BY DARLENE BREMER
Giving the Homeowner Control
SECURITY SYSTEM INTEGRATION
The advertisements bombard us
constantly. On television, on websites, in your
inbox, all with the same message: everyone else
is using technology that integrates security sys-
tems with home automation and enables remote
control of the whole house with smart devices.
Why aren’t you doing this too?
The message is being received loud and
clear, particularly by younger people who are
smart-device savvy and want simpler systems‘
operation and more control over their lives.
“There’s a great revolution in the home
If the days of operating intrusion alarms
security business because of the Internet,”
said Richard Soloway, founder and CEO of
Napco Security Technologies Inc., Amityville,
N. Y. “To continue to grow their business, se-
curity system providers need to remain on
the forefront of home automation, wireless
technology and the cloud to provide the life
enhancement capabilities being demanded by
more and more people.”
According to global information company
IHS, the increase in new entrants attempting
to penetrate the North American and European
markets for home security—as well as the in-
creased investment they are making in end-user
education—is evidence of how prevalent this
trend is becoming. According to IHS, this sug-
gests that growth of integrated systems will
continue to develop in the residential sector
during the short to medium term, providing
electrical contractors with more opportunities.
and fire alarm systems with keypads are gone,
what is being integrated with today’s security
“Security system and access control components are being integrated with every electrical
device in the home, including lighting, HVAC,
garage doors, energy management, entertainment, and even small appliances as they
become more intelligent,” Soloway said.
Using apps, homeowners can control the
entire home anytime from anywhere.
”Control is always at their fingertips,” said
Jessie Bumgarner, marketing coordinator for Elk
Products Inc., Hildebran, N.C.
Another trend has been the
addition of video surveillance
systems that can be controlled
by smart devices.
“Perimeter cameras can be
called upon through the video app,
and homeowners can see live-action video
on their device,” Soloway said.
In addition, these cameras are being de-
signed with built-in motion detectors that inform
the app that the cameras have been activated
and are recording.
“Apps and smart devices enable the control
that more and more homeowners are demanding
from their integrated, connected homes,” he said.
Benefits, challenges and opportunities
The advantage for the homeowner of integrat-
ing the security system with the rest of the
house’s systems is the convenience of remote
control and alerts.
“The challenge is finding a system that is
truly customized to fit the homeowner’s lifestyle
and needs today and that can grow and change
to meet future needs,” Bumgarner said.
In addition, a truly connected home provides
homeowners with the ability to reduce electric-
ity costs, according to Soloway.
“Remote control of HVAC and lighting sys-
tems can save a homeowner 15–20 percent on
the energy bill,” he said.
More important than making life easier,
a truly connected home provides high levels
of security with 24/7 notification to a central
monitoring station and to the homeowner’s
In the early years of integrated homes, it was
challenging to develop a system that wasn’t so
complex that the homeowner couldn’t operate it.
“Fortunately, this had led to the develop-
ment of intuitive user interfaces, compressed
broadband use, and plug-and-play installation
capabilities,” Soloway said.
Consumers, security dealers and electrical
contractors need to know that these integrated
security systems exist. The latter parties need
to learn the benefits and figure out how to sell
the technology to their customers.
“At the same time, companies, such as
Google, Apple, Comcast and AT&T, have launched
their own connected home products and are
advertising them heavily, threatening the contractors’ and security dealers’ market share,” he said.
On the plus side, all these advertisements
are increasing consumer awareness of and demand for the technology, which could open up
opportunities for electrical contractors that creatively participate in the market.
“Electrical contractors can install the entire
connected home system or use the services
from professional security, HVAC, audio/visual
and lighting subcontractors,” Bumgarner said.
This market also offers contractors recurring
“Contractors can charge homeowners on a
recurring basis for both the functionality that a
connected home system provides and for servic-
ing system components,” Soloway said.
The contractor can partner with a third party
to house the necessary computer servers.
“Offering integrated whole-home systems is
going to be a continuing growth opportunity for
both contractors and security dealers,” Soloway
said. “Security system equipment and software
providers are also poised to partner with con-
tractors to take advantage of this continually
Millions of people want the safety and con-
trol of their lives that these systems offer.
BREMER, a freelance writer based in Solomons, Md., contributes frequently to
ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR. She can be reached at 410.394.6966 and darbremer@