Video-verified alarms are becoming mainstream and alarm dealers are adapting to this growing trend. But, why the trend? Why would consumers pay a recurring fee for video verification?
To answer that, first consider the “home automation” phenomena and the RMR model. A significant amount of consumer research has been done regarding the perceived value and preferred business model for home automation.
This research underscores that, while they understand the value of home automation, consumers are primarily willing to pay for it in an RMR model when home automation is combined with monitored security services.
One way of looking at this is that for the delivery of recurring consumer services, the delivery truck itself (frame, motor and chassis) is the monitored security system and home automation is the cargo.
This means that if there is no security system involved, no delivery truck, consumers expect that home automation will be “free” once they purchase the product and download the associated free app and won’t incur ongoing fees.
As further research examines the home automation model, the clearer it will become that the monitored security system is the force multiplier of home automation RMR.
Video verification enhances the RMR truck itself, a turbocharger that gives it greater value. Why?
The consumer’s expectation of police response is the answer. Consumers willing to pay for a monitored security system ultimately believe they are buying police response when it is most needed, during an actual burglary or a home invasion.
The alarm industry understands this and has spent enormous amounts of time and money to ensure that police respond when there is an alarm. While police response is the “normal expectation,” the alarm industry has also learned that law enforcement stakeholders must prioritize all incoming calls for service.
Traditional alarm calls are often considered lower priority whereas a verified crime-in-progress receives high priority. In real life, higher priority means faster response and lower priority means slower response.
Now, if priority police response is affordable and simple, the incremental value is the RMR force multiplier. The plethora of home automation products and services available through multiple channels, including online and in retail stores, only puts additional focus on the fact that the core security offering is the real differentiator.
What consumer would not rather have priority police response in the event of an actual incident or crime? What is security without it? The fact that the video-verified alarm market is exploding is not an accident.
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Dramatic improvements in technology and affordability ended up bringing together key industry stakeholders to promote the solution: the alarm industry, law enforcement, insurers and consumers.
One key indicator of video verification’s move to mainstream is the growing alarm industry membership of the Partnership for Priority Verified Alarm Response (PPVAR).
In addition to the founding members like Protection 1 and Stanley Security, others have recently joined the PPVAR and are now actively promoting the incremental value of video-verified alarms.
Another indicator is that law enforcement stakeholders are now pushing video verification mainstream; the two largest state police chiefs’ associations, Texas and California, as well as the National Sheriffs’ Association have formally passed resolutions supporting priority response for verified alarms.
A third group of stakeholders, the insurers who foot the bill for lost property, are also working with the alarm industry through the joint Verisk/CSAA data project to collect and analyze date that will ultimately quantify the value of verified alarms to actuaries and their respective insurance companies.
Affordable IP cameras (both WiFi and Ethernet) are now a feature integrated into residential alarm systems of many manufacturers and next-generation monitoring solutions are now delivering incident-based video clips to the central station for priority police response.
Consumer expectation of priority response is driving the market. Video verification is also driving RMR in new DIY channels.
As consumers evolve and seek self-installed solutions, monitored security remains the RMR delivery truck and home automation remains the cargo. Consumers are willing to pay for security first and then tack on the home automation services.
Regardless of whether security systems are self-installed or professionally installed, however, the incremental value of priority response does not change. The potential for faster police response is always perceived as a better solution.
Keith Jentoft is part of the Integration Team at Videofied, a Honeywell Security and Fire company.