Eight steps forward and one sideways for the security industry

The security business is in the midst of upheaval, with tech giants like Google and Amazon offering consumers the tools to set up and operate their own secure smart homes. And, the rise of IoT gadgets is further redefining the industry. However, if the last several decades serve as a guide, change and upheaval are the norm for security professionals. New technologies shift solutions and business models, and give both installing dealers and consumers new opportunities and experiences.

Nest, Ring and other products are just the latest in a long series of developments that have changed the way security professionals approach the market. To put recent disruptions into the proper context, I offer eight other technology changes that altered—and ultimately enriched—the security industry:

1. Wireless obsoletes wires

Security installers used to run wires from the basement of a customer’s home and throughout the house to connect components to the alarm system panel. It was a complex, time-consuming process.

With the availability of reliable wireless sensors, installers were suddenly able to set up a system in a fraction of the time. While the charge for equipment went up, it was offset by a greater reduction in labor cost. This faster installation meant dealers could install more systems in a day, which was the initial opening that enabled volume security.

(ITI introduced its patented Learn Mode as the first reliable, simple-to-install wireless to the security industry in the early 1990s. Ademco eventually followed with their 5800 series, which set off a patent battle.)

2. Self-contained panels make it all-in-one

Even after wireless eliminated sensor wires, home security systems still required wires to connect the keypad user interface to the CPU. The self-contained panel solved this by bringing the UI and the CPU together into a single unit. This was the other major disruption that cut dealer labor costs by enabling multiple installations in a day.

In addition, reliable wireless initiated the security business-model pivot from the labor and equipment revenue focus to a monthly monitoring revenue focus. And the low-labor, rapid installs catalyzed the fast-paced door-to-door summer sales model, spearheaded by APX, which ultimately became Vivint.

(In 1996, ITI introduced Simon, the first high-volume, self-contained panel to both the dealer and the summer sales markets. Ademco, which eventually became Honeywell, followed with Lynx.)

2.5 The cellular setback

Self-contained panels brought on a problem. Since they needed to be mounted where the consumer would interact with the panel, they were no longer near the alarm panel’s communication link, which to this point, had been the phone line. Traditional panels were mounted in utility areas next to the phone line. But now, self-contained panels need to be 100 percent outfitted with cellular communication.

Cellular added significantly to the cost of account creation and maintenance. Likewise, cellular technology requires expensive updates, and most companies also need to set aside approximately $5 per month, per account, to fund the cost imposed by the next cellular technology sunset, including parts, labor and lost opportunity.

3. Interactive services enrich the experience

Consumers were accustomed to basic arm/disarm control of home security systems via keypads on the wall. Then, early interactive services introduced control of security and basic automation remotely from computers or phones. However, the convergence of interactive services with the smartphone changed everything.

The screens of iPhones and other mobile devices offered users a rich user interface, enhancing the ability to control their systems remotely. This combination enabled dealers to increase their revenue by offering additional services, and the trend continues as more homeowners seek to control their lighting systems, video doorbells, thermostats and other smart gadgets via their phones. Interactive services dramatically increased the recurring revenue value of saleable alarm contracts, which had been launched by Monitronics and ADT in the late 1990s.
(MicroStrategy (which became Alarm.com) started working with Interlogix (formerly ITI) in 2000 to integrate interactive services into both the Simon and Concord panels. Alarm.com was launched on Interlogix panels in 2003. Note: this 16-year-old innovation is shutting down at the end of 2019.)

4. Old systems get in touch

As interactive services and the smartphone user interface expanded the consumers’ user experience, control panel manufacturers were under pressure to give a similarly rich experience at the panel. This led to the shift from keypads and small LCD screens to the now pervasive touchscreen on front of a self-contained panel. The richer, touch-based screen paralleled the smartphone experience, supporting increased consumer perceptions of usefulness and value.

(2GIG launched the GoControl touchscreen self-contained panel in 2009.)

5. Translating the past to the present

Historically, homeowners that already had security systems were viewed as unlikely candidates for system sales. However, the opposite proved true; if they are near or past the end of their previous service contract, they are often open to enhanced services from a new provider. But the existence of the old system inhibited the sale, as the homeowners felt they were buying yet another system, and the dealer couldn’t take advantage of the existing system.

