Fantasy has caught up with reality; smart home and connected living is going mainstream. After returning from my favorite industry event, Parks Associates CONNECTIONS, I am reminded of how much I relish being there and learning about emerging trends and future possibilities. 

The security game has changed, and it is no longer just about protecting, detecting and alerting when unwanted events happen. As I shared in my June column, “Staying Up-to-Date with Security in the Connected World” (, automation, remote management and personalization bring a new level of systems and services. Now, add ambient computing and it’s an interactive and responsive world.

What is ambient computing? When computers first came on the scene, people intentionally used them for help in accomplishing a task more efficiently, such as accounting or word processing. Today, this deliberate practice thrives at work and home. Ambient computing shifts things from a person interacting with a computer, to invisible and pervasive computing that responds to the presence of people in an easy and natural way — and all of it happens in the background without conscious human interaction. Using data and intelligence hidden in the Internet of Things (IoT), computers continually identify, monitor and listen to us. They automatically respond to our perceived needs and habits, making everyday life better and easier. All of this is driven by the data, intelligence and decision making capabilities of IoT-filled environments. By bringing together IoT technologies and information, people reap the rewards of computers and the internet without really using them or knowing about it. Humans invented computers and artificial intelligence (AI), and ambient computing has the machines work harder to understand and help us; we get to take advantage of them.

Let’s bring this futuristic tech talk into today’s reality and the business of security. All of the IoT devices need to be manufactured, sold, installed, connected, monitored and maintained. The data needs to be collected, stored, processed and acted upon. Security manufacturers, distributors and dealers already do all of this with security sensors and monitoring services. It’s time to consider expanding offerings to include IoT devices. Security dealers can incorporate existing security sensors into the IoT, and install new IoT devices. There is also new recurring monthly revenue opportunities with the IoT. Consider automatic events, non-emergency notifications, and remote monitoring and control.

Look at how smart home has permeated houses today, often on the back of security. It is now established and moving toward mass adoption. Products and services are expanding with focused offerings riding on smart home technologies. The great opportunities spoken about at Parks CONNECTIONS also included the homebuilder and multi-dwelling unit (MDU) markets. Demands are being made on them to deliver connectivity, services and smart living. They are looking for one-stop partners to deliver these, as painlessly as possible, to their houses, condominiums and apartments.

Yet another opportunity exists with insurance companies. By incorporating IoT devices in homes, damage and insurance expenses can be mitigated. In addition, with the rapid population growth of seniors, aging-in-place technology installation and services offer new revenue. Finally, DIY smart products are everywhere. This movement may take away some business from security dealers, but it also opens up opportunities to solve problems and serve them with your expertise and trusted reputation.

The bottom line is change is constant; and in today’s world, it moves with velocity. Get on board with change and embrace the future — or become obsolete.