For every challenge the alarm industry overcomes, another pops up, almost like a fast and furious game of Whac-A-Mole. “Whack!” The industry beats the advanced mobile phone service (AMPS) technology sunset in 2008. Up pops the 2G communications sunset. “Whack!” The industry successfully lobbies against telecommunications companies (telcos) trying to enter the market in the 1980s. Up pops another, larger, “telco invasion,” as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon — even retailers Lowe’s and Best Buy — target the industry. “Whack, whack, whack.” The industry beat the recessions of the ‘80s, ‘90s and early 2000s only to have the Great Recession and the collapse of the U.S. housing bubble pop up.
While the steady stream of challenges may seem exhausting, the alarm industry has mastered the game. Instead of a padded mallet, the industry continues to swing outstanding service and a paramount mastery of life safety alongside new technologies and service offerings that appeal to lifestyle, home or business management, and convenience. With the added punch generated by the multi-faceted approach, the opportunity to “win the game” (or customer, rather) and grow continues in 2013.
Jeff Kahn, general manager, Wayne Alarms, Lynn, Mass., has tackled many of the industry’s challenges during his 26 years in the industry. He reflects the attitude held by a majority of the industry — resolute optimism. See the challenge, meet the challenge, and move on.
“Communication sunsets, retrofitting 2G radios, zip code changes — there is always something we have to be ready for outside the day-to-day business of installing alarms. Today telcos want to come in. Their offering is not the same though. They are heavily focused on lifestyle, not life safety,” Kahn says.
Kahn shares that Wayne Alarm has doubled in the past two years, focused on a carefully crafted blend of lifestyle and life safety — the latter of which represents that key differentiator of the industry, the protection of lives and property.
Kahn maintains the industry has to provide both sides in 2013 — lifestyle and life safety — to meet end user demands and one of the more subtle challenges in the coming year will be mastering that message and finding the right balance between the two.
“You have to offer end users lifestyle options because that is what is being used today. If you don’t at least offer these remote services, you won’t even be looked at in many cases. However, it needs to be carefully offered with a continued focus on life safety. It is what sets the alarm industry apart.”
Vivint customer Kyle Turner, located in Dallas, exemplifies that customer desiring both.
“My Vivint system is so much more than an alarm system with the home automation, energy management, and remote connectivity,” he emphasizes. “Still, the foremost reason I initially got the system is that I was robbed and had to deal with insurance and the time-consuming hassle afterwards. To be able to know my home is safe and secure and monitored is very important. Combining that with the additional features that save time and money is what keeps me paying that monthly bill,” Turner says.
Kenneth Mara, president and chief executive officer, World Wide Security, Garden City, N.Y., observes that “there is a lot of competition coming from other tech developers wanting to reach this market segment independently of using an alarm system to perform these functions.” But that approach loses the value security provides and also misses out on the key role an alarm system can play in offering lifestyle services.
While the cable/communications companies are trying to push into the burglar alarm industry by offering “security” and “self-surveillance” as just one more service for their entertainment products, it isn’t the same as the security industry’s offering, believes Keith Jentoft, president of Videofied - RSI Video Technologies, Vadnais Heights, Minn.
“The cable companies do a great job delivering entertainment and convenience services, but that’s a different thing altogether. For them, video is just a fun consumer convenience on their cell phone; video never reaches the central station as an alarm. In contrast, Videofied dealers are not focusing on fun, but professionally monitored video alarms that offer real security backed by priority police response and arrests — and we deliver. We build upon our historical relationships with law enforcement/insurers and protect lives and property,” Jentoft describes.
Dealers throughout the industry, including Brad Tolliver, vice president of Electronic Security, Per Mar Security Services, Davenport, Iowa, are paying close attention to their competition and responding with the new services centered around the alarm system.
“We are monitoring the situation closely and adapting to any areas of weaknesses seen from our competitors’ perspective and from our own internal evaluations. We’re also strengthening and expanding our offering as necessary. Our competitors will offer the products/services to our existing customer base and win their business if we are not in tune with the industry trends and services. We are capitalizing on the advertising dollars spent by our competition pushing the lifestyle services while continuing to separate ourselves and our offering by providing security and striving for excellent service,” says Tolliver, pictured on this month’s cover.
The strategy resembles an old Japanese proverb that advises, “Gain from your opponents without sacrificing your own strength.”
