Oplink enters home security market with DIY alarm system

Oct. 31, 2013
Company to offer a variety of system kits to meet customer needs

The residential security industry is not uncharted territory for do-it-yourself solutions - whether it’s consumer grade video surveillance cameras, motion detectors or alarm panels – a number of companies have offered a variety of DIY products through the years. However, cloud-based security services provider Oplink Security has started rolling out a new suite of home security systems for do-it-yourselfers that it hopes will be a game changer for the market.

“The reason why we launched into this business is we saw that there are a lot of home security providers out there. They are well-established companies, very popular companies but… we saw some opportunities because we believe that there is kind of an underserved market out there,” said Jim Campbell, vice president of marketing for Oplink Security. “Today’s security systems, they’re pretty expensive. You’re going to be paying anywhere from the high 20s for a short period of time, but up into the 50 and 60 dollar range for monthly (monitoring) fees for a lot of these companies and they all require some level of professional installation.”  

According to Campbell, the company’s DIY, plug-and-play systems are available in several different kits depending on the needs of the customer with monthly monitoring rates starting at $9.99 per month for the basic AlarmShield package. Rates for the TripleShield package, the company’s higher end offering that includes two video cameras, is $19.99 a month. The suggested retail price for AlarmShield is $149 and $299 for TripleShield.  

“The kits are configured differently. The TripleShield kit includes two window/door sensors, a motion detector, the (alarm) gateway that ties the system to our cloud service, as well as two key fobs, a siren and two IP cameras,” said Evan Tree, vice president of business development for Oplink Security. “When you pick that thing up and take it home, you have an entire system that is already configured. Literally, all you have to do is power up the devices and give them a name and your system is up and running. We have very detailed instructions on how people can set this system up and install each of the devices themselves. We also have a full support team on staff, not outsourced, actually internal technical people that will be helping customers.”

Campbell added that Oplink’s security systems are self-monitoring and controlled by the customer using their cellphone.

“The system is designed to where our customers effectively become an operator for their own system if you will,” said Tree. “We will have the professional, UL-listed central station dispatch available to the customers, but what we do is our cloud service sends the signal through the cloud to the customer base and their authorized users so they can instantly know that the alarm went off and they can use the video portion of our service to verify whether or not that was a legitimate alarm. At that point, they can either cancel the alarm or they can confirm the dispatch, in which case the signal will be relayed through to the central station for immediate dispatch because the operator at that point doesn’t have to call the homeowner because they’re the one sending the verified dispatch through.”

Campbell said one of the problems that Oplink wanted to solve when they first started exploring the idea of entering the home security market was how to eliminate false dispatches which has been the bane of many police departments across the country.

“Our stats show that 92 percent of all alarm calls are false,” added Campbell. “There’s obviously a huge cost not only to the consumer, because they are now, in many cases, having to pay for those false alarms, but there is also a big burden on law enforcement. “        

Because Oplink’s systems are less expensive in terms of cost of ownership than ones that are professionally installed, Campbell believes there is “significant portion” of market share that they can cut into.

“The way that we’re making money is obviously through the hardware sell, but also through monthly recurring revenue with our fee,” said Campbell. “We really think we have sort of a disruptive channel strategy in that you can buy this at a Target, you could buy it at a grocery store if you wanted to and certainly places like Best Buy, Home Depot and that sort of thing. We’re also seeing a lot of traction with the independent wireless retailers that are out there.

“Obviously, if you’re paying $50 to $70 a month, that’s a lot of money for everybody these days, but for a significant segment of the population it’s too much money. We think we’ve really broadened that market and opened it up to a much larger audience.”

According to Tree, Oplink’s home security systems use Wi-Fi as their primary alarm signal communication method with a 3G option as a backup.  

Oplink Security is a division of Oplink Communications, which specializes in fiber optic networking solutions. Based in Fremont, Calif., Oplink Communications is a publicly-traded company and has more than 3,000 employees worldwide.  

“We have a lot of technology that applies to cloud-based technologies, networking and plug-and-play technology as well, so (Oplink Security) was an idea that sprung from a lot of the technology that we had,” explained Campbell.  “Talking to our customers and the fact that we realize security is such a big issue, although residential home security is much different from network security, we kind of had this security mindset and this technology foundation that made us want to get into this industry.”

There are also no service contracts with any of Oplink’s systems and customers can cancel their service at anytime without a fee. According to Campbell, the systems are just now beginning to hit store shelves and the warehouses of online retailers and will be available more widely later this year.

About the Author

Joel Griffin | Editor-in-Chief, SecurityInfoWatch.com

Joel Griffin is the Editor-in-Chief of SecurityInfoWatch.com, a business-to-business news website published by Endeavor Business Media that covers all aspects of the physical security industry. Joel has covered the security industry since May 2008 when he first joined the site as assistant editor. Prior to SecurityInfoWatch, Joel worked as a staff reporter for two years at the Newton Citizen, a daily newspaper located in the suburban Atlanta city of Covington, Ga.