The average person spends approximately 60% of their waking hours at home, according to the American Time Use Survey. Regardless of cultural background, households worldwide prioritize comfort, convenience, and safety in their homes.
Internet service providers (ISPs) have been the natural and dominant solution for delivering the first two needs, comfort and convenience, to their customers via broadband. However, ISPs have struggled to meet the third need, safety, by developing and marketing effective security solutions. The core problem? They have approached the task thinking like a professional security company rather than an ISP. Traditional security solutions can be expensive, cumbersome to develop, and not readily accessible to the average consumer. With a growing demand for technology that offers the holy trinity of comfort, convenience, and safety, ISPs are uniquely positioned to meet these expectations.
To penetrate the security market, ISPs need to take a different approach and capitalize on their most valuable resource: WiFi. By focusing on their strengths, ISPs can establish security solutions as a core part of their service offerings.
Why Has “Security” Become a Bad Word for ISPs?
The security industry is renowned for its difficulty accommodating new entrants. Established companies like ADT, Brinks, and Vivint have invested significant time and resources over several decades to refine and improve their solutions, offering diverse security products to their clients. This represents a considerable obstacle for start-ups and businesses aiming to expand their market share. In general, ISPs and similar organizations have encountered significant challenges in the security industry for three primary reasons:
1. Hardware is Complex & Expensive Developing a security solution has traditionally meant one thing: hardware. Developing hardware not only demands a considerable investment in time, effort, and resources, but it also requires extensive planning for manufacturing, storage, shipping, distribution, and sales strategies. Any changes to the hardware require reworking these processes, which makes scaling hardware difficult as technology evolves.
2. Security’s Usual Suspects The security market is notoriously difficult to penetrate. With safety being such an intimate topic for the average user, there is little to no margin for error. Users tend to stick with tried-and-tested solutions when it comes to securing their homes. That means that an ISP looking to create a competitive security solution needs to fully understand the market they’re entering, its pitfalls, and what end users want.
A successful security solution must be accurate, reliable, user-friendly, accessible, and flexible. For example, the following are three core considerations when designing a security solution:
- Reliability is crucial to avoid false alarms and unnecessary detections that may endanger users or reduce their satisfaction with the solution
- The system must also be straightforward enough for the average user to install it correctly, as incomplete coverage or incorrect setup can render the entire solution invalid
- Compatibility with other solutions and devices is mandatory. It is extremely rare for a user to rely on just one device or solution when setting up their home security system, especially since DIY approaches have become more popular.
3. Privacy Concerns The security industry is founded on implicit trust between security providers and their clients. To purchase a particular security solution, a user must have complete trust not only in the product's performance but also in the integrity of the provider, particularly the security measures embedded in the product. Encouraging customers to purchase security solutions from non-security companies can present a significant obstacle for ISPs. Users do not want to feel like their personal information is at risk. Additionally, privacy concerns surrounding camera-based solutions continue to be at the forefront of modern users' minds. Individuals do not want to feel as though they are under surveillance by a large corporation.
What Should ISPs do Different?
ISPs specialize in telecommunications, specifically WiFi. Given that WiFi is already central to their services and runs on their existing hardware and infrastructure, it makes more sense for ISPs to use these pre-existing resources, which both they and their end users are already familiar with, rather than invest in new hardware or infrastructure. If ISPs lack the expertise required to create effective security solutions, they should consider strategic partnerships, integrations, and collaborations to leverage their existing infrastructure (WiFi) and develop comprehensive security solutions. Wi-Fi Sensing technology can serve as a bridge between ISPs' infrastructure and new home monitoring applications, providing an opportunity for ISPs to enter the security market.
- Low-Risk Introduction to the Market: ISPs can enter the security market by providing a software solution, rather than investing in hardware. They can utilize their existing infrastructure with the help of solutions like WiFi Motion, which enables the router and devices already present in the home to function as a comprehensive motion sensing network. What's more, new features can be easily added through over-the-air upgrades.
- More Insights: To increase trust in a security solution, it's important to minimize false alerts and provide contextual information. Simply knowing that a door or window has been breached isn't sufficient. The ability to track movement throughout the home provides a more comprehensive picture of what's happening. By utilizing WiFi Motion technology, ISPs can enhance their security offerings, reduce false alerts, and build trust with their users. This opens up the possibility for additional features, services, or upgrades to be added to their security systems.
ISPs should use security solutions that leverage their brand and existing technology, like WiFi Motion, to attract new users. WiFi-based security is more effective for customers than unfamiliar technology. As well, WiFi Motion can alleviate many of the concerns that DIY security users have. Wi-Fi Sensing can serve as a comprehensive DIY security solution or be integrated with other solutions to create a superior alternative to those provided by established entities. Wi-Fi Sensing is inherently private, as it cannot hear, see, or identify its users. This solution can help establish a vital foundation of trust between ISPs and their customers.
Keeping the Long Game in Mind
The truth is that the needs of homeowners are constantly evolving and expanding, and so must ISPs. It makes good business sense to leverage a technology that already has a large user base: WiFi. With WiFi Motion from Cognitive, ISPs can integrate a foundational technology that offers unparalleled flexibility and the potential for future-proofing expansion into new markets or shifting business goals. By leveraging their existing resources and focusing on their strengths, ISPs can establish themselves as major players in the security market. However, achieving success in this endeavor requires a unique approach tailored to the ISP industry. With the assistance of Cognitive, ISPs can adopt a customized strategy designed specifically for their business model and resources, helping them to effectively compete in the security market.