We connected with Raymond North, Director of Service Platforms for ADT Security Solutions, to discuss the unique value and perspective that ADT brings to the Alliance and the industry, and what the future holds for the 144-year-old company.
The Z-Wave Alliance welcomed ADT to its Board of Directors in May 2014. A Principal Member of the Alliance, ADT is the leading security system provider in the U.S. and has been a staple in American home and business security for over 140 years. ADT also serves nearly 8 million customers throughout North America and operates more than 200 local branch offices. The award-winning ADT Pulse home security and automation solution is Z-Wave compatible and is an important part of the Z-Wave
What are the most valuable benefits of being a member of the Z-Wave Alliance?
When ADT joined the Z-Wave Alliance in 2014, our objective was to represent the interests of the security industry and the way they related to Z-Wave products and features. We are not product developers per se; but we do leverage Z-Wave in the hub of our Pulse platform and support the ecosystem from that perspective. Being a member of the Alliance allows us to stay on top of those industry trends and keep track of new work being done with Z-Wave with other Alliance members, and the technology itself.
For ADT, the biggest benefit is understanding the direction of Z-Wave technology and being able to have a voice in the greater smart home industry as an influencer. As we are in the professional install industry, we have a different approach and perspective compared to those targeting the DIY market, so it’s really about bringing that unique perspective to the table.
A whole industry shift has occurred since we first began exploring home automation in 2007. At that time, we had begun re-evaluating our products and selected Z-Wave because of the commitment to standardization and interoperability, which we felt wasn’t prioritized in some of the competing technologies. It’s important to us to be able to support a wide variety of smart home products seamlessly, which Z-Wave allows us to do.
What unique value and perspective does ADT offer to the Alliance and its members by being a BOD member?
ADT currently has over 2.3 million customers using Pulse Home Automation and many of these use a variety of Z-Wave smart home products as part of their larger automation system. So, we have a lot of insight into what kind of additional devices our customers are purchasing and which tools and features are beneficial from the installation and service perspective as well. We have over 3,000 installers driving trucks all over the country installing Z-Wave products on a regular basis, so we have seen a lot in terms of the various challenges and needs they have, so we bring that perspective to other members of the Alliance as well.
What are some emerging trends you are seeing within the home security industry, specifically in smart home security? What do your customers value most in home security?
We have seen the smart home industry change quite a bit in the last couple of years with lots of companies releasing product solutions in the marketplace that are meant to serve as security solutions that can be monitored via an app on your phone, but they aren’t necessarily secure and are missing valuable components. The reality is, if you’re in a meeting or away on vacation and you’re not able to get to your phone right away, you can see activity happening at your home but then you still have to make a separate call for 911. With ADT, professional monitoring is the big differentiator. If you are out of state and someone breaks into your home, we are going to call the police on your behalf. If you have smoke in your house, we are going to call the fire department, and we’re going to make sure that emergency responders arrive at your home. That saves homeowners precious time and offers peace of mind in an emergency.
We think a lot of other companies are recognizing that and shifting back towards professional monitoring.
Pictured above: ADT Home Security
Starter Kit with Z-Wave compatible
Samsung SmartThings. (Via CNET)
Incorporating smart home technology with a security solution makes a lot of sense. The security panel in the home knows when you’re there, and when you’re not. Rules can be set up to control devices based on security events such as system armed or disarmed, or door opened or closed. In the event of a fire alarm, for example, you can use your Z-Wave devices to turn off your A/C, unlock the front door and turn on lights to create an exit path.
Security is incredibly important in the smart home market – I don’t know of a company that is providing security without also offering home automation control and capabilities. Home automation control has become one of the table stakes in the security industry. If you’re invested in security and you don’t have a home automation control as part of your solution, you’re going to lose customers.
Do you think that smart home security will move to more of a DIY model or do you think that professionally installed security will always have a place in the smart home?
There will always be a place for both DIY and professionally installed security, as there will always be a segment of the market that will say, “I don’t know how to do this, I want someone to do it for me,” when it comes to home security and smart home and want to choose installed solutions. But we also cannot close our eyes to the fact that there is an emerging segment of the market that will continue to say. “I can do it myself.”
There are a lot more tech savvy people in general in our culture today than there were even 10 years ago. As millennials who grew up around technology become homeowners, they are going to be very comfortable implementing tech like smart home themselves, whereas older generations feel less comfortable with that. The trend of DIY is going to continue to grow, but it won’t replace the Do It For You (DIFY) segment of the market.
Are there any new Z-Wave products you’re particularly excited about?
As ADT worked with our manufacturing partners in the development of a new doorbell product, we knew that we would also want a chime device to go along with it. Using Z-Wave for communication with the chime enables it to be a multi-purpose device that can provide audible alerts for the homeowner based on a variety of triggers. We worked together with our development partners to implement a new command class to support this device. That command class will now become a standard for the entire industry for other manufactured chime devices; that’s the benefit of Z-Wave.
What does the future hold for ADT?
ADT is a 144-year-old company. For a long time, the industry changed very, very slowly. The pace of change in the industry has increased dramatically over the last several years, with the introduction of new companies and products in the market. ADT is exploring new technology, new solutions and looking at the entire customer experience to provide not only traditional monitored security, but also monitoring on demand, health monitoring, and ADT GO, which provides security where you are, and solutions for cybersecurity.
These new solutions will enable us to continue to attract new customers and enhance our existing customer base.