A New ADT? With Closing of Broadview Acquisition, Emphasis Shifts to the ERs
By Bill Zalud for SDM Magazine
Koch says his staff is working with both dealer groups “as we integrate Broadview dealers into the ADT family. We will also take best elements of both into the ADT dealer program,” including customer experience teams that cut across the operation. On the monitoring side, Koch points out that ADT and Broadview use somewhat different versions of the same software platform but that “an upgraded version” soon will bring commonality there. No matter what the result of the changes, Koch says the mission will be “the creation of customers for life,” a mindset phrase acquired from Broadview.
In addition to wearing the ADT blue logo on their blazers, Gursahaney, Koch and Kenning share some other things – IP video, wireless, interactivity, expanded types of monitoring service and more integration. The bottom line: more sophisticated solutions and services to match the growingly complex demands of residential, small business, enterprise and government buyers.
With the much larger ADT, the executives on the conference call attended by SDM Magazine expect the potential of seeing new faces enter the industry rather than necessarily fighting off those already there. In responding more generally to a question that used GM OnStar’s interest in expanding its security and information offering beyond vehicles and beyond GM as well as Google’s growing expertise in video in the cloud, Gursahaney pointed out that “this is still a fragmented industry but we understand the security space very well.” He also suggested that his firm always looks “to partner with different firms out there” where it makes business sense.
Within the residential and small business operation, ADT seems eager to expand its interactive services. Says Koch, “We are beginning to integrate lifestyle and life safety.” And with the economies of scale as IP video gains ground, “IP cameras in the home become much more affordable.” Ironically, one component that continues to slow existing and new sales, where cash-strapped extended families are living together in one house instead of several, there are situations such as latchkey children, older individuals, sick and disabled people, in which monitored services beyond a burglar alarm are increasingly attractive. And the ability to see into a home or vacation home through the Web or over a smartphone will generate interest in home-based IP video for diverse applications.
Within the commercial operation, Kenning says that in working with “our largest customers, integration” means three pillars of access, video and “a stronger position from our monitoring standpoint.” These end users are “more comfortable making the case” for more diverse monitoring to their bosses. The acquisition two years ago of SST (FirstService Security, a division of $1 billion service firm FirstService that operated as SST in the United States and Intercon in Canada) has helped ADT with more complex solutions as commercial clients “transition from analog to IP and then to business process reengineering.” Such an opened up approach is sure to lengthen and deepen the relationship of ADT as systems integrator with its commercial customers. And cloud technologies are being explored, too, since “we want to stay as the leader,” adds Kenning.
In fact, security and fire alarm monitoring has for many years been an “in the cloud” effort. Only now, the cloud – services and applications Internet-platformed – has expanded to electronic access controls, security video and identity management, among others.
The ADT executives also see more opportunities with wireless. Both within residential/small business and commercial operations, the aim is to provide solutions and services that end users need every day. “And there are more advantages today using wireless,” says Koch.
When asked about economic conditions in North America and globally, Gursahaney stressed both the silver lining slowly appearing as well as the remaining clouds but also pointed out that location continues to make a difference. “It’s a mixed bag. We are clearly seeing signs of increased activity but have not seen a significant pickup in orders” as yet. “Some market segments within commercial are picking up.” The ups and downs go for geographic parts of North America and globally, too.
Added Kenning, “When the market does turn, we have the infrastructure for higher level integration.” And that, without a doubt, will mean another ”ER:” higher as in higher margins for the “new ADT.”