2GIG Technologies

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Lots of things happen for a reason that isn’t always clear at the time (more on that later). Earlier this year, Mike Bodnar, GM of Security Partners, a Lancaster-based central monitoring station and security services provider, reached out to me to ask if I’d do a presentation on security marketing at their first-ever dealers conference. Impulsive me, I said sure. In April, when I visited their hospitality suite during ISC West in Las Vegas, I asked Joseph Mitton, Marketing Director for Security Partners, more about the event. He told me that they had done a survey of their dealers and marketing was the topic that the majority were interested in. That both surprised and encouraged me.

As the event drew closer, Debbie Stremmel, who was coordinating the conference for Security Partners, shared more details and I was struck by something obvious — the complete event package was a terrific way for Security Partners to market to, and solidify relationships with, its existing customer base.  Smart guys.

Marketing Security to a Short Attention Span World

Marketing Security to a Short Attention Span World

Generous, too — Pat Egan, Principal of Security Partners, paid for accommodations for 50 plus of his dealers from across the nation at the very cool Lancaster Arts Hotel, had presentations and a second day mini products expo at the Lancaster Barnstormers minor league ballpark, wined and dined them at Lombardo’s one night and on a murder mystery dinner excursion on the Strasburg Railroad the next.

The view from the Lancaster Barnstormers' main hospitality suite

The view from the Lancaster Barnstormers' main hospitality suite

Security Partners hosted their dealers conference in one of the Lancaster Barnstormers hospitality suites.

Security Partners hosted their dealers conference in one of the Lancaster Barnstormers hospitality suites.

Scenes from the Accelerate dealers conference of Security Partners

Scenes from the Accelerate dealers conference of Security Partners

Everything was neatly tied with a branded bow under the conference theme of “Acclerate” as in accelerate your business — from PowerPoint templates, to printed conference materials, to even welcome and sponsor messages on the Barnstormers’ digital scoreboard.  There was a nice blend of presentations: from “Trends and Overview of the Security Industry Landscape” by Shannon Murphy, VP of Sales and Marketing for Electronic Security Association; to “Business Growth Strategies” by Rob Pianka, Coach, of ActionCOACH; to “Attrition Management” by John Brady, Principal, TRG Associates; to me with “Marketing Security to a Short Attention Span World.” Day 2 featured that mini product exposition followed by several roundtable discussions with Noah Bilger (Alarm.com), Dean Mason (AlarmNet), Tad Lamb (2GIG Technologies), David Donovan (Honeywell Alarm Security), Alicia Pereira (Video IQ), and Ed Warminski (Videofied). Over the years, I’ve been to a lot of these kinds of events and this was one of the best, which is saying a lot given it was a first time for Security Partners. It surely resonated for all of the dealers who participated locally and from across the country.

A murder mystery dinner on the Strasburg Railroad was a great way to cap off a day of sessions at Security Partners dealer conference

A murder mystery dinner on the Strasburg Railroad was a great way to cap off a day of sessions at Security Partners dealer conference

EC Key, makers of a smartphone controllable/Wiegand compatible access control add-on, was a sponsor of Security Partners' dealer conference

EC Key, makers of a smartphone controllable/Wiegand compatible access control add-on, was a sponsor of Security Partners' dealer conference

The Lancaster Barnstormers' scoreboard is a great promotional addition to events held there.

The Lancaster Barnstormers' scoreboard is a great promotional addition to events held there.

The value for me was sharing a lot of agency history and experiences in security marketing: over 18 years with Linear, several more with SafetyCare, more recently with 2GIG Technologies, Secure Wireless, and Time and Parking Controls; plus, the way that the marketing landscape keeps changing dramatically on all fronts, creating new opportunities, especially through technology. But there is also the benefit of getting feedback from dealers. It was useful to hear how hard it is on the sales side to get access to quality leads, especially in quantity, to do phone sales for a product that most homeowners need but few currently have — a security/home automation system remote controllable from anywhere by smartphone (yes, there’s an app for that). On the business-to-business side, it is equally tough to find the right marketing message and media to reach decision-makers with current needs.

