How the iPad Will Shatter Touchscreen Pricing

Vantage/Legrand believes the iPad will break "industry paradigms" for touchscreen pricing, software, and physical format.

How the iPad Will Shatter Touchscreen Pricing
Vantage/Legrand says dedicated touchscreens will never go away, but it believes the iPad will shatter "industry paradigms" for pricing, software, and physical format.
Jason Knott · April 2, 2010

Vantage/Legrand says the iPad will shatter existing pricing, software, and physical format of touchscreens.

“There will always be a place for dedicated touchscreens, but the iPad certainly breaks paradigms in the industry in terms of what it does vs. other existing touchpanels in the market,” says Andrew Wale, Vantage/Legrand VP of marketing, who called home automation the iPad’s “killer app.”

“It’s not inconceivable that the iPad will create the potential for some dealers to move away from dedicated touchscreens. But the big unanswered question is will there be available home control apps that work in an open, practical environment. It will be a challenge for dealers to find out what home control apps are available for the iPad.”

“Even if the iPad has great success, there will continue to be multiple interfaces on the market: on-screen, mobile, hand-held remotes and even hard keypads are not going away,” he adds. “[The] iPad is just another remote option interface for dealers to sell.”

Price Pressure Will Occur

Wale believes the iPad will definitely lead to some price pressure on dedicated touchscreens. He advises integrators to emphasize that the value they bring to a client goes beyond the hardware.

“Yes, we will have to challenge ourselves on our pricing, but it does not mean every touchpanel on the market is all of a sudden going to be selling for $500,” he says. “The days of earning lots of margin on touchscreens are gone. It’s a tough segment already even before the iPad. You can’t expect to build your integration business on product margin from tablets anyway. If you are still trying to do that, you are not going to be around long.”

Wale advises dealers to establish installation and service policies for iPads and determine how they will handle installation when the homeowner buys his own iPad. Dealers also need to decide if they will service a broken iPad.

Potential Problems

Wale says dealers will face several concerns if they abandon dedicated touchscreens for the iPad or any third-party GUI:

  • Integrators cannot guarantee 100 percent product performance with a third-party touchscreen
  • Dealer warranties for dedicated touchscreens are an important part of the value for clients
  • The iPad is not currently viable as a primary control for a home theater because there are too many buttons that will have to be pushed compared to a dedicated touchscreen

And the fact that the iPad is wireless does not make it conducive for home control of entry/exit functions, including arming or disarming an alarm system or even manipulating the lights when you arrive home. Those tasks are still going to require a fixed, dedicated touchscreen near the door.

  About the Author

Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at [email protected]

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  Article Topics

News · Apple · Home Automation · iPad · Vantage · All Topics
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