While offering a full complement of life safety and security services, Per Mar expanded into lifestyle services, including home automation via Honeywell’s Total Connect.
The new technology also is helping Per Mar, a First Alert dealer, increase its dollar amount per sale in the form of RMR and installation revenue, and it provides a new level of interaction and satisfaction for the customer — which all point to more growth in 2013.
“We had 5.5 percent in RMR growth over 2011 excluding acquisitions, and for 2013 we are projecting a 7.5 percent increase in organic RMR sales over 2012 with a total revenue increase of 6.5 percent for the division. We are projecting higher sales in 2013 as a result of new technologies,” Tolliver shares.
The end user has a heightened awareness of services available in the marketplace, which makes education of the end user a bit easier, but the main message, even with all the functionality of the alarm panel, is for the user to have protection and peace of mind, shares World Wide Security’s chief financial officer, Mark Simson. “While all our clients love the functions they are able to perform should they choose to do so, at the end of the day it is security which brought them to the table,” he adds.
In 2012, the company’s sales were up more than 18 percent from 2011, and it anticipates continued growth despite the challenging economy and strong competition.
“What changed is there was an uptick in new home sales in our region that we had been pursuing for some time and overall there was a bigger demand for security in all sectors," Mara says about World Wide Security’s growth.
That growth is appearing nationwide. Data from the U.S. Commerce Department showed significant gains in both single-family and multi-family housing production, resulting in nationwide housing starts rising 12.1 percent in December. This is the highest level of new home production since June 2008, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). NAHB is forecasting 949,000 total housing starts in 2013, up 21.5 percent from 781,000 units last year.
The industry’s combination of lifestyle and life safety offerings in 2013 “could be the start of something special,” shares Blake Kozak, senior analyst at IMS Research in “Shifting Focus to Service in ‘Special’ 2013 Alarm Market,” on page 53.
“We see the industry continuing to grow and expand as consumer demand for lifestyle product offerings like remote services and integrated automation solutions augment traditional alarm sales. In fact, we see a merging of those two models to where many of those traditional installations include a combination of remote services and/or integrated automation,” says Alan Stoddard, senior director of marketing, Honeywell Security Products Americas, Honeywell, Melville, N.Y.
See “More Crossover Between Security & Home Automation in 2013?” on page 58 for a closer look at the role alarm systems can play in home automation and the evolution of the relationship between the two.
“Initially we’ve seen this (home automation/smart home installation) more prevalent in the higher end installations, but as technology advances and equipment costs become more affordable, solutions like adding thermostats for energy savings along with some lighting and lock control are becoming popular on lower-cost systems. The connected home/business, driven by (in Honeywell’s case) Total Connect, along with the proliferation of smartphones, has moved the dial as to where these technologies now converge,” Stoddard observes.
Marek Robinson, president, Authorized Dealer Groups, Honeywell Security Products Americas, Melville, N.Y., thinks three key factors have greatly helped in bringing these types of automation capabilities closer to home: the emergence of Z-Wave wireless devices, Wi-Fi technologies that have significantly simplified installation, and more sophisticated security technologies that increasingly are forming the cores of these systems. According to Marek, the security system is the core of the system because it is “the only device in the home that knows when someone is there. It supplies that critical piece of information to the automation system, letting the thermostat know when to go to energy saving setback mode, when to lower the shades, control the lights or even shut off the ceiling fan.” Read Marek’s full explanation of the three factors in the article, “Three Advancements Making Connected Homes a Bigger Reality,” at www.sdmmag.com/3connectedhomeadvancements.
The new features and technologies provide the opportunity for upgrades — commercially and residentially. In fact, according SDM’s 2013 Industry Forecast Study, conducted October 2012 among SDM’s subscribers, almost five in 10 dealers are expecting existing middle market home to hold the highest potential for revenue growth in 2013, as the retrofit market holds strong. New research from Indianapolis-based Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association (CEDIA) also reports that a significant majority of work being done is retrofit. In fact, security dealers in CEDIA's study, “Size and Scope of the U.S. Residential Electronic Systems Installation Market 2012,” reported 77 percent of sales were in existing homes.
Thomas Kenty, general manager, AES-IntelliNet, Peabody, Mass., sees continued growth in retrofit as existing burglar alarm systems age and customer demand for new services grows.
