Lowe’s goes with UCC for professional monitoring

Mark Matlock: Lowe’s DIY offering doesn’t pose a threat to traditional dealers
Wednesday, January 6, 2016

MOORESVILLE, N.C.—Home improvement company Lowe’s chose United Central Control as the professional monitoring partner for Iris, its DIY home automation system, Lowe's announced Jan. 4.

“We’ve been working for a few years with Lowe’s on this endeavor,” Mark Matlock, UCC’s senior vice president told Security Systems News. “It’s involved a lot of really comprehensive due diligence and working together to make sure we had the offering right, that Lowe’s fit into the space properly [and] that we were jointly offering this the right way.”

Lowe’s Iris DIY offering does not pose a threat to traditional dealers using traditional marketing channels, Matlock said, “because this is offering services a very unique breed of customer, and that's the DIY customer.”

“The traditional alarm company wasn’t going to sell an alarm to [a DIY customer] anyway. … All it does is expand the entire market as far as prospective customers,” said Matlock.

“We see the DIY market and the Internet of Things as the next phase of monitoring company opportunities, and to be flexible and open to these new technologies is important … for the future,” UCC president Teresa Gonzalez told SSN.

UCC can now monitor Iris contact sensors, motion sensors, keypads, garage door controllers, Utilitech glass break sensors, First Alert smoke detectors, and First Alert smoke/CO detectors.

“From a monitoring standpoint … there really isn’t any difference [between DIY and professionally installed systems], UCC receives a signal and we respond to it,” Gonzalez said.

Mike Lamb, UCC’s VP of project development, told SSN that the integration into UCC’s Stages brand automation platform was relatively easy.

The customer’s involvement is a big differentiator between DIY and professionally installed systems, Matlock said. “The customer is actually fulfilling … a lot of the traditional dealer roles—they’re installing it themselves, they’re testing it themselves. So, there’s more customer-facing interaction for the wholesale central station than you would typically see where we’re interfacing with dealers.”

Lamb said that education was a big part of this partnership, addressing “not only how alarms are typically handled, but addressing licensing concerns with them and just really helping them understand the overall experience and what would provide the best customer experience.”

Did this ongoing partnership and education play a role in how Lowe’s structured its Iris offering? “Absolutely,” according to Gonzalez. “It was a two-plus year process going through the differ gyrations of what the best customer service options would be … and working together to format those responses and the types of signals on their DIY offering for professionally monitored systems.”

United Central Control couldn’t comment on how many accounts this could bring to the central station. All of the existing Iris customers will have the capability of upgrading to professional monitoring.

UCC has previously done some smaller projects in the DIY market, Gonzalez said, which prepared UCC for partnering with Lowe’s.

Matlock said that UCC and Lowe’s share a common culture that assisted their partnership—both are focused on customer support.

Kris Bowring, director of business and channel development, smart home for Lowe's, shared a similar sentiment in an email interview with SSN. “Lowe’s is committed to partnering with vendors that provide the best possible services for its customers. United Central Control has a proven track record and we trust they will provide the level of service that Lowe’s customers expect,” Bowring said.

United Central Control operates a UL-listed, CSAA Five Diamond central station in San Antonio.