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Safest cities in America, 2019

 - 
Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Did you know that nearly half of the U.S. population fears being a victim of a mass shooting? According to an August 2019 Gallup poll, 48 percent of U.S. adults are “very” or “somewhat” worried, which is up 9 percent after a gunman killed 58 people in Las Vegas in 2017. While each of us takes on a certain level of risk no matter where we choose to live, and of course, unfortunately, none of us can avoid danger all the time, some cities are better at protecting their residents. 

WalletHub, a personal finance website, compared 182 cities across the nation, including the 150 most populated U.S. cities in addition to at least two of the most populated cities in each state. One of the three dimensions measured was “home & community safety,” containing metrics such as number of mass shootings, presence of terrorist attacks, thefts per capita and more. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the highest level of safety. 

The results are as follows. 

The top 5 safest cities based solely on the “home & community safety” dimension:

  1. Yonkers, New York
  2. Plano, Texas
  3. Columbia, Maryland
  4. Irvine, California
  5. Aurora, Illinois

The top 5 least safest cities based solely on the “home & community safety” dimension:

  1. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  2. St. Louis, Missouri
  3. Detroit, Michigan
  4. San Bernardino, California
  5. Baton Rouge, Louisiana 

The top 5 safest cities based on overall score, including all three dimensions: “home & community safety,” natural disaster risk,” and “financial safety,”: 

  1. Columbia, Maryland — 85.33
  2. Yonkers, New York — 84.80
  3. Plano, Texas — 83.54
  4. Gilbert, Arizona — 83.44
  5. South Burlington, Vermont — 83.33

The top 5 least safest cities based on overall score, including all three dimensions: “home & community safety,” natural disaster risk,” and “financial safety,”:

  1. Baton Rouge, Louisiana — 56.26
  2. Detroit, Michigan — 56.07
  3. San Bernardino, California — 53.93
  4. Fort Lauderdale, Florida — 45.88
  5. St. Louis, Missouri — 42.90

Where does your city or nearest city rank? Click here for an interactive map. 

ISC East resurgence continues

 - 
Wednesday, December 4, 2019

ISC East 2019, held at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City Nov. 20-21, continued to build on the positive momentum and growth it has experienced over the past few years, bringing more than 7,600 security and public safety professionals — up 6 percent from 2018 — together to discuss new trends and solutions, to celebrate industry successes and leaders and better define the roadmap for security moving forward.

The 2019 event welcomed 350 leading security brands, including more than 100 new companies and brands, covering 130 security product categories. Activity on the show floor was brisk with good traffic and networking going on throughout both days and many exhibitors commenting that they were pleased with the quantity — and quality — of security professionals in attendance.

Will Wise, group vice president, Reed Exhibitions, told SSN before and during the conference that he is excited to see all of ISC and SIA’s hard work translate into continued growth of the show.
  
“We have been working hard the last 4-5 years to really infuse more innovation and continue to drive growth and momentum into ISC East,” Wise told SSN. “ISC East has been on a nice growth trajectory, especially the last few years, even making the Trade Show Executives Fastest 50 Growing Events list the last couple of years.”

He continued, “There has been a lot of good work in regard to better content, growing the exhibitor list, which this year was at approximately 350 exhibitors (up from about 280 in 2018) — a huge uptick versus 3-4 years ago. When you have better content, more exhibitors with an even more diverse number of solutions, those are all add up to a great recipe for success.”

Mary Beth Shaughnessy, event director for ISC Security Events, also noted that ISC East has been on the upswing for the past few years and continues to grow. "This year kicked into a new level of success, with expanded product offerings and content, we’ve secured the spot as the largest Northeast converged security Show. Education tracks were created to provide attendees with greater opportunity to connect and learn with their cross-functional security & public safety industry peers both on the IT and Physical security side of their organization. Attendees left the Show with the insights and knowledge needed to defend and protect against new and emerging threats.”

