How video surveillance fits into the home

Our roundtable panel looks at issues of privacy, cost, verification and RMR

Nilsson: I agree; privacy is an issue. Do you really want to have a camera in your home when you know an unknown person is monitoring it? There are a few ways around it, for example to have the camera only viewable when there is an alarm, or making sure that only the user can monitor the live and recorded video.

Dop: Privacy is a huge issue and unless it is addressed adequately, I believe that video will never move into the private, residential living space. Videofied deals with this issue by separating surveillance and security. There is no "look-in" or nanny-cam option with our video security system. The camera is activated by the motion sensor, and the motion sensor is only on when the system is armed. Thus, our cameras are only on during an alarm. This is much different than a system based upon IP cameras. IP cameras are always filming and wireless IP cameras are always filming and broadcasting - a difficult sell for privacy. We think the "guaranteed privacy" approach is the absolute best way to deal with this.

Klinger: We need to confront the issue of customer concerns regarding strangers gaining access to their secure video solutions. We don't do ourselves any favor by having some dealers encouraging end-users to use DIY video solutions that don't have the type of security, authentication and encryption that more established security product manufacturers can provide. We can move beyond these issues by really educating consumers about the security features that are available on high quality video solutions manufactured by Honeywell and others. In other cases, installers need to become more educated on how to deploy safer and more secure solutions. Recent advances in technology now make it possible to deploy very secure systems that will thwart even to most arduous hackers. In addition, the whole industry needs to be able to talk intelligently to customers about the protections -- from both a policy perspective and a technology perspective -- that exist to prevent a rogue employee from being able gain unauthorized access to their secure video solution.

Price is probably going to be the second objection, since there is a perception that video surveillance is very expensive. Is there a price point where this technology could be quickly adopted by the middle class, not just the wealthy? As an industry are we yet at that price point or are we even close?

Klinger: Obviously a difficult question, as there are so many choices and options that effect price... We believe that a "typical" system that costs under $2,000 professionally installed with at least two cameras, which provides local or remote event archiving and logging and is viewable from outside the home, can be a successful residential solution for large groups of end-users. However, we should acknowledge that price can vary widely depending on quality, features, number of cameras, etc.

Dop: We also believe that a video security system complete and installed for less than $2,000 is viable right now, especially in markets with slow police response. There is, however, a much larger market once the price drops below $1,000.

Nilsson: Network camera today cost as little as $100, but the biggest cost normally is the monitoring service which can cost from $10 to $25 per month. I think the price is less of an objection at this point, I have seen some services where a camera is given for free if the user signs up for a two-year monitoring contract of $10 per month, and I believe that is the right price point to address the mass market.

What do you feel is the best model for revenue on this residential video technology? Do you see a recurring monthly revenue model in the works?

Nilsson: Some kind of monthly monitoring fee is what customer have become used to with alarm monitoring, and I think we will see the same model with video monitoring.

Klinger: Professional security installers can use residential video to increase their monthly monitoring fees and really provide a service that will help reduce attrition. We find that end users who have a video solution installed typically are very satisfied with the convenience and comfort that it provides. Very few of those customers that ultimately have these systems installed would ever choose to live in a home without the feature.