ADS Security (ADS), Nashville, Tenn., is the latest security dealer company to announce the addition of home automation services to its core home security offering. The new automation components added to ADS Aniware®, the company’s remote security management service, offer a new high-tech home control system service with security at its core. ADS Home Control delivers home security and home automation packaged together and remotely managed from anywhere on a mobile device.

“We have been working hard on developing a comprehensive home control solution that integrates seamlessly with our traditional security services that we can support out of our central station. This launch is the culmination of a launch across our 14 branches,” said ADS president and chief operating officer, John Cerasuolo. He added that the company began rolling the new services out this spring — roughly five months ago — but the process of evaluating different technologies and developing the branding began in late 2011. “We were very focused on making sure these new product installations go very smoothly and that we didn't put our customers through our learning curve… So that when we did launch it, the first customer would have the same experience as the 100th customer.”

ADS Home Control adds capabilities to adjust lights, thermostat and small appliances in addition to arming and disarming the home’s security system, locking and unlocking doors, and more.

ADS’ back-end support is a combination of Honeywell, and DMP products. To varying degrees the company uses all three vendors, depending on the market and application needed, Cerasuolo told SDM. He stressed that from the beginning, the company understood the importance of making it very transparent to the customer that ADS provides an ADS Aniware service and “not somebody else’s system.”

Cerasuolo said launching these services is one step in a company strategy established four years ago to expand deliverable services, which currently include cell communication, video services, managed and hosted access and video, and more. “Through discussion with customers and some research we’ve done, we identified that there was significant segment of our customer base — the mid to high-end residential and small to mid-size commercial and particularly multiple location commercial customers — that really had the interest and the need for additional remote services,” Cerasuolo said. “That’s both to take control of some of their systems in their home or business — be it temperature control, lighting, opening and locking doors — but also significantly video services to allow them to look in. In a residential situation, that may be checking on kids coming home from school and looking in on pets. But very importantly with small businesses, especially multi-location business owners, to keep tabs on their business in a very cost-effective and efficient manner.”

The automation services have only been available for four to five months in the branches that first rolled them out, but Cerasuolo estimated that about 15 percent of the customer base in those areas may have added those capabilities. More significantly, he said, in the year that passed since ADS began offering remote security system through ADS Aniware, roughly 70 percent of its customer base opted to add remote management of their security system (remote arming and disarming, locking and unlocking doors, etc.). He added that the company offers these services as components that can be added or left out of a system. So that if a customer is interested in video but not in lighting controls, for example, they can have exactly the solution they want and need.

Homeowners stay informed with email or text alerts that notify them of events at home like family member arrivals, alarm activation or temperature change. In the case that an ADS Home Control alarm is activated, homeowners are alerted and a signal will be sent securely to ADS’ CSAA Five Diamond certified Monitoring Center. The ADS Aniware app is available for download on an iPhone, Android or Blackberry.

ADS went through a methodical introduction process in which every one of its salespeople and technicians were trained on the new automation offering. The automation piece is now integrated in the company’s marketing approach, which focuses on targeted internet marketing. Cerasuolo noted that ADS does not take a mass marketing approach as its broad footprint would make it prohibitively expensive to saturate all of those markets with broadcast marketing messages. But that is where national players with very large customer bases such as Comcast and AT&T, new to the automation-plus-security space, are exerting a positive force to make consumers aware of the availability of these services on a very large scale.