Articles by Nick English
There’s no question that the popularity of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) security and home automation products is on the rise. The reasons for the growth in DIY sales are numerous, including increased awareness of home automation products, fast set-up, limited (if any) installation costs, and interoperability with other smart security products. In fact, with the parallel rise of smart home hubs like Alexa and Google Home, many people are opting to attempt the set-up of smart home devices without any professional assistance. According to a 2018 Residential Security Market Report prepared by Parks Associates and Security Sales & Integration magazine, “More than 60% of installing dealers now report that DIY systems are biting into demand for their services.” But the rise in DIY is not entirely bad news for security and home automation installers and dealers. There are a number of ways to view this glass as half-full. Let’s look at a few of them. Increase in revenue for dealers With their lower cost and perceived ease of installation, DIY products have broken down barriers for additional purchaseThere are reasons for dealers and installers to be cheerful about the rise of DIY. For one thing, according to that same Residential Security Market Report from Parks Associates, residential security dealers are doing quite well. The report states, “In 2017, revenues were up an average 7.72% for security dealers.” What about installations? The report goes on to say, “For 2017, the average number of installs per dealer was 22 per month, compared to 17 per month in 2016.” So, revenues are up for security dealers, and at least part of the reason can be attributed to the fact that DIY products can raise overall awareness of and spur interest in other home automation and security products. With their lower cost and perceived ease of installation, DIY products have actually broken down barriers for the additional purchase, and installation, of complete, professionally installed systems. Wireless, connected smart locks For example, the sale of wireless, connected smart locks (viewed by some consumers as DIY) can lead to opportunities for further home automation product sales and professional installations. Connected smart locks can actually act as an extension of a smart hub or controller. They can be used to wirelessly communicate with and control all the devices that make up a home automation system, including lighting, entertainment, thermostats, air, alarms, shades and more. With their lower cost and perceived ease of installation, DIY products have actually broken down barriers for new security installations And they can do all this from a prime, convenient location – the front door, as well as other points of entry like the side or back doors. Plus, smart lock conversion kits like Kwikset Convert let homeowners easily bring home automation capabilities to their door without altering the aesthetics of the entry. Connected smart locks can allow homeowners to set up their home with custom scenarios, right before they step inside. For example, residents can program their lock so that every time they unlock the door, a foyer light goes on, temperatures begin to rise to a set level – even connected coffee makers can begin to make a cup. Portfolio of home automation products One of the best ways to mitigate the ‘threat’ of DIY sales is for dealers and installers to become more versatileSmart locks are just one example of the potential of DIY products to spark a homeowner’s interest in a wide range of other home automation devices, many of which would benefit from professional installation. One of the best ways to mitigate the ‘threat’ of DIY sales is for dealers and installers to become more versatile and offer a complete portfolio of home automation products. The larger the home automation offering, the more devices there are to sell and install, the larger the installation required, the greater the need for professional installation. Many homeowners who feel like they have a certain level of handiness will start by trying to do it themselves with a DIY product. But things don’t always go as planned, especially if they are attempting to set up a robust home automation system. First off, just because a product is DIY doesn’t mean that the old products that are being replaced are going to easily make way for the new. A DIY thermostat or smart lock might require that the old equipment (and possibly wires) get tugged out of the wall. Messy holes might need to be filled. Advantages of professional installation Even after the old system has been removed, homeowners planning on setting up a connected system may soon realise they don’t have the electrical skills or technological know-how to install and connect all devices, get a system programmed correctly, and get everything up and running smoothly. Professional installers have learned from experience; there’s very little that they haven’t seen before. With their years of experience, installers know the best way to automate a home and how to create a custom smart home experience Do-it-yourselfers might be able to solve problems by searching the internet and finding videos. But, then again, they might not. After going the DIY route once, many full-home automation system enthusiasts are beginning to realise that the best way to get things done right the