Can This Hot Startup Disrupt Home Security?

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Jul 24, 2013

The Internet is abuzz with a NYC startup that has raised more than $1.5 million from an ongoing Indiegogo campaign, smashing their goal of $100,000 in hours. 

It is incredibly ambitious, claiming to deliver an HD camera, a microphone, a PIR sensor, a speaker, a siren, an accelerometer, plus temperature, humidity and air quality sensors in a product the size of a coke can for just a $199 one time fee. In this report, we share our findings from speaking with the startup, examine the offering, weigh its strengths and weaknesses, and see if it will shake up residential security.

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Comments (18)

Dropcam.com has a $150 HD camera with optional cloud based DVR service ($100 for a 12 month subsrciption with 7 days of backup). Like Canary it has event notification.

Click the featured cameras tab at the top to see actual live camera feeds. Like all fixed cameras sometimes it works very well, sometimes not so much.

This 1 size fits all cheap camera makes sense for a single room but not much past that. Try to get 3 or 4 of those sending video over your typical home internet connection at the same time...not going to happen.

EJ, we have a test report on Dropcam HD. I think comparing Canary and Dropcam is awkward. It's a little like comparing a steak knife to a swiss arm knife. If Canary can pull this off, they will have a much broader, fuller solution. Of course, Dropcam could expand its offering to include PIRs, a siren, an accelerometer, temperature, humidity and air quality sensors, etc.

It's speculation who's better or worse so early in the game.

Canary's eye popping sales, coming from nothing, essentially assures them significant VC funding and a chance at being a player. From there, it's a matter of execution, strategic decisions, etc.

John, you're right I only looked at it from the video aspect since in my view all alarm, PIR, humidity features are novelty at best. I enter your home and I hear this little box screaming at me, it's destroyed in under 10 seconds. 8 seconds to figure it out and 2 to smash it. You almost want it to be silent as to not notify the intruder.

With that said it may sell as a novelty/specialty purchase. $5ook is a chunk of cash, the problem with Crowdfunding is everyone buys an idea for a very small investment on the promise that the product will work. It may or it may not. How about $10M for the idea of a special watch. Funded over a year ago and still no product....it's coming.

But like the pet rock, who would think they could make millions selling that?

pretty similar to "ismartalarm", although cheaper.

Margarita, thanks for the link. I forgot we use a commercial version of that systems from Alarm.com. It uses a GSM module that integrates with a commercial burg panel and components. They also have video cameras and cloud DVR options which uses your hard wired or wireless internet.

I say I forgot because the camera options are fairly basic so we don't use them. Though I can ask if they want to send one to John to test.

EJ, thanks for the feedback.

Whether or not the consumer makes out on an indiegogo or kickstarter project, the vendor who successfully gets commitments for large orders is in a great position. Canary would have had to raise a few million to get to the point where they are getting in a month from their campaign (which might not have even been possible as investors would be reluctant to do so without orders - chicken and the egg problem).

My point is these campaigns lower the barrier to entry for startups. Just like startups historically, not all of them are going to succeed but it is not unreasonable to believe that one, or a few, are going to hit it big.

You may not see the value in PIRs but I see it. They increase accuracy over the dropcam's video only alerts.

You may not be scared of a siren but I suspect many intruders will be.

Regardless, these guys (and others who certainly will follow) now have a launching pad to attack incumbents in a market that clearly is ripe for attack.

The Pebble smart watch is now shipping.

Thanks Bohan.

Canary's CEO Adam Sager gave an interview on a business network this afternoon, where he partially addressed cloud security concerns:

The press that these guys have gotten is dumb founding. Even 5 years ago, that would have take $10 million in VC funding or more to get the traction or buzz to motivate so many big news sources to carry.

Again, this does not guarantee Canary will be successful, but it does provide an amazing launching pad for startups to take aim at ADT et al.

I prefer to stay with Stem izons. http://steminnovation.com/section/iZON/24/

They are more affordable, yet will not provide humidity and audible alarm features. I am wondering what the quality of video is in low (no) light conditions? IZon is essentially useless at night. You can tell a vehicle with headlights on passed through the field of view, but not much more.

Mark, Stem izon has poor reviews on Amazon and you are the first person I have heard using them. Because of that, I have got the feeling that overall adoption / acceptance of them was poor. The marketing looks slick, but despite that, Stem izon seems to be doing poorly.

I have had mine for two years and very pleased. From ease of use, quick setup, Stem support to the app...really no issues. I must say I am a pleasantly surprised with my purchase.

A successful crowdfunding campaign does not guarantee a succesful company. It's incredibly non-trivial to deliver novel hardware on time and at the promised price. That being said, someone will figure it out and the ADTs of the world should be afraid.

Agreed, no 'guarantees' but it's a powerful advantage to jump start a company that way compared to bootstrapping or VC funding.

Reminds me of when I heard about Scout. IPVM had covered them before as they are trying to be disruptive to the alarm industry for residential. I bet they will also come out with sensors and small cameras to keep up with these others.

Thanks for the heads up. Ironically we just bought one over the weekend and it arrived today. We'll be testing it asap.

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