“Many burglar alarm systems are more dated and will require updating in order to take advantage of new services such as remote alarm panel access and control, as well as for home automation,” says Thomas Kenty, general manager, AES-IntelliNet, Peabody, Mass.
Enabling legacy systems to handle new interactive features is a challenge manufacturers will tackle in 2013.
Duane Paulson, senior vice president of product and market development, Linear LLC, shares that Linear is taking considerable steps in 2013 to make it easier for security professionals to transition legacy alarm systems into modern, networked systems.
“In the residential and light commercial sectors especially, funds are tight and it’s simply not feasible for many to replace entire security systems. Linear’s combination nuLinc/LinearLinc solution was designed to provide interactive remote operation for millions of currently installed security systems to give dealers a high-value, low-cost path to upgrading security and alarm systems for their existing customer base, without major hardware replacement,” Paulson says.
Whatever the path used, upselling customers will be a key to growth and customer retention, says Alarm.com’s Jay Kenny,vice president of Marketing, Vienna, Va.
“There is a new sales cycle reality that extends beyond focusing exclusively on customer acquisition. The ability of dealers to leverage innovative and expanded services to upsell current customers will go a long way in determining how successful dealers can be in growing their business,” Kenny says. It helps meet 2013’s challenge of increased competition for existing and new customers.
Manufacturers such as Digital Monitoring Products (DMP), Springfield, Mo., are also helping dealers meet 2013’s continued financial and operational challenges by designing new features in alarm systems that help cut down on costs.
“We chose to design our products in such a way to have more positive impact on the biggest part of a security company’s P&L. Alarm companies generally spend 10 or 15 percent of their money on equipment. They know that most of their money goes to labor, installation, sales costs, maintenance, warranty service, inventory and all those other things that are hard to quantify. By understanding how an alarm company becomes more valuable, we can have more impact on their overall success than just making the equipment cheaper,” says Mark Hillenburg, executive director of marketing, DMP.
Some of the ways DMP is working to do this, he says, include:
- maintaining compatibility to older products so companies can easily service or upgrade them without replacing an entire system;
- offering the ability to flash update systems to add the latest features to current customers, thereby keeping aggressive door-knocking sales tactics from taking over accounts;
- creating intrusion panels that can easily upgrade to the latest in cellular communication by simply plugging on a new module to an existing system when old ones sunset, and more.
Communications changes, the challenge that won’t go away, is top of mind for dealers and manufacturers in 2013.
“There are more changes taking place now than ever before in the alarm communications segment of the security and life safety business. These communications changes are being brought to the security segment of the communications world because of the tremendous reliance on cellular carriers for wireless communications. Today user demands create a need for much greater ‘cellular bandwidth’ in order to view stock markets, videos, and email and text messages in a timely manner,” Kenty explains. “These changes and ensuing requirements of cellular wireless security alarm communications to be updated once carriers make these requirements in any market, requires a plan, budget and labor to be allocated to accomplish this for any alarm company to provide alarm communication continuity to these end user locations,” Kenty says.
While cellular's increasing bandwidth (2G to 3G to 4G) keeps forcing unwanted upgrades and careful planning, Shawn Welsh, vice president of marketing and business development, Telular Corporation, Chicago, still sees the benefits of the technology as a communication path — if manufacturers harness it correctly.
“The last few years have proven that cellular technology is a truly robust and reliable communication path for security and life safety systems. It is our responsibility as manufacturers to continue designing innovative solutions with more RMR-increasing features, like interactive services, that allow security dealers to monetize the increased bandwidth available from cellular technology. Staying ahead of the rapid technology evolution ensures security dealers have solutions with value and longevity that they can easily upsell to their residential and commercial customers.”
As the sunset of older cellular networks is driving more opportunity in 3G and 4G, the continuing decline of landlines (POTS) is also pushing more installations to Wi-Fi and Internet protocol (IP) alarm communications, shares Michael Flink, president, ADI Americas, Melville, N.Y.
Lisa Ciappetta, senior director of marketing, Protection 1, Chicago, shares that the company’s commercial customers from all vertical markets are seeing returns from investing in IP-enabled alarm panels that allow them to reduce costs related to POTS lines, while enabling the advanced features that the company’s integration with IP panels enables, such as automated PIN management.
For new systems, panels that make IP communication easy are experiencing the most growth, shares Tom Mechler, product marketing manager, Bosch Security Systems Inc., Fairport, N.Y.
