DIY security systems add confusion to the market

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Thursday, July 22, 2004

July 22, 2004

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Installers may have been wary of security systems sold to the do-it-yourself market in electronic and home improvement stores in the United States, but the moderate success of the program may calm some anxiety.
“A lot of dealers have been concerned over this,” said Steve Craig, director of sales and marketing at GE - manufacturer of the SmartHome line at Circuit City, Lowe’s and Home Depot stores in selected cities. “They see it as a threat to their business when it’s actually not at all.”
Craig called the program a “modest success.”
“We don’t expect this to be a big part of the business,” he said.
Craig says the program’s humble grasp of the market is largely due to the fact that the system is sold self-monitored - although monitoring has been offered as a tie-in in some stores through ADT Security Systems.
“The areas we’ve had more success in is when it’s tied to monitoring,” Craig said. “Ultimately, that’s what makes security happen.”
According to Ken Kocher, president of Force Security Solutions, the problem with the systems - GE’s version is a basic self-monitored wireless systems with two-door motion - may not lie in the competition factor, but in the confusion it brings to the marketplace.
“I understand what they are trying to do and I applaud their efforts from a business standpoint,” Kocher said, “but let’s keep the consumer in mind who doesn’t know what they need from a security standpoint.”
The brunt of the confusion may be from consumers who do not see the difference in the $300 GE system sold in retail stores versus one that is professionally customized and installed. In addition to that, the systems can be considered another version of mass marketing - a move that Kocher said effects the industry’s reputation.
“I am concerned with it devaluing the importance of security to the consumer and taking out the expert,” he said.