ESA Members Among the 2021 Smart Home Division Mark of Excellence Award Winners and Finalists

ESA Members Among the 2021 Smart Home Division Mark of Excellence Award Winners and Finalists
Jillian Bateman — February 24, 2021

Just as ESA is passionate about security as reflected in one of our most popular hashtags used on social media — #passionatesecurity — the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) is comprised of a community of passionate individuals who believe technology is about changing people’s lives for the better. This is reflected in their Mark of Excellence Awards which are presented on a yearly basis by the Smart Home Division of the association to technology-based manufacturers, distributors and systems integrators from a variety of industries.

This year, several ESA members received recognition:

    • The Nortek Control Builder Services Program won CTA’s “Best Education or Support Program” category. In addition, Nortek Control won CTA’s “Security and Surveillance Product of the Year” with the 2GIG EDGE Panel that offers a simplified user interaction with the panel itself and according to Nortek’s VP of Product Management, Quinto Petrucci: “We’ve taken a giant step forward in using AI technologies that can learn and adapt to the user, rather than the user having to adapt to the technology.”READ MORE ABOUT NORTEK



    • Another ESA Members in the finalist category – “Security and Surveillance Product of the Year” — is Alula with their Slimline Touchpad, a seven-inch, modern touchpad that shows real-time sensor status and delivers a live camera feed and historical video clips.READ MORE ABOUT ALULA



    • Another ESA member, D-Tools, was a finalist for the “Whole-house Control/System Management Product of the Year” category, with their D-Tools Cloud which is a web-based SaaS application that guides users through managing sales prospects, quoting, system design, and procurement.


In the Winner’s Circle

Nortek Logo… and two of the “blue ribbons” go to ESA Member, Nortek Control, for their Builder Services Program and their soon-to-market 2GIG EDGE Panel!

After spending decades working with builders and integrators, Nortek took what they learned, added their technology development expertise and created and launched their Builder Services Program to support builders and designers with professionally installed technologies and systems in new homes and other types of buildings.

“We offer four branded programs for homebuilders and installers: ELAN New Home Program, which launched in 2017; Linear GDO Builder Program; GIG New Home Program powered by; and Linear MDU Multifamily Program,” lists Bret Jacob, director of Builder Services at Nortek.

Security integrators particularly like the program’s “standard offering” approach to technology homebuilding.

“Many integrators want more homebuilders to better understand the value of providing buyers with smart home technology as a standard in their homes,” Jacob explains. “Our programs educate builders on that value, and in exchange for that commitment, we provide a plethora of sales and marketing assets to help them leverage that advantage in their market. This approach significantly increases an integrator’s sell-through to builders and their buyers.”

End-user customers also reap a variety of benefits when integrators choose to participate in the Nortek Control Builder Services Program. An example is one of the ELAN and 2GIG New Home Program’s concepts of New Home Personalization through technology.

“These programs provide homebuyers with an array of pre-engineered lifestyle packages that are designed to easily attach to the ‘standard offerings,’” says Jacob. “This collection of security, control and entertainment packages allow homebuyers to personalize and chose the specific smart home system elements they desire most in their new home.”

The Nortek Control Builder Services Program won CTA’s “Best Education or Support Program” category.

“We have documented four-years of success in working with homebuilders,” Jacobs says. “This program has made it easier for builders to take ownership of professionally installed technologies being deployed into their new home communities and it has helped them leverage these technologies to attract buyers and generate increased sales of their finished product.”

This program is comprehensive, offering all the tools, marketing, products, support and education builders will need. It includes design center training, consulting services, working displays and builder-branded, informational materials along with technology solutions that deliver the smart and connected home experiences new home buyers’ desire.

“ESA members will appreciate how this program makes the process easier, faster and more effective for integrators to create a customized ‘standard’ for every home or building project,” says Jacob, noting how proud Nortek Control is of winning CTA’s education category as it is a testament to how much the company understands the needs of the builder community and how much they look to Nortek as a trusted resource and valued adviser.

