Blurred Lines: Technology Bridges Traditional Markets

Residential and commercial security products are becoming easier to integrate. Big box stores and electronics retailers sell security systems that enable users to check on their home or business from anywhere, with advanced features such as night vision, phone alerts and more.


Anyone can purchase a security system from these outlets. However, it’s notable that there will increasingly be crossover to business markets from traditional consumer security products.


Both residential and commercial


The lines between home and business security solutions are blurring. More products are applicable to both markets. For the installation contractor, it means new opportunities. Security contractors can sell to commercial markets and easily add small to medium businesses (SMBs), an emerging vertical market opportunity for ECs to expand their customer base. According to the report “2017 SMB Insights” from The Business Journals, a division of American Cities Business Journals, 2016 was a particularly strong year for SMBs, and 2017 and future years are poised for expansion.


According to Robert Beliles, senior vice president of marketing and product management for Nortek Security & Control, Carlsbad, Calif., there is a noticeable trend for potential cross-selling among product categories, especially as residential devices become more powerful and integrated.


“We are seeing the same trend in the security industry that we have seen in consumer electronics,” he said. “Advancements in innovation on the consumer side migrate to commercial applications. If products can be used in homes, those users want to have the same solution for business, or a close variant they are familiar with.”


Beliles said greater computer processing power beyond Moore’s Law, virtualized technology, the move to artificial intelligence and robust wireless technology is also affecting product applicability in both residential and commercial specifications.


“It’s a great time to be in the industry because of the continued wave of innovation,” he said. “We have long seen the convergence of personal safety and security technology and now health and wellness is also tying into commercial systems with Bluetooth and access control reader capabilities. Security is no longer residential or commercial only but will evolve into personal technology that will be more powerful from a user experience. Once products become simpler to use, it will make technology more effective from a user experience and incorporate additional sensor technology for more contextual information and artificial intelligence.”


For example, systems soon will elicit a personalized experience.


“Think about moisture sensors that will communicate to a central control that you are sweating, so the temperature will automatically be adjusted,” Beliles said. “We have all these puzzle pieces fitting and you don’t have to do anything special to get them to work together.”


Easy does it


Paul Garms, director of regional marketing—intrusion systems, Bosch Security Systems Inc., Fairport, N.Y., said his company’s products are applicable to both residential and business markets.


“The Bosch B series is targeted to both the SMB and residential,” he said. “Both take advantage of our home automation module, which adds control of wireless devices using Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave and ZigBee. In the same way that it adds convenience and cost savings for the homeowner, business owners can also benefit from this same automation.”


Panels also integrate with IP cameras. As long as the cameras are on the same network, no other software is needed to initiate video analytics to trigger events. These events, such as video motion detection or line crossing, can be communicated to a central monitoring station as well as to the end-user through text or email. Likewise, the panel can trigger the camera to take action based on other inputs, such as a door opening, and send a snapshot to the user so they can see who is entering the premises.


“These capabilities have many practical applications for both homeowners and business owners,” Garms said. “For example, users can get text notifications with a picture when the alarm system at their store or restaurant is disarmed, so they can confirm that the correct person is opening the site for the day.”


He added that people expect the convenience and technology from their personal lives to migrate cohesively to where they work.


“For example, app usage, while standard in residential, is growing in small commercial,” Garms said. “We also expect automation, which is prevalent in residential, to grow in commercial markets as well.”

About the Author

Deborah L. O'Mara

Freelance Writer
Deborah L. O’Mara is a journalist with more than two decades experience writing about security, life safety and systems integration, and she is the managing director of DLO Communications in Chicago. She can be reached at dlocommunications@gmail.com...

Stay Informed Join our Newsletter

Having trouble finding time to sit down with the latest issue of
ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR? Don't worry, we'll come to you.