Professional installers of home security must adapt to new social distancing norms to ensure the health and safety of installers and homeowners. Doing so will not only put homeowners minds at ease when considering a professional install, but also help installers overcome installation challenges brought on by COVID-19.
The coronavirus pandemic created new obstacles for professional home security installers. New social distancing guidelines
and concerns over transmitting the virus means professional installers must come up with ways to enter homes without posing any health risks.
DIY home security system growth during COVID
In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, many residential end users turned to do-it-yourself (DIY) home security systems
. Homeowners could order DIY systems online and install it by themselves; however, deliver delays in some countries posed a challenge. Home security DIY systems could also easily be picked up at the local hardware, electronics or superstore, and then installed the same day. However, DIY brands can be unreliable, which could benefit professional systems vendors in the long term.
For example, DIY systems continue to take market share from traditional alarm providers in the residential alarm monitoring market
; however, the rate of uptake of these DIY systems has not yet hit an inflection point with consumers, according to Omdia
. In fact, the company believes it’s plausible that the short-term increase in DIY systems could benefit professional systems in the long term. This is due to the frequent changing of business models by DIY sellers and instability of some DIY brands, which could push users to look for the reliability of professional systems.
Intial challenges for in-home support
The coronavirus pandemic has challenged existing business models for professional installers of home security systems
. Social distancing guidelines and fears about spreading the virus have made in-home support, such as sending a technician to a home, difficult.
In-home support is, in fact, one of the biggest differentiators for residential alarm monitoring companies compared with DIY solutions like Nest and Ring
, explained Blake Kozak, Senior Principal Analyst of Smart Home and Security Technology at Omdia. “If alarm companies cannot provide the same level of support as in the past, this will be a huge blow to existing business models,” he said.
Professional installation channels faced the most difficulty at the beginning of the pandemic. At that time, professionals were trying to develop practices that would enable them to install security systems in a manner that was safe for both the installer and the house inhabitants. However, not enough was known about the virus, how it was transmitted, or whether security companies would have access to enough personal protective equipment (PPE) for their employees, to ensure these practices would guarantee the health and safety of both parties.
Additionally, there was also an occasional reduction in availability of installation staff, as some may have had to quarantine following work travel or after they came in contact with someone with confirmed symptoms of COVID-19, according to Anna Sliwon-Stewart, Senior Analyst and Research Manager of Security and Building Technologies at Omdia. This led to delays for some providers in being able to fulfill requests for new system installations.
Overcoming in-home support challenges
However, after the initial challenges of developing safe working practices for professional installers, they were able to return to almost normal working patterns. Sliwon-Stewart also pointed out that it helped that the security industry was designated as “essential employees” and were able to return to serving their customers.
“A good practice to enable an in-home installation was to allow the installer to work in a specific room in the house while the house owner stays in a different room to keep a large distance from the installer. As the installer needed to service other rooms around the house, the opening of windows to allow fresh air in would help lower the virus load in the air in the home, which is another important factor in determining whether a virus transmission is successful. The wearing of face masks by both the home members and the installer at all times was crucial to protecting both from the virus,” Sliwon-Stewart explained.
The pandemic and resulting social-distancing guidelines have also forced companies to find new and unique ways to promote safe installations and deliver support to consumers. Brad Russell, Research Director for Connected Home at Parks Associates
, highlighted how Verizon and Cox
have begun leveraging interactive video and other technologies such as augmented reality to guide customers through setup and troubleshooting.