Enter the innovative Translators, solving this by keeping all the existing wireless sensors in place, and translating the signals to the dealer’s new high-functionality panel. Taking over existing accounts with Translators became a deliberate business model for many dealers.

(Resolution Products (now Alula) launched and the patented wireless Translator line in 2010.)

6. First telephone, then cellular, now internet

Early in the industry, alarm signaling used public telephone lines and when cellular arrived, it provided backup communications. But with landlines disappearing and cellular communications gradually taking over, the sunsets of various wireless standards present a new problem. To the rescue is IP communications over internet connections. The IP connection means constant, reliable, sunset-proof connectivity, which is of growing importance as IoT devices drive the internet as the primary home technology channel. In the U.S., we see almost 90 percent penetration of reliable broadband in our market which wasn’t true just 10 years ago.

(IP Datatel (now Alula) pioneered the Broadband Alarm Transceiver (BAT), IP-based alarm communicators, in 2007.)

7. The hub: sitting at the source

Self-contained panels combined the UI and the CPU into a single unit, which sped up installations. But two forces pushed towards the hub-architected panel. First, the self-contained panel demanded mounting in user-convenient locations, nowhere near the phone lines. This drove the Cellular Setback (mentioned earlier), with its $100 burden, and still provided no backup. Second, the smartphone was solidifying as the primary user interface. So, the hub-based panel was launched, locating the CPU next to the IP connection, and leveraging the smartphone as the predominant user interface. If cellular was used, it was the consumer’s desire for backup, not the dealer’s cost of connection.

(Resolution Products (now Alula) launched and patented the Helix hub-based panel in 2014, which is now the Connect+.)

8. Instant upgrade for old panels 

With recent product introductions, dealers will be able to maximize their revenue by breathing new life into traditional security panels. New innovation enables old panels to participate in all the industry’s automation and video advancements, as well as provide the ability to replace every old keypad in a house with new, rich interface touchpads. In this way, installers can offer their customers dramatically advanced functionality that won’t sunset along with cellular standards, which are outfitted for today’s new IoT devices.

(Alula launched the BAT-Connect in 2019 to lead this transformation of old panels to a modern, interactive experience.)


Security professionals must remember: constant change and disruption is the norm. The industry has been changed by technology, business models and people. In the security industry, it has frequently been the same people involved in almost all of these disruptions. Rather than setting security professionals back, these changes virtually always open up new opportunities.

The rise of DIY security and the moves of tech giants don’t spell doom for installers. Rather, it’s just the next day in the life of an industry that evolves and grows constantly. If anything, the pace of disruption will continue to accelerate. As the recent shutdown of Interlogix shows, security providers need to continually embrace new technologies and partners who can innovate and help them succeed.

Brian Seemann is an EVP of Alula. He and other Alula principals originate from industry hallmark companies: ITI, Interlogix, GE Security, Resolution Products and IP Datatel. They were instrumental in many, if not most of the major industry changes chronicled in this piece. Connect via LinkedIn.

Four Awards in 2019 – Alula and BAT-Connect Takeover Smart Home Security Market

Alula, the leader in smart security and automation systems for professional installers, has received the 2019 IoT integration award for the BAT-Connect, marking the fourth major industry award for the innovative communicator.

The award was bestowed by industry-leading trade publications CE Pro, Commercial Integrator and Security Sales & Integration during the Total Tech Summit earlier this month, which recognizes technologies and products with breakthrough connectivity and interoperability features for the Internet of Things.

“Internet-enabled electronic devices and systems are flooding the marketplace, and security is no exception,” said Scott Goldfine, editor-in-chief of Security Sales & Integration. “This awards program is unique and exciting in that it salutes those products that are taking the convergence of connected physical and logical security to the next level.”

The BAT-Connect is the successor to the widely-adopted BAT-LTE Communicator, adding home automation capabilities as well as a Cat-M1 cellular, a low-power, low-data technology that maximizes efficiency and offers enhanced coverage for better reach into challenging locations. Cat-M1 is also compatible with 5G, meaning devices won’t be rendered obsolete by the cellular sunset.

