Interview with Jim Johnson, President and CEO of uControl
TechAddress: Tell me a bit about your company, what it does and what’s your value proposition?
uControl: uControl is a new home security service for consumers who demand greater security, control and flexibility in protecting their homes and families. uControl connects to existing alarm systems, communicates status over three redundant connections (broadband, cellular and telephone) and offers remote access and control so you can monitor your home security from the Web or a cell phone.
uControl provides traditional alarm monitoring services consumers expect, plus offers additional features and services – at a lower monthly fee than what traditional alarm companies charge today.
TechAddress: What makes your company stand apart from your competitors?
uControl: uControl is the only company to offer three redundant connections to the home security system. In addition, uControl continuously monitors all three communication channels to ensure our customers are always connected with the monitoring centers. If any of these connections should fail, uControl will notify the user instantly via any pre-configured communication methods such as email or SMS.
uControl is the only company to connect with most existing, already installed alarm equipment in the home, leveraging the investment consumers have already made. As part of its standard service and fee, uControl offers virtual security through its remote access portal as part of its standard service and fee. uControl is one of only a few home security companies that works with VoIP and cell-phone-only homes since it’s not dependent on traditional phone lines, which are easily cut by intruders.
TechAddress: What are some of the main features?
Always-on physical connectivity:
- Three redundant connections (broadband, cellular, telephone)
- Two-way connections from home to uControl and from uControl to the home
- Arm, disarm, and control home security features anytime, anywhere
- Use Web browser, cell phone, mobile device to manage home security
- Customized notification
Compatible with already-installed alarm systems:
- Consumers connect uControl Link to existing alarm system control panel
- Works with existing keypads, sensors, controllers
Equipped for tomorrow’s homes:
- Compatible with VoIP, cell-phone-only and broadband homes
- Includes broadband Ethernet and WiFi interfaces
- Compatible with home automation technologies such as Z-Wave or ZigBee
TechAddress: Who’s your target customer or audience?
uControl: The 26 million homes with already installed alarm system equipment. Our marketing will focus on families, single women, professionals who travel, and owners of second/vacation homes.
TechAddress: Any new things in particular that you’re working on right now?
uControl: We are continuing our beta tests for compatibility with additional alarm system equipment.
TechAddress: Where do you see your company heading in the future?
uControl: uControl will launch its service nationally in January 2007. By the end of 2007, uControl expects to be among the top 20 alarm companies in the United States. We also plan to introduce new home automation features that are easily implemented with the uControl Link, such as remote temperature and lighting controls, to our customers in 2007.
TechAddress: Any negative feedback or criticism regarding technology and services?
TechAddress: So what would you say is the guiding principle behind your company?
uControl: To provide the best home security service for consumers, including providing excellent customer service and tech support, as well as offering new features and technologies that will continue to improve home security but also make home automation accessible and affordable to most consumers.
TechAddress: What is the mission of your company and what are you bringing to the market that is innovative?
uControl: uControl is committed to providing an enhanced home security solution for consumers who expect more for their monthly alarm monitoring fee – better security, personalized notification and alarm options, anytime-anywhere control, and ease of use. And we make this easy by offering a product that is compatible and familiar to consumers with existing alarm equipment already in the home.
We are providing standard alarm company services, including monitoring by UL-licensed centers that dispatch fire and police, but are also offering many new features that are compatible with VoIP, digital phones and home automation technologies such as Z-Wave and ZigBee.
TechAddress: Where are you in terms of funding and your lifecycle?
uControl: Self funded, seeking Series A.
TechAddress: If your technology or service is not formally launched yet, when’s the launch date?
uControl: uControl service is available in November in many states, and available nationally in January.
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