Wise pointed out that the show also benefitted from co-locating for the second year with Infosecurity ISACA North America, and from the increased relationship with ASIS NYC Chapter, which officially supported ISC East this year and will continue to expand the partnership next year, he said.

ISC East, in collaboration with Premier Sponsor the Security Industry Association (SIA), also featured a SIA Education@ISC East program with more than 20 complimentary sessions with practical and in-depth content on converged security, cybersecurity, computer vision & AI, physical security and more.

Wise shared with SSN the Top 5 ISC East Breakout Sessions:
•    We Sneak Into High Security Buildings and Get Paid For it;
•    AI for Video Surveillance: Technology Overview and Future Directions;
•    Video Analytics: The Next Advance in Secure Access Control;
•    Implementing Converged Security, a Process - Bringing it All Together; and
•    Achieving Comprehensive Facility Security

Additionally, the SIA Education@ISC East program offered two prominent female Keynote Speakers for the first time at ISC East — Deanne Criswell, commissioner of the New York City Emergency Management Department, and Angela Stubblefield, chief of staff at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

“The 2019 SIA Education@ISC East program was a great success, with enthusiastic attendees taking part in our education sessions, engaging keynotes and hands-on workshops covering cutting-edge topics like the drone security policy landscape, technologies driving smart cities and IoT security at the edge," said SIA CEO Don Erickson. “Additionally, industry leaders gathered at SIA’s Return on Security breakfast to learn how solutions providers find business benefits beyond security, and the SIA Women in Security Forum hosted a dynamic breakfast and discussion on achieving true diversity and inclusiveness in the security workforce.”

In addition to the busy expo floor, engaging sessions and keynotes and special events, one of the highlights for ISC East, as it is each year, is SIA Honors Night, where the who’s who of the industry gathered to celebrate SIA’s 50th anniversary and honor some of the movers and shakers in the industry.

SSN was honored to be in attendance and extends our congratulations to Honors Night award recipients:
•    George R. Lippert Memorial Award: Steve Van Till, co-founder, president and CEO, Brivo;
•    Jay Hauhn Excellence in Partnerships Award: Andrew Lanning, co-founder, Integrated Security Technologies;
•    Insightful Practitioner Award: George Anderson, director of World Trade Center security for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey;
•    SIA Progress Award: Maureen Carlo, director of strategic alliances, North America, BCDVideo; and
•    Mission 500 Partner Innovation Award: Jeff Gardner, president and CEO, Brinks Home.

SIA also honored Sandra Jones, founder of Sandra Jones and Co. (SJ&Co), who announced her retirement after 45 years in the security industry. Jones has been a pioneering spirit in the industry, serving as a mentor to many and giving back to the industry, most prominently helping lead the Security Industry Association for nearly 40 years.

Overall, ISC East continues its resurgence as the top security show in the Northeast, providing a unique experience that you can’t find at ISC West, for example.

“One of the ways that ISC East has been able to differentiate itself from ISC West is taking on characteristics and personality of the NYC-area and overall Northeast market for security and public safety, which as we know, is a massive market with urgencies for security and safety,” Wise said. “Our attendee data shows a less than 10 percent overlap of attendees with East versus West, which is really good, as we are providing a unique audience for exhibitors.”

ISC East 2020 will take place Nov. 18-19, 2020 at its continued home base, New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Center.

 

Per Mar expands in Nebraska with latest buy

 - 
Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Per Mar Security Services, parent company to Midwest Alarm Services and a provider of total security solutions for residential and commercial clients based in Davenport, Iowa, recently acquired NECO Security based in Lincoln, Neb. The deal brings more than a half century’s worth of business and expertise into the Per Mar family.

