Smart Home & DIY: How Home Security Dealers Can Keep Up With the Times

New smart home technologies, which offer more benefits and services, offer dealers enormous growth potential in the coming years.

The way security and automation dealers and their customers interact is rapidly changing as technology advances and do-it-yourself systems increase. Continued success with dealers depends on their ability to embrace these changes as part of day-to-day operations.

Traditionally, the dealer was the source of all the devices and services needed for a connected home. Dealers installed equipment, and everything remained largely unchanged until the customer moved, stopped paying, or a mobile sunset required a system’s communicator upgrade. There was little or no need for regular interaction between dealers and their customers.

However, a significant shift has occurred in several sectors. Consumer-centric business models promoted by tech giants such as Google and Apple are aimed at the budget-conscious and younger consumers who are comfortable setting up a DIY smart home system without the help of a dealer.

While security remains essential, these customers are more interested in automation and convenience and are not afraid to install devices purchased online or in large stores. To succeed, dealers must provide the services these customers want. Despite what some dealers may think, it’s hard to grow if you’re just installing security systems.

More and more, dealers have to accept the smart lighting, WiFi plugs and other devices that customers bring into their homes. Leading smart home manufacturers are now designing discoverable network-enabled products that can locate other smart devices. IP-based equipment enables dealers to understand what is essential to their customers.

New technologies, offering more benefits and services, offer dealers enormous growth potential in the coming years. Home systems, built around sensors that detect movement and things that open and close, are now adding cameras equipped with artificial intelligence.

The cameras serve as sensors that go beyond detecting basic movement. A prime example is life security services that are increasingly powered by AI-equipped cameras. They detect events such as smoke and fire or an older adult who has fallen or shows a change in gait. Built-in object detection marks movements of people, vehicles or pets, making it easy to search for things that are important to end users, such as children coming home from school.

This industry was built on users, or their security provider, having to program what they wanted their systems to do. We increasingly have AI-based systems that observe our actions and automatically suggest activities. We’ve already seen this with virtual assistants suggesting music based on our previous selections. This kind of learned behavior will make its way into the security and home automation industry on a large scale.

Also look for wireless devices with an improved transmission range, giving you more choice for product placement. And expect new services that will allow communities of family and neighbors to respond to system alerts and alarms from a user – all through a common smartphone app.


Small to medium businesses represent a significant percentage of sales for many alarm dealers. In a post-pandemic world, SMB employees come and go at different times of the day, making it essential for managers to operate systems remotely.

Dealer-installed devices can be integrated with other building systems, such as access control. AI will enable interactive systems to handle events such as unattended deliveries. A push of a button on a mobile app disables the security system.

Another push of the button unlocks the door and the delivery person gains access to let packages in. Once the delivery is complete, the system will be re-armed. And it all happens while a camera monitors the event.

Some of the automation activities offered by smart home systems will also help small businesses control lighting and other systems, improve safety and reduce energy costs. Dealers can help franchisees unify and jointly manage multiple locations under one account.


In a highly competitive market, including DIY stores, dealers need to become more efficient in their account creation costs. This means that consumer-purchased devices are seen as a reduction in the amount of time and money a dealer needs to get an account up and running.

We will likely see greater consolidation in the sector. Smaller dealers may be at risk if they don’t build scale, volume or specialized offerings. Technology offers these dealers an opportunity to redefine their business and establish themselves as integrated technology leaders.

They need to say to potential and existing customers, “We are your local technology integrator. We deliver more.” Adopting an integrator mindset is an important way to survive.

Cyber ​​awareness

More IoT devices create additional opportunities for a successful cyber attack. Users can have 10, 20 or more “connected” devices on their network. When they buy a device, most people have no idea where it was made or who is hosting it. Yet these home networks are where users do their taxes and store health data and other private information.

Fear of cybersecurity will drive some do-it-yourselfers to a professional dealer/installer. This is an opportunity for dealers to offer managed networks without having to roll trucks as firmware and software updates are managed remotely. Network management provides dealers with a reliable source of recurring monthly revenue.

Running a home security and automation business successfully is a challenge at any time. For years, dealers have built businesses around monitoring intrusion and life safety sensors. Then came the addition of controlling lights, locks and thermostats.

That’s all good, but now it’s time to think about providing remote management and proactive monitoring of more devices. Technology offers dealers new ways to demonstrate their professionalism and take control of their customers’ systems – and their businesses.

Dave Mayne is Chief Revenue Officer for St. Paul, Minnesota-based Alulaa leader in smart security and system communications for professional installers.

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