the telecom door to the digital home


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The main telecommunications operators in Spain accelerate the competition to gain a substantial part of the home alarm market, which according to estimates by the Spanish Association of Security Companies (AES), records annual growths greater than 10%. In recent days, Movistar Prosegur Alarms -which began operating in March of this year- two competitors have emerged: Vodafone – Securitas Direct Y MásMóvil – SICOR (The English Court). Meanwhile, sources of Orange– which entered this business in 2017 – point out to ABC that “they are analyzing options to rethink the service.”

The proposals of Vodafone and MásMóvil come to join the joint venture of Telefónica Y Prosegur, which after a complex start marked by the first confinement, between June and September accumulated 34,000 new installations. Three times more than in the same period of 2019 and whose offer provided new features with respect to the more traditional modus operandi in this activity: there is no entry fee or permanence requirement. All of this, powered by more than 1,000 physical stores of Movistar.

MOVISTAR
MOVISTAR

For its part, Vodafone announced a “commercial collaboration agreement” with Securitas Direct On 12 November, the British operator made the products of this security giant, especially alarms, available to its customers – both in its physical establishments and in its online store. In this regard, Securitas -with 1.3 million customers in Spain- assumes the rest of the operations: the security study, installation, maintenance and attention 24/7.

In parallel, just a few days ago, MásMóvil – now controlled by the investment funds KKR, Cinven and Providence- decided to enter the ring in alliance with SICOR, the new integral services division of the El Corte Inglés Group (ECI) born after the purchase in July of the security company Mega2. The company did security work at ECI centers. Specifically, MásMóvil and SICOR plan to soon launch a home alarm service “connected to the police and managed remotely, through a simple and intuitive mobile application,” the statement pointed out.

All this, in a juicy market, in which according to the representative of AES and general director of Technology of Prosegur Seguridad Manuel Rodríguez Reguero, “Spain has relatively low penetration »of home or small business alarms, far from more than 20% in the United States, which is almost double the Spanish rate.

For Visiotech, the wholesale leader in the sector in Spain and Europe, the entry of telecos in this market was “Something expected for years” in view of the increased demand for floor alarms and technological innovations. In this regard, from this Spanish company, they point out that this year there was a significant peak in demand before the summer, after ending the confinement. What they attribute “to the growing sense of insecurity.” At present, they add “the most demanded, are alarms and surveillance cameras.”

Home automation and customer loyalty

The movements of Telefónica, Vodafone, MásMóvil and, perhaps, Orange look to the longer term: the alarms can become the key to the so-called “Digital home”. That is, towards the internet of things (IoT) that drives the deployment of 5G and will allow us to manage the air conditioning of our home, for example. A commitment to the future that, in the words of the Esade professor, Xavier Busquets, is part of the “Classic strategy” of telecos “to incorporate more services to the same infrastructure.” For this expert, it is “the first step towards the connected home”, he points out. Alberto de Torres, professor at ESIC and CEO of Nektiu, speaks in a similar vein: “The idea is to enter verticals where the most important product is the IoT such as telemedicine.”

MOVISTAR
MOVISTAR

In his opinion, everything remains to be done in home automation pending the emergence of 5G: “The percentage of houses that have an alarm is much higher than that of domotized houses,” says this expert who adds that we are facing a form of loyalty. “When you have home automation there will be more elements or services and changing operators will cost more,” concludes De Torres.

However, according to experts like Busquets, this business faces limitations such as cost of sensors and business and cooperative models that must be started. “Companies must make a detailed analysis of the cost – benefit of technology and its contribution of value”, says the ESADE professor.

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