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Study Shows Home Security Comes Before Home Automation

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October 13, 2014
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Study Shows Home Security Comes Before Home Automation

With so much attention being paid to the “Smart Home” these days, there are many in the alarm industry who contend that it’s actually monitored home security which forms the basis for much of the smart home demand. In other words, homeowners want first to feel protected, and then they can focus on feeling connected as well. Several articles have been penned in the industry press on this topic, and this stance has been verified by a recent study, sponsored by a Frontpoint competitor: Lowe’s. Here’s the article.

The data from the Lowe’s 2014 Smart Home Survey reveals that a majority of Americans are generally favorable to smart homes, with 50 percent preferring do-it-yourself solutions, and nearly two-thirds (62 percent) find the smart home most beneficial for monitoring safety and security.

Wow – almost two thirds of the respondents see the link between the smart home, and the home that is monitored for security!

Survey Details

The Smart Home Survey, conducted online in July by Harris Poll on behalf of Lowe’s (makers of the Iris home automation system), polled more than 2,000 U.S. adults aged 18+ and finds that 52 percent of Americans feel that having a smart home is at least somewhat important to them. When it comes to purchasing consideration, more than half (56 percent) of Americans cite either cost or fees as the most important deciding factor (31 percent say monthly fee amount and 26 percent say the cost of equipment), followed by ease of use (13 percent) and security (11 percent).

Some of the Additional Key Findings:

  • Forty percent say a benefit of owning a smart home would be to cut costs and save money on energy bills.
  • 62 percent of Americans rank security and home monitoring as the most beneficial reason to own a smart home. Overall convenience comes in at third place (35 percent), and protection from floods, fire and other disasters (29 percent) ranks fourth.
  • In order of importance, Americans who own a smartphone or tablet want to adjust the thermostat (44 percent), turn on the lights (39 percent) or start the coffee pot (27 percent) before getting out of bed. [These are exactly the home automation services that many “real” alarm companies are now offering.]
  • Nearly half of Americans (49 percent) wish their home would already be the perfect temperature when they arrive home. Other popular wishes include the lights being on (37 percent) and doors being unlocked (27 percent). [And yes, Frontpoint does offer these same services.]
  • The top three things Americans wish they could control before they arrive home are actually the same three things they’re most likely to forget to do before leaving the house: turn off the lights (18 percent), adjust the thermostat (15 percent) or lock the door (5 percent).
  • Over half of Americans (52 percent) admit they forget to do something when they leave the home.

Self-Monitoring vs. Real Protection

One of the great ironies in the Lowe’s study – when you consider its reference to monitored home security - is that Lowe’s Iris product is in fact a self-monitored system. It can be programmed to notify others, but not to contact a central station, who can then verify and dispatch on alarm activations. In other words, you may know something is going on at your home, but then it’s up to you to deal with it.

Cellular Monitoring is Safer

The Iris system is also broadband-centric, meaning it communicates over an Internet connection, which makes it inherently less reliable and robust than a cellular based system. So, it’s somewhat interesting for Lowe’s to reference monitored home security: what they offer does not actually meet the definition. The majority of current alarm systems offered by alarm companies are either cellular out of the blocks, or at least offer cellular communication as an option.

It Starts with Peace of Mind

That being said, the findings of the survey still stand. Home automation is best received by the consumer when layered over a platform that starts by providing peace of mind. And that is where alarm companies (including Frontpoint) are ready to step in, with the most secure technology, and the best level of service. Thanks for the study, Lowe’s!

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October 17, 2014 at 4:56 PM
What you guys think about Apple Homekit? Is Frontpoint a partner?
Gilbert Cho
October 17, 2014 at 5:56 PM
Hi Ivan! Frontpoint is not partnered with Apple, but we’re closely monitoring HomeKit, its implementation and impact on the smart home industry. We’re always on the lookout to integrate new technology into the Frontpoint alarm system, but we also want to remain very careful and selective. Our customers’ security is the top priority, so we’ll make sure that any products or technology – like HomeKit – meet our standards before integrating them. If you’d like to see more, here’s a link to a blog post by Peter Rogers discussing Apple’s HomeKit in a little bit more detail:
October 23, 2014 at 11:28 PM
My one complaint with my FrontPoint system is that it only supports Z-Wave. I'm interested in a smart home hub like SmartThings, which can interface with many more smart home systems, like my Nest thermostat, but I'm not willing to give up monitoring to get it. It'd be great if the next FrontPoint control panel had support for more home-networking protocols, or was able to interface with a hub that does.
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