Welcome back to the #POWERLEADERS series where I get to interview or profile leaders in the tech industry. Those who can't do, teach, so I get to live my love of tech through those doing, making and creating.
Next up is Ron Lazarus, chief operating officer of New Cosmos USA, Inc, the parent company of DeNova Detect. He is a well-known leader in the utility space and most recently is leading the charge on natural gas safety products.
With generative AI and LLL dominating tech headlines, it's still important to take a look at consumer tech that is impactful to our everyday lives. As a homeowner and parent, I discovered the company and Ron as I was learning more about smarthome safety tech.
The company was recently featured as the first natural gas alarm on the Amazon Sidewalk.
Let's jump in:
SE: What innovations are you bringing to your industry? What sets you apart from your competitors?
RL: New Cosmos has been the world leader in gas detection and technology since 1964, introducing the first residential gas alarm in the world and selling over 70 million gas alarms worldwide. I’m proud to say we continue to lead today with our newest DeNova Detect natural gas alarm product line. Our new DeNova Detect alarm is the only residential battery-powered wireless natural gas alarm in the U.S. It’s also the only residential natural gas alarm with zero cost of ownership after initial purchase, multi-language voice alerts, and the ability to alert at the 10% LEL threshold. In addition to being first to market, we also just announced that our DeNova Detect natural gas alarms are the first and only residential battery-powered wireless natural gas alarm to integrate with Amazon Sidewalk.
SE: What is a recent win or announcement your company just celebrated? Why does it matter?
RL: We’re celebrating the recent announcement of integrating our DeNova Detect life-saving natural gas alarms with Amazon Sidewalk. This never before seen integration matters because it protects people and property from the dangerous and even deadly impacts of an undetected natural gas leak with accurate, real-time alerts.
Our alarms detect natural gas emergencies 11 minutes faster than traditional sensors, and alerts are sent in real-time across text, phone, and email.
Now, multiple natural gas alarm wireless devices can be connected to each other no matter where the leak is in your house, which means your family and property are protected in ways never offered before.
SE: What pain point(s) does your company solve?
RL: Natural gas alarms are now an essential part of a Smart Home. First and foremost, we are providing the first battery-powered residential gas alarm. Our thoughtful battery-powered design allows the alarms to be placed close to the ceiling where natural gas rises and accumulates, eliminating the need for an outlet and ensuring more rapid detection. Thanks to Amazon Sidewalk, the seamless connectivity across multiple alarms also ensures you are notified of a leak, no matter where it is in your home or property. This technology provides a new level of safety so families can feel protected knowing they will receive accurate, early warnings, even if away from home.
SE: What are your company’s industry major challenges right now?
RL: I can’t stress enough how important it is to raise awareness of the dangers of natural gas leaks and the need for industry leaders to provide a common-sense approach to natural gas safety. Another major challenge is the current lack of legislation requiring natural gas alarms.
At New Cosmos, we advocate for natural gas alarm legislation similar to nationwide smoke and carbon monoxide alarm laws, which keep people and property safe.
I have seen news reports of communities honoring and remembering victims of natural gas explosions. Still, little has been done to move the needle on natural gas safety from a legislative standpoint. It’s time to take natural gas safety seriously to prevent tragedies like these from happening again.
SE: What stories aren’t currently being told about your industry that your customers should know?
RL: Consumers need to understand that if they want a safe and smart home, they need natural gas alarms, not just carbon monoxide and smoke alarms.
The recent residential gas explosions due to winter weather storms are a great example.
Residential gas meters were being damaged by ice and snow, which caused gas leaks and even explosions in homes. If residents had natural gas alarms in their homes, they could have been notified of a leak.
Also, consumers should note that the NFPA 715 recommends the installation of natural gas alarms in every location where a gas appliance exists, including the clothes dryer, water heater, furnace, gas fireplaces, and cooking appliances.
In the US, gas explosions happen every other day, so safety truly starts with your decision to be prepared and protected with a natural gas alarm.
SE: How do you envision your business changing in the next 3-5 years?
RL: Everyone knows I am deeply passionate about natural gas safety. I envision a world where more people are embracing it, and I believe we are already making that happen. Thanks to the Amazon Sidewalk integration, more people are learning about natural gas safety and how to install natural gas alarms. We’ll be launching the consumer product line this year and really excited for people to have access to this smart home technology that could save their lives. In the coming years, we’ll also see an increasing number of utilities stepping up to provide natural gas alarms to their customers. Finally, as we continue raising awareness of the positive benefits of natural gas safety, more states will pass legislation requiring the installation of natural gas alarms in residential and commercial applications to protect lives.
SE: What changes do you think are necessary for your industry to stay competitive in current economic times?
RL: It all comes back to education. The industry must focus on educating consumers on the importance of choosing the best quality natural gas alarm that meet safety and quality standards, like the UL and ETL certification marks. There are companies out there that offer cheaper alarms, but don’t meet the standard or recommended installation locations. For gas alarms, products must meet the UL 1484 Gas Alarm Standard. Consumers should understand that since natural gas rises, having a battery-powered device (not a plug-in) is essential to place near the ceiling. The industry also needs to find solutions to increase component availability. There will be an increase in demand for natural gas alarms due to raised awareness, new legislation requiring gas alarms, and more connectivity options like Amazon Sidewalk. Component availability is essential to meet this demand and keep people safe.
SE: What measures has your organization taken to ensure you're driving towards the most important goals?
RL: Whenever there is a natural gas explosion, all I can think about are the lives lost, the families impacted, the communities shaken, and the significant, unexpected costs. This is all preventable if we begin to understand and prioritize natural gas safety more. As a country, we must ban together to get the word out that we already have a solution with natural gas alarms and now we need to implement it. Our current goals are to raise natural gas safety awareness and continue to provide innovative products that save lives. We are currently working with legislators and utility leaders nationwide to advocate for natural gas safety. And, of course, we are developing and launching cost-effective, long-term product solutions such as the most recent first ever gas alarm integration with Amazon Sidewalk and our upcoming ten year consumer product line that can be used by consumers, businesses, and utilities.