APRIL 2017
ISC West 2017 Reflections + Tips for Security Dealers
Mitch Klein, Executive Director, Z-Wave Alliance
A few years ago, we were all coming to shows like ISC West to talk about how the smart home was coming and how it would impact legacy industries like security. There's no doubt in anyone's mind that the smart home has arrived; look around the show floor and you'll see connected devices attached to home security systems and fun gadgets like Amazon Echo everywhere.

We've all heard the old adage, "Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend," right? This can be especially true when it comes to installation work in the field. Since consumer awareness of smart home security has also led to a spike in business for the professionally-installed security providers, dealers and installers need to find ways to meet demand, serve the next generation of customers and stay profitable in a changing market. 

This was the topic of a panel I led during the first day of the show - and both the panel discussion and questions from the audience led to productive discourse about how new technologies in the smart home are changing the security industry. Below are my thoughts on how security professional can capitalize on a growing consumer interest in connected technology and home security.

Know your customer. Selling people on smart devices is less about the technology than it is about understanding what the customer really wants as a service. Beyond security, what ways can a product enhance, upgrade or change a person's lifestyle for the better? Is the customer somewhat tech savvy or afraid of anything beyond a light switch? You want to come up with a system that's right for them and find ways to sell them something they never knew they needed.

Use proven technology. With the proliferation of smart home devices comes inherent risks. Not every product is going to work out of the box and not every product will continue to be supported a year or two from now. Investigate what technologies and platforms having staying power, backwards compatibility and reliability. Know the difference between a passing fad and a worthwhile product that works and adds value and you'll save yourself headaches and service calls down the road.

Get the right tools. With the growing need for installers to quickly set up systems on customer premises and for technicians to fix problems preferably without a truck roll, companies have to look at tools that will save them time and money. Can a system be remotely accessed for support? How long are you spending on an install and setting up smart devices attached to your home security system? We created the Z-Wave Certified Installer Toolkit for CE and security dealers to make setting up devices in our ecosystem incredibly straightforward and manageable. Manufacturers and service providers may also offer services or devices to support installs and support. Look into these and consider the investment to ultimately save money and time on site for techs in the field.

Offer education & resources to keep in touch. For a long time, home security systems were used in important but fairly basic ways - arm and disarm. Beyond that, a customer wasn't interacting with sensors or other things in the home. Today, a customer might interact with their smart devices on a daily basis and as such, may need support and have ongoing questions. Be the expert and go-to person for that customer. Working to develop RMR programs and educational tools to get back into a customer's home and upsell can help retain customers for the long term and boost revenue.

Help keep systems secure. The more stories we see about hackers and breaches in the IoT and smart home, the more wary consumers are going to be about smart devices in their homes. As the experts, dealers and installers should help consumers understand the ways that their installed systems are protected from cyber intrusion and also ways they can keep themselves safe - strong Wi-Fi passwords, protect keyless entry passcodes - as they are living with the technology and adding on.

It was great to talk with our members, dealers and other security professionals in the space - the Z-Wave Pavilion was almost never quiet. We were excited to welcome smart lock leader August Home to our membership and get the first glimpse at the August Smart Lock Pro
Our new member community is busier than ever - make sure to reach out to us if you're interested in joining the Alliance and getting access to the membership site. Happy Spring!
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Z-Wave Pavilion

#PoweredbyZWave @ ISC West 2017
The Z-Wave Pavilion and the ISC West show floor were filled with home security, safety and smart home devices powered by Z-Wave. Did you know Z-Wave is found in over 90% of the lifestyle security products on the market? Let's take a look at some new products found at this year's show.
August Smart Lock Pro 

Announced at the show, the August Smart Lock Pro (welcome to the Z-Wave Alliance!) designed for the professional channel that will be available exclusively through August Pro, a division of August Home dedicated to serving integrators and security dealers in the custom home installation channel. Look for it in Fall 2017. 
LEEDARSON Z-Wave Certified Lightbulb Series 

