Survey: Dealers cite cost as barrier to adding home automation

That’s a misperception, says Icontrol’s Greg Roberts
Wednesday, April 8, 2015

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.—A majority of residential security dealers thinks adding home automation services to their traditional offerings is cost prohibitive. That’s a big misperception, according to Greg Roberts, VP of marketing for Icontrol, and one that could put providers at a significant disadvantage in today’s marketplace.

In a nationwide survey conducted by Security Systems News for Icontrol, 52 percent of the 58 dealers who responded said they see cost as the top barrier to adding home automation services. For Roberts, that was the biggest surprise of the survey results.

“That is a reflection of the perception of the cost in the marketplace today,” he said. That, and the belief that adding home automation will increase installation time and therefore result in fewer installations, he said, are keeping dealers out of a lucrative market. There are affordable options and because of open architecture, installation time shouldn’t be a factor.

The survey was conducted to help Icontrol understand the marketplace as it prepared to roll out its new Icontrol One connected home platform for smaller, independent dealers and a webcast on the topic.

Although some polled said home automation didn’t fit their business model, Roberts said, 68 percent said they currently offer home automation services and 74 percent said they plan to offer home automation services in 2015.

“We were very pleased to see that,” he said.

“What the numbers are clearly stating is that the industry is fully shifting to offering a portfolio of security and home automation systems. If you’re in this business and not adopting these practices, you’re not meeting consumer expectations and you’re at a significant disadvantage,” Roberts said.

Interactive home automation services result in happier customers, he said.

“When the consumer is interacting with their home on a consistent basis, their appreciation for the services goes up and the usefulness becomes more apparent,” he said. “Customer service is a core deliverable.”

In the survey, 62 percent of dealers said a universal panel and platform compatibility would make a difference when considering whether to add home automation services. Sixty-three percent said they would consider becoming a dealer of home automation services.

Smart home automation is not a fad, and those dealers who think that “are very wrong,” Roberts said.