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This is a sponsored post with Nest Labs. 

There is little question that smart home technologies are on the uptick. New, connected “smart” home products, it seems, are being released by the day.

For homeowners there’s ongoing appeal. These products pair easily with smartphones; we all have them. Right? (And that’s in fact what makes them smart.) When installed properly, smart home products offer homeowners not only convenience and comfort, but also greater peace of mind and control. They keep homeowners “connected,” especially when they are away from home.

Just a few years ago, homeowners were only casually browsing information on smart products. Recent studies suggest, though, that these same homeowners are now ready to buy. (Albeit, they may still be looking for companies / partners that, well, get it.Nest Pro van graphic) And while some smart contractors have already expanded their product offerings, installation services, and support, the o-word – Opportunity, for many pros, remains.

Smart Home Security

Let’s take home security in this view (it’s in fact the focus of this article). As a homeowner, would you trust the protection and safety of not only your belongings, but your family, to misunderstood, “pieced together,” or poorly installed components?

For pros with the know-how, they become experts in a field. Their trade is as much about installing products as navigating the proverbial seas of rapidly changing technology. The smart home security contractor brings together complementary technology to provide a unified and effective solution for today’s homeowner.

There is no question that interest in smart home products, and further smart home security products, is on the uptick, with (inter-) connected components (already perhaps) becoming the new norm.

The real question to ask is … how long will it take for the trades (working in both new and established businesses) to catch up?

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In This Article

In this two-part article, we’ll look at the newest smart home security systems, including the recently released Nest Secure alarm system. First, we’ll see how this ever-widening array of easy-to-install, “connected” products creates new opportunities for contractors. (Many working pros already possess the business systems and much of the required skill to install these products.)

We’ll hear from Gene LaNois, Head of the Professional Channel at Nest Labs. And we’ll also get first-hand insight from Mike Ripa, COO of The Smart Home Gurus – Powers IoT (a Nest Pro Elite contractor).

Just below, we’ll explore WiFi video surveillance and discuss the value of extending security to the home’s premises using outdoor cams.

In part two, I’ll detail the installation of the Nest Cam IQ outdoors on my current home. (I’ll spare you most of the gory backstory.) While it’s technically a DIY, it’ll give pros a complete how-to and tips for installing WiFi enabled outdoor security cameras.

Part two covers:

We’ll also check out the Nest Pro program. Along the way, we’ll take a look at perhaps something more seismic. With the maturing of this smart product market, I’ll ask, are we in fact witnessing the ground-zero spawning of something more substantial in the way we work? Are we actually seeing the dawning of a new trade? One that some have called the “Smart Trade.”

Please read on to learn more. Cheers. ~jb

 

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Outdoor Cameras – The First Layer of Modern Home Security

True Story – In 2012, and again in 2016, my family fell victim to burglary. In 2012, burglars actually broke in and nabbed, well, a lot. A few years later, in 2016, we lost only a prized Christmas decoration from our front lawn.

To this day, I feel that both of these crimes were preventable. If I was only able to provide the authorities an image, or a video, of the culprits OR better – if I was able to stop these crooks before they even started — maybe things might have turned out differently. Instead, both incidents served only as “valuable lessons” for me, and my family.

Mike Ripa of Powers IoT (they are certified Nest Pros) assured me that my story is not uncommon. As he puts it, “Most of our camera installs start with a homeowner calling after some incident.”

A traditional (wired or wireless) security system, which often limits its protection to the home’s possible entry points (doors and windows), wouldn’t have helped me in that particular circumstance from 2016. I would have needed a device that extended its coverage to the entire premises, including my front lawn.

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And with that, enter the weatherproof Nest Cam IQ Outdoor. For me, it took not one but two incidents before I broke down and purchased a two-pack, installing one on the front and one on the rear of my home, recently.

Installing Nest Cam Outdoor

Here: In Part 2 of this article, you’ll find the complete How-To Guide for Installing the Nest Cam IQ outdoor.

WiFi-Enabled Outdoor Cameras :: A Tech (Mini-) Revolution

Just think, not too long ago the only option in video-based security was the closed-circuit system. That changed with accessibility to WiFi. Early WiFi-connected cameras, however, relied on batteries, and because of this, only turned on when they sensed motion. Nest Cam IQ outdoor is different. It plugs directly into a power outlet, offering 24-hour video surveillance.

“Cameras are what I consider the first and most important layer of modern home security,” says Gene LaNois, Head of the Professional Channel at Nest Labs.

As it stands, my cameras are configured to stream footage to my Nest app, while also saving footage for a period of ten days to the cloud through my Nest Aware subscription1. This setup could be considered the default configuration for Nest’s security cameras. But with the announced integration with I-View Now, and the recent release of Nest Secure, these options have significantly expanded. (Read more below.)

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Smart Home Security Becomes More Inter-connected

Known widely for the Nest Learning Thermostat, Nest recently introduced first, a next-gen security camera in Nest Cam IQ outdoor, and second – Nest Securethe company’s first alarm system.

To me (and I get it), it shows the company’s commitment to security and the connectability of its components.

Nest Cam IQ indoor and outdoor cameras are designed to work seamlessly with Nest Secure. And sure, we know Nest as a maker of connected home products. That is, each device is connected to us through an easy-to-use mobile app. But now, more and more, these components are beginning to connect to each other.

