By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Two-way confirmation for security units continues to gain as one of the hot features in the category with DEI, Audiovox and Code planning to ship their first units this year. Crimestopper, which is already aggressively pushing two-way confirmation, said it could reach 20 percent of its security sales for 2002.
Suppliers say consumers are demanding the feature because they seek confirmation for long-range remote operation and they also want to be alerted in case of a break-in to their vehicle.
"The range of a remote start is susceptible to so many factors. This way, if you are sitting in your office you get a confirmation that your car started. And it's also for security, so you don't have to carry a pager to be notified if someone breaks into the vehicle," said Joe Dentamoro, Code-Alarm VP sales.
DEI said it will deliver new two-way confirmation remotes with LCD screens in the third quarter under the Viper, Python and Clifford Matrix lines. The units are expected to offer both audible and visual confirmation for remote start, security and convenience features such as door open and trunk open, and they are expected to sell in the $650 to $750 price range. DEI notes, however, that the products may go through design changes by the time they ship.
DEI added that the new units will be FCC Part 15 compliant and said it has refrained from offering two-way confirmation units until now because of legal concerns. "Many of these units are FCC illegal because they transmit on the FM band. It's like opening up your own radio station, so that's been an issue for us in entering the market. We showed our preliminary designs to the FCC and we're working to release those products in 2002," said Jim Jardin, marketing director of emerging technology.
Audiovox plans to enter the two-way confirmation market this spring for remote starter systems, with combined security and remote units to follow. "The next trend should, and could, be a move to the confirming products that give you a lot more information on the status of your alarm system," said Tom Malone, senior VP mobile electronics group.
The company said it is planning to release an upgraded remote start unit with a temperature sensor to read the temperature inside the vehicle. After a user remote starts his car, he can check the temperature periodically to see if the car has warmed up or cooled down. The units will also have a built-in clock in the transmitter so the user can program timed remote starts. Suggested retail price for the new remote starter units are expected to fall in the $349 to $399 price range.
Code-Alarm said it expects to offer two-way confirmation remotes that will operate its new GEN II PowerCode products in the second half.
Crimestopper is debuting a two-way confirmation security/remote start unit called the CS2015FM Informer that has been submitted for FCC approval. It has a dot-matrix display with unique icon confirmation. If a user remotely starts the engine, the unit displays a puff of smoke and an icon of a car starts to drive across the screen. If the user locks the doors it will display an arrow and a lock symbol. There is a also a button which allows users to recall their last command, in case, as an example, a user walks away from the car and can't remember if he locked the doors. The 2015 has a 1/2 mile range. Other features include vibrate alert function and dual valet functions. Suggested retail price for the CS2015FM is $349.95 with one remote and $399 with two, two-way remotes.
Crimestopper president Howard Miller estimates the two-way confirmation units now represent ten percent of the company's alarm and remote start sales. "But I think the prices will start coming down this year, and, as a result, people will buy more of them," he said. "We expect it to be closer to 20 percent this year."
Miller said Crimestopper will offer a two-way confirmation security system without remote start in the spring. The unit will be an entry-level piece with LEDs rather than an LCD. Called the model 2004TW, it will ship with a two-way remote and a one-way remote at a suggested retail price in the $249 to $269 range.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.