301.519.9237 exdirector@nesaus.org

12.20.19 – CEPro –

What AAA has done for car insurance, Resideo (Honeywell Home) could do for the home, thanks to smart devices, cloud services, thousands of smart-home pros.

As I do every December, I was writing about this year’s mergers, acquisitions, IPOs and other equity events in the home-technology channel – you know, just a quick paragraph on each (coming soon). When I got to Resideo, though, the little blurb I intended to write turned out to be more like a novel.

So here it is in a longer form, starting with the conclusion: Resideo could have the first viable business for comprehensive remote monitoring and home services – basically doing for all home systems what it’s done for security. Who could have fathomed this proposition even a year ago?

“We envision a future where our home anticipates problems, takes appropriate action and connects to a qualified professional to correct the issue,” said Alice DeBiasio, Resideo VP and GM of Global Pros Security, in an August 2019 interview with the Electronic Security Association.

Resideo (REZI) is the security, home automation, HVAC and building-controls group that spun off from Honeywell in late 2018, forming a new $5 billion (revenues) public company. Free at last from its $40 billion parent company, Resideo quickly acquired three niche businesses that Honeywell probably wouldn’t make time to sneeze at, much less acquire in rapid succession.

The three acquisitions were LifeWhereWhisker Labs (one division) and Buoy Labs – three relative startups with technology to monitor and react to various conditions in the home. LifeWhere measures the performance of home appliances and warns of potential breakdowns. The unit acquired from Whisker Labs learns the heating and cooling patterns of a home, mashes it up with outdoor weather data, and auto-adjusts the indoor temperature for energy management and comfort. Buoy Labs tracks the flow of water in a home, issuing alerts and/or cutting off the water supply if anomalies are detected.

Traditional providers of insurance, home warranties, energy, security, and smart-home services will be playing catch-up.

Each solution comes with a recurring fee, which is easily justified: Just imagine the expense and heartbreak of doing without the protection! Non-subscribers could face mold and flooding (from slow and fast water leaks, respectively), inefficient heating and cooling, and the premature demise of unchecked appliances.

In theory, Resideo could prevent all these calamities or at least mitigate damages, just as the company does today for other threats to people and property – fire, gas leaks, water leaks, break-ins, vandalism, personal emergencies, and more.

Resideo could wrap the new protections in a bundle that includes existing security and home-automation services. Ultimately, the company could own the home-monitoring and -services category like no one else can, at least not anytime soon. Traditional providers of insurance, home warranties, energy, security, and smart-home services will be playing catch-up. They’re not even close.

Resideo Has Infrastructure for Whole-Home Protection

Unlike other would-be home-protection companies, Resideo already has the infrastructure to monitor consumers, their homes, and their things … and to respond accordingly:

  1. Plentiful security and home-automation products for the premises, including alarm systems, access controls, smoke/CO detectors, thermostats, IP cameras, lots of niche sensors, and hubs and gateways for integration.
  2. IP/cellular devices and networks for communications among and between devices, homeowners, dealers, central stations, emergency service providers, other emergency contacts, and additional designees.
  3. 24/7 professional alarm monitoring (including video verification) through redundant central monitoring stations.
  4. Total Connect, a SHaaS (smart home as a service) platform that integrates monitored security and home automation functions in the cloud for remote access and two-way communications. The platform supports a wide range of products, services and parties (users, central stations, emergency services, dealers, designated friends and family …).
  5. User-friendly Total Connect app that enables consumers to configure their systems and services, and to monitor and manage their homes remotely.
  6. An army of authorized Honeywell Home dealers who sell, install, and support Resideo solutions, plus a powerful dealer program that includes training, marketing, incentives, business software and partner portal, special events and more; a recurring revenue model that encourages dealers to acquire more customers and sell additional products and services.
  7. A big, big brand … Honeywell.
Part of the Resideo whole-home protection suite – security, user app, Buoy water management and leak detection.

Looking at the capabilities and strengths above, we can imagine Resideo incorporating LifeWhere, Whisker and Buoy pretty quickly into their technological platforms and business models – at least much more easily than perhaps any other operator.

