How video surveillance fits into the home

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

Dop: We see that video security monitoring is selling for around $10/month in incremental RMR. Because there are no DVRs or special operator training, this type of video security requires very little extra effort or cost at the central station and can be a real money-maker. The alarm comes in with the 10 second video of what caused it - that simple.

In your opinion, how much of a factor will alarm verification play into adoption of residential video surveillance? Wouldn't that effectively require a camera near every sensor?

Dop: Depending upon the legislative pressures it may very well require a camera per sensor. This is obviously the ideal solution. In fact, that is what we provide at Videofied. A camera is integrated into every motion sensor; every motion sensor is verified by video.

Nilsson: It would require a camera near every sensor. Alarm verification has been discussed for a long time, and if it happens it will drive home monitoring.

Klinger: Although we're examining the role of residential video in alarm verification, we typically don't see many dealers adopting widespread video surveillance as a solution - because of technology limitations and privacy concerns. We're looking at next generation video solutions that would lower costs for installing more cameras in the home and would expect future generations of alarm consumers to have less qualms about privacy concerns.

Is there a point where we hit information overload on the consumer -- where they have too many technologies vying for their time?

Nilsson: Typically when someone installs a video monitoring service they will look at the video a few times a day. After a while it is down to only a few times a month. In a smart system with sensors and intelligent video, no one would really be required to monitor the video. Technology will always get more and more advanced, providing us with more options but it also aims at simplifying our lives. We all have more information that we can deal with at our fingertips; the challenge is to get the right information at the right time, and intelligent video can help accomplish that,

Klinger: A lot of times, we bombard customers with buying options at a time when they're least able to make a decision - for example, when they're buying a house, when they're moving, when they've suffered a break-in. We see different technologies being important to consumers at different points in their lives. As an industry, we should determine those life events that cause consumers to consider buying an alarm system or installing a residential video solution and support and inform them during that period.

That being said, the buying profile is gradually evolving to the segment commonly referred to as "Generation Xers." These individuals have grown up with technology, and typically use it as an important component to their everyday lifestyle. Generally classified as "first-time home buyers", this group will demand more technology in their homes, and are most likely to forgo granite countertops and solid wooden cabinets in favor of high-tech gadgets to enhance and their lifestyle and provide new types of information at their fingertips.

What were once considered "options" or "upgrades" are beginning to evolve into standard offerings builders use to differentiate their communities to the targeted audience. Technology has become more affordable, and user-friendly. We are truly on the cusp of the residential technology revolution.

Dop: I think that this "information overload" issue is more problematic with complex solutions integrating multiple products and multiple vendors. It really is not an issue with a single device that sends video of what caused the alarm. It is simple to explain and simple to demonstrate.