This latest award is the fourth time BAT-Connect has been honored this year for innovation. Previous awards include:

  • Security Industry Association (SIA) New Product Showcase Award: In Las Vegas at ISC West 2019, Alula’s BAT-Connect was recognized for best new product in the Residential and Monitoring Solutions category. Since its inception in 1979, the SIA New Product Showcase has been the security industry’s premier awards-based marketing program. In 2019, the 30 judges reviewed over 95 entries from more than 80 companies, presenting awards for technologies covering more than 30 product and service categories.
  • Electronic Security Expo Innovation Award: At the 2019 ESX show, Alula was awarded the Innovation Award in the Intrusion Systems Category for BAT-Connect. This award recognizes outstanding products and services that drive the electronic security and life-safety industry forward.
  • Security Today New Product of the Year Award: This award honors the outstanding product development achievements of security equipment manufacturers whose products are considered to be particularly noteworthy in their ability to improve security. Alula’s BAT-Connect Communicator won in the Intrusion Detection & Prevention Solutions category. Winners received awards and were recognized at GSX in September in Chicago.

“We’re blown away by the immediate interest, rapid adoption and support for the BAT-Connect Communicator,” said Brian McLaughlin, CEO at Alula. “Security dealers are demanding trusted products that allow them to address the ever-evolving smart home security space. Aging installations can cost dealers money to support, limit new revenue opportunities and become a liability when old cellular networks no longer support the innovation that homeowners expect today. With the simple-to-install BAT-Connect, security dealers have an easy upgrade for the nearly 15 million compatible security systems online today.”

About Alula
Alula is the only vertically integrated security and home automation platform purpose-built for today’s independent security and installation professionals. From sensors to hub to network, Alula offers a complete, end-to-end solution and one accountable partner. Today, thousands of partners across North America have nearly 300,000 active locations secured and connected with Alula. Designed for professionals, the Alula platform provides a complete security, automation and video solution for renters, homeowners and commercial installations. Alula is a business-driven platform designed to reduce truck rolls, increase RMR, simplify inventory and put today’s professional providers in control of their business, their customers and their revenue. The Alula platform is available nationwide through distributors that cater to the alarm and integrator industry.

Alula Launches New Touchpad With Live Video, 2-Way Talk Capability

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Alula, a provider of smart security and automation systems for professional installers, announces the release of its Slimline touchpad, which offers in-home interactive control for the Connect+ Hub and the BAT-Connect communicator.

The seven-inch touchpad enables real-time command of intrusion security, video cameras and automation devices, and can easily be mounted on tabletops or walls with a power supply utilizing existing wiring in the home or business, according to the company.

The device features the same look and functionality of the Alula smartphone app, giving end users a single interface whether they’re home or away.

“Customers expect an intuitive, digital interface that offers them complete visibility and control of their security, video and home automation,” says Brian McLaughlin, CEO of Alula. “With the Slimline touchpad, security pros will be able to offer a sleek, beautiful control panel that can be placed anywhere in the house, on the wall or any flat surface.”

The Slimline touchpad controls every aspect of a modern security system, delivering an at-a-glance view of video feeds, Z-Wave devices and intrusion and environmental sensors, according to the company.

When paired with the Alula video doorbell, customers receive a notification when someone rings the bell and can then answer the door on their Slimline touchpad and engage with the visitor.

The device pairs with a BAT-Connect communicator to update legacy security panels that previously featured an old fashioned keypad. The Slimline touchpad is also integrated with Alula’s Connect+, the security video and automation hub that is tailored onsite to serve the unique needs of each customer, or which can arrive fully loaded for optimal ease of installation and use, according to the company.

Alula says Connect+ is the only security hub that incorporates Cat-M1, the low-power, low-data technology that maximizes efficiency of the 4G LTE cellular communication path, offering enhanced coverage for better reach into challenging locations. Cat-M1 will also be compatible with 5G, meaning devices won’t be rendered obsolete by the cellular sunset.

