SDM had the chance to speak with Mike Hackett, vice president of sales and marketing, Qolsys, Cupertino, Calif.,after the company announced an over-the-air software update to activate the built-in panel camera, enhancing the company’s seven-inch touchscreen security and home control platform.

The IQ Panel was specifically designed to be updated remotely. This software update is the first demonstration of this functionality and dealers can also push this software update to customer panels using AirFX.

Because the Qolsys platform allows software updates to be pushed to the IQ panel via Wifi, the panel is able to always offer the latest features and functionality, including forward compatibility for the Internet of Things, Hackett said.

SDM: Your panel is built future forward, prepping for the “Internet of Things.” How do you see it impacting the industry in the future and why does this panel allow for that?

Hackett: “First, the IQ Panel is built for today’s security market; we’ve spent almost four years to ensure we meet the demands of the security and life safety industry. Going forward, the biggest challenge for this industry will be grappling with and embracing the rapid rate of change in the broader technology sector. Further, consumers will continue to expect more from technology and more from their security systems. Gone are the days of the rubber number pad.  In many ways we don’t know what’s next, as it relates to the “Internet of Things,” there are a lot of smart people building cool products and services; the IQ Panel is built for forward compatibility to support whatever is around the corner. As the first standard offering with cellular and WiFi, and the first partner to support WiFi, our goal at Qolsys is to build a solution that will support our own innovation road map as well as others.”

SDM: Over-the-air software updates are a newer capability in the industry. How does this benefit the dealer and the end user?

Hackett: “The IQ Panel arms (pardon the pun) a security dealer with a true platform and operating system designed to enable ongoing improvement and innovation, panels installed today don’t have to be obsolete tomorrow. Dealers will benefit from a decrease in total cost of ownership. Dealers will realize fewer truck rolls and decreased support calls as customers use the built in video tutorials and intuitive interface to resolve issues on their own.  For situations that require a technician’s assistance, dealers can use the robust remote access portal to adjust every setting on a customer’s panel from screen brightness or volume to pairing new sensors or reconnecting Wi-Fi.  Over-the-air software updates ensure the experience is continuously refined, improving the user-interface, adding new features and updating existing ones — increasing customer satisfaction and staving off potential attrition.”

SDM: This software update is activating the built in-camera. Can you talk a little about this feature, both its general benefits and how it adds to security?

Hackett: “We are really excited to announce this software release. We are literally turning on our most popular feature, activating thousands of field panels efficiently and cost effectively. Apple does it all the time – but this is a very innovative and exciting feature for the security industry. Qolsys offers a long list of features: an all-in-one 7” touchscreen with six built-in radios, two-way voice, siren, and 24-hour battery; dual path cellular and WiFi, Android OS, onboard Help videos, an onboard dealer-branded portal, custom text to speech, language localization, an intelligent sensor auto-learn app, and so much more. Among all of these, the built-in panel camera has been the most popular among our dealers as we’ve developed our feature set the previous 12 months.

“The camera enables an end-user feature we call “Disarm Photos.” When a user disarms the system from the panel, the panel camera takes a photograph, these photos are saved in the “camera” app with the date, time, and whether or not a valid code was used. If you’ve given a code to your teenage daughter but her boyfriend is using it, you’ll know. This can also be very useful for temporary codes created for a contractor or service person in the home or small commercial location. End users have also been very pleased with this feature, reporting increased engagement and satisfaction with their Qolsys IQ panel.”