "lurk." Bates says he wants to ensure that those lurkers have plenty of information about Bates Security available to them via social media.

Todd Bertocchi of Safeguard Security discussed the benefit of managed and hosted service, making the analogy of security dealers moving "from being peddlers [of products] to partners." He said that "hosted systems create RMR, standalone systems do not."

Other product annoucements and initiatives announced at the show:

Total Connect with Voice. Honeywell had a little clubhouse outfitted like a livingroom with "Total Connect with Voice" at the Thursday night cocktail party. In a demonstration for some members of the media, Honeywell's David Gottlieb would say a command for the room to go into nighttime mode: Instantly shades drew shut, the television shut off and lights dimmed. When he issued the command for daytime mode, it all reversed. Very George Jetson.

Honeywell announced that it will have a Casi-Rusco migration solution. There's "a huge installed base, it's a huge opportunity for you," Honeywell's senior director of marketing, Alan Stoddard said.

Stoddard gave these details on the soon-to-be-released Honeywell LYNX Touch 7000/L5200: You can view video on display and connect 84 zones. It has a 7-inch display; two-way voice over wifi, and a number of other newer features.

Honeywell's Marek Robinson talked about how the manufactureris helping FAP, CSS and HIS dealers with demand creatioin. He said that in 2013 year to date, the Honeywell website has "generated 2,000 plus leads that its given to dealers. His goal is to "double that in 2014."

Robinson also described two new partnerships. Honeywell is launching a partner program in Atlanta where it will sell alarm systems from kiosks at Sprint stores. The pilot project will commence next month with Ackerman Security in Norcross, Ga. Honeywell declined to comment further on the deal at this point. I saw Ackerman's Jim Callahan at the event, and he promises to fill me in on details at a later date.

The other partnership is with LifeWay Christian Stores. The goal of this program, according to my notes, is to generate a whopping 40,000 leads for commercial facilities.