How the Cloud & Big-Time Manufacturers Will Affect the Security Industry


In my 37 years working in the industry, I have seen the “race to the bottom” occur with every popular technology that has come into our business.

Two examples come quickly to mind: PIR motion detectors and digital communicators.

The first PIRs I sold at a distributor in Atlanta went for $275 in 1977 dollars.

A few years later the cost for better performing PIRs had dropped below $50 each, and soon bottomed out at around $10 apiece.

The same story happened with digital communicators. The first ones were $130 with no control panel functions. Dealers had to purchase a $150 control panel (ADEMCO 342Rs, anyone?) to complete the “head end” of a security system.

Today’s combined control panel/digital communicators are typically priced to the dealer at around $50 for a six zone control.

You can’t take your wife to dinner for $50, but dealers can buy an alarm panel/communicator for that price.

What has surprised me is the speed at which IP cameras have dropped in cost, while simultaneously increasing features and options.

In a couple of short years (the older I get, the shorter the years) the price of feature-loaded IP-cameras has dropped to or below the cost of low-end analog surveillance cameras that have no IP capability, on-camera recording, audio, or any advanced features.

While the established manufacturers try to plan their new offerings, the flood of IP-cameras is coming from across the Pacific.

Our friends in Asia seem to have decided that there is a large market in indoor IP cameras and are filling that perceived need. Security dealers need to be thinking right now about how these inexpensive IP cameras will impact our business.


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