Announced at the show, this series of lightbulbs from LEEDARSON include the newly Z-Wave certified A60, BR30 and PAR38 for use in different applications and are able to fit most standard lighting fixtures.
Also announced at the show, Aeotec's Aeon Labs introduced the Water Sensor 6 with Dock, Camera, and Sound Sensor. The Water Sensor 6 offers spot flood and leak detection, with built-in temperature and level sensors that can provide Z-Wave systems with additional data points with which to manage a smart home. The Dock extends the functionality of Water Sensor 6 to offer multi-zone leak detection, additional power sources, and improved Z-Wave performance. Aeotec's Camera blends remote monitoring with the smart home's need for data that lets your home be better managed and secured. Using advanced sound analytics, Sound Sensor can inform a Z-Wave automation system of the sound of any smoke or CO sensors irrespective of whether they are 'smart' or connected. It can also detect security related events.

The Qolsys IQ Panel 2 was also demonstrated in the Z-Wave Pavilion at the show. The second generation of the the IQ Panel, it is the first all-in-one security and smart home platform that combines advanced hardware and leading interactive software services to deliver a best-in-class experience and provide long-term investment protection for dealers and end-users. Innovative software applications include glass break detection, Bluetooth disarm, the ability to send disarm photos to the smartphone and cloud, and more. 
A Smarter Kitchen: 
How Tech Can Help You Shop and Cook Better
Of all the rooms in your home, your kitchen is probably one of the most important to you. The kitchen is a gathering place where your family comes together to discuss the day, work on homework and of course, eat! Smart kitchens are gaining a lot of attention in the world of smart home with new appliances and gadgets being released from many of the major kitchen retailers. Smart appliances are great but they can be pricey and require a lot of additional help to get up and running. Here are a few ideas that you can quickly install and start using right away - no costly investment or complicated setup required. The best part? It's all available right from the Z-Wave website.

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Research Points to Big Uptick in Smart Home Adoption, Awareness
The Z-Wave Alliance along with PlumChoice released a benchmark report last week showing strong uptick in adoption, awareness and future purchase decisions. This second annual consumer survey, titled, "2016: Year of the Smart Device," also highlights the need for companies to provide consumers a user experience that allows their smart home devices to fit easily into their lives.
The report helps device makers and their partners understand current connected and smart home device ownership, interest in future purchases and perceived smart home device benefits. In addition, it outlines the services that brands can tie to these products to drive more revenue and consumer loyalty.
Other key findings from PlumChoice and the Z-Wave Alliance's report, "2016: Year of the Smart Device" include:
  • 52% of all respondents plan to buy a smart device in the next two years
  • The majority of consumers report owning a total of four to six smart home devices and 61% have interconnected some of those devices. Interoperability becomes a key factor as consumers add more connected devices
  • There was a 30% increase in general smart home awareness from 2015 to 2016
  • Over two-thirds of consumers plan to purchase their smart devices from major retailers, pointing to growth in the DIY market.
The survey also examined consumer behavior - including purchase drivers and rate of adoption - of homeowners compared to renters, along with comparisons between age, gender and current device owners.

"The smart home industry is thriving, and many companies are recognizing that their success is dependent on a seamless consumer user experience," said Noelani McGadden, vice president of IoT at PlumChoice. "Last year was a pivotal year for the smart home industry, with the number of people who own a smart device increasing by a staggering 259 percent. As smart home device adoption continues to grow, brands must cater to consumers who are expecting support services as part of their purchase, and at the very least provide installation support."

"It's clear from our data that not only has the smart home arrived, but the benefits of adding connectivity to the things in our home are finally being realized," said Mitchell Klein, Executive Director of the Z-Wave Alliance. "It's exciting to finally see consumers understanding the value of connecting multiple devices together and to see categories like smart security, thermostats and safety grow year over year."