first time is to leave the installation and set-up to a professional. Professional installers can and should bring an extra level of experience and guidance to the process. Their services should go beyond tech installation and also include interface design. With their years of experience, installers know the best way to automate a home – how to create a custom smart home experience that doesn’t make the user feel less than smart. Selling additional home automation products If a problem arises due to installation error, the DIYer does not have any recourse to correct these mistakesResidential security dealers who offer professional installation should be willing to embrace the DIYer who has attempted to do a self-install but has not been able to complete the process successfully. With an open mind to this scenario, they can save the day for the DIYer, as well as create an opportunity to sell additional home automation equipment that the DIYer may not have known to be available. The disparity between DIY and professional installation also brings to light the fact that there are no ‘satisfaction guarantees’ and no ‘installation/labour warranty’ available when a home automation system is installed by a DIYer. If a problem arises with either the equipment connectivity due to installation error, or if a piece of equipment is installed incorrectly, the DIYer does not have any recourse to correct these mistakes. This may not be as critical if a DIYer installs a minor piece of equipment, but with something as critical as securing and protecting their home with a home automation and security system, most people want full peace of mind that everything has been installed correctly. Reduces connection instability According to a 2017 study by the analyst firm, IHS Markit, “The quality of the equipment is usually higher in professionally installed systems, and professional configuration and setup greatly reduces the potential for connection instability…” This is an issue that DIYers may come to realise over time. On the other hand, one issue DIYers may recognise right away, especially if they are attempting to connect multiple devices, is that the connectivity may be inconsistent. Professionally installed devices operating on a wireless protocol might deliver better, consistent, longer-range connectivity IHS Markit explains that, “DIY systems rely on open protocols and Wi-Fi connectivity that can sometimes be unreliable, creating connection issues. Some of the sensors can become unrecognisable to the system, requiring intervention from the user. In contrast, professional wireless systems rely on UL- or EN-certified equipment to operate on the basis of proprietary frequency, enabling them to work with the control panel much more seamlessly.” In other words, professionally installed devices operating on a wireless protocol, even an open-source protocol like Z-Wave, might deliver better, consistent, longer-range connectivity, and fewer headaches. Not everyone is a DIY customer There are customers who want someone to install the devices correctly and help them learn how to use and maintain themThere’s no doubt that there’s a segment of the security and home automation market that loves to spend their free time doing their own home improvement. They are watching videos, reading how-to books and manuals, and enjoying every minute. There’s also a segment of the market whose top goal is to save money up front. For these customers, there’s no getting around the joy of saving money with the lower cost of many DIY products. But there are also a great number of prospective customers out there for whom DIY is of absolutely no interest. These consumers do not want to be their own IT department. They want expert help: they want someone to install the devices correctly and help them learn how to use and maintain them. The IHS Markit study points out what many home automation dealers already know: that the elder and aging-in-place markets are an ideal destination for the security and convenience of home automation products. The study says, “Many senior citizens are not tech savvy enough to install a DIY system by themselves, so they tend to rely on professionally installed systems that are usually maintained by a family member.” Along with the senior citizens market, there are many other market segments out there that still desire worry-free professional installation. Installers should offer a range of products that includes some DIY products, and some leave-it-to-a-pro products Producing complete and custom solutions Perhaps the best way for dealers and installers to stave off that feeling of doom that they might have about DIY is to tackle the problem head on and be creative. Offer a range of products that includes some DIY products, and some leave-it-to-a-pro products – consider the DIY product a great entry point for a more comprehensive system. Play up the peace of mind that comes with professional installations and support that pitch with flexible monitoring contracts and service plans. Share what you do and why; relay your passion for producing complete and custom solutions and communicate how you add value to any and every sale. No one, not even the most tech-savvy consumer, wants to install their own products if the end result is that the product doesn’t work the way it should. That’s where the pros can, should and will always come into play.
