BeON seeks to secure those who don’t want traditional tech

‘Preventative’ LED light system designed to win over resistant homeowners
Monday, April 27, 2015

LAS VEGAS—A startup has set its sights—or rather, its lights—on a market that has been elusive for decades. BeON is targeting homeowners who have no intention of investing in home security systems.

BeON says that group, who wants nothing to do with cameras, control panels, sensors or the cloud, represents 80 percent of homeowners. “To get to that 80 percent, we need to take a wildly different approach,” says Alexei Erchak, CEO and co-founder of the company. “That means offering a first-of-its kind preventative system.”

Using LED lights and sound, the BeON system is designed to stop break-ins before they happen, Erchak told Security Systems News during at meeting at ISC West. It won an honorable mention in the SIA New Products Showcase.

Dealers like the system as a “first layer of protection” in a tiered security approach, he said. Consumers like it because it is easy and familiar: “You hear a bump in the night and the first thing you do is turn a light on. Lights equate with safety. It’s a familiar association and turning on lights is an everyday part of life.”

And, because it is a “preventative system” rather than an alarm system, it doesn’t impact already overburdened first responders, he said.

BeON’s LED bulbs, each equipped with a smart module, fit into normal sockets and are operated by existing light switches so no new hardware or wiring is needed. They are the equivalent of 60-watt bulbs but run on only 9.5 watts.

Here’s where the security function comes in: About a week after installation, the bulbs’ modules have “learned” the residents’ lighting patterns and schedule, and they keep learning and adapting to changes in those behaviors. Before leaving the house, the homeowner activates the learned system using the software program on a smartphone or computer. Lights will then go on and off throughout the house just as if the occupants were there.

“About 70 percent of people do something with lights when they are away from home,” Erchak said. They leave a light on or put a lamp or two on a timer, both of which a savvy burglar can clue into. “But ours do exactly what you do.”

Most burglars, especially “impulsive” ones, do a “doorbell check” to make sure the house is empty before breaking in, Erchak said, so the lights’ modules have a microphone function that recognizes the home’s doorbell. When the system is activated, the doorbell will alert it to turn on lights along the normal path a person would take to open the door. For example, in the middle of the night, an upstairs bedroom light would come on, then a hallway light, then the light in the front foyer.

“It will hit burglars in the face, letting them know that this is a high-risk path they don’t want to take,” he said, and then they’ll move on.

The company, based in Cambridge, Mass., sells its direct-to-consumer version on its website. It eventually wants to sell to consumers through brick and mortar retailers.

Meanwhile, it has been introducing an enhanced version, BeON Pro, to mostly mid-size dealers. BeOn Pro links with traditional security systems. Features such as advanced lighting replay, added customizable doorbell triggers and responses to sirens, instant-on lighting during power outages and advanced panic features are available in the Pro offering.

“[Dealers] like it for the cool factor,” Erchak said, but they see its practical usefulness as well. Dealers attending BeON demos at ISC West were receptive, he said. Many saw it as a way to break into that impenetrable “80 percent” market. Others saw it as an up-sell. Others said it could be a form of customer retention: “If a customer wants to leave, they can say, ‘Well, at least use one of these for your safety,’” he said.

Dealers also appreciated its ease of installation because “it’s as easy as screwing in a light bulb,” Erchak said. The software program is intuitive and user-friendly as well, he said.

Future upgrades to the system could include enhancing the microphone function, according to Mark Komanecky, VP of marketing. Already it can be programmed to recognize a fire/smoke detector and then turn on exit lighting. Down the road, the doorbell could trigger other custom sounds when the system is activated, such as a dog barking or music being turned on, Komanecky said.

Erchak and Arvind Beliga started BeON in 2013. Beliga is the company’s COO.