Houston Integrator Leverages Popularity of IP to Grow Hardwired Surveillance Business
Not ready to settle for finicky wireless IP solutions, iEvolve Technology finds a formula for success with Lux surveillance cameras.
It’s hard to refute the evidence: Security has been and continues to be one of the most essential elements of a smart home. Studies by a number of organizations including Houzz, Statista and iControl Networks all indicate that security is a key driver to the adoption of a smart home.
More specifically, research points to video surveillance as a top consumer request. According to Statista, video surveillance is expected to generate nearly $24 billion in revenue worldwide in 2018, an increase of about 50 percent of the 2014 figure. Transparency Market Research, meanwhile, pegs the market to reach $42.81 billion by 2019.
No matter which report you choose to observe, the numbers speak for themselves. Security—in particular, video surveillance—is a hot commodity.
So it was with a background in A/V that Mike Roberts forged into home security full force, learning the home protection ropes and developing a formula that’s helped his three-year-old, Houston-based company iEvolve Technology, grow and maintain a strong customer base of homebuilders and homeowners.
“We do everything from hang flat-panel TVs to designing and installing complete home automation systems, but the home surveillance side of our business has been growing exponentially over the last year,” Roberts says. “We sell a surveillance system to more than half of our clients for whom we are installing a security system. Clients not only want to know what is happening at their home, they want to see it."
Finding Traction with Hardwired Solutions
Roberts estimates that for each of the two or three security/AV jobs his company completes in a week, six to eight surveillance cameras are sold. With an impressive dozen-or-more cameras installed into homes and businesses monthly, it’s natural to surmise that iEvolve carries mostly wireless IP-based cameras.
After all, wireless IP is what Roberts openly attributes to consumers’ increasing awareness and adoption of home surveillance systems.
Remarkably, though, iEvolve carries not a single wireless IP camera in its security arsenal. During its three years of existence, the company markets, sells, and installs only hardwired surveillance cameras, and have relied exclusively on Lux Technologies cameras from local distributor WAVE Electronics for both its residential and commercial clients.
“With products like the Nest Cam, Arlo, and other IoT cameras gaining traction, we’ve been able to bypass the conversations with clients as to why they should have cameras,” Roberts explains. “It lets us focus our conversation on why a hardwired surveillance solution like those from Lux is a better option.”
Better Image Quality
As cliché as it sounds, Roberts has found that when selling and installing surveillance cameras, a picture really is worth 1,000 words.
“All I have to do is pull out my smartphone, and access the Lux camera I have at my house, let my clients see the ultra-clarity of the high-def image, and they are sold,” he says. “I’ve conducted the same demonstration with analog cameras, and 80 percent of the time people weren’t impressed with what they saw.”
Not so with the Lux demo. The difference in image quality is so remarkable, says Roberts that even clients have chosen to have their existing wireless and analog cameras ripped out and replaced with hardwired Lux products, the newest and most advanced being the Lux E2M-OD2.8MAR, a turret camera that boasts a 2.8mm fixed lens, Smart IR array for improved night vision, and wider field of view than previous models.
“One of these cameras can cover an area that used to require two cameras,” Roberts says. “We don’t look at this as jeopardizing our profits because we are selling one camera instead of two; rather, its money saved that our clients can apply somewhere else, like better speakers for their surround-sound system.”
Better Profit Margins
Surveillance cameras are widely available to consumers at online and brick-and-mortar retailers—including the brand of surveillance cameras that iEvolve had once sold. This makes it extremely hard for integrators to plead their case as a worthy alternative for a homeowner’s home monitoring needs.
“When a potential client asks why they can find the same product online for a third of the price, they often feel taken advantage of and you generally aren’t able to close the deal,” relates Roberts of his past experiences.
This all changed, however, when iEvolve made Lux its choice surveillance system. Distributed exclusively to dealers by WAVE Electronics, consumers have no chance of finding Lux cameras online or anywhere else. This exclusivity of distribution has ensured “fantastic profit margins for us,” Roberts says.
Reduced Service Calls
The fact that iEvolve rarely needs to roll a truck to a client’s home after the sale of a Lux surveillance system also contributes to the company’s profitability.
“We have used many brands of cameras in the past, and it was a habit to bring a few extra cameras with us as replacements for defective products,” Roberts relates. “After switching to Lux almost two years ago, we have not had a single defective camera.”
Additionally, Lux Hybrid DVRs include a feature that enables customers to set up their own surveillance systems as easily as taking a photo with their smartphone. Should a customer switch to a different router, for example, there’s no need to call iEvolve to reconfigure the network.
Lux provides a built-in P2P configuration QR code, so as long as the DVR is online, the client will be able to see it from the app, both locally and remotely. A homeowner can simply take a photo of the QR code, hit a button in the Lux smartphone app, and the system sets itself up for access in seconds. The QR code also allows homeowners to assign the Lux app to new devices.
“This feature alone has cut our service calls significantly,” Roberts says. “Not to mention the fact that it precludes the need for an advance networking person on our crew.”
More in Store for Lux
Roberts and his team have been fortunate enough to discover Lux early on in iEvolve’s foray into the home surveillance business. Both Lux Technologies and WAVE Electronics are local to iEvolve (and Roberts used to work at WAVE), so there’s a natural bond between the three companies.
He believes that WAVE will expose Lux to more integrators, and through dealer training, tech support, and product marketing, ultimately turn this largely unheard of brand of surveillance systems into a top security solution.
Lisa Montgomery has been a member of the CE Pro and Electronic House editorial teams for nearly 20 years; most of that time as the Editor of Electronic House. With a knack for explaining complex high-tech topics in terms that average consumers can understand, her style of writing resonates with people who are interested in addition electronic systems to their homes, but are unsure of the steps involved and the solutions available. From basic lighting control systems to full-blown automation systems, Lisa understands the home electronics market well, and is able to point consumers in the right direction on their quest for a smarter, more convenient, efficient and enjoyable home. Over the years, she has developed close relationships with key manufacturers and seasoned custom electronics professionals, giving her a keen sense of what home technologies are hot now and what is on the horizon. She shares this wisdom regularly through feature stories, product roundups, case studies technology spotlights and comprehensive guides and books. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Lisa at [email protected]
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