Ironically, the one thing that has stayed with me the most since the conference was a point I made that came back to haunt me the next day. I stressed that when you are building a web site today, you should avoid Flash because most mobile devices do not support it. Of course, a dealer came to me the next day to tell me something I already knew, that our main web site uses a lot of Flash videos that do not play on iPhones. It is a nagging problem we have lived with in recent years, but I decided to see if anyone had developed a recent workaround. A Google search led me to a promising conversion application, so I posed it to George Rothacker, Renaissance artist/marketer, long-time agency friend, Flash expert, and collaborator on our web site. George, problem-solver that he is, saw the process through to a semi-gratifying conclusion. While this app can’t convert large complex files like our web site videos, it can be used to convert smaller Flash-based files that DO play on mobile devices and are consistent cross platform and across all web browsers. George has been able to perfect the technique for a series of Berenstain Bears online games for a credit union client of his. Lemons into lemonade. If anyone out there would like to use Flash on mobile devices to do animation and effects, talk to me. The answer all began with a conversation at another highly effective marketing technique — a dealers conference.

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Living north of the Mason-Dixon line, I get a little tired of all the Blue State – Red State chatter and the way that the South gets looked down upon from the ivory towers on both coasts. I have never found it less than rewarding  to visit any Southern state or city. The locals are always friendly, the food is always comforting, and the music is always invigorating.

The chance to visit the Electronic Security Expo in Nashville was no exception. I had a great time sampling barb-b-q, listening to honky tonk bands, and sighting Elvis (at last four times in an hour).

My sense of Nashville is that it exists for in-state politics and out-of-state tourists lured by the Grand Ole Opry and the chance to discover the next great country music star in one of the many juke joints along Broadway.  Most of the manageable downtown consists of hotels, a few office buildings, the convention center, and a lot of tourism sites and supporting businesses. I didn’t see a lot of residences in town, so the city really seems like a business and arts center.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nashville is doing a good job of converting long-gone spaces into new places. Former banks on opposite corners are now a gift store and a tattoo parlor respectively.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A visit to the Ernest Tubbs record store reminded me that vinyl lives. And that country and crossover music has a unique heritage all its own. Personal favorites like Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, Patsy Cline, and Steve Earle were there in abundance.

By the time the ESX show opened, I was in a mellow CMT frame of mind. It was great to visit clients former (Linear), present (2GIG Technologies, Secure Wireless) and hopefully future (Security Partners). It was even better to help out with some onsite PR when 2GIG Technologies did the remarkable — winning the overall Maximum Impact Award two years running with a second incredible home security/automation panel, the Go! 2.0.  It was a terrific way to wind up a fun visit to a fun Southern city. Makes me long for a road trip through Memphis, Charleston, Savannah, Atlanta, New Orleans. . .

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Don't tread on me — somehow my Macbook Pro survived being run over by only upper display and case damage.

Don't tread on me — somehow my Macbook Pro survived being run over with only upper display and case damage.

My trip to the ISC West Security Expo this week didn’t start out on a winning note when I went to straighten my car in a parking space at the airport car park. My laptop case flopped over at the worst possible moment and I managed to run over the edge of it. Despite a creased screen, my Macbook Pro and mental state survived a very bad hand. From there, I found myself having a fun, never less-than-entertaining time in Sin City. I’m not a gambler, so I can usually limit the damage on a Vegas trip to electronica.

Things off to a great start with the chance to catch up with old Newton friend, Don Shook, who now heads Merit Media Relations in Vegas, a PR firm specializing in the packaging industry. We worked together with Don years ago when he handled corporate relations in-house for Graphic Packaging, the folding carton giant, and then a unit of Coors. Don has been a great many things in his career, including law enforcement in CO, a news video editor at Philadelphia’s WPVI-TV when Larry Kane was anchoring there, and a world-class punster. All that and this photo of us in the lobby of the Venetian with a statuesque blonde should more than qualify Don to succeed Ricky Gervais as host of the Golden Globes.

The author and old friend Don Shook, the gold (leaf) standard in media relations.

The author and old friend Don Shook, the gold (leaf) standard in media relations.

The rest of my short stay was no less memorable. It consisted of a whirlwind Thursday calling on two Newton clients exhibiting at ISC West and walking a very packed Sands Expo Center.

The folks at 2GIG Technologies continue to lead the industry in security and home automation with panels that emphasize elegant ease-of-use design and do things no one is even thinking about. They use the Alarm.com platform, which was featured in a full page ad in the US Air magazine on my flight in.

The 2GIG booth was demo land at ISC because everyone wanted to get a preview of the new Go! 2.0 panel.

The 2GIG booth was demo land at ISC because everyone wanted to get a preview of the new Go! 2.0 panel.

Powerhouse decided that "the force is with 2GIG" and used a Star Wars theme to promote the Go!Control Panel.