A Virtual Unboxing of Nest Secure

On its website, Nest states: “With Nest Secure, home security doesn’t have to be scary. It doesn’t have to mean confusing passcodes, loud beeps and stressful countdowns.” And anyone familiar with traditional alarm systems knows just how annoying these aspects of a security system can be.

Nest Secure

In an introductory video, we learn what makes this system different. There are actually three ways to arm and disarm this system: 1.) Via the Nest app, 2.) Using a passcode, and 3.) With a device called the Nest Tag.  See below for details.

There are three unique parts of the Nest Secure system:

-Nest Guard:

The keypad and the control panel in traditional systems systems are often separated: one placed at a specified entry point, the other often in the home’s mechanical space, respectively. In Nest Guard, these two “functions” are combined into one. WiFi and a standard wall outlet are all that’s required in firing up the brains of this system.

-Nest Detect:

These dual-purpose sensor(s) both attach to doors and windows, and can also monitor entire rooms. Unlike traditional sensors, they sense not only open and close of windows/doors, but also motion in a protected space. Up to 30 Detects can be supported per home.

Further, you can bypass the alarm via the Quiet Open function on the Nest Detect, as opposed to traditional systems where you must return to the control panel to perform a bypass function.

-Nest Tag:

Similar in appearance to a key fob, it works much like those employed in commercial security systems. A swipe of the Nest Tag in proximity of the Nest Guard disarms (and arms) the system with minimal hassle.

See the entire Nest Secure system pictured below.

Nest Secure Components

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To put the release of Nest Secure into perspective, it was recently named to Time Magazine‘s 25 Best Inventions of 2017. It all works on WiFi, but you can sign up for a cellular backup service in case your WiFi goes down.2 (Sold separately for $5 a month.) Professional monitoring is also available through MONI Smart Security. MONI’s plans start at $24.99 a month with a three-year agreement or $34.99 a month with no long-term agreement.3

A Brief Overview on Installing Nest Secure

When asked about installation, Mike from Powers IoT says “People are already calling for it.” Testing in the company’s “lab” (and you wonder how these pros really get acquainted with new products), they determine that the system will take about an hour to install.

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Mike continues, “Like the cameras, it’s not necessarily laborsome to install the sensors and get the device(s) connected. What takes time is knowing where best to place them.”

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Nest Secure is a full-featured security system on its own. But when Nest Cam security cameras are added, Gene says, “Your home can be covered front to back.”

When combined with the new Nest Cam IQ outdoor, Nest Secure is alerted if it spots an unknown person up to 50 feet away. Nest Cam IQ is the first 4k quality security camera featuring facial recognition.

A Continued Theme for Pros – Easy Installs & Easy Sales

Gene points out that “Many homeowners want the professional assurance that they have secured their home correctly. This is where calling a Nest Pro makes sense for a customer to consider.”

While Nest products can be DIY, some homeowners don’t trust themselves to install security components. They frequently look to pros for installation and support. And this is exactly where programs like Nest Pro come in.

Not only a gateway to products, the Nest Pro program provides pros with exclusive pricing and extended warranties, training, live support, and ongoing customer referrals.

For Pros: A growing group of Nest Pros can be found here. To learn more about becoming a Nest Pro, click here.

Enter the Smart Trade

It’s not a stretch to think that electricians, HVAC, phone, cable, home theater, home automation, home networking contractors, and traditional alarm pros also possess the skills required to install these smart products.

In this all, we are seeing the infancy of a new trade, which Nest refers to as “The Smart Trade.” These pros work with the 4th utility, yes the 4th utility – Connectivity. The way we perceive infrastructure, without a doubt, has changed. Homeowners, of course, can’t live without the core utilities: Water, Electricity and Gas. But, just think, at this point is internet connectivity really any different?

Nest Pros, and other professionals making up the Smart Trade, simply work in and with this commodity – connectivity, offering and installing a new class of connected products.

Nest Pro Proposition*******

The O-Word

Programs, like Nest Pro, create a platform through which pros can learn (and earn), while homeowners one-stop-shop for both new home products and for Home Pros qualified to install them.

When asked about their success, Nest Pro Elite, Powers IoT credits taking just 10 to 15 minutes with each customer to explain the technology. COO, Mike Ripa details the company’s approach, “With so many products, we spend a lot of time trying to understand what works with what. We always look to deliver, future-proof solutions.”

It’s commonly known, I think, that many traditional, established contractors tend to shun new products and technologies. They often stick with what they know, working only with products they have learned to install with confidence.

An Opportunity for You?

But here, this creates opportunity for you. By adding products like these to your lineup, at minimum, you fill gaps in down times, and add more upsell opportunities to your jobs. Further, by staying up on the tech, you become a go-to for these homeowners. The first one they call when they want to explore smart home products.

Bottom Line – If you are a working home improvement pro, you already have the skills to install these products. Established businesses also have the structure to sell. By installing these types of “smart” devices, you can boost your bottom line – a smart move.

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Thanks for reading. In part two of this article, I’ll detail my best practice tips for installing Nest Cam IQ outdoor security cameras. I’ll also explore Works with Nest integrations and the extent to which their security offerings connect with other smart home products you may already know.

For more on the opportunities to be found as a Nest Pro, see also this article from The Family Handyman – Expand Your Business Model with Products from Nest. Cheers. ~jb

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This is a sponsored post for Nest. I have been compensated by Nest. All opinions remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.

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1Streaming, recording and mobile notifications require a working WiFi connection.
2Cellular backup may not be available in all areas.
3Pricing and availability subject to change.