On November 21, chief technology officer and vice president of industry relations for Tyco Integrated Security (TycoIS), the well-respected industry luminary Jay Hauhn, retired after working for ADT and later TycoIS for 38 years. While he is not calling it a “retirement,” Hauhn, the current president of the Central Station Alarm Association, and former Security Industry Association board chairman, spoke to SDM about his nearly four decades of service to the industry and his future plans. He also shared insights into the coming years, as the security industry enters 2015.
SDM: What sparked your interest in the security industry? How did you land at ADT?
Hauhn: I was working at a drugstore during the end of my college career. Early one Saturday morning when I came into work, my colleagues and I discovered we had been burglarized. The thieves had cut a hole in the roof, climbed down into the pharmacy and stolen all the narcotics. They exited through the same hole in roof.
When the ADT serviceman came to install a new-fangled thing called a “motion detector,” I was fascinated by it. As an engineering student, I wanted to know how it worked, and the serviceman was so impressed by my interest that he suggested I apply for a technical engineering position at ADT. I did and I was offered the job. That was 38 years ago. I have been with ADT and then Tyco — when ADT made its split — and I’ve held many positions within the company.
SDM: As chief technology officer for TycoIS, you’ve obviously seen a lot of product — both actual and “dream wear.” Which technologies over the years have been the most “disruptive” to the security channel?
Hauhn: This industry historically has seen very little disruption, but I think that is going to change in the near future. Companies in Silicon Valley are starting to gain interest in our industry and they don’t want to just come in and use traditional security systems, they want to shake things up. I think they have a good chance at succeeding in “disrupting” the industry. Just look at how cloud technology is gaining ground in our industry. The success of cloud technology is taking hold and companies are trying to figure out how to best use the cloud applications for video.
SDM: What industry products were thought to be game changers and didn’t quite turn out that way?
Hauhn: Everyone thought video analytics such as facial recognition were going to significantly change things. Now, I still think it will one day, but it hasn’t yet. Facial recognition software that is cooperative; you stand there and work with the system has a high success rate, but the non-cooperative programs haven’t really worked as well as we hoped they would. I’m talking about the kind of application where you can pick a bad guy out of a crowd, using facial recognition. I think we are going to see it one day and when it does, it will change a lot of how we do thing in the industry. It’s just not there yet.
SDM: Will 2015 be a bear or bull market for the industry?
Hauhn: It will be bull market, in part due to all the growth in interactive lifestyle features that are being attached to security packages. Companies are finding more and more ways to utilize those features and integrate them. We will see these features have a positive effect on financial bottom lines.
SDM: You are well-known for your work with multiple industry associations; what have you enjoyed the most about these experiences?
Hauhn: About seven or eight years ago, I took over industry relations for my company so I became very involved with industry associations, like being the chairman for SIA and today, being the president of CSAA. In doing so, I was able to get to know many industry titans, as these men and women sit on these associations’ boards. They are the ones who have made the industry what it is today. When I started, the major associations — ESA, SIA, CSAA and ASIS — didn’t communicate very well. There were walls around each separate group, but I helped them work together and create synergies for all the members that allows them to develop programs that benefit everyone. My greatest achievement in industry relations is helping to break down those walls and bring the associations closer.
SDM: After 38 years, did you mark off almost everything on your bucket list?
Hauhn: I never had a bucket list. I’ve decided to retire from this side of the business, but I’m not leaving the industry. I think I’ve done a good job to ensure that ADT and TycoIS are at the forefront of providing technology and solutions to our customers. I think I’ve laid the groundwork for my successor to continue what I started there. You know, no one accomplishes everything, but I’ve done my part and I’m proud of it.
I plan on continuing as CSAA’s president and I’ll continue to maintain my strong friendships and relationships throughout the industry. I have developed a passion for industry relations and I plan to stay true to that passion.
SDM: What advice would you offer to industry newcomers?
Hauhn: I would say this industry is not about simply having a job; it’s about following a passion for protecting people, their homes, businesses, families and communities. In this industry, you have to have a commitment to your customers to protect them. Their lives sometimes are in your hands.
SDM: SDM: Besides continuing at CSAA and keeping relationships strong, what else do you plan to do in “retirement?”
Hauhn: As I mentioned, I’m not calling it retirement; but as well as spending time with family and friends, my wife and I are plotting our travel schedule.
SDM: Where will you go first?
Hauhn: We hope to rent a villa for an extended period of time in Tuscany. We just love that region of Italy.