Do-It-Yourself security systems adding confusion to the market
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 one such program may calm some anxiety.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“A lot of dealers have been concerned over this,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Steve Craig, director of sales and marketing at GE - the manufacturer of the SmartHome line sold at Circuit City, LoweÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s and Home Depot stores in selected cities. Ã¢â‚¬Å“They see it as a threat to their business when itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s actually not at all.Ã¢â‚¬Â
GE is one of several companies entering the do-it-yourself arena in the retail market, selling products in big box retailers to the consumer. But the manufacturing giant does not anticipate the division will generate high revenue.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t expect this to be a big part of the business,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Craig says the programÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The areas weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve had more success in is when itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s tied to monitoring,Ã¢â‚¬Â Craig said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ultimately, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what makes security happen.Ã¢â‚¬Â
According to Ken Kocher, president of Force Security Solutions, the problem with do-it-yourself systems - GEÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s version is a basic self-monitored wireless system with two-door motion - may not lie in the competition factor, but in the confusion it brings to the marketplace.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I understand what they are trying to do and I applaud their efforts from a business standpoint,Ã¢â‚¬Â Kocher said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“but letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s keep the consumer in mind who doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know what they need from a security standpoint.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The brunt of the confusion may stem from consumers who do not reognize the difference between a $300 GE system sold in retail stores versus one that is professionally customized and installed at a higher cost. In addition to that, the systems can be considered another version of mass marketing - a move that Kocher said affects the industryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s reputation.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am concerned with it devaluing the importance of security to the consumer and taking out the expert,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
But some consumers, especially in the popular do-it-yourself age, feel as though an installing expert is a part they do not require. GE said its SmartHome systems specifically address this need.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“There is a difference between do-it-yourself and having a professional install a system,Ã¢â‚¬Â Craig said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The systems address that side of the market.Ã¢â‚¬Â
This market has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decade with the popularity of Home Depot and LoweÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s stores. Whether or not the sector continues to expand, Kocher said security is one thing that should not be left up to chance.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“You canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t take a cookie cutter approach to security especially in this day and age,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.