Dive into the full report details here.
Z-Wave Certified Installer Toolkit Wins SS&I MVP Award
On Tuesday April 4th - the eve of ISC West 2017 - Security Sales & Integration (SS&I) Magazine announced the winners of their 3rd Annual Most Valuable Product (MVP) Awards program during the SAMMY awards gala. The Z-Wave Alliance Certified Installer Toolkit won in the Installation Aids category. The MVP Awards highlight innovative products released in the last 18 months or products that will be released soon that impact the success of security integration companies. Products were judged based on features that impact integrators like product design, benefits to integrators opening up a potential new customer channel, and the ability to help integrators design and install new systems quickly.  

The Certified Installer Toolkit (CIT) is a tool for installers to test a Z-Wave network prior to completion to ensure a robust, reliable mesh network is in place, and a powerful tool for troubleshooting and diagnosing problems. It may be left behind for logging or even permanent off-site maintenance. To learn more about the Certified Installer Toolkit visit the Z-Wave Alliance site

Read more on the awards on SS&I.
What Do Consumers Really Ask Alexa and Google Home?

Whenever I speak about the transformative nature of voice interfaces for society's favorite multi-user environment, the home, the question that comes up most of the time is how are consumers using products like Alexa or Google Home?  Well, as it stands, we have that data...  We've pulled the consumer reviews on both Amazon Echo and Google Home (the flagship products for both Amazon and Google) to see what usage scenarios consumers speak the most about.  Different from survey analysis, where you present consumers a list of uses and they mark the ones they have every considered, analysis of the review comments pull out what is top of mind for consumers.  When authoring reviews, consumers mention what is most important to them, not what is most important to the survey designer.  This results in a prioritized list of what consumers consider to be most critical to their user experience.  And guess what?  It's not Smart Home, per se.
Comparing the most mentioned usage scenarios for Google Home and Amazon Echo's Alexa. Notice that Smart Home uses are not as important as music to consumers.

The chart above shows how often a use case is mentioned and the perception (negative, positive and neutral) of consumers discussing this use case.  The X-Axis shows the percentage of all the reviews from 1 Nov 2016 to 31 Mar 2017 that mention a particular topic.  You can see at the top of both products that Entertainment is mentioned by over 40% of all voice assistant users.  After Listening to Music, the breadth of usage drops significantly with Weather in 3rd place for both.  This is where the consumers diverge a bit.  Alexa users mentioned catching up on News and Sports more than Google Home users.  

In fact, Google Home users prioritize Light/Fan Control (the first Smart Home use mentioned) above News and Sports.  Light/Fan Control is actually the most mentioned Smart Home use for both ecosystems, a shift from the dominance of Thermostats/Climate control we saw in 2015. Google Home, with its Nest integration sees more use of Climate Control than Echo but both have Home Security above topics like controlling movie watching or Reading Books (Alexa allows you to listen to your Audible purchases through Echo and Dot, something about 3% of users are delighted by.

Great, but what does this mean for the theory that Voice Assistants are the killer gateway drug for Smart Home Adoption?
It helps but it is not yet the killer 'app.' When less than 10% even mention a Smart Home use for their voice assistant, we have a long way to go before there is a one to one relationship between Voice Assistant adoption and Smart Home bliss.  

It is important to note that these Voice Assistants are being used to curate audio environments first with lighting, climate and security falling below music, news and sports. Still, as consumers start to ask more of these assistants, it is logical to assume that any new Smart Home experience must tie into these ecosystems, within reason. You don't want a would be thief yelling through your door, "Alexa, ask ADT to turn off the security system and unlock the doors."

If you'd like to have more information like this at your fingertips, check out our Message Fit and Product Fit tools here. We've made our most basic Smart Home tools available for free so you can see what is driving the overall narrative and experience what life is like with a bit of Argus Insights sprinkled throughout your workflows.

In a future post, we'll spend time looking at Siri and Apple Home's position in this ecosystem as well as the recently announced Bixby from Samsung.
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