“Security dealers are looking for products that help to streamline their installations at customer sites. Technologies like Domain Name System (DNS) support for both remote programming and central station communication are extremely important in control panels. With DNS, IP communication is simple to setup and can often be done right from the installer keypad menu or via remote programming software, avoiding the need for complicated programming tools.
“From a technology perspective, Bosch has the first control panels on the market that support both IPv4 and IPv6. This ensures our customers are prepared when IPv4 addresses are exhausted later this year,” Mechler says.
In addition to IP, video technology advancements and cost reductions should open up new opportunities in 2013 as both commercial and residential end users are showing growing interest in video with their alarm systems.
“Remote video that is viewable on smartphones has been prevalent for a period of time but has exploded with more efficient and more cost-effective solutions,” observes James Rothstein, executive vice president, Tri-Ed Distribution, Woodbury, N.Y.
When you couple alarm technology with video, you have a great formula for more successful penetration of alarm accounts and account retention, shares Judith Jones-Shand, vice president, marketing, NAPCO Security Technologies Inc., Amityville, N.Y.
“Video is a natural complementary sale for alarm dealers of all kinds and sizes. It is ideal for retrofits, adding a new billable service to existing accounts. Plus, it doesn’t rely on scarce residential new housing starts. That’s why NAPCO created iSee Video™ as a new incremental revenue stream for dealers. It’s salable because consumers already understand video and are familiar with it; we have tens of thousands of accounts running strong on it, too,” Jones-Shand points out.
Michael O’Byrne, vice president, Power Home Technologies Inc., Raleigh, N.C., an Alarm.com dealer, is one of the dealers experiencing great growth linking video to alarm systems residentially.
“Our video sales have gone up 67 percent in 2012, and I expect our video sales to increase by about the same amount again this year. The largest increase is in-home video. With the cost of IP cameras going down, more people can afford them. Additionally, with easy remote access, homeowners are finding new uses for remote video. We have several packages that include video as a standard for homeowners that we work with. Again, this is making the technology more affordable. IP cameras and cloud storage are two of the main factors driving in-home video sales,” O’Byrne says.
As video infiltrates the alarm market even further, the demand for integration is also rising.
“The cohesion of having video, security and access control all managed with the same intuitive, onscreen user interface, and being able to do so from a variety of handheld and desktop devices without incurring major expenses, will have a significant impact on the industry,” Linear’s Paulson shares.
“For alarm and security systems, Z-Wave opens doors to even more robust integration with lighting, appliances, distributed audio, entertainment, energy management, heating and more advanced controls in facilities that require a high level of automation. The industry has been inching towards this multi-system integration for years, but the costs are finally at non-prohibitive levels,” he adds.
ADI’s Flink has also observed the integration trend. “Across the commercial market there has certainly been more integration among video and access control solutions, as well as intrusion systems. In some cases it has almost become a requirement. We are seeing particular strength in certain vertical markets including education, retail and healthcare, where there is an increased focus on centralized oversight and control of remote locations,” Flink says.
End user James Brussow, director of security for Dave & Buster’s Inc., Dallas, values integration of all his systems along with remote capabilities. “We must have an online platform to manage the alarm systems from the enterprise level. Having an online management tool has really helped streamline our process from a management perspective. Combining the alarm system together with the CCTV system and access control creates a one-stop shop for us. We worked with Stanley Security Solutions to design the systems to all work in conjunction with each other,” Brussow says.
Video will also remain a hot topic as part of the industry’s continued fight against false alarms and non-response by law enforcement in 2013. Newly formed in 2012, the Partnership for Priority Video Alarm Response (PPVAR), a collection of security companies, law enforcement agencies and insurance industry officials that see value in video verification with emphasis on deterrence and quick dispatch for apprehensions, alongside the CSAA’s two newly formed subcommittees — the Managed Services Subcommittee and the Enhanced Video Verification Subcommittee — will attempt to set the tone for uses of video with alarms, and whether or not alarms with video should take priority.
Stanley Security Solutions, Naperville, Ill., is one of the companies actively supporting video or audio verification — and priority response for them.
“In the industry, we’re looking at a false alarm rate of more than 90 percent with traditional burglar alarms that send blind signals to a central station to dispatch police. What Stanley is doing with a few other partners is achieving a level of audio and video verification to significantly diminish the possibility for false alarms, and to increase a site’s credibility when an alarm dispatches law enforcement,” Stanley’s Lance Holloway, general manager, Software and Controls, Global Vertical Market Solutions, explains.