Founded by Don Nielsen in 1957, NECO Security specializes in residential and commercial burglar and fire alarm systems in the Lincoln area. Nelson said that after 63 years in the Fire Alarm/Security industry, he is excited about “a new season” for the Nielsen family

“After careful thought and consideration, as our customers are of utmost importance, we have selected Per Mar as our successor,” Nielsen said. “Per Mar has a UL Listed, FM Approved, TMA 5 Diamond Certified Central Monitoring Center, and offers an expanded range of services to our customers. In addition, Per Mar’s company, Midwest Alarm Services, is a Premier Notifier Distributor … thus completing the perfect fit.”

Brian Duffy, COO of Per Mar Security Services, is equally excited to continue the tradition that NECO has built over the past 62 years.

“The Nielsen family has built a great company in Lincoln through years of hard work and excellent service,” he said. “We are honored that they are placing their trust in us to be stewards of the business.”

NECO Security’s Project Manager, Bill Thomas, and their technicians will be joining Midwest Alarm Services, serving customers out of Per Mar and Midwest Alarm Services local Lincoln, Neb. office.

“We are excited to have NECO Security join our organization,” said Midwest Alarm Services President Doug Richard. “NECO and Midwest Alarm Services were two of the original Notifier dealers in the U.S. The NECO team will be a great cultural fit as they have been working together for decades and have a customer first mentality. We are looking forward to working with them to continue to deliver the best service in the industry.”

The tale of ‘Black Friday’ plus 9 safety tips

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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Did you know the first recorded use of the term “Black Friday” was used to describe a financial crisis in the 1800s? How’s that for some Thanksgiving trivia to share with family and friends around the turkey this year? 

History of 'Black Friday'

As the story goes, the gold market crashed on Friday, September 24, 1869 when two notoriously ruthless Wall Street financiers, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, teamed up to buy as much of the nation’s gold as they possibly could, according to the History Channel. Gould and Fisk hoped it would drive up the price of gold so they could sell it for bewildering profits, but instead, the conspiracy unraveled, sending the stock market into a free-fall, bankrupting everyone from Wall Street barons to farmers. 

More recently, and more related to the modern-day “Black Friday,” is the story of the Philadelphia police in the 1950s, who used the term to describe the chaos that ensued the day after Thanksgiving when hordes of suburban shoppers and tourists flooded into the city prior to the big Army-Navy football game. Philly cops were forced to work extra-long shifts to deal with the additional crowds and traffic, and shoplifters, who would take advantage of the pandemonium in stores to make off with merchandise. 

By the early 1960s, the term “Black Friday” had caught on in Philly, as the city’s merchants tried desperately, but to no avail, to change it to “Big Friday” to remove any negative connotations related to the day. But it was the 1980s to the rescue! Retailers reinvented Black Friday by offering one-day sales, freebies, fun family events, etc. and since, it has morphed into a four-day event, spawning even more shopping-related holiday extravaganzas including “Cyber Monday” and “Small Business Saturday.”  

Shopping safety tips

Needless to say, present-day shoppers have more risk to manage during their retail therapy experiences, not only physically but digitally. Mat Newfield, CISO of Unisys, offers some tips to keep you and your loved ones safe while shopping, with added commentary from yours truly: 

  1. Only shop with official retailers and websites you trust. If you haven’t verified that a website is who they portray to be, even if they’re offering the top toy of the year at a whopping 75 percent off, move on to a trusted site. 
  2. Make sure the website shows the security padlock icon in the browser and that the address begins with “https://”. (Remember “s” in the addy means “secure.”) 
  3. If shopping away from home, for example, in a local coffee shop while sipping on your favorite beverage, be sure your mobile device is updated and avoid unsecure Wi-Fi networks. 
  4. Keep your phone charged at all times in case of emergencies. Consider bringing along a portable charger to avoid plugging into a random USB port you may find. 
  5. Check local authorities’ alerts. Sign up to receive updates on traffic or news of any potential disturbances with local news and/or radio stations. 
  6. Where ever you choose to shop, especially if you are going at it alone, let someone you trust know your destination plans. 
  7. As soon as you walk into a store, survey your surroundings and make sure you know the location of all exits. 
  8. Stay alert. Have fun and enjoy, but be vigilant for suspicious activity happening around you. 
  9. In an emergency, stay calm and move to the edges of crowds. Don’t allow yourself to get caught in the middle of something unsafe.

