Video verification is the next big opportunity for monitoring companies. Self-monitored IP cameras have become a common addition to monitoring contracts, especially in North America, and monitoring companies are looking for new ways to add new value to their “premium packages”. Several remote monitoring companies bought or partnered with specialists in video verification in 2016; for example, Honeywell acquired Videofied in March 2016 and ADT announced the integration of I-View NOW into its services in August 2016. These monitoring companies are expected to place a heavier focus on video verification services in 2017.
Video verification services use a low-framerate camera, typically with battery backup, in order to verify the source of a triggered alarm. The video verification device incorporates a PIR sensor to trigger the alarm and will capture a short video or set of images when the alarm is triggered to send to the monitoring station. This allows the monitoring station to better evaluate the cause of the alarm and coordinate an appropriate response from law enforcement or other responders. The presence of video verification classifies the call as a “crime in progress” for responders and as such will receive higher priority than other alarms, resulting in much faster response times, which in turn increases the chance of apprehending the intruder. Customers and their insurers place a high value on this service and customers are often willing to pay an increased monthly fee for the addition of video verification services.
The cost of these services has previously restricted this technology to large commercial businesses. However, reduction in cost of equipment and improvements in automation through software has decreased the end user cost to a point where it is affordable as an upgrade to alarm monitoring services for small commercial businesses and residential customers.
Additionally, the increasing reliability and capability of the wireless mobile network is allowing video monitoring solutions to be deployed more effectively. The mobile network can now provide a capable backup data link from the camera to the monitoring station, should the primary connection fail. This transition is making video verification a much more valuable service. Intruder alarm systems typically rely on Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) networks and Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) for backup communications; the large data bandwidth required for video services such as video monitoring and video verification makes POTS and GSM networks a limited backup communication option. The increasing coverage of high bandwidth mobile data networks, such as 4G, is allowing security systems to offer more reliable video services by providing a capable backup connection, which is more versatile and quicker to install than a dedicated landline. These systems can also be installed independently of a traditional alarm system, with some service providers offering stand-alone monitored video verification cameras consisting of a battery-powered camera connected to the mobile network. This type of stand-alone video solution is viable only now that the mobile network is capable of handling the data, and batteries are capable of powering the device for years rather than months.
Lower costs and a more capable and consistent mobile service network have created an opportunity to offer video verification services to a wider market that includes the small business and residential sectors alongside the large commercial sector. IHS expects that this will be one of the fastest-growing areas of the monitoring market in 2017.