Do DIY Alarm Companies Mean Trouble for Traditional Players Like ADT?

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The electronics security industry is a hugely fragmented market: with roughly 13,000 players in the US alone, homeowners shopping for peace of mind have plenty of options. Granted, the majority of those companies are “mom and pop” local providers, and while they may provide great service, they do have a limited geographic footprint.

Few Truly National Alarm Providers

There are, however, enough companies that operate on a national or even a “super-regional” basis to give you lots of choices. And then there are the “new entrants” to the alarm industry: cable and telco operators like Comcast, Cox, Time Warner, and even AT&T. I’ve covered the new entrants in previous posts: it sounds a lot as if these companies are experiencing some serious headwinds related to consumers not necessarily trusting them when it comes to protecting one’s home and family.

How About DIY?

But there is another trend that is sneaking up on traditional alarm companies, like ADT: and that is the increasing comfort at the consumer level with alarm systems that are easy to set up yourself.

Often referred to as “DIY,” for Do-It-Yourself, these wireless home alarm systems come preprogrammed, and can be set up in as little as half an hour. And what’s more, some DIY systems provide all the benefits (and perhaps more) that are offered by the traditional alarm companies: professional monitoring, safer cellular alarm communication, and interactive features, and even home automation. 

A Threat to the Old School?

DIY systems have gained enough traction in the past couple of years to gain the attention of the broader alarm sector, as shown by this recent piece from an industry publication that discusses the potential threat posed by DIY. It’s a great article, and is worth the read.

With all of the technology innovations the alarm industry has seen in recent years with the rise in demand for interactive services, one trend that has flown relatively underneath the radar is the growing market for do-it-yourself (DIY) security systems. Although the concept of letting consumers buy and install their own alarm panels, motion detectors and cameras is not new to the industry, technology has advanced to a point where it’s at least more feasible now than in the past.

Boy, is that a fact! And no DIY company has proven the case for easy set up systems and advanced technology than FrontPoint.

Industry Expert Opines

Michael Barnes, founder of advisory and consulting firm Barnes Associates, said that the industry got a really good look at the DIY market in 2013 and that it is a segment that’s growing very, very quickly. Barnes admitted that he, like many in the industry, had been a bit skeptical about the viability of DIY systems. In working with one DIY company, he soon realized that one of his neighbors had purchased a DIY system to protect his home, and that not only was he able to install it quickly and effectively, he was also familiar with the ins and outs of all of its capabilities. However, Barnes said he was “absolutely floored” when he learned that the customer attrition rates of the company he was working with were lower than those of traditional alarm dealers.

No Geographical Limits – and Easy to Move with You

Another advantage for sellers of DIY home security kits, according to Barnes, is that they’re not encumbered by the geographic hurdles that many traditional dealers are. For example, there may be consumers in remote areas of the country who are interested in having a home security system, but it’s not financially prudent for a [traditional] dealer to send a salesman and a subsequent installer out to that person, because they’re so far away. With a DIY system, they can order the system online, get it shipped to them the next day and have it up and running within an hour or so.

And let’s not forget adding to your alarm system at any time, and even moving your system with you! Those are additional benefits of a DIY alarm system that are often overlooked while shopping home security.

The Last Word

One thing is for certain when it comes to DIY, and that is that the industry, as a whole, is definitely beginning to take notice of the opportunities that exist there. “I think the DIY segment has some real staying power,” said Barnes. “I love the (business) model, absolutely love the model. I think it has got legs.”

Of course we are happy that the industry is giving FrontPoint’s business model a big thumbs up. After all, we are the leading DIY alarm company in the US, and based on our reviews and reputation, the most trusted nationwide provider of home security. Frankly, we’re not surprised to see the traditional players sitting up and taking notice. Companies like FrontPoint are taking market share in a growing industry, and the established old school providers would be unwise to ignore the advantages that we offer to the consumer – or the positive response.

FrontPoint is Here for the Long Run

But it takes a very special company to do DIY as well as FrontPoint does, and the best measure of our commitment and persistence is how our subscribers view us. And it also takes strong Core Values to succeed, like the ones we have at FrontPoint: Build Trust, Dream Big, and Be Awesome. As the leader in wireless home security, we specialize in the best protection: FrontPoint systems are safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat. And yes… we are here for the long run.

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