  1. New products from the acquired companies fit right in to the product mix already offered by Resideo and purchased/installed by its dealers.
  2. New solutions from the acquired companies could utilize the same communications networks already employed by Resideo.
  3. Could Resideo’s existing central stations and personnel also monitor and respond to alerts from the new products? Probably so. They already monitor things like leak detection.
  4. Resideo should be able to integrate the three new solutions into the Total Connect platform and app pretty easily – just as it did recently with the Honeywell Total Connect Tracking Service.
  5. See #4 above. Piece of cake.
  6. Honeywell Home dealers should be perfectly capable of selling and installing the new solutions … not to mention eager to add the associated fees to their service plans, while improving customer retention. A new app, Resideo Pro, will help dealers better service their clients through account management and service calls.
  7. The Honeywell brand makes perfect sense for this new suite of products. Honeywell Home dealers would be natural providers of the services, and their existing customers likely would listen to the latest pitch.

As for #6 above: “We believe there are added monitoring opportunities for our dealers who are interested in these added elements of home protection, beyond just break-ins or fires,” said Alice DeBiasio, Resideo VP and GM of Global Pros Security, in an August 2019 interview with the Electronic Security Association.

She adds, “[A]ll these acquisitions are going to position Resideo and our thousands of professionals as the experts in home protection.”

New App to Integrate All Services, Plus Indoor Air Quality

Resideo is in the process of revamping its user app, as well as its dealer portal, to incorporate all the new devices and conditions the company can monitor.

For now, the new Resideo Home app exposes the Buoy Whole Home Water Controller and Buoy Water Leak Detectors. From there, users can access Buoy’s “free features, or upgrade to premium services like advanced automatic water shutoff and leak alerts,” Resideo explains.

We should expect the same fremium model to apply to other Resideo offerings — all of which eventually will be part of the new app. The company doesn’t expect to add its legacy security capability to the app until the end of 2020.

Resideo introduced the new app at a Dec. 4, 2019, event in its home town of Austin, Texas, explaining how it will “make whole-home monitoring possible for the four critical networks of the home – water, air, energy and security.”

Resideo CEO Mike Nefkens said, “We do not believe that the critical systems of the home should be a do-it-yourself adventure. Through the new Resideo Home app, we’re going to bring the world of proactive, professional monitoring to the entire home, helping better protect the people inside and mitigating problems before they arise.”

The “proactive” element is the new thing for Resideo. Its current security and home-automation systems are pretty smart today, but don’t provide much in the way of AI and predictive analytics. Resideo service providers tend to react to emergencies after the fact, rather than anticipate them through smart devices on the premises and analytics in the cloud.

All three recent acquisitions — Whisker, Buoy and LifeWhere — bring predictive analytics to the Resideo ecosystem, exposing some amount of information for self-monitoring and reserving some of the smarts for fee-based services.

Resideo also (re)introduced an indoor air quality monitor to its smart ecosystem that “will pair with the app to let homeowners and their home pros see real-time carbon dioxide levels, particles, chemicals and humidity to understand the air inside and do something about it.”

Meanwhile, Resideo is working on its “next-generation smart thermostat” that will integrate with the Resideo Home app, and serve as a dashboard for all the new and legacy things Resideo monitors.

AAA for the Home?

For several years, the insurance companies have been eyeing IoT as a way to glean more data from the home and its occupants, and provide more services to the insured. They’re struggling.

The Holy Grail would be something like a Triple-A for the home, much like we have for cars. Everyone has AAA, because it’s silly not to. The auto “insurance” costs just $100 or $200 per year, and they’re everywhere and anywhere in case of an emergency or inconvenience. Towing, changing a tire, jumping a car, adding gas … these and similar services are free. If you need anything more, you pay extra.

It’s relatively simple to apply this kind of service to automobiles because independent car-towing trucks and mechanics are everywhere — the original Ubers of our times.

The home is harder because there are so many specialized systems to master; however, with a growing roster of smart devices to monitor these systems, a cloud service to make sense of the data, apps and dashboards for self- and pro-monitoring, and thousands of feet on the street for service and support (about 110,000), Resideo just might be able to pull it off.

How much would you pay for AAA in the home? Put me down for about $400 per year.