Google and Apple Squeezing into the Home Security Market


Home security is big business. It’s worth in the region of $25Bn per year projected to grow to north of $35Bn by 2017. It’s also an industry ripe for technological enrichment, as our homes get smarter it makes sense that our home security systems get smarter too. My home security is a 100lb American bulldog called Hedwig…we also happen to have ADT installed…but I have to believe Hedwig is a more effective deterrent albeit probably not as smart as some of the new home systems. It looks like Google is planning a move further into home security through Nest, its recent $3.2 billion acquisition that has put a high-tech twist on thermostats and smoke alarms. The company is considering buying the connected camera startup Dropcam.

Dropcam’s main product is a camera that saves its footage to the cloud, letting users check the recordings anytime and anywhere. The startup recently bolstered its security offering with improved video analysis technology and waterproof Tabs, which can detect motion in areas you couldn’t place a camera. Last year it announced a $30 million round of venture funding.

An expansion into home security would be in keeping with Nest’s mission of rethinking household technology for the 21st century. “Safety shouldn’t be annoying,” Nest CEO Tony Fadell told The Verge last year when unveiling the Protect smoke detector. “We’re about reinventing unloved categories.” That’s a mission that Dropcam’s investors got behind, with Kleiner Perkins’ Trae Vassallo saying last year that “Dropcam can do for surveillance cameras what Nest did for the thermostat.”

Apple is set to make its own play for the connected home next month, according to a report in the Financial Times. Cupertino will reportedly offer a platform for third-party vendors to hook into the iPhone, allowing it to control lighting, security systems, and more. Apple is said to consider privacy an advantage over Google, which leverages user data for advertising revenue and recently told the SEC it could serve ads on “refrigerators, car dashboards, thermostats” in the future — though it later denied any connection with the Nest acquisition. The iOS smart home software may be announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference on June 2nd.

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