3 Things Disrupting The Home Security Industry
Home Security has been around since the early 1900’s (believe it or not), yet it has remained relatively unchanged until about 10 years ago when control panels and sensors shed their archaic hardwiring and landline connections. Shortly after the birth of the iPhone, home security systems began adopting cellular connections and touch screen monitors in an attempt to keep up with the times. Technology continues to accelerate at unprecedented speeds and many companies are using this new tech to innovate the home security industry.
Traditional security systems are the type of system that you are used to hearing about, made by companies like ADT or Brinks. They offer a few packages to choose from, sometimes containing an excess of equipment that you may not even need. They usually require high upfront fees the include expensive equipment and the cost of professional installation. These companies also require professional monitoring (not a bad thing), which can be an expensive monthly rate ranging from $19–$65+ per month—on top of your equipment and installation fees.
The traditional business model also requires the consumer to sign a lengthy contract that can last up to five years and auto-renew without your knowledge. As a result, the home security industry has developed a bad rap in the last 30 years. Many startups have taken the consumers’ needs into account and are disrupting the traditional home security business model by not requiring contracts, allowing consumers to install and monitor their own security system themselves, and offering customizable equipment packages to meet their personal needs.
1. No Contracts
There are a lot of people who have shied away from owning a home security system because of the home security industry’s poor reputation. That doesn’t have to be a concern anymore. A growing number of companies no longer require a contract. In fact, many companies offer their professional monitoring services on a month-to-month basis, or simply sell the equipment outright to you, allowing you to monitor your security system yourself. A month-to-month agreement with fixed cost is ideal if you want professional monitoring but want to be able to cancel your service at any time without a financial obligation. If you decide to monitor your system yourself you don’t have to worry about a monthly fee (which really adds up in the long-run); you own the equipment, so if you decide to move you can take the equipment with you and puts you in control of your own security.
2. DIY Installation and Monitoring
Many companies now offer equipment that you can install yourself. This is nice for several reasons: you no longer have to schedule and pay for a professional installer to come into your home. Also, this new type of security equipment—cameras, sensors, even automated door locks—is completely wireless, so you won’t have to put holes in your walls to run any wiring. Installation varies from company to company, but is usually as simple as peeling off an adhesive backing and slapping the sensors or panel on the wall. That’s it. Almost all companies provide you with step-by-step, intuitive instructions and an installation video that tells you how to turn on the sensors, where to place them, how to link them to the panel or hub, how to test and monitor it, etc. These tools make it really easy for you to do the job right and in just a few minutes. An added bonus to wireless home security is that your system can now move with you. Just peel it off the wall and away you go!
Professional monitoring is a great option if security is important to you but you don’t necessarily want to think about it and you can afford to pay for it on a monthly basis; however, if anything sets off your alarm (even by accident) the company usually charges you for it and these charges can really add up.
Self-monitoring is growing in popularity because it puts you in control of your home and saves you from paying someone else to do it for you. Self-monitoring tech varies from company to company and your options will really depends on the equipment that you decide to purchase. Some systems will just sound an alarm to alert you and scare away the intruder. Others will send an alert directly to your phone while the alarm is sounding. Some companies provide you with a two-way voice camera or panel so you can tell the intruders to get out of your home and alert them that you are calling the authorities. There are also motion detector cameras that notify you if movement is detected and you can watch in realtime on your smart phone. If you want to be in-the-know, in control and save money each month, self-monitoring is a great option.
3. More Equipment Options
Traditionally, security companies offer preset packages that range in price and have preselected equipment. Some of the packages may offer too much equipment and others may not have enough or the right kind of equipment for your needs. For example a company’s smallest package may only offer one door/window sensor when you need three; another package may have the three door/window sensors you need but also includes a flood sensor and three cameras that you don’t need. If you don’t feel like these preset packages offered by traditional security systems don’t meet your needs, there are many companies that allow you to create your own starter package where you can pick and choose the equipment that meet your needs. There are several newer companies that also offer additional sensors at reasonable prices should you just need to add a sensor or two to a starter pack. This way you are getting exactly what you need—nothing more, nothing less.
Do I Need A Home Security System?
The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program defines burglary as the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or theft. And in 2010, there were nearly 2.2 million burglaries in the United States, 73.9 percent of which were residential burglaries and accounted for a loss of $4.6 billion in lost property. The average loss per burglary is an estimated $2,119.
With that being said, home security systems are an efficient deterrent. Rutgers University completed a five-year longitudinal study which focused on the impact of a home security system on residential burglaries. Researchers to successfully ruled out extrinsic factors and prove that the presence of a home security system will decrease the chance of a burglary.
“Data Showed that a steady decrease in burglaries in Newark between 2001 and 2005 coincided with an increase in the number of registered home burglar alarms.” –Dr. Seungmug Lee, Study Author.
A survey conducted by the University of North Carolina was administered to hundreds of incarcerated burglars and provided meaningful insight to the success of home security systems. Of the 422 survey participants, 83 percent said that they would try and determine if a home had a security system before planning the break-in and 60 percent said that if there was a system in place that they would seek another target. Of those who discovered the presence of an alarm during a break-in, 50 percent would discontinue the attempt, while an additional 31 percent said that they would flee altogether. Only 13 percent of those who discovered an alarm during a break-in would continue with the burglary despite the presence of an alarm. Below is a list U.S. cities with the highest burglary rates in the nation.
Top 10 Cities for Burglaries Based on 2014 Data:
- Cleveland, Ohio
- Memphis, Tennessee
- Toledo, Ohio
- Cincinnati, Ohio
- Indianapolis, Indiana
- Tulsa, Oklahoma
- Detroit, Michigan
- St. Louis, Missouri
- Orlando, Florida
- Kansas City Missouri
A Lot of Options to Choose From
Though not a guarantee, studies show that a home security system can be an efficient deterrent to a burglar. There are a lot of choices when selecting a home security system; whether you want professional or DIY monitoring, a full home automation package or a few custom picked sensors, there is a home security system to meet your needs. Bestcompany.com can help you find the system that is right for you. We provide in-depth expert reviews on hundreds of security companies and provide you with thousands of real-customer reviews to help you find the system that is right for you.