Amazon Acquires Blink

Author: IPVM Team, Published on Dec 22, 2017

Amazon has made their first significant acquisition in the connected home space, buying wire-free camera manufacturer Blink.

We examine Amazon's acquisition of Blink and what this means for the consumer video segment, as well as traditional surveillance manufacturers competing in this space, such as FLIR and Hikvision.

3 Dimensions of Differentiation

Within consumer video surveillance, there are 3 major dimensions of differentiation amongst competitors:

  • Ease of install: How simple is it for non-technical people to get it working?
  • Video quality: How many details / how much like a high-end smartphone does the recorded video look like?
  • Alert accuarcy: What kind of accurate alerting and searching does it provide?

In addition, a 4th dimension is rapidly forming, which is integration with other smart home products and controls, such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home, IFTTT, etc.

Blink Strong On Ease Of Install

Based on our tests as well as user reviews, Blink is simple for inexperienced users to set up, requiring them to scan a QR code and push a button to pair cameras.

Blink Strong On Motion Accuracy, But Dumb

Additionally, Blink's motion alerts have generally been accurate in our tests due to its use of a PIR for motion detection, which worked accurately at up to 50' range in our tests. Using a PIR ignores many sources of video-based false motion alerts such as leaves, debris, etc.

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

However, the PIR does not provide any advanced intelligence such as differentiating between humans, vehicles, pets, etc., found in some other consumer offerings, such as Nest IQ.

Blink Weak On Video Quality

Finally, Blink's video is weaker than many competitive consumer offerings, providing only 720p video where others have moved to 1080p or higher.

Readers should see our tests of Blink's indoor and outdoor BlinkXT models for reference.

Few Integrations

For integrations, Blink lists Amazon Alexa and IFTTT, though some degree of functionality with Google Home can be achieved via the IFTTT integration. This makes their smart home integration support average, though at this point it is unlikely a direct Google Home integration will be added.

Totally Wire Free Market Segment

Wire free cameras, those using both batteries and wireless networking, are a strong draw for consumers. The problem with WiFi cameras is they typically depend on local power (either low voltage, or a local power outlet), requiring a cable run to each camera location. For homeowners, this can significantly increase cost, present barriers for those who do not know how to properly run cabling and cause aesthetic concerns (wiring running all over the place).

The totally wire free segment of video surveillance relies on built-in batteries and proprietary wireless video streaming to reduce energy consumption and minimize the frequency of changing batteries. Some systems employ a solar panel to keep batteries charged, however the solar panels add additional costs, and can be relatively large and unsightly.

Many consumers do not need high quality video nor intelligence in their systems. They simply want basic video that is easy to get set up. This is what manufacturers like Blink in the totally wire free market segment deliver.

Blink's strongest positive is how established it is in this segment, being one of the first to launch, and producing a product that generally delivered acceptable performance within its price range and target market.

The challenge for Blink is that competitors realize the benefit of this offering and are rapidly going into the market. For example, FLIR's Lorex consumer division recently launched a wire-free surveillance system, and consumer networking giant Netgear offers the Arlo wire-free camera. Major chipset makers have also recognized the potential market for these products, video chipset manufacturer Ambarella has a low-power chipset specifically geared to this application, making it easy for startups to build a software offering with reduced hardware R&D requirements.

Amazon Expansion Into Home Video Surveillance

This acquisition adds to Amazon's existing 2 IP cameras (Amazon Cloud Cam Tested, Amazon Echo Look Fashion Camera Tested) and their installation service (Amazon Techs Installing IP Cameras Tested). These combinations show Amazon's seriousness of being a major player in home video surveillance, and indicate the company is likely to continue to expand its offerings here, either through organic development or additional acquisitions.

This is bad news for major incumbents in the space, such as FLIR/Lorex, Hikvision/Ezviz, etc. Amazon is not only a major outlet for smart home products, they are also rapidly becoming known as a smart home base platform, via Alexa-enabled devices. Additionally, Amazon is not afraid of going to war with companies it deems competitors/threats, such as their ongoing spat with Google, much of which centers around Google's consumer-oriented smart home products under the Nest brand, and Google Home device. These factors make it challenging for traditional security manufacturers to create competitive offerings and establish a market that is large enough to be worthwhile, without becoming so large as to be a potential threat to Amazon, risking being ejected from Amazon's website.

