The SDM Industry Forecast always provides some interesting nuggets on the market landscape. This year’s forecast had some interesting data points from security pros on their view of “smart home” products. 

When asked whether they were currently offering or planning on offering smart home products, 37 percent of security professionals said they currently offer, sell, or install smart home products. Twelve percent are planning on offering smart home products in the next 1-2 years, 9 percent are considering offering them in the next 3-5 years, and 42 percent have no plans to offer, sell or install smart home products.

While I can understand that some security pros don’t want to dive into this area of the business, it’s still surprising that nearly half the industry wants to leave the money from smart home projects on the table. We are still seeing a huge convergence in the world of AV and security, and security pros can customize their offerings to gain larger market share. I have to wonder if the simple nomenclature of “smart home” is causing a bit of a disconnect and therefore some lost revenue opps for security pros. 

Some people think of smart home technology solely in terms of DIY consumer products, which lack the margins and RMR they need from their solution portfolios. A home isn’t really smart unless the technology has been integrated to work together and improve residents’ lives. In that sense, “Smart home” is really a subset network-based AV integration. 

When it comes to the commercial side of security, from sports bars to university campuses, AV/security convergence is nothing new. Security pros have been able to expand their offerings to include distributed audio and video, collaborative technology, and much more. Those same skills can easily transfer into the residential space, but perhaps security pros think these “onsesie twosie” smart home projects are not lucrative enough to be worth the hassle. 

According to Strategy Analytics, consumer spending on smart home hardware, services and installation will reach $157 billion by 2023. And an often-overlooked part of that figure is the MDU market, where many security firms already have longstanding customer relationships.

Security pros are getting asked more and more often if they can install audio, recommend a strong network, and set up some lighting scenes in addition setting up monitoring and access control for MDU properties. While this may be new territory, the same technical skills security pros already wield can transfer to help execute AV projects. In the case of MDUs, this may help clinch a deal. Who wants to work with multiple vendors when they can just work with one?

Truly Considering the MDU Space

Luxury and smart apartment starts are accelerating, and for good reason: market research from Brivo shows that people are willing to pay more for properties with smart amenities, and they tend to stay there longer. These complexes are popping up not just in metro areas, but across the country. As multiple dwelling units (MDUs) compete to attract prospective tenants or buyers, having the right amenities available is on their mind. 

MDUs offer enough scale to tempt security professionals into the smart home market. Meanwhile, smart device manufacturers are offering incentives to forge stronger relationships with the professional sector. For example, Ring has partnered with CEDIA, the Custom Electronic Design and Integration Association, to offer deeply discounted individual CEDIA memberships and Ring products to Ring Pros. Taking advantage of that partnership, security contractors can get access to smart home technology education and better margins on a popular smart home products. Everything they need to enter the category is in place: demand, scale, training, and financial incentives.

According to Parks Associates in the multifamily sector, adoption of smart home technology is accelerating as developers and owners are persuaded by dual business cases: operational efficiencies and increased rental revenue driven by improved tenant acquisition and retention. If this is a business opportunity you’re interested in but still have questions about, talk to your local reps about how you can get started. Vanco’s reps across the country can work to help you specify the right products for these types of projects.