Until recently, the convenience and security of “smart” electronic locks have been exclusively enjoyed by owners of homes, with renters largely being left out in the cold. Locked out by the temporary nature of their living arrangement, and not allowed to make structural changes to their temporary abodes, these renters have been unable to enjoy the many benefits of these connected devices. But today, smart lock capabilities are becoming available to renters and rental property owners, thanks in large part to new smart lock conversion products that let renters add smart capabilities without having to remove or alter their original lock hardware.Altering the functionality and aesthetics of your home exterior and interior is entirely your call as a homeowner, but it's more difficult for renters Rising influence of smart locks According to a Nov. 2017 Research and Markets report, “The smart lock market is expected to reach USD 2.67 Billion by 2023 from USD 1.28 Billion in 2017, at a CAGR of 13.11% between 2017 and 2023. Rising adoption of smartphones and other connected devices acts as a driver for the growth of the smart lock market. Moreover, growing security and safety concerns and enhanced features compared with traditional lock systems also drive the growth of this market.” Until recently, the growth in this market has been created by homeowner purchases, and for obvious reasons. When you’re a homeowner you can update your home however you want. Want to swap out your locks, lighting, thermostats, or add an entire home automation suite of devices? Go for it. Altering the functionality and aesthetics of your home exterior and interior is entirely your call. But when you’re renting a property that someone else owns, an entirely different set of rules applies. When apartment dwellers make any physical alterations to their unit, they may be in danger of violating their lease agreement, upsetting their landlord, and ultimately losing their security deposit. Utilising smart lock conversion kits There are flexible and affordable DIY products that let you add smart technology to your rented home while still playing within the rental rules Fortunately, today there are flexible and affordable DIY products that let you add smart technology to your rented home while still playing within the rental rules. Smart lock conversion kits can replace the interior half of an existing lock without changing the exterior. In so doing, they quickly transform these mechanical locks into smart locks. And, just as with all smart locks, they can do it without requiring any screwing into walls or wiring. Other products can maintain the style of the existing front door hardware and allow the renter to preserve the exterior and match to an existing handle set. This is certain to please landlords and renters who want to maintain a consistent look. According to a “Smart Lock Audience Segmentation Study” produced by Kwikset, “The ability to work with an existing deadbolt ranks with renters as the number one attribute desired for the smart lock” (tied with auto-locking at 61%). These conversion kits address this desire while providing apartment dwellers and other renters with all the benefits of smart locks previously enjoyed solely by homeowners. Renters can control their electronic locks by using a web-enabled device, meaning they can use their smartphone to lock and unlock their home Remote access for lock administrators Renters can now access the greater access control of smart locks. With a partner home automation hub, renters can control their electronic locks by using a web-enabled device, meaning they can use their smartphone to lock and unlock their home from any location, inside the home or from miles away. According to that same study, locking and unlocking the smart lock while away from home was important to 43% of renter respondents. The smart lock can become the most convenient place for users to control their entire home automation system In combination with any one of dozens of home automation hubs, converted smart locks can also become a connected part of a complete home automation system, including lighting, heating, A/V, and more. They can even bring control of an apartment’s home automation system directly to the front door. And when a home control or security device is located at the front door, it can very easily become part of a renter’s routine. The smart lock can become the most convenient place for users to control their entire home automation system. Modernising physical key security Another huge plus that renters can enjoy with smart locks is that they can put away their apartment key. Not only can they now use their smart phone to enter their home, but they can also remotely unlock the door for any vendor or anyone else that they want to allow access to their home. Information is power, and apartment dwellers can become much more powerful with smart locks. Renters can now have access to an information audit trail of whether a door has been locked and unlocked, and when this took place.Information is power, and apartment dwellers can become much more powerful with smart locks They can receive notification via text message of when their teen arrived home safely, or when the plumbers came and when they left.With these new smart lock conversion kits, bringing smart lock technology along to a new dwelling. Of course, renters don’t necessarily stay in their apartment forever. But that doesn’t mean they have to give up the benefits of their smart security system. Who said you can’t take it with you? With these new smart lock conversion kits, bringing smart lock technology along to a new dwelling may be the easiest, most stress-free thing about the move. Smart lock benefits for landlords The benefits of smart locks and smart lock conversion kits are not limited to renters. People who own rental properties can also reap the benefits of the newest connected lock products. First, rental property owners can discover the joy of maintaining complete access control without managing dozens of keys. Fear of losing keys and having to constantly swap out hardware can become a thing of the past. Not only can renters now use their smart phone to enter their home, but they can also remotely unlock the door for anyone else that they want to allow access to their home With remote locking and unlocking controlled through a smartphone, tablet or internet-connected device, property owners no longer have to take the time to come to the property to physically