Alarm.com gets into remote security video

Alarm.com, a Virginia-based company known for providing wireless and web-connected security communications and monitoring for GE alarm systems, is tossing its hat into the ring for remote video security.

The company has joined the field with an offering called Alarm.com Video which links video surveillance with an alarm trigger or an in-camera motion detection trigger.

Customers will not only be able to receive the video clips to their smart phones and PDAs, but can also use the Internet to log into their accounts to see live video and to play back video recorded previously based on an alarm.

The technology of the solution is IP connected. It uses Alarm.com's IP cameras (both fixed and pan-tilt cameras) and also an IP video server (a.k.a. encoder) which allows common analog security cameras to work with the company's offering. A previous offering of this technology had seen Alarm.com use Panasonic cameras, but according to Alarm.com's V.P. of Product Management Alison Slavin, the company decided to specify and develop its own cameras that are tailored for remote video transmission, motion detection, video buffering and automatic adjustment for bandwidth.

The video isn't stored at the client's home or business in a traditional DVR model. Rather the video cameras send data directly to Alarm.com's data center where it is recorded upon demand. The system can support up to eight cameras, although a typical residential installation may only feature 2 or 3 cameras. The customer can access video at up to a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels, and the system automatically adjusts camera's frame transmission rate to pattern the customer's available bandwidth.

Unlike "always on" cameras, Slavin notes that these cameras aren't using up a home or business owner's bandwidth 24x7. The cameras only send video upon request or upon an alarm. Additionally, the cameras can use what's known as "masking technology", such that the user can personalize the cameras' motion detection process. Slavin notes that the camera can be configured such that motion detection triggers wouldn't be tripped, for example, by the limbs of a tree moving outside a window.

"Our customers and dealers have been asking for a cost effective, easy to use, digital age video service that works seamlessly with Alarm.com's core technology," said Slavin. "People didn’t need hours and hours of recording of nothing significant. What they really wanted was recordings of when something did happen."

The solution is being sold by Alarm.com dealers, including Vector Security and about 25 other dealers who were part of the technology's soft launch earlier this year.

The company lists over 800 licensed dealers, and according to Slavin, those dealers can easily enter this program after an online training and testing session. The solution offers dealers an RMR model, whereby dealers are reselling the equipment and a monthly service fee. Dealers who wish to tie in the video offering with an alarm system will also need to be GE Security dealers, since the Alarm.com transmission system is designed for GE Simon, Concord and NetworX type systems).

While the video system is web-based, Slavin says that the Alarm.com solution is designed so that the dealer does not have to host the video and deal with user access themselves. Customers would be able to access the system directly from Alarm.com or from a portion of the dealer's website which moves the customers into Alarm.com's own site.

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