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It’s all about the Millennials

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

It’s the Millennials who are the biggest DIY buyers, according to ESX 2015 panelists at a “DIY Security—Competition or Opportunity” discussion. 

Icontrol’s 2015 State of the Smart Home Report, a nationwide survey which Security System News conducted and has reported on earlier, also found that the Millennial generation, loosely defined as those born in the early 1980s to the early 2000s, are big consumers of home automation. You can read more about the survey at the above link, but here a few new tidbits from it from its recent official release.

The report said, “U.S. consumers aged 25-34 express a higher level of excitement around the following benefits of the smart home:

  • Greater productivity and ability to manage work-life balance, 40 percent vs. 23 percent of consumers overall.
  • Making it easier to enjoy music, movies and web surfing anywhere in the house, 26 percent vs. 18 percent.
  • Helping anticipate the needs, such as shopping lists and minor repairs, 24 percent vs. 18 percent.
  • More interactive features that help me connect with the people in my life, 21 percent vs. 13 percent.”

Entertainment has emerged as a smart home driver, icontrol found. Interest in the entertainment link has grown to 55 percent since last year’s report. Consumers want their entertainment rooms connected to their smart home, followed by their kitchens and bedrooms. 

A challenge is getting that younger generation to move from DIY to traditional security providers, according to Brian Leland of Interlogix and Sterling Barnes of Melaleuca Security, the panelists at the ESX discussion. You'll be able to read more about the ESX DIY panel later, so stay tuned, please. 

The icontrol report had some other great factoids as well, so stay tuned for more info on that as well. sets price at $14 per share

Stock to begin trading on NASDAQ today

VIENNA, Va.— Holdings Inc. has priced its initial public offering of 7 million shares of common stock at $14 per share. The shares are expected to begin trading on NASDAQ today, June 26, under “ALRM,” according to the company.

Security Systems News launches Cloud+

SSN introduces the security industry’s first conference dedicated to ‘all things cloud’

FOSTER CITY, Calif.—Security Systems News today announced it is launching the security industry’s first conference dedicated to all things cloud. Cloud+ will take place Dec. 7-8 in Silicon Valley at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Foster City, Calif.

Honeywell fired up about latest tech

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The other day I sat in on Honeywell’s virtual press conference on its latest industry trends in commercial life safety systems. The company had a nice lineup of their pros on hand to discuss their work and what they'll be highlighting at next week's NFPA World Safety Conference and Expo. 

Brian Carlson, manager of strategic marketing, Gamewell-FCI, said the S3 Series fire alarm system for small- and medium-sized buildings allays users’ fears about “pressing the wrong button” and thus eases stress and confusion during an emergency.

As the industry’s only small, addressable panel with a color touch-screen, “everything that needs to be pressed is highlighted. It gives people confidence,” Carlson said. Building owners especially like the custom function and shortcut function keys, he added.

Susan Adam, NOTIFIER’s marketing director, talked about how SWIFT—Smart Wireless Integrated Fire Technology—is helping dealers win jobs at construction sites and renovation projects because of its easy installation and removability when the job is finished. Sites and even separate building areas under construction or renovation still need to be protected, she emphasized, “and SWIFT can differentiate dealers.” SWIFT recently was installed at two large temporary buildings at the World Ski Championships in Vail, Colo., and at a 100-year-old mansion in Massachusetts that was being renovated.

On the Fire-Lite Alarms, Silent Knight, side of things, marketing director Richard Conner discussed the company’s growth with low-frequency alarms, especially for children, young adults and the hearing-impaired. I spoke with Conner about this at ISC West, but learned a little more this time around about the alarms’ use in college dormitories, motels, hotels, assisted living facilities and the like. Studies have shown that the low-frequency signal is most effective in waking up children and young adults, he said during the press conference, and are more effective than bed- and pillow-shakers.

Christa Poss, senior manager of product marketing, System Sensor, said the latest addition to the FAAST smoke detector product portfolio, FAAST XS, targets smaller areas, up to 5,000 square feet. Those areas include elevator shafts, cable ducts and boiler rooms. FAAST XS offers “extension communication and connectivity options all without the need for new hardware,” Poss said. FAAST is now available in three varieties to protect from 5,000 square feet to up to 28,800 square feet.

