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Why does Interlogix have 3 Cloud Services for Security, Home Automation?

UTC’s Interlogix already offers Alarm.com and its own AdvisorSync for cloud-based security and home automation, so why did they acquire UHS from Australia-based Hills?

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It’s complicated. That’s the best way to describe the cloud-based security and home automation services from Interlogix, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).

The company now works with industry leader Alarm.com, just launched its home-grown AdvisorSync service, and soon will offer the new Ultra High Speed (UHS) service it acquired from Australia’s Hills Limited.

At the recent ISC West 2014 trade show, CE Pro sat down with Interlogix VP sales Kirk MacDowell to sort out the offerings.

Comparing the Cloud Services

It all started when Alarm.com, a leader in cloud services for home management, launched in 2000 to enable remote access and control of security and automation systems from Interlogix (then GE Security) and 2Gig Technologies (now owned by Linear).

Since then, Alarm.com has grown to provide arguably the richest set of SaaS home-control offerings, with such advanced features as geo-fencing and integration with scores of products via Z-Wave, IP and cellular communications (most recently Verizon LTE).

If you want your control system to integrate with scores of cameras, alarm systems, garage door openers, door locks, lights, thermostats, sensors, and more … and to integrate especially intelligently with patented services like “crash and smash” security technology … Alarm.com is the place to go.

But not every security dealer or consumer needs that level of service, so Interlogix began working last year on its own cloud service to offer dealers a lighter-weight alternative. The new service, launching with Interlogix’s brand new self-contained AdvisorOne security/home automation system later this year (see sidebar below), is called AdvisorSync.

AdvisorSync will enable remote arming and disarming of the security system, lighting and thermostat controls, and other bread-and-butter routines. But Interlogix had not envisioned the platform as an Alarm.com killer, according to MacDowell.

“It will never be Alarm.com,” he says.

Enter UHS

While Interlogix engineers were working on their own back end in the U.S., an Australian company called UHS (Ultra High Speed) was working on its own interactive service for Interlogix security panels.

UHS is a technology provider of telecommunications infrastructure equipment and network services. Interlogix just acquired the group from Hills Holding, whose portfolio includes Direct Alarm Supplies (DAS), the largest distributor in Australia.

Among the products distributed by DAS is the iconic NetworX series of security systems from Interlogix; hence the development around that line.


INTERLOGIX ADVISOR
Advisor is the latest security and home automation line from Interlogix, expected to launch “late summer,” according to Interlogix’s Kirk MacDowell. The flagship AdvisorOne panel is a self-contained security system featuring a 7-inch touchscreen and communications via Z-Wave, Ethernet and Bluetooth. Cellular and Wi-Fi radios can be added to the panels. Built-in applications will provide users with updated news, weather, sports and traffic information. The panel also acts as a monitor for security cameras and can serve as a digital photo display. Programming is available through the touchscreen itself, so a computer is not required. At launch, AdvisorOne will work with Interlogix’s new AdvisorSync cloud-based remote home management service.

Over the past year, UHS has been “doing incredible things” on the SaaS end for NetworX, MacDowell says.

They have also built hardware to supplement NetworX, which is “an immediate win for Interlogix dealers.”

For example, as demonstrated at ISC, UHS offers a nice range of touchscreens and keypads for NetworX that Interlogix hasn’t gotten around to developing itself.

In addition, UHS brings several appealing products in the “alarm takeover” category, with IP and cellular modules for legacy security panels.

Finally, UHS has developed the new Zero Wire self-contained security/home automation panel that appears to be the first without a touchscreen, making it potentially more affordable than others on the market. It has a keypad instead, and built-in IP for communicating with UHS’s own app and third-party control systems.

Z-Wave is on board, and a dongle is available for cellular communications.

MacDowell appreciates that Zero Wire does not require a cloud-based service for integrating Z-Wave and IP devices. Those can be controlled locally for speedier results.

On another note, MacDowell sees a return to keypads in the future for security.

“Right now our industry is on heroine with all of the touchscreens,” he says. “I think we may get back to something like methadone.”

So … Why Three Services?

The short answer as to why Interlogix has or could have three cloud services is: 1) Alarm.com is the first and best, 2) Interlogix was working on something in house already when 3) the corporate guys bought UHS.

In all honesty, MacDowell says he is not entirely sure how it will all play out with the three different services but he’s happy that there will be options for his customers.

There were rumblings at ISC about whether or not Alarm.com would even support Interlogix’s new flagship Advisor security panel now that UHS is in play.

MacDowell does make it clear, however, that Alarm.com would absolutely continue to support Interlogix’s legacy security panels.