Video Surveillance at Home

I got an email earlier today with an interview request from a Baltimore newspaper that was covering ADT's Videoview system for residential video surveillance. I sent the reporter these thoughts, but I wanted to share them with our readers. In sum, residential video surveillance is an enormous growth area for our industry, and here are a few of my thoughts on what is needed and what will come down the pipe... 

I don’t think there is anything brand new about this, but what I think products like Safewatch Videoview from ADT get right is that they make it easy on the customer to get the visual information they want from their home when they can’t be there. One upside to something like Safewatch is that this pulls together what otherwise might be a lot of disparate systems. For years, there were baby room monitors sold separately, plus driveway monitors sold separately, even small surveillance cameras that many years ago would tie-in with a homeowner’s VCR system. With the Video View platform, these kind of systems are all integrated together; making all of that data available from each point. That kind of functionality has been available for years in the commercial market, but it’s significant that this kind of technology is making its way into the residential world.

An additional strength on this equipment is that users can tie it in with an alarm system so if a burglar sensor like a motion detector is tripped, it can send a video clips of what the nearest camera saw. Secondly, the system supports remote access, which is vital in today’s mobile, on-the-go world. Frankly, remote access to video should really be a pre-requisite for any homeowners considering video security at a residence. What good is a system for video recording if you can’t access the video from your office to know that your daughter just made it home from school safely?

These kind of professional residential video surveillance products are taking off first in high-end homes and at second homes/vacation homes. However, as prices drop and as residential security systems installers become more familiar with video surveillance, you’re going to see products like this become much more commonplace.

The one thing our industry will have to overcome will be privacy concerns. Many homeowners will not feel comfortable having cameras around them at all times. Additionally, despite the secure transfer of this data over the web with password protection to view it, I think people still will wonder how secure their online video connections are, or whether someone could access their system.

What is next for this type of stuff? I think you’re going to see more security companies develop similar packages and use platforms like this – and they will offer web-access to video information plus web access of other home data. Not only would you be able to get the video footage, but while you’re online, you could check your temperature on your programmable thermostat; check to see that your alarm system is armed, see a log of alarm system data (when it was armed, who armed it), maybe even adjust the schedule on a programmable yard sprinkler system. In the future, I see some of these businesses moving from security monitoring into the broader arena of home services monitoring.