What combats home invasions — a high tech security system or police responsiveness?
High profile firm “fixes home security for good” with proactive and aggressive response to suspicious activity.
Pleasanton is one of Silicon Valley’s, and California’s most upscale neighborhoods. With an average household income of close to $180,000 and medium home values of $1,148,000, the tony enclave attracts Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs eager to enjoy its relaxed suburban vibe. All of which makes it the more disturbing when reality intrudes in the form of a home invasion – complete with guns, masks, and demands for cash, jewelry, and silverware.
When this happened to a family down the street from David Selinger, a former Amazon AI specialist and cofounder of reality website Redfin, he reacted by attending meetings hastily arranged by angry and fearful homeowners.
“I volunteered at the neighborhood watch meeting to do some research and come up with recommendations of what to do,” he recalls. “I was appalled at the technology stagnancy of the home security market, and even more surprised at how little law enforcement was able to use the available solutions.”
After speaking with police he says he was stunned by the statistics they provided him.
“Burglar alarms are 90 percent false alarms, so in most districts, calls to cops are not prioritized. Security cameras are at best only being used to improve reports by adding high-resolution images or videos of the suspect,” he says.
Other research he conducted told him there are over 2 million home burglaries annually and nearly a third of consumers had packages ripped off from their front porches in 2017.
As a seasoned technologist and serial entrepreneur, the Amazon alum saw firsthand how existing technological innovations weren’t being brought to bear to protect America’s roughly 120 million homes. But mostly, he knew he was looking squarely in the face of massive opportunity. Parks Associates, an IoT market research firm based in Dallas, is projecting that 27% of U.S. households will have security systems by 2021.
Just two years after the 2016 crime which got his undivided attention, his Deep Sentinel startup is bringing to market what many analysts say is the most advanced home security system available today. The shocking statistics he uncovered in his quest to protect his own family are now repurposed as sales pitches: “One American home is burglarized every 9 seconds” the Deep Sentinel website warns visitors.
Designed in partnership with Ammunition, a hot industrial design shop in San Francisco, the next gen wireless cameras are intentionally high profile in comparison to typically discreet “eye in the sky” closed circuit cameras and provide the monitoring service with the ability to aggressively respond to trespassers. When suspicious activity is detected, a red strobe light flashes and the “industry’s loudest siren” (104 decibels) howls. LiveSentinel agents in the monitoring center can immediately communicate verbal warnings to anyone within earshot.
“No one shouts ‘Stop!’ like we do” promises marketing materials.
Not only do the Deep Sentinel cameras break the mold with their prominent visibility, they up the bar in durability and performance. Housed in tough waterproof casings, the monitoring software can recognize objects as either human or animal and distinguish harmless motion from suspicious behavior.
The payoff of all the advanced technology, Mr. Salinger says, is “top priority treatment” from law enforcement. Deep Sentinel claims response times are typically between 10 to 30 seconds, 70% better on average than with the competition.
Considering the proactive nature of the service one must ask themselves; is quicker police response the future of the home security industry?
Consumers are increasingly choosing DIY home security over traditional professional installation
Higher awareness of new options in home security also benefits alarm companies when consumers decide to “go pro” with installation and monitoring services
More consumers are protecting their homes with security than ever, and when they do, an increasing number are purchasing DIY devices instead of counting on professional installation and monitoring. That’s just one of the findings in ‘Connected Trends & Disruption in Home Security’, a just-released study from Parks Associates, a consumer research firm based in Dallas. The same report also found that “low end” priced monitoring is having a similarly disruptive effect on the residential security market as popular DIY products such as Nest Secure and the Ring Alarm Security System.
“Self-install security systems have made a mark,” said Dina Abdelrazik, a senior analyst at Parks Associates. “Professional installation continues to be the dominant choice for home security systems, but self-installation continues to experience growth.”
However, traditional alarm companies still dominate the market and the surge in DIY systems has a beneficial boomerang effect when consumers find self-installation too complex or time-consuming.
“From our data, on average, consumers spend 4 hours or more installing their DIY security system in the home – that is a very long time,” Ms. Abdelrazik added. “So the market with these types of devices tends to push toward ‘Do it For Me,’ if it is taking too long, or if there is customer frustration.”
Data collected by telephone survey showed that by the end of 4Q 2018, 28% of U.S. households with broadband connectivity have an active security system, up from 25 from the year before. Of those, 24% reported that they have professional monitoring. However, the trend is continuing to favor DIY; 52% of households that are “highly likely” to buy a security system within the next 12 months say they will go with one which can be self-installed. The number of households with an interest in purchasing a security system is holding steady at 15%, roughly the same as last year.
“Self-installed security solutions have the potential to significantly lower the cost of security and, in doing so, expand the market beyond that which is currently serviced by the professionally monitored security industry,” she said. “It is complementary as well as a threat in a way that consumers don’t want to spend too much on a security system. So one of the leading concerns or causes for consumers to cancel their professional monitored subscription is because the fees are too high. The same study also found that approximately a third of security system owners have a camera, and 25% say they have a video doorbell or smart door lock.
As for the future prospects for professional installers and alarm monitoring firm, Ms. Abdelrazik says they should take the long view.
“There will always be that ‘Do it For Me’ market for consumers who want that 24/7 protection and peace of mind, and consumers understand and trust their traditional security provider to maintain and protect their home,” she stated. “So they are going to be in the market for a very long time.”
In terms of raising awareness, she noted, “It is complementary as well as a threat in a way that consumers don’t want to spend too much on a security system. So one of the leading concerns or causes for consumers to cancel their professional monitored subscription is because the fees are too high. So you see other players coming into the market with disruptively low fees and consumers might look at a DIY system to purchase instead to lower those fees if they are price sensitive, for example. But it is also raising awareness because consumers may buy that device and say, ‘It is self-monitored and only creating awareness in my home but want to take it a step further with 24-7 monitoring around my home,’ — so it is raising awareness while competing with traditional players.”
Abdelrazik added, “There will always be that ‘Do it For Me’ market for consumers who want that 24-7 protection and peace of mind, and consumers understand and trust their traditional security provider to maintain and protect their home. So they are going to be in the market for a very long time.”