Market Insight

Ecobee enters the security industry

April 23, 2020

Blake Kozak Blake Kozak Principal Analyst, Smart Home and Security Technology
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Ecobee has joined the security industry with Haven and as one of the market leaders in smart thermostats, Ecobee aims to take advantage of its installed base to bring more value to its platform. This makes sense in the USA where security remains a primary selling feature of smart home systems and cloud-based video camera storage is the most popular method of recurring fees.    

Security devices available include an indoor camera and a combination door/window sensor + motion sensor. The plans start with 14 days video recording and notifications starting at $5 per month. This is on par with other systems that charge $3 per camera or $10 for a set of cameras, such as with Arlo and Ring.

In terms of features, the indoor camera includes Alexa-built and video is processed locally (although it is mentioned that motion events will be sent to the cloud). The camera can also be automatically disabled when the user returns home, for added privacy. Although animal detection and other analytics aren’t always necessary for an indoor camera, there doesn’t appear to be additional video analytics as part of this indoor camera. MSRP is $179. This is a little pricy considering an indoor camera with Ring costs $60 and the Arlo Q (indoor camera) can be purchased for $150 (often for less when on sale).

The door/window sensors are not cheap either. Coming in at $80 for a 2-pack, this is about the same cost as Nest Detect and about 2X the cost of a window/door sensor from Ring. And these sensors don’t include a temperature sensor, so although they can monitor for occupancy, if the user also wants to manage temperature and security throughout a home, they would have to purchase SmartSensors.

A compelling feature offered with the indoor camera is an integration with HomeKit. This means the camera can be viewed from within the Home app but missing is any news on using Secure Video with HomeKit. This would be a great feature that would provide additional peace-of-mind for privacy but likely it would remove the opportunity for Ecobee to cash in on the RMR.

Despite the shortcomings with Apple, the Alexa features appear superior to other 3rd party devices. Sonos, the Ecobee thermostats and many other devices that boast an Alexa-built-in feature often lack full functions. For instance, many 3rd party Alexa devices cannot be used as an intercom (drop-in), notifications, calling and in some cases, smart home routines are also limited.

Overall, it has been expected for many months that Ecobee would enter the security market after details were leaked but at the onset, the offering likely won’t impact Ring, Nest or many of the other DIY systems available today. Moreover, since Ecobee is first and foremost a thermostat brand, it doesn’t compel users to remain in its ecosystem like a Ring, Arlo, Nest or other brand that has many devices in its portfolio. At the current price point, this offering will likely become inconsequential if Arlo opens its hub to its own brand of security sensors, which has been rumored for more than one year now. Despite the headwinds for Ecobee to enter the security space, the brand has been very active in terms of offering additional features and services. In 2019, Ecobee introduced Eco+ for enhanced efficiency and integrations with utilities. More recently, an air filter service is being pushed to consumers through the mobile app that offers recurring shipments of various filter types and qualities.

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