ADT to Launch iControl Remote Management Service to the Masses
ADT customers will be able to remotely monitor and control their homes via Z-Wave-enabled gateway, IP cameras, and other devices.
ADT Security Services, the country’s largest security provider, is adding iControl remote management services to its offerings.
The security company, which serves nearly six million customers in North America, will sell iControl’s Web-based services for remotely controlling security, lighting, temperature, surveillance and other electronic systems.
At its core, though, ADT will continue to focus on security. Don Boerema, chief marketing officer, says that ADT is “not going to fool with” life safety. Rather, he says, iControl will allow the service provider to “overlay lifestyle” on top of the rather hum-drum business of security.
iControl, founded in 2004, has one of the better Web-based control systems on the market, providing an easy-to-use interface for monitoring and controlling a home’s technology remotely via any browser.
At the center of the iControl system is the new-and-improved gateway called the iHub, which communicates two-way via IP and Z-Wave (along with GPRS, enabling communications if the Internet goes down). Z-Wave is a low-cost, low-power protocol embedded in hundreds of devices including lights, thermostats, sensors, motorized drapes, door locks, garage door openers and more.
The iHub unit integrates with select security panels — for now, products from GE Security and Honeywell — but ADT and iControl plan to support additional panels.
iControl allows consumers to program certain features of their security systems all by themselves — no installer or programmer required.
A homeowner, for example, could program the system to call or email when Junior disarms the security system after school.
Caregivers could program the system to contact them if an elderly parent does not trip a bathroom sensor within eight hours.
You could make the system record 20 seconds of surveillance video when the front-door sensor is tripped.
And so on, and so on.
But, no, iControl will not supplant ADT’s core business of professional monitoring. For now, ADT will only sell the self-monitoring service in conjunction with real security monitoring.
The real deal costs about $25 to $40 per month, depending on the application. iControl will add to the monthly cost.
ADT won’t divulge what it will charge for iControl, but Boerema says, “We believe pricing will be below expectations.”
For more than a year, ADT has offered a standalone Web-based video surveillance solution based on the VIP-GatewayX gateway from Napco. That solution – which starts at $10 per month – does not integrate with any of the other electronic systems in the home, including the security system.
For its part, iControl’s monthly fee starts at $15.
iControl Finally Scores
Since it was founded almost five years ago, iControl has struggled to gain a foothold in the telco and utility industries, where the company expected to roll out its software to the masses (joining a long list of competitors that have tried to gain traction in the remote-access business).
iControl regrouped last year, focusing on the security industry and renaming its product “Security 2.0.”
While iControl (like its competitors) has seemed to be perpetually “in trials” with mass-market service providers, ADT marks the first big coup for the company.
Boerema says ADT selected iControl after evaluating its competitors on their “viability from a company standpoint, technology, capabilities, and the customer experience.”
A good product, however, doesn’t necessarily bring in the customers, as iControl knows all too well. Boerema notes that ADT salespeople will need to be trained to demonstrate and sell the new service.
“You have to somehow convey the experience,” he says. “People have to live it.”
It’s a challenge that ADT has conquered throughout its existence. “Our [security] products aren’t bought,” says Boerema, “they’re sold.”
In addition to the residential market, ADT sees a significant opportunity for iControl in the commercial sector, where “the ROI is so easy to defend,” Boerema says.
Will iControl be exclusive to ADT? Officials from both companies shied away from a direct answer.
Gregory Roberts, VP of marketing for iControl says, “In general, yes,” the solution will be available to other security providers.
More details about the service will be announced in the second quarter of this year.
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at [email protected]
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