What images and color(s) represent the word ‘cybersecurity’?

 - 
Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Some studies have found that the human brain actually processes words by recognizing each word heard through the ears and seen with the eyes as an individual picture. I know when I’m listening to a podcast or lecture, the radio, reading something, etc. and I hear or see a word that is delightful to me, my mind engages, blooming a series of images that represent that word. In other words, I see pictures in my mind related to what I heard or saw.

Let’s say, for example, you just heard the word ‘cybersecurity.” What images popped into your mind? For me, it’s images of hooded people in basements crouched over a laptop, padlocks, computers with data flying out of it as if it’s being stolen, etc. 

Believe it or not, how people “see” the word cybersecurity is a big deal, as images can conjure up false realities of what it actually is and encompasses. And, with digital being such a major part of our lives, pictures/images provide the visual communication we are accustomed to.

The Daylight Security Research Lab, part of the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity at U.C. Berkeley, compiled a dataset of the most common cybersecurity-related images used on the Internet during a two-year period of Google Image Search results for 28 terms related to privacy and cyber security. Every week for two years, the research team entered terms, such as cybersecurity, camera surveillance, camera privacy and more (you can see all 28 here) into a custom Google Search Engine (Google CSE). For each term searched, 100 images were scraped using a script, resulting in three sets of search terms each aimed at the following: 

  • Set 1: general technologies, technical themes or topics;
  • Set 2: representations of abstract ideas or practices; and
  • Set 3: Dave Eggar’s book, “The Circle,” which at the time of the study was a best-seller and represented topics of interest related to this study. 

Though the Berkeley researchers are continuing to analyze the seven gigabytes of collected imagery data, preliminary analyzations found that the most common colors used in cybersecurity imagery online are blue, grey, black and red, while padlocks and abstract network diagrams are the most common images. 

In my opinion, fear should not be the driver that encourages people to take action to stay safe. Yet, this research shows that the majority of images and colors related to cybersecurity do just that. Dark colors, in this case, blue, grey and black, are frequently associated with evil, mystery and fear. Red is often associated with danger. Just these four colors alone can communicate and evoke fear, and when used along with padlocks and images of computer networks, the message is clear: cybersecurity = fear. 

People should know the truth about cybersecurity —in words and in pictures — so that they can make educated decisions on how to best protect themselves, not fear mongered into it. Therefore, it’s important to create and use realistic imagery and pictures when it comes to discussing and presenting cybersecurity online. 

Do you agree or disagree? Why or why not?

DIY causing home security disruption

 - 
Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Research from Parks Associates shows that over the past six years, self-installed home security systems are gaining momentum, slowly, but traction no less, over professionally installed systems. Recent research from Parks found 51 percent of security system owners who acquired their security system in the past 12 months self-installed it. This is up from only 10 percent of security system owners who acquired their system six or more years ago. Additionally, 88 percent of self-installers report the set up was easy or very easy for them.

“New DIY security solutions entering the market are designed from the ground up to be self-installed by the consumer, so they are designed to deliver a smooth, painless experience on installation and setup,” Dina Abdelrazik, senior analyst, Parks Associates explained in the announcement. “These solutions seek to appeal to households unmoved by traditional, self-installed security systems. Value propositions, such as security and peace-of-mind, have always appealed to a broad base of consumers, so as DIY products evolve to deliver an easy, off-the-shelf experience, security adoption will start to crack the 70 percent of households that do not have and do not plan to acquire a security system.”

This discussion will continue at CONNECTIONS Summit at CES, a one-day executive summit that focuses on the best business models and value propositions in the Internet of Things (IoT), the smart home, and connected and mobile CE and services, during the session “Disruption in Home Security: Smart Home Convergence.”