Alula Launches New Touchpad With Live Video, 2-Way Talk Capability

Cloud-to-cloud connection between leading security platforms enables best-of-breed capability sets for alarm and access across commercial real estate portfolios.

BETHESDA, Md.Nov. 5, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Brivo, the global leader in cloud-based physical security solutions, and Alula, the award-winning inventors of the BAT-Connect communicator and the Connect+ intrusion and automation platform, announced today a cloud-to-cloud integration partnership between their respective platforms to provide unified access control and intrusion capabilities for the commercial market.

The newly announced partnership will provide Brivo customers with single-point control and monitoring of key alarm functions and intrusion reporting data. This delivers a true UL-compliant security package and ensures alarm signals are reported from both intrusion and access platforms.

Customers will be able to arm and disarm their Alula-enabled intrusion systems from within the Brivo Onair web UI or the Brivo Onair Mobile Administrator app, available on both iOS and Android. The Onair activity log and reporting tools will also include event data from the intrusion system to provide a single source of truth for system administrators and GSOC operators.

“We see this as an important extension of our platform to provide simply better security to our customers, with a maintenance-free cloud-to-cloud API integration that leaves all the technical details to us so that integrators can install and configure both systems quickly in the field,” said Steve Van Till, President and CEO of Brivo. “What we like about Alula is that, like us, they are a hybrid IP-native product and cloud company that provides extensive connectivity to over 100 of the top independent central stations, which is what we need to cover the needs of our 1,000+ dealers and resellers.”

The breadth and flexibility of Alula’s product line made it a natural fit for the partnership. Between the award-winning Connect+ hub and the newly launched BAT-Connect communicator, Alula offers intrusion and automation solutions for every potential small business scenario, from new installs, upgrades and takeovers, including popular panels from Honeywell and DSC.

“We are extremely excited to partner with Brivo on this important integration in the commercial small business market,” said Brian McLaughlin, CEO of Alula. “Our solutions perfectly complement each other and will greatly simplify employee management services, giving customers the best of both worlds.”

About Alula
Alula is the only security platform that delivers security simplified for independent security dealers and installers and the customers who rely on their service and expertise. Today, thousands of dealers across North America have over 250,000 active locations secured and connected with Alula. Designed for professional security professionals, the Alula platform provides a complete security, alarm, video and automation solution for renters, homeowners and commercial installations. Alula is a business-driven security platform designed to reduce truck rolls, increase RMR, simplify inventory and put dealers in control of their business, their customers and their revenue. The Alula platform is available nationwide through distributors that cater to the alarm and integrator industry. http://www.alula.net

About Brivo
Brivo is the global leader in cloud-based security and property management solutions for commercial and multifamily properties that simplify security interactions for property managers, tenants, employees, and visitors. With over 15 million users and 1,000 authorized dealers, our SaaS platform has been unifying the security experience across access control, mobile credentials, video surveillance, identity federation, visitor management, intercoms, and elevator control since 2002. Hundreds of software partners and end users use our APIs and SDKs to extend our solutions to unique vertical market offerings. More than ten years of SOC audits underscore our commitment to protecting customer privacy and data security. Brivo is privately held and headquartered in Bethesda, MDhttp://www.brivo.com


How to install BAT-Connect on a Honeywell Vista


  • Have these tools on hand: Screwdriver, Wire Stripper, Cordless Drill, Level


  • Visit AlulaConnect.com
  • Sign in with your Access Code, Username and Password
  • Click “Add Customer Account”
  • Type user’s name and password for the app
  • Click on Account Devices in the menu
  • Click the “Add Hardware” button
  • Type in the MAC and CRC number

PRO-TIP: The MAC and CRC number are found inside the cover of the BAT-Connect.

  • Click on the device serial number
  • Input customer info for your records
  • Type in panel’s Central Station Account Number
  • Add customer phone number for Caller ID
  • Add device location

PRO-TIP: You will see “device appears to be offline” notification until BAT-Connect is installed and activated

  • Add the Master Code to the account

PRO-TIP: Disarm all partitions of the system if they aren’t already. Disarm via Honeywell Keypad


  • Enter panel programming mode using the installer code (show panel programming)
  • Configure the panel 
  • Exit programming mode
  • Disconnect the Vista battery
  • Unplug the transformer

PRO-TIP: For Vista 21IP panels, the Internal IP/GSM jumper needs to be set to “Off.”


