Industry divided on Google’s effect on security industry
YARMOUTH, Maine—Google, in March of this year, acquired patents relating to residential security. Twelve months earlier, Google acquired the smart home thermostat Nest. Is Google planning a big move into the security space? Should the industry be nervous? Security Systems News readers were evenly divided among those who are worried, those who are not worried and those who plan to worry about Google if and when it gets seriously involved in the industry.
“Google has an ability to market that will make the cable and phone companies sit up and take notice,” said one respondent. “DIY won't be for everyone, but it's a lot easier, [and] with wider appeal, than it has ever been. Google won't eat the industry, but they can certainly take a chunk out of the traditional residential market.”
Thirty-eight percent of respondents disagreed, saying the security industry could actually benefit from Google’s advertising and marketing.
“The awareness, however, of the needs for the products and services at all levels of consumption (consumers, business, personal, etc.) will—in the short term—have a positive effect. As they say, the high tide will lift all boats,” said Mike Ramsey, COO of Your Monitoring Center.
About one-third of respondents said Google is a threat, with the ability to steal customers. “The end user can install these devices himself and run them off their home's Wi-Fi instead of paying expensive monthly fees through an alarm dealer,” one reader pointed out.
“Google's M.O. is to dominate, as they have in all their other ventures, and the security industry is rather small compared to the other industries/markets where it competes,” said Joseph Valentine, Owner of BIDCO Acquisitions & Divestitures.
Fewer respondents, 29 percent, said they might worry more if Google takes a bigger step into the industry.
In April, SSN reported on Google’s possible plans of action. Jeff Kessler, managing director of Imperial Capital, predicted that Google will eventually want its systems to be professionally monitored. “If Google pushes the DIY button big-time, they’re going to have to buy a monitoring company or create one on their own … or they’ll have to make some arrangement with a third-party monitoring company,” he said.
Only 9 percent of respondents to the News Poll agree that Google will seek professional monitoring. A majority of readers—55 percent—said that Google will use a DIY model. Thirty-six percent think Google could invent an entirely new model.
One reader said: “It started with Nest and they marketed to the DIY. Now that they have cameras they will push for self-monitoring.”
How should security companies guard against Google?
Staying up to date on the latest technologies is key, according to 37 percent. Staying close to customers is more important, said 28 percent.
Thirty-five percent of readers said they’re not worried about Google, or any other newcomer for that matter. “Unless they have a team of installers and service techs, [I’m] not too worried,” said one reader.
“As an end user of security technology, any new entrants into the area should always prove beneficial even if it’s basically an introduction of new ideas and concepts,” said A.J. Hunter, project manager for security operations for Albright Knox Art Gallery.