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Connecting home to life and security

Texecom has identified new and emerging trends in the wider technology sector, with the emergence of tech-savvy end users. Interest in smart technologies, connected devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) has raised the profile of security in residential applications and a growing number of security installers are exploiting this demand to offer more comprehensive alarm systems.

Texecom looked closely at those householders most likely to embrace these emerging technologies and, interestingly, the main target audience differs from those that typically show an interest in professional alarm systems.

While older people with higher levels of disposable income are most likely to opt for alarm systems, the growing market for smart technologies is amongst young professionals and middle-aged consumers who are already active users of mobile devices and apps.

Domestic end users clearly want products that fit in with their lifestyles. Suppliers of most other technologies recognise this: personal computing, audio-visual, home automation, and data handling and sharing are just a few examples.

Most intruder detection systems, unfortunately, don’t fit in with how residential end users want to control and manage their homes, often not allowing the level of integration with other home systems that customers require.

Intelligent devices

There is a growing number of householders investing in intelligent devices for their homes – and they want to add security and protection to the services used. While the smart home sector includes some (non-security) vendors offering basic cloud-based alarm systems, most domestic end users don’t want these. What they want is to take control of the system, to effectively own it and make their own choices as what features it has and how it’s used.

So why don’t these end-users come to the security industry for assistance? Because the industry isn’t actively promoting smart home concepts, lifestyle choices or alternatives to traditional monitored alarms or bells-only systems – despite most intruder alarm systems having the capabilities to offer so much more in terms of flexibility and smart functionality.

This gap in the market has already attracted comment from research provider IHS. The company identified companies in the US that are now specifically targeting domestic users who don’t want traditional alarms. These installation companies recognise that customers will happily invest in a security system that offers smarter options. Often these systems also deliver home automation, video, data sharing, remote control and communications. In short, they are seeking alarm-based solutions that offer added value.

Today’s intruder alarm systems feature advanced technologies that can deliver a world of possibilities and add considerable value, while the core graded element of the system continues to offer police first response or a credible bells-only solution to a professional standard.

Where risks are high and insurance is essential, the end user can still do whatever the insurer demands. However, by partitioning a control panel for example, its inherent capabilities can also be used to deliver other ‘lifestyle’ services without compromising on the alarm grading.

In many mainstream applications, the value proposition for an intruder alarm system should not stop at security. While it is a challenge to sell a monitored security system to a domestic user who is sceptical about police response, the task is made easier if other benefits – which can be used on a day-to-day basis – are included. These could include, for example, push notifications of site status changes, text messages relating to household activity, visual verification of events, fire protection, home automation and remote control of peripheral devices.

Customer understanding

Interestingly, Texecom’s research found that while some in the residential market might baulk at the cost of a monitored alarm, it’s not always the case that they only want something cheap or won’t pay for a quality security system. Their reluctance may be because they’re being asked to invest in a system that doesn’t interact to the degree they expect. If they don’t believe a police response will occur, then monitoring seems an unnecessary expense. However, additional communications options could increase the perceived value of the system.

Today’s security technologies allow end users to make their own decisions as to how alarm events are handled. If a user wants to be alerted to an intrusion before a criminal has forced an entry, that’s simple to implement; if they want to verify external detections to filter out nuisance activations, that can also be done; if they want to share data from the system or use it to issue notifications about security, site status or personnel status (including monitoring family members, children, vulnerable and elderly relatives, etc.) it can be done without any complex additions to the system.

Additional services can be offered to fully exploit the potential of the control panel while preserving compliance with standards. This allows domestic users to benefit from credible security protection that also meets their demands for more lifestyle-centric features.

Texecom Connect

For too long security systems have been separated and isolated from the outside world, only providing information when the worst happens. They have lacked the connectivity and compatibility with external systems that could benefit from the intelligence and information they contain.

 Smart home technology, intelligent buildings and the Internet of Things (IoT) have seen users’ expectations rise when making investments in any type of system. Because many manufacturers and service providers in other sectors have met those expectations, this accelerates demand for smarter solutions, but the intruder alarm market is lagging behind.

There is still a yawning gap between what end users want and what most security systems currently deliver. Security and ‘peace of mind’ are the two main qualities that end users are seeking – but once a system is put in place, a large majority of people simply don’t use their security system.

Texecom Connect changes everything by introducing connectivity options that interface with leading third-party smart devices and transform the user experience.

Security installers can now offer a secure system with the additional benefits of automation, smart management and flexible control, all from the established and familiar Premier Elite range of control panels. It offers an immersive experience, allowing customers to take full control of the system, along with other peripherals such as video, lighting, heating, power management and smart control of household appliances.

At the heart of Texecom Connect is a professional quality, graded intruder alarm system which uses the proven Premier Elite range of control panels. This also enables the use of Ricochet mesh-based wireless connectivity, which is an integral part of the panel series.

Texecom Connect uses an app, a SmartCom smart communicator, a SmartPlug and an API to deliver increased flexibility. There’s also a range of Ricochet-enabled accessories, allowing installers to up-sell to customers, including to those with existing alarm systems.

Recipes for Success

Texecom Connect is programmed on the basis of cause and effect, and recipes are a user-friendly way of describing the programming actions that are used for automation.

Example recipes include, ‘when I enter through my front door and it is dark outside, turn on my hall light’ or ‘when someone is detected at my front door, send a notification message to my phone’.

A range of recipes can be grouped into system modes, so certain recipes only take place depending on the mode of the system. In the examples above, a user may only want to be notified when someone is at their front door when they are away from the premises.

By ensuring that the creation and management of recipes and modes is simple and easily achieved from the app, Texecom Connect takes significant steps towards eliminating fear and confusion about intruder alarm systems, while increasing interaction and real-world benefits.

An experience like no other

Texecom Connect adds value to security systems by delivering the features and benefits that end users are demanding, giving them the flexibility and freedom to enjoy an interactive and positive experience. Security installers can really benefit from this by offering systems that don’t feel like a ‘grudge purchase’.

These features also enhance site management, and for many users – both commercial and residential – they create a genuine return on investment. If a business can realise increased power savings, reduced costs and overheads, enhanced management of health and safety issues and create proof of compliance – all via their intruder alarm system – they are unlikely to consider the purchase as a grudge.

If a homeowner can enjoy automation, interaction and connectivity with other devices and systems, and use their intruder alarm in a proactive way on a day-to-day basis, they will also perceive it to have a higher value.

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