hand off a key. Nor do they have to put a key in a storage locker, hide a key in a shrub (or use one of those fake key-hiding rocks). Frequent resident turnover?Rental property owners can still enter their property by using their own smart phone, or via the old fashioned way with a master key even with smart locks Owners don’t have to constantly be making new keys. Need to facilitate a repair? Neither the owner nor the resident need to be at home to let the repair person inside. Tradition meets modernisation with smart locks Of course, having complete access control does not mean foregoing access to their property. Rental property owners can still enter their property by using their own smart phone, or via the old fashioned way with a master key. Perhaps even more important than the convenience is the peace of mind enjoyed by rental property owners, which comes from always knowing who is coming and going to and from their property, and when. Airbnb co-founder, Nathan Blecharczyk, agrees. He told Lifehacker.com, “Whether it’s my Airbnb guest, house cleaner, or someone else, electronic locks make it easy to manage access to my house while I’m away at the office or traveling.” The information provided by the smart lock to their phones and tablets lets them monitor lock usage and lock status. No matter how far from their property they may be, owners will have an information trail of all the activity that revolves around their door lock. Protecting holiday homes These home automation devices can even allow rental property owners to charge a bit more for rent The vacation rental market can be highly competitive, especially in the most desirable vacation destinations. Smart locks, and other connected devices, can also give rental property owners a competitive advantage over other properties in the area. Offering potential guests the security and convenience of smart locks, smart thermostats, doorbell cameras, and connected lighting can be the difference maker in closing that rental deal. These home automation devices can even allow rental property owners to charge a bit more for rent. Whether you’re managing a vacation rental from afar, or actually using or living in a rental, the benefits of smart locks have never been easier to access. And with new smart lock conversion kits, this technology has never been easier and faster to install. What this means to smart lock dealers and integrators is that there’s a whole new market for home automation and connected security products, and a market of renters and rental property owners ready to make their rental units and their lives significantly “smarter.”
Kwikset® brand of Spectrum Brands, Inc. – hardware & home improvement division, the pioneer in residential security, introduces Control4® compatibility to its Obsidian™ Electronic Touchscreen Deadbolt with Home Connect™ and the contemporary version of the SmartCode™ 916 Touchscreen Electronic Deadbolt. The new locks were shown at the Control4 booth (#3013) at CEDIA 2019 in Denver. In response to increased dealer demand for Control4 compatibility, two of Kwikset’s most popular connected locks have passed Control4 certification and are now recognised as a partner in the connects with Control4 program. Third-party consumer electronics products The Control4 platform, interoperates with more than 14,000 third-party consumer electronics products Besides the high level of security and convenience they provide, these new locks give customers and smart home professionals additional design choices to compliment today’s home aesthetics. The Control4 platform, which operates on the ZigBee protocol, interoperates with more than 14,000 third-party consumer electronics products. “Our philosophy has always been to create a lock for everyone, whether in terms of style, finish, functionality, or operating platform,” said Nick English, Kwikset’s North American Sales Manager, Residential Access Solutions. “There’s no question that the Control4 audience is growing by leaps and bounds. As a result, we felt it would be a sound business decision to create these new smart locks to help Control4 homeowners take advantage of the amazing functionality of two of our most popular locks, as well as their own Control4 home automation systems.” Advanced mechanical and electronic security features Both Connects with Control4 Certified locks are available in Iron Black and Satin Nickel finishes. The Iron Black finish represents the Kwikset’s first locks in the Control4 channel available in black – a finish that has long been requested by Control4 customers. The new devices bring Control4 dealers and homeowners the full range of features Kwikset built into these two smart locks. Named after a dark, glasslike volcanic rock, Obsidianmerges a sleek and modern exterior; a class-leading, minimal, all-metal interior; and advanced mechanical and electronic security features. Eliminating the keyway also removes the threat of ‘lock picking’ and ‘lock bumping,’ and attacks using specially cut keys to defeat conventional pin and tumbler locks. Capacitive touchscreen for keyless entry Kwikset’s first keywayless deadbolt, Obsidian features a responsive, capacitive touchscreen for keyless entry. The cool white LED display delivers crisp, high-definition LED illumination, and a dedicated lock button provides the homeowner with convenient and fast one-touch locking. The contemporary SmartCode 916 smart locks features an updated, modern design Obsidian also includes Kwikset’s patented SecureScreen™ technology, an important feature that can help mask ‘smudge’ attacks, in which passcodes can potentially be jeopardised by detecting frequently used numbers from the oily residues on the touchscreen surface. The contemporary SmartCode 916 smart locks features an updated, modern design – a contrast to the traditional style already available to Control4 homeowners. Home security and automation systems The lock integrates with home security and automation systems to deliver convenience and peace of mind to homeowners with complete remote locking/unlocking via smartphones and tablets. It also offers Kwikset’s popular SecureScreen feature. In addition, the SmartCode 916 offers SmartKey™ Re-Key Technology, which allows homeowners to re-key the lock in seconds without removing the lock from the door or requiring the services of a locksmith. MSRP for the Obsidian is $418 USD and the contemporary SmartCode 916 is $399 USD. Both smart locks are available for purchase through Control4 certified dealers.
