BALTIMORE—Rapid change in the industry, home automation, the IofT and DIY were prevalent themes at the sessions I attended today.
First up was the OpenXchange, a forum featuring Mike Hackett of Qolsys, Rod Coles of Bold Technologies, Syed Zaeem Hosain of Aeris and Alexei Erchak of BeON, moderated by George De Marco, ESX chairman.
De Marco asked audience members if they were ready to be disrupted. Emerging technology and cloud-based security is changing the industry forever, he said. “Is your company just surviving or experiencing transformational success? What differentiates you?”
The panelists discussed the need for manufacturers to keep up with the pace of change by responding to customers’ feedback; the impact of home automation and DIY and how to meld those into the security business and more.
I’ll be writing in more detail about this interesting overview soon, so stay tuned.
Next was “DIY Security—Competition or Opportunity?” with Brian Leland of Interlogix and Sterling Barnes of Melaleuca Security, moderated by Kirk MacDowell of Alarm.com.
Interlogix looks at DIY as a long-term strategy, it will only keep growing, Leland said. It’s the fastest evolving market and there’s a lot traditional security providers can learn from it, he said.
Barnes said he doesn’t see a need to be in direct competition with DIY. “Our customers come to us because they want a professionally installed system,” he said. “Don’t be worried that NEST and Google will ruin your business, but customers will want some of those features.” I’ll be writing further about this discussion as well.
Next, Jamie Kane, president of Sandler Training, talked to company heads about “Assuming the Right Leadership Role.” This interactive session had audience members discussing their jobs as mentors, supervisors, coaches and trainers, and how to find the right balance for their specific company’s success. What should be their primary focus? I sat in on an “audience group” with Brendan Armstrong, president of Trinity Wiring and Security Solutions; Ritch Haselden of Essence; and Robert Irish of Mediacom. Those three gentlemen were passionate about their roles as company leaders and took the session seriously. Takeaway? Delegate. Don’t train and supervise when others can do it. Motivate and coach.
“Monetize the Internet of Things,” moderated by Kirk MacDowell, aimed to “unbaffle and provide clarity” about IoT, he said. People are frustrated by all the products out there. What to do? Qolsys’ Hackett, Alarm.com’s Jeff Bedell, Honeywell’s Gordon Hope and ADT’s Paul Plofchan all noted that most people most trust security companies to monitor their home automation systems, so that’s a prime opportunity. “The opportunity is to sell into the demand. The risk is that as an industry we let someone else do it,” Bedell said.
Said Hope, “What do we say when the customer says, ‘I don’t need your monitoring. I can get it direct from my app for free.’” The answer is, he said, “We’re not free because we provide value. You can DIM, but apps won’t keep your house from burning down. Notifications are great, but what if you’re halfway around the world?”
Tell customers why you’re not free and why you’re unique, Hope said, adding that “we will not survive as an industry without offering home automation. Embrace the change, there’s much more upside than downside.”
At ESA Celebrates, De Marco encouraged donations to the ESA philanthropy project, ESA Gives Back! This year, donations go to the Green Berets’ Next Ridgeland, a program that helps Green Berets transition from active duty to the next step in their lives. De Marco’s daughter sang one of the loveliest renditions of “I’m Proud to be an American” that I’ve ever heard.
All in all, a great day. Well done, ESX 2015.
This morning, Security Systems News publisher Tim Purpura officially announces our new conference, Cloud+. Much more about that to come.
BALTIMORE—I had a very nice conversation with BeON CEO Alexei Erchak late this afternoon, who was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule here in ESX-Land to fill me on his company’s growing success. (That took place after we both, being New Englanders, complained just a little, tiny bit about this city’s oppressive heat.)
Since I last spoke to him at ISC West, BeON has “made a lot of progress on a lot of fronts,” he said.
The LED lightbulb preventative security system has passed UL testing, dealers are clamoring for it and BeON is shipping now to beta testers and Kickstarter backers. He’s here at ESX to talk further with dealers.
BeON is targeting the 80 percent of the market that says that it doesn’t want a home security system.
Erchak has heard from numerous consumers who appreciate his company’s approach, he said. Women in the 25- to 35-year-old range who live with roommates or with a spouse who travels a lot, for instance, tell him that they like the system because it makes it look like more people are home when they just might be there by themselves.
Feedback has been key to BeON’s growth, he said. “People are giving us ideas for protection, ideas we never even thought of,” he said.
“By this time next year we’ll be talking about interoperability,” Erchak said.
I’ll certainly keep in touch with Erchak to see how his company progresses.
Tomorrow I’ll be attending a number of ESX educational sessions to get up to date on the latest trends and challenges in the physical security sector, so stay tuned.
Right now there’s a fierce thunderstorm outside my hotel, so I won’t be venturing out much. I hear the restaurant downstairs has awesome crabcakes, so here I go.
Tomorrow, June 23, I am en route to Baltimore for ESX 2015. I’m a veteran of ASIS and ISC West and a number of other, smaller shows, but this will be my first time at the Electronics Security Expo. I’ve heard great things about it from colleagues and from industry pros, so I’m looking forward to it. (Plus, I am a big fan of Maryland crab.)
After the great whirlwind on the show floor at ISC West, I will enjoy the opportunity to attend a number of educational sessions to dig deeper into topics of import to the resi industry and the chance to catch up with some of my sources as well.
I’ll be updating this post daily about who I see, what I learn and what is trending, so please check back often. I’ll also be tweeting. And stay tuned, because I’ll be posting stories from the ed sessions, too. See you at ESX!