RMR For The Cost Of A PIR
Exploring the benefits of cameras and smartphones equipped with motion sensors
- By Keith Jentoft
- Jan 01, 2013
The world has changed. Free video is everywhere. Nobody carries
a separate camera anymore—everything is a camera, including
laptops, iPads and cell phones. Video is now a part of life and consumers
expect it that way. If laptops, cell phones and iPads have
video cameras, why not PIR motion sensors? Why are dealers still forced to
spend the extra time and money installing separate IP cameras when they
already install wireless electronic sensors?
The MotionViewer changes this by combining a wireless PIR with a camera;
one more device with its own camera at the cost of a wireless PIR. Video
is now free for the alarm industry as well.
Smartphone Surveillance is not Security
Alarm installers are selling cameras, but not as alarms. Smartphone surveillance
systems are now sold by alarm dealers, Amazon and Comcast, among
others. Regardless of the sales channel, the basic concept is the same: install
IP cameras and use a smartphone for remote viewing.
In the alarm world, dealers sell smartphone surveillance as an alarm addon
in the same way they sell thermostats as “wireless energy management.”
Like thermostats, cameras are sold as a “personal convenience” and not truly
integrated into the monitored alarm. With few exceptions, access to IP cameras
is limited to the property owner and the central station never sees video
with the alarm.
From the installers view, wireless alarm systems running on batteries revolutionized
the alarm industry, saving time and money and now represent the
majority of new installations. In contrast, the IP cameras are always wired
for power, and even Wi-Fi cameras need power cords. While sold together,
the wireless alarm system and wired surveillance cameras are fundamentally
disconnected. Alarm sensors are professionally monitored for life safety. The
cameras only provide a “convenience feature,” for viewing children, pets or
employees, not greater security.
What is Police Response Worth?
The value of video verification to deliver arrests and reduce false alarms is
undeniable. Video alarms link the camera to central station monitoring for
priority police response. A video alarm sends the video clip of what caused
the alarm to the central station operator for immediate review and dispatch.
The arrest rates can be much more than a traditional alarm. Presently, law
enforcement studies document arrest rates for traditional alarm arrests at 0.08
percent in San Jose, Calif; in 2010, arrest rates were only at 0.02 percent. In
contrast, video alarms have documented arrest rates that can exceed 50 percent.
Police make arrests because they respond to a video alarm as a crimein-
progress, and consumers and insurance companies are willing to pay for
the extra value.
What is this worth? To put this in perspective, in 2011, the average Chula
Vista, Calif., Police Dept. response time for a video verified alarm was 5 minutes
and 5 seconds, while the response time for a traditional burglar alarm is
19:18. This means that an average property owner will receive police response
almost 15 minutes sooner with a video alarm. The question is, “What is 15
minutes worth to a commercial property owner?” The answer may lie in another
question: “What can a group armed with sledge hammers and spray
paint do in my business in 15 minutes?”
A more detailed analysis looks for a price tag on the value businesses place
on police response. One indicator is false alarm fines. Most municipalities
impose false alarm fines, some exceeding $250 for each false alarm. Some cities
go further and actually stop responding after a specified number of false
alarms. However, alarm response is so important that many companies actually
budget false alarm fines as a business expense instead of losing response.
Several major national retailers budget more than $250,000 per year on false
alarm fines. For a business, even a 19 minute alarm response is worth a quarter
million dollars. Anything is better than nothing.
Imagine the value of saving 15 minutes. Companies are willing to pay large
false alarm fines for limited response. Now, they have the option of priority
response—and reduced false alarm fines—for the same cost.
A Product Revolution
Videofied brings alarm/look-in/
wireless/battery together in one easyto-
install product that builds on the
“battery-powered devices” concept
that has become standard for mainstream
alarms. The PIR detector in
the MotionViewer acts like any other
wireless PIR to detect intruders.
The PIR concept is not new or
unique. What is unique is the integrated
battery-powered camera like
those found in cell phones and other
electronics. After detection, the integrated
camera captures the intrusion
event and sends the video clip
directly to the central station for review
and dispatch by a trained operator—
a real video alarm for priority
response and greater security.
In addition, the new indoor MotionViewer
also provides smartphone
look-in, sending the property
owner a full color VGA video or
photo to a smartphone on demand.
The Look-In feature is restricted to
the property owner and the smartphone
app. Video alarms go to the
central station for greater security.
For the price and easy install of a
wireless PIR, MotionViewer delivers
video verification and smartphone
look-in with incremental RMR and
Battery-powered MotionViewers are
truly wireless, easily installed and
easily moved to meet the changing
needs of the property owner. With
no wires or transformers, residential
applications must include style
and aesthetics. But it has to work in
the real world. It is not a gimmick;
exceptional battery life makes smartphone
look-in a pragmatic solution
instead of a quick sales tool.
Two AA lithium batteries power
MotionViewer for five years in the
typical alarm mode. While remote
viewing certainly impacts battery
consumption, MotionViewer can
still deliver a VGA snapshot on demand
every hour for six months on
the same two batteries.
Residential and commercial consumers
and any market that currently
installs wireless PIRs are all ripe
for the transition to video alarms and
the promise of greater security.
Consumers understand that
video verified alarms make a difference
in police response and arrests.
Smartphone surveillance closes the
deal. The ability to remotely view
with a smartphone app now seems
normal. And because it costs the
same as a wireless PIR, it has become
normal. The industry is at a tipping
point, allowing dealers to finally give
the consumer the camera they have
come to expect, video RMR, for the
cost of a PIR.
This article originally appeared in the January 2013 issue of Security Today.
Keith Jentoft is the president of RSIalarm Inc. He can be reached at (877) 206-3200.