Startup: World's Simplest Intrusion System?

By Brian Rhodes, Published Mar 31, 2014, 12:00am EDT

The DIY Intrusion market is hot, with new entrants emerging frequently.

The newest one pulls no punches claiming "anyone can use it" and "everyone can afford it". Comprised of two basic pieces, a sensor and a fob, the concept is that even techno-luddites can install and operate their own intrusion system.

Can the company deliver? We look at the offering in this note.

UPDATE: See IPVM's Korner Test Results.

Overview

Korner is composed of only two pieces:

  • Fob: The 'main panel' of the system is essentially an inline adapter a user plugs into the household internet modem. No configuration is required.
  • Sensor: Korner's system comes with one form of sensor; a wireless accelerometer that can be stuck via adhesive to windows, doors, or valuable objects.

When activated, the Fob sounds a 'piercing tone' that is silenced by commands from a mobile device app. When alarmed, the system pushes notifications to the app, where the user has the option to call police response.

Less than $100

The strongest feature of Korner's offering is price. Users can expect to pay $85 for the system, which includes a year of remote service and three sensor tags. After the first year of service, users are billed $35 per year of service.

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Given the renters can easily uninstall the sensors and reinstall themselves, Korner is positioned to be ideal for apartment dwellers. Given the sub $100 purchase price, and a <$3/month service cost, Korner will be accessible to a large swath of the consumer market, especially those unable or unwilling to spend thousands in equipment, installation, and monitoring for a 'traditional' alarm system.

Key Features

Korner's minimal devices and low cost depend on certain features that either can be a smart approach or a dealbreaker depending on the user:

  • Social 'Security Circle' Alarming: Korner is not monitored by a central station, instead using the end-user's friends and family to respond to trouble. The Fob sends a notification to the user, and a selected list of contacts when the system activates. This requires those people to both carry a smartphone and download the Korner app, and also mandates their response to trouble signals. Korner will not automatically call the Police, instead relies of users to choose that option themselves.
  • Wireless: While easy to install, wireless means 'battery powered'. The company claims it's batteries will be good for an average of three years of normal use, but these claims can vary widely in actual use.
  • Remote Based: Korner comes with no keypads or web portal. In order to arm/disarm or receive alarm signals out of earshot of the fob's alarm, the user must carry a smartphone or tablet. If the end-user does not already carry this, or otherwise have internet connectivity where the system is installed, then Korner will not be much use.

Very Early

Despite all the claims of simplicity and affordability, Korner is not even at Fundraisng for pre-production yet. The company claims an indiegogo campaign is in the works, and has even begun promoting a 'special' package with no annual fee, but offers no production or shipping dates.

Disruptive

Even with details sketchy at best, what Korner claims could be disruptive to an already-disrupted DIY alarm system market. While most offering capitalizes on the early-adopter techie crowd, this startup takes a minimal approach and assumes if someone has a smartphone, they can handle Korner.

UPDATE: See IPVM's Korner Test Results.

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