Exploring ADT’s New LG Smart Security, Home Automation Camera

ADT’s new DIY smart camera from LG does home automation and security via Z-Wave, ZigBee, BLE and Wi-Fi technology.

ADT (NYSE: ADT), the giant of professionally installed security and home automation systems, is diving deep into DIY with a new smart camera, made by LG Electronics, that serves as a complete smart home hub with Z-Wave, ZigBee, Bluetooth Smart (BLE) and Wi-Fi built in, plus the potential for adding cellular communications.

It might sound a little like Piper, the smart camera with a Z-Wave home-automation hub inside, but the new product (not yet named), co-developed by LG and ADT, is much more robust.

Interestingly, Piper was acquired last year by Icontrol, which happens to be the SHaaS (smart home as a service) provider that powers ADT Pulse.

Icontrol will not be powering ADT’s new product, but rest assured the product “does have a really robust automation platform,” says ADT chief Innovation officer Arthur Orduna in an interview with CE Pro, SSI‘s sister publication. He declined to name the new SHaaS partner at this time.

RELATED: ADT Partners With LG Electronics, Nest to Enhance Smart Security Footprint

ADT is doing extraordinarily well with ADT Pulse, the professionally installed system with Icontrol’s interactive services, that was introduced in 2010. Last year, the company enrolled its one millionth Pulse customer. For new ADT security customers, the take rate for Pulse is 73%.

Because of the “stickiness” of its lifestyle-oriented Pulse, ADT just announced its lowest customer attrition rate since it spun out of Tyco in 2012 – 12.5% for its fiscal Q2, ended March 31, 2015.

The success of Pulse will only grow with the introduction of an entirely new security panel, Total Security (co-developed with Honeywell), that is infinitely more elegant and simpler to install than ADT’s original solution.

While there’s no doubt some ADT dealers might sell Total Security systems for self-installation, the real market-opener will be this new smart camera.

About the New ADT Smart Camera

The genesis of the new camera began with a challenge from ADT CEO Naren Gursahaney to “provide some degree of ADT security and services to everybody – not just traditional customers,” according to Orduna.

“We were looking at segments like the renter market,” he says. “How do we open up the total addressable market? How do we extend ADT services? What is it they want? How are they protected? Who are those customers? How do they live?”

Preliminary specs for LG/ADT smart camera:

Out-of-the-box services bundle

  • ADT Professional Monitoring & Response – no contract no term
  • Video storage and retrieval

HD Camera

  • 1080p
  • 5 Mega-Pixel sensor
  • Approx. 150-degree field-of-view
  • Night vision (low-light use) with range up to 10 meters
  • Motion detection
  • Streaming video

Connectivity support

  • Z-Wave
  • Zigbee HA1.2
  • Bluetooth LE
  • Wi-Fi
  • Expandable to support more
  • Video/audio analytics to support motion detection
  • Built-in jiggle/tamper detection
  • Ambient light / temperature-humidity-pressure sensors
  • Two-way audio (microphone and speaker)
  • Siren

The answer was a home automation system in a camera form factor.

Orduna says the product offers an “incredibly easy install experience: open the box, take it out, plug it in, download an app, register the device and you’re good to go.”

The system communicates with the ADT security monitoring station via the Internet, and Orduna says the company is “evaluating what it will take to provide cellular backup” for the device.

As for the video analytics, Orduna says ADT and LG are using “fairly well-proven” technology for motion detection, shaping and tracking. The audio analytics is still in development and Orduna wouldn’t indicate if the product would be able to “listen” to erstwhile dumb devices like smoke detectors and relay those alerts to the homeowner.

Like Piper and Canary, the security device can be set to blare whenever the homeowner wants it to, for example, in the “away” mode when motion is detected – or, more specifically, when a person (not a dog) walks across the living room.

You’ll be able to do all the other usual home-automationy things like setting parameters for video recording and email alerts.

What the unit doesn’t have is a back-up battery, a cellular radio or local storage for video capture.

Most of the processing happens in the cloud, so don’t expect much value from the product when your Internet is down.

Pricing has not been announced for the product or the services, including ADT security monitoring and interactive services.

What we do know is that there are no service terms and contracts required of the customer. For security monitoring, Orduna says he expects a plan in which users can activate monitoring in one-month increments. Pay-as-you-go security monitoring plans such as this are becoming increasingly popular in a hybrid DIY/pro world.

Channels to Market

ADT is not yet talking about its channel partners for the new product, but “our intent is to address new customer segments,” Orduna says. “We partnered with LG because we want to go big in retail and online.”

The product is expected to ship by the holiday season, so ADT will have to lock down big-box and other brick-and-mortar retailers “relatively early,” says Orduna.

As for whether or not independent ADT dealers get access to this product and related services, Orduna would say only that the company is looking “looking at all existing channels.”

We know for certain that if those independent dealers are cut out of this new business … they are not going to be happy. Not one bit.

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About the Author


Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration.

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