“With [audio or video] verification, when our operators opt to dispatch police, they can categorize the alarm as a ‘crime in progress.’ This ensures that, even with law enforcement being — at times — inundated with calls, this will go to the top of the list,” Holloway explains.
Holloway states that alarm verification has allowed police response times to decrease on average from 45 minutes down to seven in many places.
“Telcos are entering the industry with offerings that play to their strength of communication and fun gizmos. To meet that challenge, as an industry we need to strengthen our relationships with law enforcement and emphasize the police response and protection of lives and property. There is a huge difference between convenience and security, and that is where the alarm industry’s strength lies,” Jentoft says.
Honeywell’s Stoddard sees a combination of things positively impacting the alarm industry in 2013.
“The advancements in lifestyle technology products like locks, thermostats and lighting from many manufacturers, the reduction in cost of these products, plus national consumer advertising helping to drive awareness and for us at Honeywell, designing end-to-end products and services that are the core components in these systems, combined with consumers who want to control almost everything from their smartphones and you can see how all of the pieces fit together. There are more opportunities today to offer new products and services that can grow RMR than ever before,” Stoddard says.
Dealers like Per Mar’s Tolliver share Stoddard’s optimism.
“Looking ahead, we see good growth potential in 2013. We believe the economy is improving and we also are starting to see the new residential construction market gain traction, which has been non-existent in our market for several years. We also see growth opportunity with new technologies such as home automation and our cloud-based video storage platforms. The new technology is helping us increase the dollar amount per sale in the form of RMR and installation revenue, and it provides a new level of interaction and satisfaction for the customer that keeps us competitive,” Tolliver summarizes.
“Whack, whack, whack.” Per Mar, like much of industry, will just keep swinging in 2013 at whatever challenges pop up. At the same time, it will observe and act on the many new opportunities coming to the intrusion alarm market. Because for all the many obstacles security dealers have had to beat down in recent years, there truly hasn’t been a more exciting time to offer security and life safety, with or without the lifestyle enhancements, to consumers.
Shifting Focus to Service in ‘Special’ 2013 Alarm Market
“Compared with other security industries such as access control and video surveillance, the intruder alarms market was the hardest hit by the recent global economic turmoil; however, there is a bright future ahead,” remarks Blake Kozak, senior analyst at IMS Research.
Despite 2012’s slow growth, 2013 could be the start of something special. In the past, integrators and end-users have focused extensively on hardware. Today, the primary focus has shifted to convenience, user-friendliness, functionality and service. This shift in focus will bring greater opportunities, challenges and competition through 2013. The latter has already come to fruition with telecommunication giants such as Verizon and AT&T providing security/automation services, as well as home improvement stores such as Lowes offering similar solutions.
It has yet to be seen how these new entrants will impact the traditional market equilibrium that has existed in recent memory, but IMS Research expects a positive impact, especially for manufacturers. The market penetration of monitored intruder alarms has remained around 20 percent in the United States, despite some of the earliest monitoring companies forming in the early 1900s. Needing a change of direction, telecommunication companies and retailers could not have timed their move into the intrusion space any better. With new alternative solutions hitting the marketplace, the market is once again back in the spotlight and looking to move in a new direction.
Assuming the new offerings from telecommunications companies, retailers and other non-security related firms are widely accepted, the intrusion market could create its own niche solution trend, independent of other security industries. For example, the video surveillance market is newly centered on the trend towards IP video, access control is moving towards NFC and access control as a service (ACaaS), and burglar alarms could be moving towards interactive services and self-monitoring.
The speed and transition at which homeowners are adopting new technology is changing. Remote monitoring and management through interactive services is no longer a pipe dream but rather a trend of today influenced by increased adoption in smartphones that enable homeowners to arm, disarm and manage the alarm system. The latest smartphone shipment data from IHS suggests that a total of 191 million smartphones were shipped in the Americas in 2012. This number is expected to increase to close to 250 million in 2013. These trends alone are already altering the future course for burglar alarm suppliers, integrators and homeowners in the United States. — Contributed by IMS Research, part of IHS Inc. For more information or full research reports, visit www.imsresearch.com.