  • Place near security panel
  • Mark the holes for drilling
  • Drill in mounting screw

PRO-TIP Be careful not to overtighten the center screw, which is a wall tamper


  • Connect black wire to BAT-Connect GND
  • Connect red wire to BAT-Connect 12V
  • Connect green wire to BAT-Connect G IN
  • Connect yellow wire to BAT-Connect Y IN


  • Connect black wire to terminal 4 (negative)
  • Connect red wire to terminal 5 (positive)
  • Connect green wire to terminal 6 (data in)
  • Connect yellow wire to terminal 7 (data out)




  • Reconnect the Vista battery
  • Plug in transformer

PRO-TIP: The Vista system will be busy for 50-60 seconds before BAT-Connect automatically programs it. Honeywell keypad will show System Busy and the Version of the panel

  • Keypad will display “DISARMED Ready to Arm”
  • Confirm cellular LED and verify signal strength 

PRO-TIP: A minimum of two signal bar LEDs in recommended

  • Plug in Ethernet
  • Confirm Ethernet LED in on


  • Enable WPS on router 
  • Press and hold WPS button
  • Wait for Wi-Fi LED flashes 

PRO-TIP: If the Wi-Fi LED turns off after 3 minutes, then WPS was not successful.

  • Unplug the ethernet cable
  • After 1-2 minutes, the Wi-Fi LED will turn on

PRO-TIP: If WPS in unavailable, Wi-Fi credentials can be entered in AlulaConnect

  • Reconnect Ethernet cable 
  • Close BAT-Connect cover 
  • Open the Alula app on your phone
  • Arm and Disarm to confirm system is operational
  • Check event log on AlulaConnect to verify Central Station received signals


How to install the Alula Video Doorbell

These steps will show you how to replace an existing doorbell with the Alula Video Doorbell


What to do before installing the Alula Video Doorbell

  1. You should have the following tools on hand:
    • Voltage meter
    • Wire strippers
    • Cordless drill
    • Screwdriver
    • Pencil or marker
  2. Press the button on the existing doorbell to make sure that it rings and there is power to the doorbell.
  3. Using the voltage meter, test the voltage at the existing doorbell to confirm that it is at least 16 volts. If fewer than 16 volts, you may need to replace the transformer.
  4. Before getting started, shut off the power to the doorbell at the circuit breaker.

How to install the chime for the Alula Video Doorbell

  1. Check whether the home’s chime is a mechanical or electronic chime. If there’s no existing chime, skip to step 17.
  2. Unbox the Alula Video Doorbell and locate the wire harness power kit.
  3. Connect the wire harness power kit to the
    wire harness provided in the box.
  4. Remove the cover from the home’s chime.
  5. Remove the existing chime wires to the terminals labeled “front” and “trans.”


PRO-TIP: if you have a backdoor chime, leave it connected as is.
  1. Connect the new wire harness to the chime’s terminals.
  2. Connect the chime’s wire to the wire harness.

  3. Mount the power kit to the chime’s molding.
  4. Close the chime cover.

How to replace an old doorbell with the Alula Video Doorbell

  1. Remove the existing doorbell button with a screwdriver.
  2. Using a pencil or marker, mark the drill points on the leveling plate.
  3. Drill holes at the marked points and insert the plastic anchors.
  4. Depending on the position of the doorbell and the front door, install the provided flat or angle plate and make sure that it is level.
  5. Wire the Alula Video Doorbell to the chime wire using the U-shaped wires. Note: The polarity is not important unless you have a second doorbell elsewhere in the home.

PRO-TIP: If you didn’t have an existing chime, you need to install the fuse.
  1. Install the Alula Video Doorbell to the mounting plate using the two mounting screws provided in the box.
  2. Turn the power back on at the circuit breaker.
PRO-TIP: The Alula Video Doorbell button will start red, then flash blue. If after a minute and a half the button is still red, press and hold the reset button on the front of the Alula Video Doorbell.