The CONNECTIONS Summit, hosted by Parks Associates, will be held in Las Vegas on Jan. 7, 2020. Attendees will experience panel discussions, commentaries, insights and debates delivered by leaders from companies in the IoT and smart home space geared toward helping companies build new revenues and innovative business models. Sessions include “Smart Home and IoT: Health and Wellness Applications;” “Smart Home & Interoperability: Expanding Ease of Use;” “Smart Home Platforms: Unlocking Consumer Value,” and more.

The following professionals will be speaking during this session: Naveen Chhangani, VP, product and services, Arlo Technologies; Vera Tzoneva, head of assistant distribution partnerships, Google; Andrew Voyantes, GM of installed solutions, Ring; and Matt Wolf, head of partnerships, SimpliSafe.

“Over the past decade of keeping people’s homes and businesses safe, we’ve seen that more and more consumers want solutions that fit their lives without compromising on security and privacy protections,” Wolf said.

Are you and your company ready for a cyberattack or data breach?

 - 
Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Kind of like the once elusive sound of a car alarm in a packed parking lot in the 80s to the flooded number of parked cars with car alarms today, as is the discussion of cyberattacks, cybercrimes, data breaches and such. 

I remember being around seven years old and in our local K-Mart parking lot with my mom, when a sound emerged from somewhere among the parked cars. That’s the first time I had ever heard a car alarm. Today, a car alarm is an annoyance at best and not really “heard” by many people anymore. 

Likening that to the cyber world, I remember becoming so intrigued with cybersecurity, cyberattacks, cybercrimes and such about 10 years ago, when I became heavily involved in social media. It was something exciting and different than had ever been seen before in true crime stories that intrigue and whet the public’s palates. Fast-forward to today, and it’s become common-place to see these types of stories throughout all aspects of media reporting — online articles and blogs; social media platforms; TV news stories; documentaries; radio reporting; etc., so much so, that people are already or becoming numb to it, passing it off as just “one of those things we have to deal with in life.” However, especially as a security professional, cyberattacks and data breaches not only shouldn’t be taken lightly, they absolutely cannot be, as they have literally ruined business and people. So, I ask you: “Are you ready and prepared?” 

Sad to say, but if you’re like the majority of the over 800 CISOs and other senior executives across North America, Europe and Asia, surveyed (commissioned by FireEye and delivered by Kantar, an independent market research organization), the answer is unfortunately, “no.” The study found that: 

  • 51 percent of surveyed organizations don’t believe they are ready or would respond appropriately to a cyberattack or data breach; 
  • 29 percent of these organizations with response plans in place haven’t tested or updated them in the last 12 months or more; and
  • 76 percent of the organizations plan to increase their cyber security budget in 2020. 

The survey also highlighted varying global viewpoints. In Asia, Japan plans to prioritize detection capabilities in 2020 and expresses concerns regarding cloud security, while Korea believes nation states are the most likely source of cyberattacks. The U.S. is leading the transition to cloud; Germany is concerned about cloud security and France believes employee training to be a top protection measure. 

I urge you, don’t become a parked car in a sea of cyberattacks and data breaches with your alarm going off and people just walking by like nothing is wrong. Prepare by creating a plan and know/understand exactly how to execute that plan before, during and after a cyberattack or data breach. This is a must. Think about it – it can’t be underestimated just how smart cybercriminals really are; it’s all they focus on day in and day out. They are experts at their craft and we must know how to prevent as must as possible and reciprocate, when necessary, to stay safe.

Industry service trip helps families in need

 - 
Wednesday, November 6, 2019

One of the more heartwarming aspects of reporting on security is seeing how much the industry gives back, in a myriad of ways, through individual and company efforts, and through work with organizations like Mission 500, the non-profit charity supported by the security industry and dedicated to serving the needs of children and communities in crisis.

Mission 500 recently completed its fourth service trip within the United States, making this the second trip to Puerto Rico to assist families still struggling from the devastating damage caused by Hurricane Maria.