Charles Simek, industrial, product and technology specialist, Honeywell Industrial Safety, gave an overview of Honeywell’s optical flame detection analytics’ success, and Gene Pecora, business leader, industrial fire, Honeywell Fire Safety, discussed areas where Honeywell is getting into new areas or expanding its capabilities.

“Incidents occur in the petrochem industry all the time,” Pecora said, to the tune of $20b a year. It’s not uncommon in process locations to have small incidents that don’t make the news as the big events do, but those incidents need accurate and reliable equipment just the same, he said.

He said Honeywell’s new HS-81 is a unique, “all-in-one-solution” for smoke, flame, gas and extinguishing that meets global certifications.

How I Use My System: Barbara Holliday


Barbara Holliday, senior director of dealer support for Monitronics, started at the company in 1998 as a key account manager, overseeing 100 accounts. She now handles acquisitions and dealer support. At ISC West 2015, Holliday was recognized as one of the Women's Security Council’s Women of the Year. Security Systems News talked with her about the security system she uses at home.

Five Questions: Jeff Auman


Jeff Auman is vice president of residential sales for ADT. Before joining the company last November he held a number of leadership positions at Sprint, most recently as vice president, product operations.

Hikvision partners for STEM ed in low-income schools


CITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif.—Video surveillance provider Hikvision USA has teamed up with Citizen Schools, a nonprofit organization that partners with middle schools in low-income communities, to provide STEM education.  

Hebert departs HID

Sodergren named interim CEO

AUSTIN, Texas—Denis Hebert has resigned his position as president and CEO of HID Global. Ulf Södergren, CTO of parent company ASSA ABLOY, has been appointed as interim CEO for HID, Ann Holmberg, ASSA ABLOY manager of corporate communications told Security Systems News.

Ex-ADT exec kick-starts Abode

Home security company exceeds fundraising goal

PALO ALTO, Calif.—A former ADT executive’s Kickstarter campaign to help finance a new DIY home security company exceeded its $100,000 goal, and the company, Abode, is up and running.

Got design in mind?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

You’ve heard the old real estate sales mantra: “Location, location, location.” For many in the residential security industry today, the new mantra is “Design, design, design.” 

At ISC West this year I met with a long list of security pros, from manufacturers to dealers to providers, most of whom proclaimed that on top of tech advancements their equipment was made “to look good.” 

They’re right. Their designs are looking good.

Panels, switches, sensors and more are sleek with a European-design feel. They will be less than obtrusive when mounted on a wall. No more huge black or brown boxes in the front foyer—these blend in. 

The equipment, mostly white and thin, reminded me of the first, very early, iBook I owned. So pretty and neat, small and clean. That was a number of years ago, and my iBook eventually met its demise, but I still remember it fondly, mostly for how it looked in comparison to other bulky laptops of the day. 

“This is the year of industrial design,” Avi Rosenthal, board member of the Z-Wave Alliance and VP of security and control for Nortek, told me early on at the Las Vegas show.  His comments resonated as I visited other booths after that. 

For homeowners, form is equally as important as function for all products, he and others said.

“It’s the ‘wife-acceptance’ factor. She’s the one who decorates, so the devices must look cool on the wall,” Rosenthal said.

Who wants something big, dark and ugly hitched to the wall just inside their front door? Not me. Neither did former ADT exec Christopher Carney when deciding on the look of his new Abode home resi system.

The pursuit of aesthecially pleasing design extended into the ISC West booths themselves this year. Honeywell, for example, had all of its products—from fire to resi—on interactive display in one big, nicely appointed space—think of an Apple store. 

Nortek had a new, interactive booth, too, with each of its sister companies representing myriad slick-looking products. 

How big a deal is this whole aesthetics thing to you and your companies? Are you feeling the need to adapt to the latest trends in home décor? Are you hearing this from your customers? 

If your products are less than pretty, you might want to consider how good design might add to your bottom line.