Privacy Protection, Analytics Help Guide Nortek Control Product Development

2GIG, Elan and Linear equipment engineered with analytics, facial recognition and AI are key market differentiators for Nortek Control.

Privacy Protection, Analytics Help Guide Nortek Control Product Development

Technologies like AI, analytics and facial recognition are driving development of Nortek Control product lines from 2GIG, Elan and others.

Megatrends like privacy protection, DIY security, health and wellness, facial recognition, AI and analytics are among the key factors affecting smart home and security integrators today. With responsibility for overseeing the product line management team for the 2GIG, Linear and GoControl brands at Nortek Control, Quinto Petrucci is responsible for addressing those trends and translating them into new product solutions and additional features for existing products.

Petrucci, vice president of product management for the Nortek Control Security and Access Group, is using technologies like its IntelliVision facial recognition software and its on-the-edge 2GIG camera storage to engineer new solutions for the market.

Security Market Growth to Continue

Specifically related to security, Petrucci believes the long-term trend for growth in the market has been in place for quite a while and will continue. More particularly, he believes the growing DIY security segment is not a threat to integrators, but an opportunity.

“In general, the growth in the security market is being driven by increase awareness, and particularly by the entrance of some larger consumer electronics companies over the past few years,” he says. “More market awareness means more opportunity for everyone, and for integrators especially. Consumers are realizing there’s significant value in combining the various smart home products and services.”

Regarding DIY security, Petrucci says, “Integrators are uniquely positioned to solve the interoperability problem that a DIY solution can’t. DIY systems cannot ensure products work well together. A professionally installed solution results in a much better user experience.”

While the recent civil unrest in the U.S. might be the impetus for a bump in the sales and installation for some security integration companies, Petrucci notes that the security industry always has ebbs and flows due to recession or crime, but in general it is a recession-proof industry.

“When times are good, people want to protect their families and their property. When times are bad or when there’s civil unrest, people also want to protect your property and their families. So, it tends to balance out across the variations caused by recessions or political issues that might arise,” he comments.

Facial Recognition, Analytics and False Alarm Reduction

Since it first acquired IntelliVision Technologies Corp. back in May 2018, Nortek Control has strategically applied the facial recognition technology to its Elan control panels, serving multiple purposes. On one hand, it alleviates the potential for false alarms, which are mostly caused by user error. Over the years, the delayed-entry keypad has been supplemented by keyfobs, mobile apps and geofencing technology to reduce false alarms during the arming/disarming process. Petrucci hints that Nortek Control is working on a new technology-based solution that will make the alarm activation/deactivation process easier for clients.

“Privacy is really about layers of protection… combining best practices and technology.”

— Quinto Petrucci, Nortek Control

Using the facial recognition, Elan control panels already enable the ability to trigger scenes for a particular user with lighting, temperature and AV, but for security the “bar is higher because we are talking about life safety,” comments Petrucci. “Our goal is to make it more passive so there isn’t a code or some specific action the user has to take to arm or disarm. I think it is going to be the key to virtually eliminating false alarms from a user perspective,” he predicts.

Petrucci says the Linear brand will soon be introducing a new series of cameras that will be facial recognition ready for touchless access control entry.  

“The goal is to validate a person for entry but not to add complexity. We will let the facial recognition handle those layers of protection and complexity,” he notes.

Meanwhile, Nortek Control using analytics to deepen the value of its products.

“On the 2GIG front, we use analytics to help minimize false alarms,” he notes. “For example, traditional glassbreak detectors or even smoke detectors rely on ‘analog’ technology, for lack of a better term. We convert those signals to digital and the analytics allows us to make more intelligent decisions. We can determine if it really is a piece of glass breaking? We can simultaneously look at the motion sensors to determine if there a human or a pet nearby? Similarly, if a smoke detector signal is triggered, the system will fire up a camera in that same area and stream the images to the user’s devices so the homeowner knows what is happening. So the layers of deeper intelligence improve the user experience and create a better sense of overall security for the homeowner.”

On-the-Edge Storage Maintains Privacy, Speed

Privacy concerns are another megatrend affecting the security market that Nortek Control is addressing, while at the same time improving the speed of the equipment to reduce potential latency issues.

“Privacy is really about layers of protection… combining best practices and technology, but also educating clients on what their own role is in protecting their own privacy. Things like being diligent with passwords, being careful on what devices they add to their networks, and maintaining active and up-to-date firewalls.”

He points out that 2GIG has protections in place regarding how its devices communicate to the Internet, along with the company’s recently added eSeries encrypted sensors.

Quinto Petrucci, Vice President of Product Management for Nortek Control’s Security and Access Group, says putting analytics technology locally on the edge vs. in the cloud is faster and more secure.

“Without encryption, a bad actor can sniff the air to compromise the integrity of the system. They can also know who is in the home and determine the occupancy of the home based on the unencrypted wireless signals. If you lock that down with encryption, the proverbial doors are shut… the bad guys don’t know what’s happening in there,” he says.

Petrucci says it is important for integrators to do a thorough analysis of the technology suppliers with which they work, especially related to protection of personal data.

“Companies like Nortek Control are all about developing technology to make life more comfortable, more secure, and more understanding of a client’s personal preferences, and less so about an ad model that may be tied towards revenue generation of the business,” he adds.

For example, the information collected from the IntelliVision facial recognition software embedded into Elan control panels and cameras is all stored locally on the edge versus in the cloud. That local storage not only secures the data, but also creates a faster user experience during the arming/disarming process because the data is not traveling up to the cloud and back.

“With any technology, there are tradeoffs. We put the technology on the edge so our cameras have higher privacy and low latency. If the cameras were connected to the cloud, they would not be tethered by processing power, but then you would have to deal with connectivity and latency issues, and personal biometric data sitting in the cloud. Using our equipment, the biometric data from people in the household is stored locally, so it is one less thing that clients have to worry about. As technology providers, we need to educate our integrators on the benefits of this,” notes Petrucci.

Thus, he also recommends integrators have a similar conversation about privacy and technology with their clients.

“Consumers are highly educated; there are many news stories about privacy and data breaches. Addressing it head on shows that you recognize these concerns and you can then discuss the steps you can take together to resolve it. Having that conversation is going to guarantee not only a longer-term customer, but even more opportunities for new customers, because your clients will spread the word.  It’s better to address the situation than for your customer to be a victim of a breach down the road,” he says.

“For a sneak peak of what’s next from Nortek Control, check out 2GIG EDGE.