Security Dealer Says No to $99 Installs
Atronic Alarms sticks with higher-end HAI security systems that bring opportunity for home automation.
Earlier this year, Atronic Alarms, Lenexa, Kan., was named a 5-Star Home Automation Inc. dealer for the 10th consecutive year.
Atronic vice president Neil Atha discusses the company’s experience with HAI and strategies for the security business.
While the industry seems to be going downscale with security systems, you’ve clung to the higher end with HAI. Why?
Atronic Alarms continues to serve the high-end residential market with people who are interested in quality products and an exceptional level of technical and customer service. The products that HAI offers appeal to this client base.
Security systems are no longer just a door contact and motion detector; they are management tools that people find very appealing. HAI offers a complex integrated solution, giving you the ability to program when/if/then conditional commands. For instance: When the system is armed in night mode and if the garage door is open, then shut the garage door. Another typical example: When the system is disarmed, and if it is dark, then turn on kitchen lights to 65 percent.
What are some of the most interesting security systems you’ve implemented?
We designed one job that incorporated a group of buildings - main house, barns, sheds and other units - that spanned over five acres. All interconnected through a fiber-optic network.
How do you compete with the $99 alarm guys?
We don’t. The $99 client is not our target market for any of the systems we sell.
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What are some of your more successful marketing initiatives?
Our biggest marketing initiative is our “No Long Term Contract” policy. Our company belief is that if a client does not want to be one of our customers, we have not earned their business. Consequently, our customer service has to be impeccable. We feel that our 98-percent retention rate proves our success.
What are some of the hottest new areas you’re seeing in security?
The biggest advancement that we have seen in home automation is the ability to control your system from a smart phone. Applications on the iPhone and iPad now allow users to easily access their system and have total control over lights, thermostats, cameras, music, etc.
What are your top add-ons for a security system?
Lights are probably the most desired add-on feature, because they are so visual. After customers see one or two of them working in their homes they can’t get enough of them. We recently completed an install that started with 10 automated lights and by the time we finished the customer had added 44.
Automating thermostats and garage doors is also very common with many of our home automation installations. Garage doors are a fairly cost-effective way for most people to get into home automation. Many customers are interested in automating thermostats, both for the convenience as well as a good way to make their home efficient.
What is your average security sale?
Our average security sale range is between $1,000 and $2,500. The client owns the system; there are no long-term monitoring contracts and the owners receive a thorough training before going online to the central monitoring station. They also are carefully monitored by a quality assurance specialist for a period of time, and all of our clients receive scheduled system tests from the central monitoring station to verify that the panel is still communicating.
Have ADT and other mass marketers helped or hindered your business?
We feel that the mass marketers have helped us by growing the general awareness of home automation.
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Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at email@example.com
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