Self-monitoring security becomes collaborative
The DIY trend has made significant inroads in the last decade. Homeowners now build their own decks, craft their own furniture and even install their own AV equipment. Add to that the prevalence of social networks and the increased ‘need’ to know what is happening in everyone’s lives in real time and it was only a matter of time before the DIY craze descended on the security field.
Consumers have been installing their own security systems for quite some time but more than just installing the systems, they are now actually monitoring the systems as well. This means that instead of having a traditional alarm provider come into your home, install a system, and provide 24-hour monitoring through a Central Monitoring Station – which can be costly, subject to error, and is manned by people who aren’t familiar with the comings and goings of your circle of friends, family and service providers – these self-monitoring systems are capable of sending an alert to the system owner’s mobile phone in the event of an emergency: a burglary, broken window or anything out of the ordinary.
Of course, if the homeowner is truly bored or wants to feel like they’re on a stakeout, they can stare at their phone 24/7, waiting for something to happen. But the truth is there is really no need to stare at a phone or a monitor continuously, you only need to know if there is a problem. No question there are those consumers who get a warm and fuzzy feeling knowing that a professional monitoring firm is watching over their house like a mother bird watches her babies but they don’t do it for free and, with fees ranging anywhere from $20 to over $100, you almost want something to happen.
The self-monitoring trend has begun to pick up steam in recent years. In 2015, self-monitored systems comprised a mere 2.3% of the total security market but projections from Citi Research estimate that self-installed, self-monitored systems will jump to about 34% in five years, an almost 1,500% increase. What’s more, self-monitoring brings a greater level of control to the system owner, as he or she is now responsible for judging whether to call law enforcement or not. The benefit? Think in terms of a CMS operator who thinks a burglar is trying to break in to your home, when in fact it’s your dog sitter arriving late. The CMS operator has to confirm the dog sitter’s identity while the homeowner knows right away who it is.
So self-monitoring, with its incident alerts and 24-hour surveillance, has increasingly begun to fill a much-needed gap in the security landscape.
Of course, self-monitoring is just the beginning. Once the homeowner actually sees something happening what is their next move? In many cases they have to exit out of the app that manages their system to dial the local authorities, a process which can waste valuable seconds. Even if their system doesn’t require them to leave the app, the emergency numbers may not be programmed in and if they’re not that’s another time drain. Or maybe the emergency numbers they’re able to reach are to the local authorities, rather than the authorities where the event is occurring.
As a result, security systems are now beginning to evolve even further, from simple self-monitoring to collaborative monitoring. This term refers to the almost simultaneous notification of all parties involved in an emergency event, from law enforcement and medical personnel to caregivers and emergency contacts. To accomplish this feat the premier self-monitored security systems will offer ‘one-touch-to-responder’ capability. This means direct dial numbers are accessible with the push of a single button within the application and emergency contacts will receive text alerts if authorised users don’t respond quickly to the smart phone alerts.
Video capability plays a strong part in this scenario as well. Some systems feature live video collaboration where you can record and immediately send a video clip to any law enforcement agency, family member or caregiver. All authorised users will receive video push notifications.
Ultimately, the emergence of self-monitored systems arose out of a demand for effective but lower-cost protection that is controlled and supervised by the people who know your home, your friends, your relatives and your caregivers the best – you and your family members. The further transition to collaborative monitoring speaks to the need to have all parties – law enforcement, family, emergency contacts and authorised users – working together to ensure that a break-in or other crime can be stopped as quickly and efficiently as possible. Now that’s a concept that everyone can agree on.