2GIG logoIn addition, Nortek Control won CTA’s “Security and Surveillance Product of the Year” with the 2GIG EDGE Panel that offers a simplified user interaction with the panel itself and according to Nortek’s VP of Product Management, Quinto Petrucci: “We’ve taken a giant step forward in using AI technologies that can learn and adapt to the user, rather than the user having to adapt to the technology.”

Nortek started the new year not only with a new product, but with an award-winning product, as well.

“I think it will re-enforce 2GIG’s position as a technology-forward, security innovation leader,” Petrucci predicts. “When we launch the EDGE panel, ESA members will be amazed at the ease of install and its advanced features and extended privacy.”

The 2GIG EDGE Panel was designed for dealers and integrators to have a product to build a compelling message for their customers about why choosing a professionally installed product focused only on their security, comfort and convenience is necessary.

“Winning CTA’s Product of the Year coupled by the overwhelmingly positive feedback we have been getting from our beta users validates the long hours and dedication by the entire 2GIG team, especially during a difficult year,” says Petrucci. “This is not recognition or an accolade you can ‘buy.’ This award acknowledges the best-of-the-best, which is a huge honor.”

The Four Famed Finalists

All CTA Mark of Excellence entries are judged by independent industry experts within the broad spectrum of “technology.” Even though these awards are broken down into categories, it is impossible not to have finalists that offer game-changing products within each category that are comparable to the category winner. took finalist in two CTA Mark of Excellence Award categories — “Security and Surveillance Product of the Year” and “Emerging Home Technologies” — with their Touchless Video Doorbell and Flex IO, respectively.

“The Touchless Video Doorbell is the first commercially available, touch-free video doorbell that rings without requiring any physical contact,” Anne Ferguson, vice president, Marketing,, explains. “When a person stands in a designated area on a doorstep, the doorbell automatically triggers the existing chime in the home.”

This audible ring is enhanced with advanced video analytics that features rapid people detection, mobile notifications and automatic video recording, helping to make home visits and deliveries safer.

“The new Flex IO is a next-generation, battery-powered sensor that works anywhere there’s LTE cellular service,” says Ferguson. “Flex IO operates without a panel, hub or WiFi connection; is weatherproofed for durability; and features an accessory magnetic reed switch. It can be used with a standalone account or added to existing systems.”

Being an award finalist, twice, highlights creativity in and dedication to innovation.

“This is a testament to the hard work our team puts into developing innovative solutions that meet the needs of home and business owners as well as support our partners,” celebrates Ferguson. “It also reinforces the investments we make in R&D, and the value our solutions have in the eyes of the tech world.” anticipates 2021 to be a year of continued growth and adoption of both its Touchless Video Doorbell and Flex IO, crediting product development to the ongoing feedback and collaboration with their partners.

“We invest in our partners and take every opportunity to maximize the value of a partnership with us,” Ferguson comments. “Our innovative solutions and unrivaled customer service and support are cornerstones of our offering to partners.”

It is through strong internal and industry relationships that is able to create products and services that truly serve the market.

Alula logo

Moving on to the next finalist category – “Security and Surveillance Product of the Year” — is ESA member Alula with their Slimline Touchpad, a seven-inch, modern touchpad that shows real-time sensor status and delivers a live camera feed and historical video clips.

“It can be wall or tabletop mounted, and up to four can be placed throughout the home and programmed to act independently,” Brad LaRock, VP of Marketing, Alula, explains. “The Slimline Touchpad instantly modernizes legacy security systems with its ability to replace outdated, push-button keypads on the wall with a modern, app-driven interface that combines security, video and home automation in one — offering total home control.”

Feedback from Alula Pro partners includes the value found in the functionality of the touchpad by literally putting the Slimline Touchpad into the hands of the customers to show them how much interactive control they will have over their smart security system.

“Alula Pro partners recognize its ability to instantly modernize legacy security systems while saving both time and money with efficient installs,” says LaRock.

