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.

2 reports cite this report:

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 (3): PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Directory of 30 LPR / ANPR Providers on Feb 21, 2018
License Plate Recognition / Automatic Number Plate Recognition are a type of video analytics software that can identify and match license / number...
Remote Network Access for Video Surveillance Guide on Feb 21, 2018
Remotely accessing surveillance systems is key in 2018, with more and more users relying on mobile apps as their main way of operating the system....
Assa's Lowest Power Draw Maglock: Securitron M680E Examined on Feb 14, 2018
Securitron produces some of the most extreme maglocks on the market, including massively strong maglocks and even ones with integrated CCTV cams...
ADT / ASG 'Merger' on Feb 12, 2018
ADT, the $4 billion annual revenue security giant, recently publicly traded again, has merged with security integrator Aronson Security...
Motorola Targets Chinese With Avigilon Acquisition on Feb 09, 2018
Motorola joins the growing list of companies taking aim at Chinese manufacturers. Recall, last week it was Hanwha: Chinese Products Damaged...
Simplisafe 'All New' Generation 3 Tested on Feb 08, 2018
Feared by the traditional alarm industry, Simplisafe has launched its 'all new' Generation 3 platform that they declare is "Stronger. Faster....
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...
3VR Firesale to Identiv on Feb 07, 2018
A decade ago, 3VR raised more than $60 million to deliver facial surveillance and video analytics in a '3rd generation' video recorder. Now, 3VR...
Dahua Acquires Lorex From FLIR on Feb 06, 2018
Would you buy your own customer? Well, Dahua has just done that. FLIR has sold its Lorex / home / SMB business to Dahua, just over 5 years after...
Convergint Acquired By Ares Management on Feb 05, 2018
Convergint literally has been acquiring integrators left and right, with more than a dozen in the past 2 years. Now, it is Convergint's turn to...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Directory of 30+ LPR / ANPR Providers on Feb 21, 2018
License Plate Recognition / Automatic Number Plate Recognition are a type of video analytics software that can identify and match license / number...
New Whole Foods Installs Hackable Access Control on Feb 21, 2018
Whole Foods has built a reputation for high quality. And their 2017 Amazon acquisition has increased that, plus added deep pockets for buying...
Remote Network Access for Video Surveillance Guide on Feb 21, 2018
Remotely accessing surveillance systems is key in 2018, with more and more users relying on mobile apps as their main way of operating the system....
Visio For Video Surveillance Design on Feb 20, 2018
Many integrators have standardized on AutoCAD for camera layouts but new users may be overwhelmed by its learning curve. Microsoft's Visio...
Health Care Insurance Integrator Benefits Statistics on Feb 20, 2018
How common and how much healthcare coverage is typically provided by security companies? 150+ integrators explained how their companies provide the...
Hikvision Deletes Genetec Support on Feb 20, 2018
There will be no peace between Hikvision and Genetec. A year after Genetec expelled Hikvision (and Huawei, citing Chinese government control...
Change Orders - Sometimes Necessary, Sometimes Unethical on Feb 19, 2018
Change orders are a common element in project sales. Sometimes they are a necessity and appropriate ways to deal with arising issues, but sometimes...
Bosch Merges Video, Intrusion and Access Businesses on Feb 19, 2018
Bosch is merging their "video systems, intrusion detection, as well as its access control and management software business units to form a single...
Why 3VR Failed on Feb 16, 2018
3VR destroyed transformed ~$65 million in VC funding into a $6.9 million exit. The reason they failed is simple. They bet on analytics. They...
"Fear Mongering": Hikvision USA Cybersecurity Director Dismisses Chinese Government Ownership Concerns on Feb 16, 2018
The facts are: The Chinese government created Hikvision and is Hikvision's controlling shareholder. Hikvision's Chairman, a Communist Party...

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