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

2020 Video Surveillance Cameras State Of The Market on Jan 03, 2020
Each year, IPVM explains the main advances and changes for video surveillance cameras, based on our industry-leading testing and reporting. This...
The HIVIDEO $31 Face Detection DVR Tested on Apr 25, 2019
Face detection in a $31 DVR? That is what "HIVIDEO" (not to be confused with Hikvision, even if the company intends to do that) was promoting at...
Bezos-Funded Deep Sentinel Tested on Mar 28, 2019
Backed by Jeff Bezos, the Silicon Valley startup, Deep Sentinel, has declared: No One Does Home Security Like We Do Our Surveillance Team has...
Amazon Ring Spotlight Cam Tested on Sep 17, 2018
Amazon's Ring has released their latest camera entry, the Spotlight Cam, which we bought and tested in our Consumer IP Camera Analytics...
Remote Network Access for Video Surveillance Guide on Feb 21, 2018
Remotely accessing surveillance systems is key in 2020, with more and more users relying on mobile apps as their main way of operating the system....
Startup Flock Declares Itself "The New Standard For Neighborhood Security" on Dec 15, 2017
Mega startup generator YCombinator has backed a startup targeting neighborhood video surveillance and security. Flock Safety is taking a...
D-Link ONVIF Switch Tested on Dec 04, 2017
D-Link's surveillance switches claim to "enhance ease of use and streamline management" for network administrators, with simplified UIs and...
FLIR Lorex Wire Free System Tested on Aug 29, 2017
Wire free video surveillance is a major trend amongst consumers. But wire free systems tend to be designed for few cameras, lower resolution and...
Ubiquiti FrontRow Camera Tested on Aug 24, 2017
Ubiquiti is famous for low-cost wireless network equipment, a common choice for wireless video surveillance applications. The company has expanded...
Hikvision Ezviz Mini Trooper Totally Wireless Camera Tested on Jun 13, 2017
Totally wireless cameras are a major growth trend in video surveillance, driven by consumer demands to eliminate wiring. Hikvision is now joining...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Verkada: "IPVM Should Never Be Your Source of News" on Jul 02, 2020
Verkada was unhappy with IPVM's recent coverage declaring that reading IPVM is 'not a good look' and that 'IPVM should never be your source of...
Vintra Presents FulcrumAI Face Recognition on Jul 02, 2020
Vintra presented its FulcrumAI face recognition and mask detection offering at the May 2020 IPVM Startups show. Inside this report: A...
Uniview Wrist Temperature Reader Tested on Jul 02, 2020
Uniview is promoting measuring wrist temperatures whereas most others are just offering forehead or inner canthus measurements. But how well does...
Dahua USA Admits Thermal Solutions "Qualify As Medical Devices" on Jul 02, 2020
Dahua USA has issued a press release admitting a controversial point in the industry but an obvious one to the US FDA, that the thermal temperature...
Access Control Online Show - July 2020 - With 40+ Manufacturers - Register Now on Jul 01, 2020
IPVM is excited to announce our July 2020 Access Control Show. With 40+ companies presenting across 4 days, this is a unique opportunity to hear...
Hanwha Face Mask Detection Tested on Jul 01, 2020
Face mask detection or, more specifically lack-of-face-mask detection, is an expanding offering in the midst of coronavirus. Hanwha in partnership...
UK Government Says Fever Cameras "Unsuitable" on Jul 01, 2020
The UK government's medical device regulator, MHRA, told IPVM that fever-seeking thermal cameras are "unsuitable for this purpose" and recommends...
Camera Course Summer 2020 on Jun 30, 2020
This is the only independent surveillance camera course, based on in-depth product and technology testing. Lots of manufacturer training...
Worst Over But Integrators Still Dealing With Coronavirus Problems (June Statistics) on Jun 30, 2020
While numbers of integrators very impacted by Coronavirus continue to drop, most are still moderately dealing with the pandemic's problems, June...