Panasonic's direct-to-consumer IP video
It might be too strong to say Panasonic is looking to bypass the channel with its newest offering, but the company's announcement at CES is all about offering customers a way to monitor their homes and businesses, and it sure does sound kind of cool:
LAS VEGAS, Jan. 6 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Panasonic today announced that its latest plug-and-play and wireless IP network cameras will be available this month, making it possible for consumers to monitor their homes remotely using select models of Panasonic's Internet-enabled plasma HDTVs, as well as PCs and cell phones*.One might ask: Where are the plug-and-play IP cameras for the professional security offerings? But I guess plug-and-play is in the eye of the beholder. Security integrators probably want to do a little more than just watch live video and record it. There's a little matter of integrating the video into the larger security system, but still... I'd like to see ease of installation more emphasized industry wide, as it is for consumers.
Boasting a sleek new design, the BL-C210, with proprietary one-wire, plug-and-play installation, and the wireless BL-C230 are suitable for a home or business setting. The integrated Internet connection allows users to view camera output in real time full motion video from anywhere in the world using a personalized secure web address (provided for free). It is even possible to pan, tilt and zoom remotely.See what I mean? Pretty cool consumer offering. It's got to compete at least a little with the professional offerings, no? Did you guys get a heads-up on this?
The cameras employ H.264 video compression which provides higher video quality and uses half the amount of bandwidth compared to other formats. Built-in sensors detect body heat, sound and motion. The sensor settings are customizable so they can be used separately or all at the same time. They can also be set to be active at specific times of the day. When a sensor is triggered, an image is captured and can be sent via email or to a VIERA CAST enabled TV**. There is built-in memory to store images and the included recording software connects up to 16 cameras.Whoah. They can detect body heat? That's pretty hot! (Ha! See what I did there, with the heat pun?) I haven't really seen that advertised in security much. Maybe it's more ubiquitous than I thought? Personally, the best part is that I can watch it on the IP TV. Panasonic makes awesome TVs. Plus, they're all h.264ed up.
"Panasonic is committed to providing communications products that help provide peace of mind for homeowners and small business owners," said Bill Taylor, President of Panasonic Systems Network Company of America. "The BL-C210 and BL-C230 provide a convenient solution for people who want to keep an eye on what's happening while they're away."They sure do provide a convenient solution. As do the security systems their channel partners install. Just saying...
As with other Panasonic network camera models, a state-of-the-art integration kit ensures compatibility with many solution applications, including automation products from Control4, Crestron, HomeLogic, Life Ware, Netstreams and others, as well as recording systems such as IPConfigure, Milestone, OnSSI and Quadrox.Wow. IPConfigure, Milestone, OnSSI, Quadrox being introduced to the consumer market. Are they implying that consumers self-install with the integration kit and get hooked up with self-install versions of what I would consider to be some pretty fancy-pants security-specific software? I'm really surprised to see those brand names in a CES release. Very interesting. And for fort those of you thinking maybe there's an implication that these great new IP cameras will be professionally installed:
The Panasonic BL-C210 IP network camera carries a suggested retail price of $199.95 and the BL-C230 carries an SRP of $299.95. Both will be available from select Panasonic authorized dealers including Amazon.com.Yep, pretty nice IP cameras for $200, available at Amazon. Obviously, cool A/V devices are at CES that most people would want an A/V integrator to actually install in their homes, and just because something is available at Amazon doesn't mean that's where everyone wants to buy it or that they'll install it themselves (I can buy a washer at Best Buy, but that doesn't mean I'm going to install it myself) but there's definitely a DIY feel to this release that should keep integrators on their toes. What's your value-add? Why shouldn't people just do this type of installation themselves? Food for thought.