Woman ipad
Perspectives

Do Homeowners Get their Video’s Worth?

Greg Baldauf, VP Strategic Alliances

Last week, I talked about how small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) face large challenges and whether they are getting value from their video recordings.  This week, I want to ask the same question for homeowners.  Are they getting their videos worth in the home?

Ask anyone in the industry, and they’ll tell you that IP cameras are one of the fastest growing categories in consumer electronics, both as a stand-alone single point camera solution, or part of a monitored home security offering. SDM presents great perspectives on the role of IP cameras in the residential market in this article.

The list of reasons why consumers buy a security camera is long and wide, but a common theme for the purchase is peace of mind. A security camera should be able to fulfill this promise because it allows people to:

  • Know what’s going on in their home
  • Gain a sense of security
  • Be alerted when something goes wrong
  • And, with mobile phones, check in from anywhere, anytime…

But do the cameras really fulfill all of these promises?  Unfortunately, I say they don’t….

If you watch almost any commercial for a home security camera, the focus of the marketing message is on the high level critical value propositions stated above, plus more.

Things get complicated when the camera technology cannot fully deliver on either the promises made by the manufacturer, or the expectations of the consumer.  Motion detection capabilities in a camera do exactly what they are supposed to do…. detect motion.  Unfortunately, the camera does not have the ability to understand the relevance of the motion it’s detecting, so it sends an alert accordingly.  It could be the family, the pets, trees blowing in the wind, light changes, etc. They detect and alert on ALL motion, not just the motion the owner wants to know about.

Upon setting up a security camera in a home, most consumers are excited to get that first alert come across the phone indicating the camera detected motion.  More often than not, Mom and Dad are telling the kids to go wave at the camera.  Bzzzz!  Your phone notifies you motion was detected. Hurrah!!

Several days, or weeks later, after getting 20, 30, and sometimes 40 or more push notifications that your family and pets have walked in front of the camera, the homeowner gets frustrated, and ends up turning the alert capability off.

I saw this exact consumer behavior pattern in my prior platform, and have heard the same from other platform providers. Once notifications are disabled, one of the very core reasons a consumer bought the camera to begin with goes away, and the expected value is no longer there.

  • Rather than detect only motion, what if the camera could detect people, animals, vehicles, or more importantly, trusted family members?
  • What if you only got alerts when the dog got on the couch, but not when your kids walked through the living room?
  • What if you got an alert when a burglar was actually in your home rather than a trusted family member?
  • What if you could see a 1 minute video summary of all of the activity in the home, and if you saw something of interest, you could stop and go to the original video from earlier in the day.

These capabilities alone would fulfill the implied benefits and expected value consumers expect from a camera.