“We have heard for 20-plus years about home automation coming to our industry, and it’s finally here but in a different format than anticipated,” says Per Mar’s Brad Tolliver. “Previously home automation was for the high-end residential and facility management companies. They had systems such as Crestron, Control4, and full building automation systems. Today, it’s an add-on to our core business burglar/fire alarm control panels and a cost-effective option. It brings home automation to the masses and the end users will benefit from the new technology in the form of enhanced services and energy savings.”
Read Tolliver’s blog, “5 Reasons the Security Industry Should Get ‘Connected’ in 2013."
SECURITY & HOME AUTOMATION
More Crossover Between Security & Home Automation in 2013?
In 2013, the security and home automation markets seemed poised to continue intersecting. The security system, with its ability to know the status of all parts of the home, makes it the logical foundation for automation systems, and new products and technologies on both sides optimizing the relationship between the two industries.
“The [panel] manufacturers’ intent is to gain greater penetration, giving homeowners a security platform with home automation features,” says Stan Matysiak, president of AiN Group, based in Chesterfield Township, Mich. A growing number of manufacturers make panels that support Z-Wave or Zigbee technology, making the integration of home automation products with the alarm system easier for installers.
For more on the home automation features being enabled in security panels, read “The 1-2 Punch” on www.sdmmag.com.
“It’s harmonizing,” says Dave Pedigo, senior director of learning and emerging technologies for CEDIA, headquartered in Indianapolis, about the convergence of the two industries. “If the security dealer is up on the products out there, there is tremendous opportunity.”
Bringing together home automation and security is a winning combination for proactive dealers. “This is a brilliant concept for security dealers,” says John Begeny, vice president of marketing for AiN Group. When adding home automation to their offerings, they don’t have to look far for customers because they already have them.
By adding home automation products and services to their security business, “dealers that want to increase recurring monthly revenue (RMR) and decrease attrition rates can distinguish themselves from other dealers,” says Rob Puric, director, product management and marketing, Honeywell Security and Communications.
“I think the trend for 2013 will be the convergence of security and home automation technologies. As more systems are networked, the ability to integrate multiple devices into one system becomes easier,” says Steve Gorski, general manager, Americas, for MOBOTIX, New York.
The partnerships MOBOTIX has recently formed with AVAD and Savant are emblematic of the increasing crossover between the security and home automation industries.
SECURITY & HOME AUTOMATION
Health of the Home Automation Market
While the U.S. economy as a whole struggled to make modest gains in 2012, for the home automation industry it was a good year. Now with a rebound in new home construction and consumers’ insatiable appetite for new ways to use their smart devices to enhance their lives, 2013 is looking even better for the home automation industry — perhaps even better than for the security industry. According to data from the CEDIA research study, “Size and Scope of the US Residential Electronic Systems Installation Market 2011,” electronic systems contractors (ESCs) reported they expected total gross revenue for 2012 to grow 5 percent, while security installation firms reporting in the study expected total gross revenue to decline 4 percent.
“The general mood of manufacturing companies is that the worst of the economic problems are over, and in 2013 consumers are more likely to spend than in the last few years,” says Dave Pedigo, senior director of learning and emerging technologies for Indianapolis-based CEDIA. Perhaps the strongest indicator of the health of the economy is the revitalization of the construction market. “It’s pretty apparent that we are starting to see a modest rebound in new housing starts,” Pedigo says.
The National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) announced in January that it expects the housing market to pick up momentum this year. “Nearly every measure of housing market strength — sales, starts, prices, permits and builder confidence — has been trending upward in recent months and we expect to see gradual but steady growth along these lines in 2013,” said NAHB chief economist David Crowe. The organization further reported that two-thirds of U.S. housing markets can be considered improving.
“We expect 2013 to be better than 2012,” says Blake Deal, sales director, residential systems for Coopersburg, Pa.-based Lutron. “The residential home market is still anemic but continuing to improve.” He adds that historically low mortgage rates, for buyers who qualify, are a big part of this.
“The state of home automation as a whole is better than it’s ever been,” says Paul Williams, vice president of security and communication products for Salt Lake City-based Control4, noting that consumers in the United States and other countries are looking for ways to make their busy lives easier.
“We’ve had significant growth — double digit — year over year,” he adds, noting that home automation sales remained resilient even when the economy was down. — By Cassie Peterson, smartHOME Contributing Writer