Fairfax County is command post for Alarm.com’s smarter home and business security-services business
Tysons-based Alarm.com is a smart home and business technology company that creates tech services to deepen the connection between people and the things they care about the most: their families, homes and business. Alarm.com provides millions of people worldwide with better security, intelligent automation and dependable service. The company’s services are sold, set up and supported by a national network of authorized service providers.
Jeff Bedell talks about Alarm.com in this FCEDA Innovation Series video
E-Bird Extra caught up with the chief strategy and innovation officer of Alarm.com, Jeff Bedell, to learn more about the company that DC Inno called one of the coolest in the Washington area — and how Fairfax County and the Washington area are a great draw for the talent the company wants to hire.
E-Bird Extra: What does Alarm.com do?
Jeff Bedell: Alarm.com is an innovator in the smart home and smart business space. We build web and mobile-based apps for business owners or homeowners so that they can monitor and manage their home or business. Our technology integrates with lights, locks and thermostats, video doorbells, video cameras, garage door openers, water sensors — a whole variety of connected devices that are all integrated in one cloud-based platform.
Extra: Who are your primary customers?
Bedell: We have a belief that the service provider partners — a traditional security provider — is an integral part of providing a connected home solution. So, the best smart home security solutions are going to be provided by professionals. Our customers are those professionals. We go to market indirectly through our service provider partners and we have more than 8,000 service provider partners. Then those provider partners are enabling smart accounts, either homes or businesses, and our technology is used in over 6 million end-consumer accounts.
Extra: What is the differentiator for Alarm.com from other home security and monitoring companies?
Bedell: What differentiates us from other solutions is, first and foremost, is a technology differentiation. Our cloud-based solution uses a secure cellular-based communication path. We have innovated in this space to provide the best-in-class analytics technology so that we can provide the smartest alerts and sensors that are coming off of the property. We have the best integrated platform between video access control and an intrusion system. Lastly, we have built our systems to help a service provider partner to provide an integrated solution. So the consumer, if they choose, can actually get the full benefit of working with a managed service provider and not have do it on their own.
Extra: How many employees do you have and are they all on this site?
Bedell: Alarm.com has more than 1,000 employees. Over 600 of those are headquartered in Tysons, including several hundred in our R&D function, working on hardware and software innovations.
Extra: What do you consider the most innovative aspect of your company?
Bedell: The most innovative aspect of the company is that we’ve disrupted an existing set of technologies by cloud-enabling them and bringing an ability for a homeowner or a business owner to remotely manage their property. We have innovated in the field of hardware and software as well as communications with a cellular based technology path. Largely the company’s ethos is really about building better technology and building a more secure platform for the smart homeowner or a smart business owner.
Extra: Why is Fairfax County a good place for your company to do business?
Bedell: Fairfax is a great place for the business because of its access to many great universities. It’s got great infrastructure. I mean, right here we’re close to a lot of airports and we’re close to downtown Washington, D.C., all of which is very attractive. We recruit a lot of engineering talent from local universities as well as universities that aren’t so local. This area, the Washington metropolitan area, is a great draw just based on the different varieties of places people can live and the close infrastructure that’s available.
Extra: Related to that, why do you think Northern Virginia is such a popular place to live, work and play?
Bedell: I think Fairfax County is an increasingly popular place to work and to live because of the variety of options that are in close proximity to Washington, as well as increasing options outside of the D.C. area. So, if you want a farm, you can live farther west and then we’re also close to the D.C. tech corridor and all the advantages that brings.
Extra: CNBC recently released a study citing Virginia as the top state in the country to do business. How do you think Fairfax County has contributed to that status?
Bedell: Fairfax County is really a business hub in Virginia and arguably the tech center in Virginia. And so, as a technology company, it’s great because it has great access to the infrastructure and it’s a place where we can recruit top engineering talent to come.
Extra: DC Inno recently listed Alarm.com as one of the coolest companies in the D.C. area. Can you talk about what that means for the company and if it’s an important factor for a workforce?
Bedell: Alarm.com is one of the coolest companies in the area because we are an innovator in technology. We hire very smart individuals who want to come work here. We spend a lot of effort and focus on building a team-centric culture. We put investments into creating a fresh and fun atmosphere in the work, in the workplace and in our offices, and generally we’re working on very cool technology. We’re on the cutting edge of hardware and software and cloud-based technology. The Internet-of-Things is the leading edge of technology right now, and I think that all contributes to having it as a great place to work.
Extra: Could you tell us more about your headquarters here in Tysons?
Bedell: Alarm.com has been based in Tysons since its inception. In 2015, we moved into our current headquarters where a key objective was to not only get everybody in the same facility, but create a facility that was really conducive to innovation and culture-building. So we’ve invested in not only areas that that are great for socialization and internal events, but also top-line facilities for technology development. For a technology company, the power of ideas is all about innovation. It’s about creating something that either improves upon or wholly innovates something that existed before.
The initial inception that Alarm.com had was to provide and build an interactive security solution to replace what we call the legacy-based security solution that doesn’t have any visibility when you’re outside the home. So, we brought web-based mobile-based applications over a cellular connection. Those initial ideas were the whole reason the company was formed. Since then, we’ve innovated and are continually looking for ways of improving the solution and then advanced it to other areas of the connected or Internet-of-Things market, which include business and include wellness, aging in place, energy solutions and many more.
Extra: What is the Alarm.com demo house?
Bedell: The Alarm.com platform has expanded to the point where we felt obligated to build a demonstration house. So, we purchased a house in Falls Church and outfitted it with every technology and service the Alarm.com offers so we could really provide a showcase and demonstrate what a top-class smart home looks like.
Find out more at www.alarm.com.