Rothman out front on GSM
BOCA RATON, Fla.--Calling it "truly a turning point in the alarm industry" Honeywell Security president Ron Rothman spent considerable time at October's First Alert Professional convention talking to the 270 dealers and the media about how the manufacturer's new GSM solution will comfortably and profitably carry dealers into the future.
Rothman said the new technology answers some immediate challenges for the home security dealer--issues with VoIP phone compatibility with traditional alarm systems; what to do with homes without landline telephones; and the biggest elephant in the room, the Feb. 2008 AMPS sunset. These GSM radios will replace the analog radios in current home security systems (which run on a network that cellular carriers will not have to support after the sunset date).
But more importantly, Rothman said, this new technology will give dealers the opportunity to increase RMR by taking advantage of two trends--the coming of age of the uber techy Generation X consumers and the technological change in communications.
Everyone knows, Rothman said, that traditional phones are going away and that cell phones are the next great communication device. It used to be that you called a place; now you call a person, he said.
Pulling a Blackberry from his pocket, Rothman said he can see on it what's going on at his home. This technology will be commonplace in the future, and Honeywell's GSM line is a platform on which future products and services will be built.
Rothman is particularly excited about the iGSM solution--which will be available in Q1 or early Q2 of 2007--that will allow a customer to control a home alarm system and be notified of other events in a home such as a liquor cabinet being opened or a child returning home from school.
Rothman emphasized that the key differentiator for this line of products, which Honeywell introduced in mid-September, is that it is an end-to-end solution that uses multipath communications.
The GSM General Packet Radio Service uses GPRS (the wireless communication method used in the cell phone market) as its primary communication path and Short Message Service as the backup communication path. The above-mentioned iGSM will offer a triple-path technology by adding Internet communication to the GPRS and SMS signals. The Internet is the primary communication path for this product.
Dealers can also have full upload and download capabilities via GPRS or the Internet.
At the convention, dealers heard the high level overview from Rothman and could then delve into the nitty-gritty of installation details in an educational session called "GSM GPRS solution." Other educational sessions, such as the heavily attended "How to Market to Generation X," addressed the demographic and technological changes currently afoot.
Why is Rothman leading the charge on this initiative? "It's a time of tremendous opportunity and potential risk" for dealers, he said. "The value of their accounts will be impacted by what they choose to do."