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Amazon and Blink are changing the rules of the game in the smart home camera market

by Jack Narcotta | Feb 19, 2018

With the acquisition of Blink in December 2017, Amazon is hedging its bets that trends and dynamics in the smart home camera market, and arguably most smart home device segments, will be increasingly influenced by intangibles such as simplified installation and ease of use instead of hardware features and component specifications.
Battery-powered Wi-Fi security cameras, such as Blink and Netgear’s Arlo Pro, break away from the pack of free-standing and mountable security cameras, and Strategy Analytics believes that they are early indicators of the new types of differentiators that will appear in the market.

Amazon’s purchase of Blink further supports Strategy Analytics’ viewpoint that the smart home camera market will be defined more by use cases and ease of installation rather than video or camera hardware specifications. Removing the power cord from connected devices makes the devices – and the services they enable – easier to install for the majority of consumers, and completely eliminates the need for an expensive wired connection that often requires a service professional to install. 

Additionally for Amazon, the purchase of home surveillance camera maker and Kickstarter darling Blink by Amazon for $90 million hints at the online retail and cloud services giant’s plans for its portfolio of Alexa-controlled smart home devices. Not necessarily in terms of new camera hardware, although it is likely that Amazon will inject some of Blink’s camera DNA into Amazon’s existing Cloud Cam product suite.

Rather, Blink’s approach to lengthening battery life via its proprietary chips made it an attractive target for Amazon, who will likely utilize the chips manufactured by Immedia Semiconductor, Blink’s former parent company, to make future iterations of Amazon’s family of Echo devices truly wire-free.

Easier device installation is paramount to support Amazon’s desire for greater customer engagement, as well as, boost uptake of its growing roster of delivery services, including Key, which bundles smart locks from Yale and Kwikset and Amazon’s Cloud Cam into a solution that allows couriers to deliver packages just inside a customer’s front door, and allows homeowners to grant access to trusted friends, family and neighbors.

Strategy Analytics’ upcoming report on the home security camera market, which examines the trends and dynamics of Wi-Fi surveillance camera and video doorbell markets, shows that wire-free, battery-powered devices offer compelling differentiators from the glut of devices in the $50 to $100 price range. 

Our report finds that many features and specifications are similar, if not outright the same, across most cameras in this price band: high-quality HD video, wide horizontal viewing angles, motion detection, night vision and two-way audio. Aside from price or form factor options, few cameras in this price range offer unique, compelling features or benefits. We see the ability to run on battery power as a differentiating capability that companies such as Amazon, Canary, Logitech, Motorola and Arlo (Netgear) are building on to expand their opportunity.
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