ESX 2015: IoT changing lives, industry

Panelist stress need to respond, adapt
Wednesday, July 1, 2015

BALTIMORE—Just as the smartphone has transformed the way people conduct their day-to-day lives, the Internet of Things will, too, said panelists at ESX 2015.

There should be 50 billion devices connected by 2020, according to Syed Zaeem Hosain of Aeris.

“Everyone has a different number, but [regardless] it will transform the way we live,” Hosain said during the OpenXchange panel at ESX 2015 here.

Moderator George De Marco, ESX chairman, asked the panel and the audience if they were “ready to be disrupted.” Emerging technology, cloud-based security and entrepreneurs are changing the industry from here on out, he said.

Mike Hackett, VP sales and marketing for Qolsys, specializing in the connected home, said the IoT is impacting the traditional security market in a variety of ways. It’s moving very quickly with lots of new entrants; adaptation and collaboration are critical; and, in the end, the end customer always wins, he said.

Qolsys has learned, importantly, to listen to customer feedback, he said. “Are your manufacturers listening to you your needs? Are they moving fast? Everybody needs to keep up with the pace of change,” he said.

Hackett noted customer feedback that included, “The door-window contact should be easier to install.”

He added, “Let’s kill the fob,” the phone is now the fob. And, smart doorbells are taking off, he said.

Cell phones just a short time ago were for calls and texting, said Rod Coles, CEO of Bold Technologies. Now those phones are capable of doing so much more, he said.

“Security and home automation will be melded, just like smartphones” have taken on greater roles, he said.

Parents will be able to get their children’s toothbrushes connected—although not at a central monitoring station, he joked—so they’ll be able to see if the kids really did brush their teeth before leaving for school.

Consumers will continue to pay for security and peace of mind, Coles said, but companies need to continue to be innovative and add features.

Alexei Erchak, CEO of BeON, was one of the entrepreneurs De Marco referred to, said he’s not trying to disrupt the security industry, but rather seeks to “embrace it.” 

Consumers are looking for “seamless” fits, Erchak said. “It needs to work for a 5-year-old and your grandma,” he said. “There’s a fine line between usefulness and annoyance,” he said.

“There’s fantastic technology out there, but customers need to love it. There needs to be fundamental value,” Erchak said.

De Marco agreed.

“The security industry has the home team advantage, but even home teams can lose,” he said.