Silicon Valley Startup Targets Neighborhood Surveillance

By: Carlton Purvis, Published on Jan 16, 2014

Silicon Valley is warming up to the surveillance market, seeing the potential of consumers to embrace the technology. One application that has significant potential is neighborhood watches - using connected cameras so that neighbors can keep an eye out for any problems - something that we have described as "Virtual Neighborhood Watches".

Now one startup, Koozoo, [link no longer available] a San Francisco startup, is deliver just that. In this note, we break down their service, positioning and potential.

It started out as a free iOS and Android app to crowdsource video footage. Members can upload clips, but also live stream video. This company video gives their brief pitch:

An Overview on Using the App

After registering, users will see a map and a legend explaining what each pin means. To the right you can see the pins for cameras in San Francisco.

Users can also select if they want their views to be public or private (or shared among friends) and the broadcast quality:

Storage Limitations

The clips are stored on a member’s profile unless they delete it, but the streaming video is not stored, so searching for what happened earlier today or who stole the car last night is not available.

Security Applications

Many of Koozoo's subscribers were using the devices as a security cameras. The image below is from a feed in San Francisco that has a device mounted in a corner overlooking the inside of a building.

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

Many others overlook street doorways and street corners. In contrast to similar apps like Presence, which was created to use iOS devices as security cameras, Koozoo is free.

Limited Uptake

 

Unfortunately, when it comes to crowdsourcing content, it only works if people are willing to provide and share content. And content was scarce for Koozoo.

For the entire United States, I only found 29 views -- most from mounted devices in San Francisco and one from an office in Austin, TX. Surprisingly, I didn’t find any views at all for the entire east coast, possibly another reason why the company changed it focus.

Pivoting

Realizing its potential as a security service, the company changed its model and plans to offer video surveillance to neighborhood associations for $15 per month, per camera. It has moved away from recycled smartphones to consumer grade surveillance cameras. 

"The app still exists, and we're still supporting it, but moving forward the focus is now crime prevention and neighborhood watch," said CEO Drew Sechrist in a phone interview.

Revenue

Most of the details, including the shift from crowdsourced video to neighborhood surveillance have not been announced publicly until now. Koozoo is still working out the details on marketing and making the service profitable. The app does not have an ads, in-app purchase or require a paid subscription.

Pilot Project

The company recently teamed up with the Kansas Street SAFE Neighborhood Association to pilot the new model.

Residents in the neighborhood watch group can buy Foscam cameras configured to send video two Koozoo servers and have the content stored on a neighborhood server for seven days. The cost, when Koozoo starts charging will be $15 per month, per camera. The live streams can be viewed by neighborhood watch and neighborhood watchmen can send video clips directly to the authorities through the app. They are not charging residents for the service during the pilot.

Analysis

While we see value in empowering neighborhood associations, this might be challenging for Koozoo to execute. Their first attempt did not work and they likely spent most of their $2.5 million seed round pursuing that. Now, they are pivoting to basically be one of dozens of startups offering subscription cloud recording for consumer cameras. It is not clear how they will differentiate or catch up to rivals who already offer this. Also, will neighborhood associations help buy in bulk or will it be more challenging for them to coordinate / make such decisions?

Ultimately, we do see VSaaS / cloud connected cameras as a very good solution for neighborhood associations because it radically simplifies setting up and sharing video in local areas, two things that have historically been very complex (think of all the city systems that spend tens of thousands per camera). One day soon, for a fraction of that, neighborhoods will be open to set up systems with dozens of a cameras from a fraction of what cities have historically paid.

 

Comments (0) : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Phone Camera Calculator Released on Mar 10, 2020
IPVM has released the first-ever Phone Calculator, video surveillance design software that you can use on your phone, without installing an...
Every VMS Will Become a VSaaS on Feb 21, 2020
VMS is ending. Soon every VMS will be a VSaaS. Competitive dynamics will be redrawn. What does this mean? VMS Historically...
Verkada Notification Outage on Dec 12, 2019
Verkada is suffering an event notification outage and analytic search failures. Inside, we examine what the issues are, what Verkada told IPVM...
TMA Apologizes to Amazon / Ring on Aug 23, 2019
Not only is Amazon / Ring making major incursions into the residential security market, the organization representing the biggest incumbents, The...
Risk of Amazon Alexa Guard: No Battery Or Cell Backup on Jun 20, 2019
Amazon positions its Alexa Guard Service as a "smart home security system" and says it can help you "keep your home safe". However, the...
Kidnapping Victim Rescued With Video From Ring Doorbell Camera on May 24, 2019
A kidnapping victim was rescued within 24 hours, with the police crediting video from a Ring Doorbell camera as key to solving the case. A girl was...
Amazon Ring Public Subsidy Program Aims To Dominate Residential Security on May 20, 2019
Amazon dominates market after market. Quitely, but increasingly, they are doing so in residential security, through a combination of significant...
Closed Cloud Cameras Trashed on May 13, 2019
When you buy a camera, do you own it? Not anymore. In the world of closed cloud cameras, you may think you are buying a camera but all you are...
Bastille Cell Phone Tracking Profile on Apr 30, 2019
Is tracking someone by their cellphone the next generation of surveillance? Bastille is a US startup which tracks people by their cellphone or...
Amazon Marketing Pro Installs of Amazon Security Systems on Apr 25, 2019
Is Amazon a threat to conventional providers like ADT, Vivint and Brinks Home Security? Many say no. Now, Amazon is advertising free in-home...

Most Recent Industry Reports

USA's Feevr Thermal Temperature System Examined on Mar 31, 2020
This US company has burst on to the scene, brashly naming itself 'feevr' and branding itself as a "COVID 19 - AI BASED NON CONTACT THERMAL...
JCI Coronavirus Cuts on Mar 31, 2020
JCI has made coronavirus cuts, the company told employees in an email that IPVM has reviewed. Inside this note, we examine the cuts made, the...
Add Door Operators To Fight Coronavirus on Mar 31, 2020
IPVM recommends that integrators advocate and end-users consider adding door operators to fight the spread of coronavirus. This delivers...
Video Surveillance Business 101 on Mar 30, 2020
This report explains the fundamental elements of the video surveillance business for those new to the industry. This is part of our Video...
FDA Gives Guidance on 'Coronavirus' Thermal Fever Detection Systems on Mar 30, 2020
The US FDA has given IPVM guidance on the use of thermal fever detection systems being marketed for coronavirus, as an explosion of such devices...
Worsen: Integrators Hit Even Harder By Coronavirus on Mar 30, 2020
Integrator's problems have worsened over the past 2 weeks, according to new IPVM survey results. Inside this report, we share statistics and...
Pivot3 Mass Layoffs on Mar 27, 2020
Pivot3 has conducted mass layoffs, the culmination of grand hopes, a quarter of a billion dollars in VC funding, and multiple failures to gain...
Athena CEO Criticizes 'Deplorable' 'Nitpicking', IPVM Refutes on Mar 27, 2020
UPDATE: NBC News Report Cites IPVM On Coronavirus 'Fever Detection' Cameras Athena Security's CEO Lisa Falzone has strongly objected to IPVM's...
Hikvision Admits Sanctions Harming Its Financial Performance on Mar 27, 2020
While Hikvision initially downplayed being sanctioned for human rights abuses, the company is now admitting a significant impact in a new PRC...