Alula is committed to continue to innovate throughout 2021, adding features for their Pro partners such as more branding options, additional hardware upgrades and addition two-way talk improvements in the Slimline Touchpad.

“It is an incredible honor to be recognized with the Mark of Excellence award again,” LaRock says. “Between the honors for the BAT-Connect Communicator [recognized in 2020] and now the Slimline Touchpad, we feel we have the best ‘one-two punch’ in the industry for sunset takeovers.”

Snap av + Control4 logo

Joining fellow ESA Members and Alula as a finalist in the “Security and Surveillance Product of the Year” category is Snap AV + Control4 with their Control4 Chime video doorbell that marries security and automation.

“Our partners can build a completely integrated smart home security experience at the front door that activates before their customers ever step inside,” Sr. Director – Security Market at SnapAV + Control4, Clint Choate, explains. “As the first video doorbell solution designed to leverage all capabilities of the Control4 OS 3 smart home platform, our partners can build automated security actions tailored to the customers’ preferences and customize what homeowners can control in their smart home with orchestrated scenes or automated events.”

These actions can happen automatically or be user initiated, and from the Control4 mobile app, homeowners can use their smart phone to answer the door, talk to visitors and receive notifications.

Control4’s Chime video doorbell was launched in the Fall of 2020 and has since received positive feedback from integrators and end-user customers as well as provides the company’s partners with another solution to profitably expand their customers’ Control4 ecosystems.

“Chime is offering a deeper level of integration at the front door that can be customized to any homeowners’ lifestyle,” notes Choate. “Video doorbells are a hot product category right now and with plenty of DIY competition in the market, Chime is a key solution that is helping professional partners engage new and old customers alike.”

SnapAV + Control4 predicts 2021 to continue to see people spending more time at home, prompting them to invest in home technologies for more security and entertainment.

“With ecommerce and contactless delivery at an all-time high, safely and efficiently managing the front door has emerged as a key need for homeowners,” Choate says. “Looking deeper, this nomination is a validation that there is a need for a truly smart video doorbell in the market.”

The goal at SnapAV + Control4 is to deliver the best products and services to support their partners’ business. According to Choate, that means bringing “together the best people, partners and products to deliver joy, safety and connectivity to the world.”

D-Tools logo

The last member finalist category of the CTA Mark of Excellence Awards — “Whole-house Control/System Management Product of the Year” — went to ESA’s First Time Executive Strategic Partner, D-Tools for their D-Tools Cloud, “next-generation software … an easy-to-deploy, web-based solution that drives sales for security and AV system integrators,” Randy Stearns, CEO, D-Tools explains.

D-Tools Cloud offers sales pipeline management, estimating, drag and drop interfacing and more, all of which has garnered positive feedback from integrators and customer end-users.

“One customer recently commented, ‘D-Tools Cloud has been a great investment and contributor to my company’s image,’” says Stearns.

Moving forward, D-Tools plans to offer even more in 2021 by delivering a suite of project planning and execution tools that “move us closer to our goal of providing a complete, end-to-end, web-based solution for the industry,” according to Stearns.

D-Tools Cloud was the only proposal and design solution in the list of CTA finalists and to Stearns, this further validates the team’s vision and mission.

“ … to help sales teams close more business, stay on time and budget for their clients, and improve bottom-line results,” he says.

As a company, D-Tools is dedicated to providing a solution to reduce errors and potential pitfalls associated with completing specialized security integration projects.

“Project accuracy and timeliness are critical for integrators in this industry,” notes Stearns. “As a long-time partner, we look forward to continuing to support ESA and helping its community of dealers generate more revenues and manage projects in a more streamlined fashion, allowing them to consistently deliver successful projects for their clients.”

As for being named a CTA finalist, Stearns says that D-Tools is in great company with other top-notch companies.

A huge congratulations from all of us here at ESA to our member companies:, Alula, D-Tools, Nortek Control and SnapAV + Control 4!