4 reports cite this report:

Dahua Global Launch LeChange on Mar 20, 2018
Dahua is getting into the consumer video surveillance market globally, with "LeChange", an offering long available inside of China is now being...
Amazon Billion+ Dollar Acquisition - Ring on Feb 27, 2018
The world's largest online retailer, Amazon, is now on a fast track to become the Western world's largest residential video surveillance...
Arlo, Bigger Than Avigilon, More Valuable Than Axis on Feb 08, 2018
Arlo, the wireless IP camera offering that Netgear bought ~5 years ago for a few tens of millions is now doing more revenue than Avigilon and...
CES 2018 Show Final Report on Jan 12, 2018
This is IPVM's final edition of our 2018 CES show report. Below are already numerous images and commentary, with more coming tomorrow.   CES is...
Comments (2) : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Canon Acquires Briefcam, Now Owns Briefcam, Milestone and Axis on May 09, 2018
Canon already owns two of the biggest names in video surveillance, Axis (acquired in 2015) and Milestone (acquired in 2014). Now, Canon...
Nortek Acquires IntelliVision on May 08, 2018
One of the largest intrusion manufacturers, Nortek, has acquired the self-proclaimed 'Leader in AI-Based Video Analytics Software',...
S2 Access Control / 'Unified Security Management' Profile on May 08, 2018
In our 13th access control company profile, we examine S2 Security's Netbox platform: Unified Security Management Platform positioning Core...
Vivotek 12MP Fisheye Camera Tested (FE9391-EV) on May 08, 2018
Next in our 12MP fisheye camera evaluation, we bought and tested Vivotek's latest generation FE9391-EV, a new model claiming improved smart IR...
IP Network Hardware for Surveillance Guide on May 02, 2018
Video surveillance systems depend on IP networking equipment. In this guide, we explain the key pieces of equipment and features, explaining where...
Anixter Acquires 'PSIM Platform Inner Range - "Heart of Our Technology Differentiation" on Apr 30, 2018
Anixter Security has made a bold move, acquiring what it calls a PSIM platform as part of a $150 million deal, with Anixter's CEO Bob...
Netwatch / NMC Mega Deal Targets Global Remote Video Monitoring on Apr 27, 2018
Big money has entered the remote video monitoring market. While remote video monitoring has been done for more than a decade, the market has...
Favorite Access Control Manufacturers 2018 on Apr 26, 2018
150+ Integrators told IPVM "What is your favorite access control management software/system? Why? Unlike the 2016 access favorites where a group...
April 2018 IP Networking Course on Apr 19, 2018
This is the last chance to register for our IP Networking course. Register now. NEW - 2 sessions per class, 'day' and 'night' to give you double...
Alarm.com Business Market Expansion on Apr 13, 2018
Alarm.com has millions of subscribers, but the company has traditionally been mostly a residential/home focused offering.  ADC's new Smart Business...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Buy Arecont: Top Bid $10 Million Cash on May 22, 2018
Last year, Arecont had a deal for a purchase price of $170 million (see Failed Arecont China Acquisition). This year, Arecont has a deal for a...
Installing Box Cameras Indoors Tutorial on May 22, 2018
This tutorial starts our physical installation for video surveillance series, starting with Box Cameras, one of the oldest and most basic types....
The Hikvision Smart Classroom Behavior Management System on May 22, 2018
Hikvision's rapidly growing offering of analytics, which we most recently examined with Hikvision's ethnic minority analytics, is now going into...
Dahua Intrusion Analytics And VMD Tested on May 21, 2018
Dahua ships basic analytics on practically all their cameras, ranging from low cost to high end. To see how these analytics work in real world...
Exacq Improving Technical Support, Responding To Integrator Complaints on May 21, 2018
Exacq had been a long-term favorite of integrators, but since their 2014 Tyco acquisition, Exacq has fallen in IPVM integrator studies (though...
Best Manufacturer Technical Support 2018 on May 21, 2018
While 5 manufacturers made the worst technical support 2018 list, only 3 stood out as providing the best technical support to 190+ integrators in...
Stealth / UCIT - Remote Video Monitoring Provider Profile on May 18, 2018
Can 2 remote video monitoring companies, Stealth Monitoring from the US and UCIT from Canada combine to impact the market and compete in a changing...
Cybersecurity for IP Video Surveillance Guide on May 18, 2018
Keeping surveillance networks secure can be a daunting task, but there are several methods that can greatly reduce risk, especially when used in...
Forced Entry / Duress Access Tutorial on May 17, 2018
Even though access control normally keeps people safe, tragedies have revealed a significant issue. If users are forced to unlock doors for...
ADT Stock Drops 50% Since IPO on May 17, 2018
It has been a brutal 4 months for ADT. They first expected to IPO at ~$18. They IPOed at $14, dropping immediately to $12.39 And now, not even...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact