Let’s CONNECT in Florida

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11/09/2016

Day Three

Day three kicked off with the third general session. Next, the day's keynote speaker, Dr. Robert Rohm, opened up a discussion on different personalities and how businesses can use a variety of tactics to increase connections and sales.

Rhom lead the group through an exercise to see elements of their own personalities, whether they lean toward outgoing or reserved, task-oriented or people-oriented. Defining different pairings as dominant (outgoing and task oriented), inspiring (outgoing and people oriented), supportive (reserved and people oriented) and lastly the cautious-type (reserved and task oriented).

He then gave advice on how to approach folks with these personalities; dominant people like to see results and like to be their own boss, and supportive people like acceptance and appreciation.

In "Latest Advances in Fire Technology," Steven McCurdy, Honeywell Security and Fire's director of sales, strategic accounts, distributions products group, looked at several issues related to fire installations and where newer technologies fit in. He pointed to several different new state legislations, including New York, which mandated CO detectors in all commercial facilities-not just new buildings, and Illinois, with new and existing K-12 schools.

McCurdy discussed wireless detections and some its key applications, such as with historical buildings, places of worship, and parking garages. "it's been a great solution for this industry," he said.

Another key technology, according to McCurdy, is early detection. "We detect smoke, but what's happened? There's already a fire," he said. Earlier this year the company acquired early detection and fire technologies from Xtralis.

Stan Martin, SIAC's executive director, presented "Maximizing Law Enforcement Relationships," among the final sessions of this year's CONNECT. He looked at the benefits of security companies working with their local law enforcement.

Direct pieces of advice included talking with law enforcement about problem accounts and seeing what can be done about those customers. "Everyone has problem accounts," Martin said. Among first steps, he said, "You should know the alarm coordinator in the cities you operate in."

There are benefits of forming these relationships, Martin said, including notice of pending ordinance changes, "They might even call you and ask for your input."

Martin gave several examples of how companies can interface and communicate with its law enforcement, including inviting chiefs and council members to events in the alarm industry, or congratulating new promotions in the force.

 

It was great being at CONNECT this year, there were a lot of interesting conversations going on, both in the breakout sessions as well as in networking events. Hope to see you all next year!

Day Two

The second day kicked off with a general session. Marek Robinson, Honeywell Security & Fire’s VP of sales, intrusion, addressed this year’s theme, “Your Voice. Your Network. Your Future.” The dealer’s voice comes into the conference in the form of feedback on past CONNECT shows. As a result, he said, “We went about our breakout sessions in a completely different fashion.” This year, the educational sessions are 60 percent more dealer-lead. Dealers also said they would like to see more networking options, and the “network” comes in with a special networking reception organized for later in the day. 

Robinson added that the future is looking bright. Business models are changing, he said, giving examples like Uber, a very large transportation company which owns no cars, and Airbnb, an icon in the accommodations industry, though it doesn’t own any real estate. 

Todd Reif, president, Honeywell Fire Safety Americas, got on stage to talk a bit about the company’s approach to the IoT. Rief said that the company is looking to take a new approach, including more third party integrations, "We are moving from a closed stance ... to a more open stance."

Inder Reddy, president, Honeywell security products Americas, discussed several things, including Honeywell’s focus in 2016 on creating aesthetically pleasing systems and the new Lyric Gateway panel. The Gateway is really quick to install, he said, which leaves technicians with more time to engage with the user and walk through the new system. “A more engaged user is a more sticky user,” Reddy said.

Robinson included more voices from the dealer by bringing onstage Scott Hightower, president and CEO of Verified Security, to talk a bit about the benefits of the dealer network and Security Solutions’ Jamie Vos to discuss the future for the industry. Vos identified video technologies as a trend, adding that “video needs to be interactive” in order to beat lowest cost options that can be bought online.

Following the general session, I attended “Essential Components Of A Great Branding Strategy in the Digital Age,” presented by Tammy Beil, chief growth officer for marketing firm TABiel. Beil started the session by listing top recognized brands across thee world, including Google, McDonalds, Ford and Nike. Marketing and branding is a conscious effort, she said, "this is not something that happens haphazardly, there's a reason that you know these companies."

Branding, according to Beil, is a valuable asset to the company, and provides a return on the investment put into it. "If you do marketing right and you do your branding right, it will pay you back in spades," she said. “It will boost your immediate sales."

Beil advocated using social networks to push out marketing. One attendee in the branding question asked about how to best utilize LinkedIn. Beil advised interacting, engaging and joining groups on the site, as well as using it for a personal resource and to recruit. "Use it as a tool to leverage what you need."

“DIY- It's for Real” was among the next round of breakout sessions. Quentin Gunther, dealer development manager for Honeywell, opened the session. He began by addressing ecommerce, how prevalent it is, and how some companies may be able to operate an online store while maintaining their current model—though, it isn’t necessarily for every company.

Greg Judge, director of sales for Comtronics, spoke next on the methods Comtronics used in setting up a DIY offering. Comtronics operates 12 Verizon dealerships, apart from its security business, and sells a boxed DIY kit from those store, “This fit our model and we went with it.” Honeywell helped with the design of the box, he said, making it something that really shows what the product was designed for.

Part of the company’s go-to-market strategy involves setting up live demos in stores, complete with elements from the home. “They can see the lock move, they can see the lamps turn on and off,” Judge said.

Michael Morton, vice president of sales and marketing at EMC Security, discussed his experiences with DIY, which includes selling 200 systems since the company rolled out the offering this summer. "We do limit it, because we offer support. It's one of the big selling points for our services," Morton said. “If you can't quite get there, we have [techs] that are ready to go."

Morton said the company struggled with one point, "Do we really trust our customer to do this on their own? ... This is life safety." As a result, EMC does not offer DIY fire products or glass-break sensors.

During the second general session, David Kaiserman, president of Lennar Ventures—a company that focuses on building new homes that come equipped with smart home technologies, shared his view on connected home. "Homes today are remarkably analog,” he said. “But, the rest of the world around us have changed in ways that you can't really explain.”

One issue that Kaiserman identified is when a salesperson complicates things by trying to sell a consumer on a system that they were ready to get, and then cause concern in the customer. “They don't have to worry about the complexity, they just get to experience the lifestyle,” he said.

Alice DeBiasio, vice president, general manager cloud services for Honeywell Security and Fire then got on stage to discuss some of Honeywell’s latest offerings. She highlighted the company’s integrations with Sky Bell and the August smart lock, as well as new push notifications, geofencing reminders to arm the system and a partnership with I-View Now.

The company is also doing new work with buildings, according to Brian Casey, Honeywell general manager of SMB solutions. There are more and enhanced video offerings, including with Honeywell’s Performance and Equip series cameras. "In the area of video, we are back in the game," Casey said.

This CONNECT’s first keynote speaker was motivational speaker and New York Times bestselling author Grant Cardone.

Cardone energetically covered many topics to selling, including the positives to disruption—that it brings change—and importance of using social media as a free form of promotion.

He approached the idea that business say they don't have time to utilize social media. To make a point, he used Snapchat to take a video, which he uploaded to Twitter in minutes, while on stage speaking.

My last educational session of the day was “25 Concrete Ways to Make Your Business Better Today,” presented by Affiliated Monitoring’s president Stanley Oppenheim. "We're going to do things here that you're going to take care of on Monday,” Oppenheim said.

The quality of trucks was one item he brought up. "You never roll a truck that has a dent in it," said Oppenheim. “It is no longer a truck, it is a rolling billboard. ... A dirty truck is inexcusable."

Another piece of advice was to always recruit, including with wait staff at restaurants and salespeople that call the office—anyone that gives a great impression. "Your best employees will come from non traditional sources," he said.

At the networking reception, created following feedback Honeywell received on the CONNECT event, I got the chance to meet several members of the Security One team, including SSN “20 under 40” winner, Chris Neumann. Corey Robertson, Security ONE director of marketing, said that things have been well following the company’s acquisition of Homematix.

It was also great hearing from dealers including Stuart Lowe, vice president – key/national accounts for Lifeline Security and Fire, and Isaac Walton, security sales and management, Advanced Electric & Alarm Systems, about the benefits they saw in the Gateway panel, such as with apartment buildings or people who would use their phone for most of their security functions.

Finally, today was Veterans Day and it was great to see speakers voice their support for those who have served in the military, as well as their families. 

Day One

I made it down to Florida safely from Maine, arriving this afternoon.

The first session I attended was "What Behavioral Insight REALLY Can Do for You," presented by Carletta Clyatt, senior vice president of the Omnia Group. Clyatt took an interesting look into workplace dynamics by discussing recognizable work styles and behaviors in both leaders and employees. For example, she advised the attendees to consider how a leader who is very routine-focused could best work with an employee who prefers a varied workplace, with new challenges.

Additionally Clyatt discussed how different types of people can be motivated by different things. As an example, she said that her sales people—typically having an assertive personality—are motivated by individual goals, while her service employees—less assertive and more group focused—responded better team-rewards.

“Merging a Diverse Workforce,” the second session I attended, also approached the workplace and its variety of different employees. Jamie Vos, general manager for Security Solutions, looked at five different generations (traditionalists, baby boomers, gen Xers, millennials, and Gen Z—or, ‘gamers’) and their unique motivating factors.

Each generation is looking for a different environment, culture, set of rewards and benefits, according to Vos. Baby boomers might want more control in their position, while millennials tend to value more time off. Traditionalists might want flexible work hours, while gen Xers would like rewards like gift cards—not a bonus to be put toward bills.

Vos highlighted the need to look at a company’s culture as well as its environment. “You need to discover what your culture is,” he said. “You need to put it into words.” This means exploring why the company exists, how its employees behave, what it is the company does, and how it plans to succeed.

Also today, Honeywell announced the new Lyric Gateway—a simplified panel that can allow dealers to pursue new markets, such as renters, condo and second homeowners, and those who frequently move. The panel offers a simple design, sporting a keypad without a touchscreen display, doesn’t need to be wall mounted and comes with a desk stand.

Here in Florida, I got the chance to talk about the new system with George Janelis, Honeywell’s senior channel manager for builder and connected home markets. The simplified format allows the unit to be hooked up either with the customer’s WiFi or Ethernet and plug into the wall for power, which increases dealers’ profitability by decreasing the time needed for the install, he said.

Janelis told me that the system is mobile-centric, and can work with users’ connected home devices- it also uses voice notifications from the panel to transmit alarm information easily to the user. “We’re getting a huge amount of positive feedback from [our dealers],” he said.

Pre-conference

Early Thursday morning I’ll be headed down to Hollywood, Fla., for Honeywell’s 2016 CONNECT conference.

Looking over the schedule of sessions, it looks like there will be some interesting conversations about DIY offerings—including Honeywell’s DragonFly offering—as well as on hiring a business culture.

If you’re headed down there, feel free to email me or introduce yourself if you see me around. My email is Sives@securitysystemsnews.com.

I’ll be updating this blog periodically, highlighting some of the people I meet and key conversations as well as interesting educational sessions—hope to see some of you down there! Check back for more details.

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