How to enroll the Alula Video Doorbell using the Alula App

  1. Download the Alula App from the app store and open it on your phone.
  2. Once the doorbell starts flashing blue, scan the QR code that can be found on both the manual or on the front of the Alula Video Doorbell.
  3. Follow the Install Wizard on the app as it leads you through the enrollment process.
  4. In the app, select the Chime Type for “mechanical,” “electronic” or “none” depending on what kind of chime is in the home.

How to troubleshoot the Alula Video Doorbell

  1. Attach the faceplate for the Alula Video Doorbell using the doorbell screws provided in the box.
PRO-TIP: The doorbell is charging and will not chime until the internal battery is sufficiently charged. If the doorbell doesn’t chime at first, wait 20 minutes and try again.
  1. Ring the Alula Video Doorbell to verify that the interior chime is working.
  2. Open Alula App to view live video through the Alula Video Doorbell. You can also test the two-way audio through the app.

Press Release: Alula Mobile Apps Make Security Simpler and Smarthomes Smarter

Alula Unifies Applications for the Alula Connect+ Alarm Panel Across SmartPhone, Tablet and TouchPad, Making a Single, Simple Secure Experience

HUDSON, WI–(PR WEB)– JUNE, 2018–Alula, the award-winning inventors of the Connect+ Platform, announced today the completion of advanced mobile app integrations that make security and automation simple and more intuitive. With the Alula app, security, smart devices, and video are seamlessly integrated creating a more engaging experience for consumers seeking more from their security solution. The Alula mobile applications will be available on iOS for the iPhone and iPad, and for Android phones, tablets and touchpads running version 4.1 and up.

Consumers can easily control their security system while controlling other devices and build scenes like “lock my doors” and “turn off lights” when arming their security system. In addition, dealers can easily brand the app with their own logo, reinforcing the relationship with their customers and letting users forego a wired wall panel altogether. This app builds on the powerful Connect+ wireless smart security platform from Alula. Security has never been this easy and this powerful.

“For a homeowner with a smartphone and smart home, there really is no difference between automation and security,” said Alula CEO, Brian McLaughlin. “Our goal is to put you at ease by making home security and automation simple and easy. And the professional security dealers who choose Alula can make this happen for homeowners every day.”

Press Release: Alula Launches SmartHome Now – A Unique Home Builder Solution for Security Dealers

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Free Smart Home Automation for Homeowners, Lowest-Cost Program for Builders, and Easy-to-Convert Monitored Security Sales for Dealers

HUDSON, WI –(PR WEB)—JUNE , 2018—Alula launched its SmartHome Now solution for security dealers who are working with home builders to include smart home automation and monitored security in new home construction. The Alula Smarthome Now solution gives homebuilders the lowest-cost competitive smart home automation platform with upside for new homeowners to add professionally monitored security or additional smart home features from a professional security dealer. Security dealers get an easy conversion opportunity to sell monitored security to hundreds of new customers at once with no additional equipment.

Based on Alula Connect+, the Alula Smarthome Now solution provides the lowest-cost platform for security dealers to connect dozens if not hundreds of new homeowners to professionally monitored security while supporting home builders smart home plans. Pre-installing the Alula Connect+ also allows homebuilders to integrate advance smart home products like Smart Windows and Doors with Pella® Insynctive Technology.

Press Release: Alula Launches Award-winning Two-Way Voice for Home Security

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HUDSON, WI–(PRWeb – June 18, 2018) – Alula released a new, award-winning two-way voice capability for the Alula Connect+ Platform that reduces installation, maintenance and upgrade costs for security systems in residential and commercial installations. For top security dealers required to offer two-way voice for alarm verification or offering support-at-the-panel for demanding customers, Alula eliminates the need for a separate cellular voice contract and the modification and maintenance that increases cost for dealers and is passed on to their customers.

Security dealers with two-way voice requirements can learn more at ESX Booth # 117 or read on to discover how Alula is lowering the cost of install, setup and support for every security configuration imaginable.