Powerhouse decided that "the force is with 2GIG" and used a Star Wars theme to promote the Go!Control Panel.

The Powerhouse Star Wars suit featured a fully armed Go!Control Panel from 2GIG Technologies..

The Powerhouse Star Wars suit featured a fully armed Go!Control Panel from 2GIG Technologies

I got a demo of 2GIGs new Go! 2.0 panel and it is quite frankly mind-blowing what they are building in. No wonder their booth was packed from start of show till finish. Also why even their distributors like Power House can’t get enough of this product line — they took to the floor in Star Wars gear with the original Go! Control panel affixed to the front and back of the Imperial Stormtrooper uniform. That’s just terrific trade show buzz-generating fun.

Expertly piggybacking on this Z-Wave of home security functionality is Secure Wireless, another Newton client specializing in the industry’s top wireless transmitters and sensors (compatible with every major manufacturer’s line) plus OEM lines developed for these same makers. Secure Wireless has built a solid business by being even better than the equivalent units by the manufacturers.

Secure Wireless is the one of the leading developers of RF based transmitters and receivers in the world.

Secure Wireless is the one of the leading developers of RF based transmitters and receivers in the world.

The rest of ISC was a blur of very different but always interesting exhibits and statements.

Probably not a good idea to use your products (CCTV cameras) as mini golf hazards in a trade show booth putting green.

Probably not a good idea to use your products (CCTV cameras) as mini golf hazards in a trade show booth putting green.

Bosch decided to emphasize inventory. Hence an exhibit made entirely out of CCTV packaging.

Bosch decided to emphasize inventory. Hence an exhibit made entirely out of CCTV packaging.

Assa Abloy was a big presence at ISC West (including a booth big enough to house a tractor trailer).

Assa Abloy was a big presence at ISC West (including a booth big enough to house a tractor trailer).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Capping the day was a chance to catch up with a few old friends at the Nine Fine Irishmen pub at New York, New York. Great Celtic fare for those of us who missed Saint Patrick’s Day, as well as an awesome high-energy house band, Sin E Ri Ra.

And the most amazing groupie I have ever seen.

The Irish know how to have a good time. So do the folks who built and now maintain Las Vegas as one of the world’s great destination cities for business and pleasure.

It's hard to beat Vegas as the 24/7 fun time capital of the world.

It's hard to beat Vegas as the 24/7 fun time capital of the world.

 

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Consumer Electronics  Association has rightly named 2GIG's GO!Control the 2011 Security Product of the Year

Consumer Electronics Association has rightly named 2GIG's GO!Control the 2011 Security Product of the Year

Next week is the International Security Expo in Las Vegas — the industry’s biggest event and Newton Associates is proud to be helping 2GIG Technologies garner some publicity during their debut as an exhibitor. The thing is they don’t need much help, because 2GIG’s GO!Control panel is justifiably attracting significant attention on its own — it was just named 2011 Security Product of the Year by the Consumer Electronics Association.

Imagine that — a security control designed with the consumer and with consumer trends in mind. Homeowners are embracing the cool color touchscreen with simple intuitive instructions and controls (200,000 of them were installed in the first year to market). What the GO!Control is really unlocking, however, is a communications revolution and the amazing possibilities opened by a built-in radio employing Z-Wave wireless mesh networking technology. Z-Wave allows communication between lighting, appliances, HVAC, entertainment centers, and security systems for the purposes of remote home monitoring, home healthcare, safety and security, and energy conservation.

For years, the security industry has been trying to get behind two things — wireless technology and “the smart home.” With the GO!Control, that promise appears to be largely and finally fulfilled. Tech-savvy consumers are eager for it and standards and other supporting products and services are in place and being added quickly.

2GIG’s panel also takes advantage of the number of consumers who are shedding landline telephones or POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service). No more worries about an intruder cutting a hardwired phone line to disable your home security. More importantly, with wireless phone linkage, homeowners can control practically anything in their homes with a smart phone or the Internet and software from 2GIG’s partner, Alarm.com. That includes arming/disarming, thermostat setting, lighting control, lock control, and video monitoring. Who needs “Angry Birds” when you can putter around your house from an airport lounge 2,000 miles away.

Should be a very busy week at the 2GIG booth during ISC.  Installers have been waiting for a long time for a product they could get behind and get consumers enthused about. The GO!Control is the most exciting and transformational product we’ve seen in our 20 years of marketing in the security industry.

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