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It’s time for another disruptive technology in security monitoring

A few months have passed since the big announcement by Google of the purchase of Nest, a maker of smart thermostats, and we are starting to see some signs of the impact this may have on our industry.

December 9, 2014  By JF Champagne

Some people may say this is going to only affect the home automation market and not have much influence on traditional alarm systems. But let’s not forget that the second product developed by Nest was a smoke and CO detector. The Nest vision is even more revealing than its product lineup: “We take the unloved products in your home and make them simple.”

I am sure that for most consumers, a burglar and fire alarm system fall into that category. That vision, combined with the power of Google, will over time result in a shift in product offerings and technologies for the sector.

Google with its Android mobile OS, claimed more than 43 per cent market share in Canada at the end of 2013. At that time, 56 per cent of the Canadian population had a smart phone. I can only imagine what that proportion would be if we were to consider only people who have a security system, but I would like to think it would be even higher.

But Google is also working on the next generation of smart devices with their Google Wear platform for wearable technology such as smart watches. All major manufacturers in the Google OS ecosystem, including Samsung, HTC, Motorola and LG have all announced plans to release smart  watches in the near future.


I should add that while Apple has not confirmed working on a watch (they never talk about product development) it is likely that they will introduce one this year as well. If you are skeptical about the potential of smart watches you should know that Pebble Technology raised more than $10 million on crowd-funding website Kickstarter to develop the Pebble Watch. Best Buy, which agreed to sell the product, ran out of stock in three days when it was launched last summer.

We should know that some of the people from the Nest team have been working on the Google Gear platform and the latest demo by Google showed a proof of concept where a Google Gear watch was able to respond to a voice command to “open garage door.”

I would predict that we are now less than five years away from a product that will be relatively low cost, fashionable to wear, able to inform us about the status of our security system from anywhere, know our whereabouts to determine if we are an authorized person on premise or an intruder while monitoring our vital signs, and send a signal if we were to have a medical emergency.

We’re about to get some Google love. 

JF Champagne is the executive director of CANASA (www.canasa.org).

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