With the introduction of a striking new Iron Black finish to its smart lock collection, Kwikset brand of Spectrum Brands, Inc. – Hardware & Home Improvement Division, is heightening its already strong focus on lock design and aesthetics. The contemporary versions of Kwikset’s SmartCode 914 Deadbolt Lock and SmartCode 916 Touchscreen Electronic Deadbolt will be the first connected locks to feature the new Iron Black finish. With this new finish, in addition to the existing Polished Chrome, Satin Nickel, and Venetian Bronze finishes, Kwikset is continuing to meet customer demand for a broader range of aesthetic options. Aesthetically pleasing secure locks “Kwikset is once again expanding the design and colour choices available to our customers,” said Nick English, Kwikset’s North American Sales Manager, Residential Access Solutions. “With contemporary versions of our most popular locks, as well as new finishes like the Iron Black, we’re highlighting our commitment to not only creating the most secure locks on the market, but the most aesthetically pleasing locks as well, capable of blending with any décor.” Both SmartCode 914 and SmartCode 916 with Home Connect technology incorporate the new Z-Wave 500 Series chip The contemporary SmartCode 914 and SmartCode 916 smart locks feature an updated, modern design, while continuing to utilise Kwikset’s Home Connect technology. As a result, they integrate with home security and automation systems to deliver convenience and peace of mind to homeowners with complete remote locking/unlocking via smartphones and tablets. Z-Wave 500 Series chip Both SmartCode 914 and SmartCode 916 with Home Connect technology incorporate the new Z-Wave 500 Series chip. The new chip provides a number of enhancements, including extended wireless range and wireless security features that reduce the vulnerability of the network during enrolment, as well as increased battery life. The SmartCode 916 features Kwikset’s unique SecureScreen, which helps mask “smudge” attacks in which users’ codes can be potentially jeopardised by detecting frequently used numbers from the oily residues on the touchscreen surface.
Nick English will lead Kwikset’s overall security and consumer electronics pro trade sales throughout U.S. and Canada Kwikset brand of Spectrum Brands, Inc. – Hardware and Home Improvement Division announces the appointment of Nick English to the role of North American Sales Manager, Residential Access Solutions (RAS). Lead overall security and sales English, who will continue to report to Keith Brandon, Divisional Vice President of Residential Access Solutions, Spectrum Brands, Inc. – Hardware and Home Improvement Division, will lead Kwikset’s overall security and consumer electronics pro trade sales throughout the United States and Canada. He will be responsible for developing and executing sales and distribution strategies for Kwikset’s electronic lock products within the residential security and consumer electronics professional trade channels. Said Brandon, “Nick has a proven track record of handling a variety of leadership roles throughout his career, and has demonstrated strong sales and strategic partnership insight and capabilities. We congratulate Nick and support him in leading the RAS sales team forward.” “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead Kwikset’s RAS sales team as we continue to grow sales, gain market share and establish key business partner relationships within the market,” English said. “With Kwikset’s rapidly expanding line of innovative, industry-leading RAS products, there has never been a better time to take on this challenge.” 15 years’ experience in security English joined Kwikset’s RAS team earlier this year, and brings with him over 15 years’ experience in the security and home automation industry. He has previously held positions with General Manager and Director Responsibilities at ADT and Digital Globe Services. English, who has achieved certification as a Six Sigma Blackbelt, received a BS in Business Administration from the University of Dayton, and an MBA from the University of Denver.