“Unless you have spent time in these communities, it’s hard to understand the enormous impact of these tangible, real actions on the families we help,” George Fletcher, Mission 500 advisory board member, said in the announcement. “We added an 8 by 8 foot addition and a full bathroom to one home, for example. The main breadwinner of that family has been diagnosed with stomach cancer, and will no longer have to use the detached outhouse that the family had been living with. Maybe the best thing about a program like this is that both the families we help and the industry volunteers benefit. Bonding, lifelong friendships, and touching families’ hearts – these intangibles also deliver life-changing impacts.”

Thirty Mission 500 volunteers lent their physical support along with financial assistance to help assist two families this year. One house was essentially rebuilt from the foundation up by reinforcing unstable flooring, installing new siding and a new roof. The second house received a small addition and a new bathroom that replaced an old outhouse. One house received a new washing machine, and the other received a new refrigerator. The team also provided new doors for bedrooms, bedsheets and carpet to provide improved living conditions for the families.

Tom Nolan, director of Strategic Partnerships, Mission 500 said that this year’s Mission 500 service trip was “truly amazing. Every person on the team brought their unique viewpoint and skillset and was ready to help. Even though this particular group had never worked as a unit before, the team dynamic was so unique and special — and we worked so well together — that we were able to accomplish much more than any one of us had imagined possible.”

Volunteer support came from representatives of 11 companies, including ADS Security, Altronix, Axis, Brinks, Core Logics, Five Alarm Security, Galaxy Systems, Gould Alarm Communications, Hikvision, Milestone, Resideo Pro Security and WeSuite.

“We are excited about how the Service Trip brings together security industry professionals who care about helping others,” said Jason Lutz, Industry Affairs at Resideo Pro Security. “The Resideo partners are big supporters in their local communities, and we were happy to make an even bigger impact on this trip by uniting with the extended team.”

Ronnie Pennington, National Sales Engineer at Altronix, added, “The service trip was beyond all expectations. Thirty volunteers started this journey as strangers and left as a family with a bond that will last a lifetime. Our collective ability to provide hands-on assistance to two families in need was both rewarding and very humbling. It is a life experience I urge others to consider should the opportunity present itself.”

To donate or volunteer for this worthy cause to help American families in need, please visit https://www.mission500.org/ or contact Tom Nolan at tnolan@mission500.org, or call 516-903-7291.

Recent ADT and Alarm.com deals making waves

 - 
Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Recent mega deals — Alarm.com acquiring OpenEye and ADT bringing on I-View Now — couldn’t be timelier as this month’s News Poll looks at the topic of M&A, which seems to be as active as ever with big deals hitting what seems like weekly.

These two deals, which happened within the same week, are making waves in both the residential and commercial markets.

SSN caught up with John Mack, executive vice president and co-head of Investment Banking with Imperial Capital, which represented OpenEye in the Alarm.com deal, who said that the deal makes a lot of sense for Alarm.com.

“Alarm.com has a lot of exposure to the residential alarm business, and while there still is good potential there, to try and continue to show 20- to 25-percent year-over-year growth, diversifying into other channels that are going to show strong performance is going to be important,” Mack said. “Commercial is probably the biggest and most obvious of the areas to move into and this deal is an important enabler for commercial, where video and related information is increasingly critical to success in that sector.”

He continued: “They’ve got the intrusion piece; they have been developing the access control piece; and this OpenEye deal gives them the cloud-managed video piece, so they kind of have the triple play, as well as all of the accouterments that you can add to the triple play, like video analytics, where they have some of the leading engineers and also in software, data analysis and cloud hosting, so they are a pretty formidable competitor.” 

Mack pointed out that this deal is also indicative of the interest there is in cloud and managed services, noting that there is strong M&A activity in this area.

Looking at the ADT deal for I-View Now, George De Marco, ESX chairman/managing partner, DECO Ventures LLC, noted on the phone and in his blog that alarm verification technology, like I-View Now’s, propels monitoring services to the next level.

