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“There are a lot of things the industry is starting to focus on as enhancement to the core offerings; but it is important not to get caught up in buzzwords or even the technology itself, but what it enables the customer to do,” says Greg Blackett, senior product manager, Tyco Security Products, Toronto, Canada. “It is still very early days. The end goal is to enhance the existing products and make them more intelligent and help the customer reduce false alarms and bring their total security experience to the next level. But Inder Reddy, Honeywell Security and Fire, says there are actually two schools of thought on where monitoring may be headed. “Some customers have absolutely said ‘We want to leverage our expertise so we are going to get out of the monitoring business and focus on customer service. ’ But as software becomes more and more the way to do things, you could make the case that SaaS types of services are much more scalable and you don’t need to be so large to have economies of scale. For the moment it seems that a lot of active central stations are looking to outsource to wholesale and reapply that cash to grow their RMR business. ”Pam Petrow, Vector Security, also senses change in the wind. “Consumers’ willingness to take on responsibility for some aspects of monitoring will continue to change the industry. Whether it is a DIY with 100 percent self monitoring, or some subset of events the customer self monitors, this will impact the next evolution of monitoring. In addition, the way the monitoring centers communicate with the consumer is evolving … to be more responsive to consumers, communicating with them via the venues they prefer — this relates to alarm response, service requests, billing payment options, and even sales.

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This is why smart home kit vendors offering self monitoring have the potential to grow more quickly by addressing the needs of non traditional security customers. These customers are increasingly interested in home control and potentially security but not in professional monitoring fees. — Contributed by Tom Kerber, Director, IoT Strategy, Parks AssociatesAs Managing Editor, Karyn Hodgson writes exclusive cover stories, such as SDM’s State of the Market series, as well as other feature length articles and case studies. She manages SDM’s Monitoring Today supplement, an annual supplement devoted to central stations and the business of monitoring. She also manages SDM’s Dealer of the Year and Systems Integrator of the Year Award programs. Systems integration is one of Karyn’s “beats”; she manages Today’s Systems Integrator e newsletter from SDM.