Sensr.net's Funding and Silicon Valley VSaaS Examined

By: John Honovich, Published on Jan 26, 2011

The funding of Sensr.net represents the first Silicon Valley style play into the emerging Video Surveillance as a Service Market. Until now, the market has been overwhelmingly filled with bootstrapped and angel funded entrants who focused on solving fairly well defined problems with a clear business model.

In light of this, Sensr.net's $1.5 Million round is an important milestone that raises intriguing questions about the future of this market. Consider that Sensr.net has no revenue and no established means to generate revenue (neither via subscriptions nor advertisements). Despite that, the size of funding is rather sizeable for this application. From our private discussions with entrants targeting similar markets (consumer / residential), far smaller amounts of funding have been used to arrive at a GA product.

Let's review Sensr.net's current service:

  • Sensr connects to IP cameras via FTP access: Users can connect to various IP cameras as long as they can accomplish the appropriate technical steps on the camera and router/firewall (as necessary). However, given that its FTP, this will generally be JPEG images.
  • Sensr provides 'basic motion detection' on those images and can email or text users if something is detected.
  • Sensr provides a playback / synopsis that aggregates images where motion is detected (think of it as a poor man's Briefcam). Here's a sample of playback for an Arecont camera [link no longer available]
  • Cameras can be private, public or shared with one's Facebook friends. Social media / networking is an important element of Sensr.net's approach emphasized in the funding announcement.
  • Currently, there's no cost for any of this. They note: "Starting in 2011, [Sensr] will offer premium plans. These plans will include unlimited alerts and a year's worth of image archives. But even when premium plans are announced, sensr will always offer a free plan."

While the company has three notable differentiators (alerting, video synopsis and social media sharing), it's not clear what practical problem they solve nor how these differentiators reinforce themselves. The alerting is helpful as a security offering but the quality is nowhere good enough for security use. The Facebook sharing should be interesting to some but that would seem to make this more of a webcam application than security. The requirements for connecting via FTP are likely going to cause problems for the majority of non technical users. Finally, while the free version will draw people in to try, the cost of providing free video hosting and motion detection is not trivial (specifically the marginal cost per customer).

For a sense of perspective, let's compare this to 3 Silicon Valley VSaaS providers:

  • Viaas: The system we find to be most mature, Viaas offers a customized plug n play 4CIF camera that connects to their VSaaS service providing 30 days of motion recording for $9.95 per camera per month.
  • Dropcam provides an Axis OEMed plug n play cube camera (CIF resolution) that connects to their VSaaS service providing 1 week of continuous recorded video fro $8.95 per camera per month.
  • VitaminD offers a video analytics application that you run on your PC connecting to webcams or network cameras. The system provides alerts and a moderate level of video management/review. Free license for 1 camera; unlimited camera license for $199. This is not a true VSaaS but we find this to be an attractive low cost, non-recurring alternative.

Unlike these offerings, Sensr.net does not have a clear target market nor product fit. However, with the new funding, Sensr.net will be able to experiment and expand their offering.

The progress of Sensr.net will be interesting to track as it will be a good demonstration of the power (or not) of integrating social media and freemium VSaaS.

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Directory of 30+ VSaaS / Cloud Video Surveillance Providers on Jun 07, 2019
This directory provides a list of VSaaS / cloud video surveillance providers to help you see and research what options are available. 2019 State...
Solink Raises $12 Million - Company Profile on Feb 12, 2019
Most industry professionals have never heard of Solink, a company whose tagline is: It's time to revolutionize the way business uses...
Eagle Eye Favorability Results 2019 on Mar 21, 2019
Eagle Eye has been the biggest spender in the cloud VMS market including (via their owner) acquiring Brivo for $50 million and CameraManager from...
Ivideon Russian VSaaS Profile on Jun 27, 2019
Ivideon was an early VSaaS entrant, initially focusing on the consumer market, claiming massive growth to IPVM in 2014. We spoke to Ivideon, to...
'CCTV' Is the Past, Cloud Video Surveillance Is the Future on Jul 08, 2019
A fundamental shift is happening. For decades, video surveillance was overwhelmingly 'closed' and off the Internet. This is changing. More and more...
Proactive CCTV "Only Affordable Video Archiving Solution" Profile on Aug 12, 2019
Proactive CCTV is claiming to offer "the only affordable video archiving solution on the market", reducing the storage typically required for H.265...
How Cobalt Robotics May Disrupt Security on Sep 13, 2019
While security robots have largely become a joke over the last few years, one organization, Cobalt Robotics, has raised $50+ million from top US...
Vunetrix Health Monitoring Company Profile on Nov 26, 2019
Vunetrix boasts that they make the integrators the 'HERO' by using Vunetrix's monitoring. We spoke to Vunetrix to better understand their...
Video Surveillance 101 Course Opened on Dec 12, 2019
IPVM is adding a Video Surveillance 101 course, designed to help those new to the industry to quickly understand the most important terms,...
The Battle For the VSaaS Market 2020 - Avigilon, Arcules, Eagle Eye, OpenEye, Qumulex, Tyco, Verkada on Jan 13, 2020
While VSaaS suffered from inflated expectations in the 2010s, 2020 marks a new decade and a much stronger competitive position for VSaaS vs...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Verkada Paying $100 For Referrals Just To Demo on Jan 22, 2020
Some companies pay for referrals when the referral becomes a customer. Verkada is taking it to the next level - paying $100 referrals fees simply...
Camera Analytics Shootout 2020 - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Jan 22, 2020
Analytics are hot again, thanks to a slew of AI-powered cameras, but whose analytics really work? And how do these new smart cameras compare to top...
Intersec 2020 Final Show Report on Jan 21, 2020
IPVM spent all 3 days at the Intersec 2020 show interviewing various companies and finding key trends. We cover: Middle East Enterprise...
Vehicle & Long Range Access Reader Tutorial on Jan 21, 2020
One of the classic challenges for access control are parking lots and garages, where the user's credential is far from the reader. With modern...
Clearview AI Alarm - NY Times Report Says "Might End Privacy" on Jan 20, 2020
Over the weekend, the NY Times released a report titled "The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It" about a company named...
Favorite Camera Manufacturers 2020 on Jan 20, 2020
The past 2 years of US bans and sanctions have shaken the video surveillance industry but what impact would this have on integrators' favorite...
"Severely Impacted" Mercury Security 2020 Leap Year Firmware Issue on Jan 17, 2020
One of the largest access controller manufacturers has a big problem: February 29th. Mercury Security, owned by HID, is alerting partners of the...
Apple Acquires XNOR.ai, Loss For The Industry on Jan 16, 2020
Apple has acquired XNOR.ai for $200 million, reports GeekWire. This is a loss for the video surveillance industry. XNOR.ai stunned the industry...
Installation Course January 2020 - Last Chance on Jan 16, 2020
Thursday, January 16th is your last chance to register for the Winter 2020 Video Surveillance Installation Course. This is a unique installation...
Halo Smart Vape Detector Tested on Jan 16, 2020
The Halo Smart Sensor claims to detect vaping, including popular brand Juul and even THC vapes. But how well does it work in real world...