“With the recent announcement of ADT’s purchase of I-View Now’s technology, this move may finally propel the industry to aggressively adopt and adapt next-gen solutions that use sensors, images and data to effectively determine the threat level from an intrusion or fire alarm activation,” De Marco said. “False alarm dispatches may finally become a thing of the past.”

False alarm dispatches have plagued first responders since the dawn of the alarm industry, he noted. “Always a contention, the common denominator with police departments is that — 98 percent of all dispatched alarms are false and draw valuable resources away from other police priorities.”

Mack noted that Larry Folsom introduced video verification technology that is “critical to the residential alarm business. The professional residential alarm business needs to be much more focused on verification and reducing false alarms and they have been talking about it for years in the industry. This is the technology to kind of make that real and to be serious about solving this problem. This technology is the wave of the future and ADT wants to be out in front and say that it is the point of differentiation for buying an ADT system.”

The importance of customer satisfaction and how to increase it

 - 
Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Yesterday’s J.D. Power 2019 Home Security Satisfaction Study that includes both professionally (pro) installed and DIY home security systems got me to thinking about the importance of customer satisfaction as it pertains to the security industry. 

The study, based on responses from 5,289 customers, fielded during July and August of 2019, measured customer satisfaction with home security based on the following: billing and payment; customer service; price; professional monitoring; purchase and installation; and quality of the system. 

In the pro installed category, Brinks Home Security ranked highest in customer satisfaction with a score of 858, followed by ADT, scoring 847. The DIY category ranked Ring Alarm highest, with a score of 904, while SimpliSafe was a close second, with a score of 900. 

Other key findings include: 

  • Desire to upgrade: the most common reason customers in pro and DIY install start shopping for a home security system. Pro install customers were spurred to act by special discounts and bundled packages; DIY install customers are motivated by peace-of-mind and protecting their property. 
  • Brand reputation and pricing: Pro install customers are mostly driven by brand reputation while DIY install customers lean more on price in their decision-making process. 
  • DIY install customers are more satisfied than pro install customers: DIYers are especially satisfied with pricing and are more likely to have additional security-related products beyond control panels, keypads, hubs and alarm sensors, such as video doorbells, exterior cameras and alarm sirens. It is critical to provide pricing options that meet customers’ needs and are easily understood by consumers.

In response to this study, I did some research, and while I think there will always be a part of the population who prefers DIY home security systems, there are three key actions home security professionals can take to retain customers, gain new ones and win-over some of the DIY segment of the industry.

Create extraordinary customer experiences. 

  • Each customer is unique, so it’s necessary to use different tactics to delight them. In other words, consumers want a customized experience. 
  • Treat each as a person, rather than a persona; work hard to understand how each customer feels; and appreciate their needs. 
  • Timeliness matters and most customers expect to find whatever they need — pricing, inventory, etc. — from a company in three clicks or less. To solve complex issues, most consumers expect to speak to one person.
  • Use multiple channels to engage with customers and potential customers including email, in-person, phone, online chat/live support, mobile apps, online portals, online knowledge bases, messenger apps, online forms, social media, text messaging, online communities and voice assistants. 

Be innovative.

  • Embrace and become “the expert” in new technologies so you can show savvy consumers you are up-to-date and teach other consumers who may be behind the curve. (Think artificial intelligence and machine learning). 
  • Connectivity is a major trend in security and offering consumers the opportunity to connect their devices — security systems, smart speakers, fitness trackers, smart thermostats, and more — is key. 

Trust is super important. 

  • Honesty is the best policy when earning customer trust. Through the eyes of a consumer, security, reliability, transparency, ethics and authenticity all equal trust.
  • Make sure strong security controls are in play to protect customer data. 
  • Show consumers that their data is being used legitimately.

 

Here’s a few other resources to help you, the pro installer, increase customer satisfaction: 

 

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