Want cameras at home or for your business? We give it to you straight. Smart Security – Surveillance or Security? At a high level, what is the difference?
Surveillance System – Typically – easy to set up, inexpensive hardware, optional monthly monitoring fees
Security System – Typically – professionally set up, moderately priced hardware, professional monitoring tied into fire and alarm stations, monthly fees are standard
What’s the challenge for consumers?
You are looking at a home security system for the first time or looking to upgrade your existing system. Most of our clients want two things
A secure home they can easily monitor from anywhere.
A good value without a long, constricting contract.
There are thousands of security cameras on the market, and more coming on each day. It is increasingly confusing to decide which one is going to offer the best solution towards achieving these goals.
One of the reasons for so many new entrants is that the Smart security market has been growing at the fastest rate of all smart home products to date – essentially, it is a gateway product to turning your home into a Smart Home. One challenge of this is that not all of these companies will survive the next few years.
Professionally Monitored Security
Many companies will offer the hardware for free and even a few months of subscription for free. Why? There is little profit in the hardware itself and it comes at a low cost, the profit to the company comes from monthly monitoring charges. If you are locked into a multi-year security contract where you were offered a deal of a free security system and a three months subscription for free – this is why – in the long run they will more than cover their costs.
We have some clients trying to get out of these contracts as more affordable options have come onto the market – it is very expensive to pay the penalty. All of a sudden the client is in need of protection from being robbed.
Soapbox Moment: What I would like to see is better service, differentiable features, and companies earning their clients business for the long run by offering good value. Loyalty is not locking people in – in short, retain customers by being awesome.
Pros – Professionally monitored means that when something goes wrong the police and fire department are notified and dispatched. Included within the monthly fees is cloud recording so you can go back and view previous days and times.
Cons – See above, mitigate by choosing a company without long contracts who want to continually earn your business (we exist!)
Smart Home Surveillance
Nest, Arlo, Ring, Scout, many products out there, a number of them house hold brand names. Each offers its own differentiable features in terms of product hardware and software. The best way to understand what is going to be most important to you? Some things to think about to help you decide:
Software – How easy is it to see everything you want the way you want on your Smartphone or computer? It’s hard to tell this from the box at a big box retailer. You want to know this so you aren’t burned by poor user experience design.
Home Integration – Does it offer or integrate with other home control systems? For example Google – “works with Nest”, Honeywell Lyric or Alexa/Google Home voice control compatibility
Technology features – Does it recognize familiar faces? Does it offer cloud recording so you can go back and view a certain day and time?
The key is to figure out what you want ahead of time and shop for those features or enlist an expert to help distill everything down for you and provide a spot-on recommendation.
Pros – Many offer advanced home control features and integration – they are typically forward-looking with software updates and upgrades.
Cons – The market is saturated with a lot of low-priced entrants who might not be around in 12 months, some are “back dooring” their way into the monthly service charge, offering their own monitoring at a lower price without a contract in place. You don’t want to pay for the sake of paying every month so make sure that these plans are offering you real value instead of a false sense of security.
We offer Smart Home Security consultations to help you decide, schedule online or call us for advice – 1-800-979-2791.
CEO and Founder of Level Up Your Home