To be clear, we're talking about the future, not the present. Traditional home security is a thriving industry, with the likes of ADT home security generating well over $10B in revenues annually in the US alone. But we're tech entrepreneurs, and unlike most of humanity, we spend most of our time blissfully ignorant of the present while permanently fixated on the future (which may partly explain the prodigious failure rate among startups). As a result, we have a tendency to attach undue importance to the most minute data points, utterly convinced that they are yet another affirmation of our wild predictions for the future.
A case in point is a recent survey we sent out to our Indiegogo contributors. Korner is on the cusp of delivering our product to 3000 contributors, and in preparation we recently sent out a shipping survey. In addition to ensuring we had up-to-date coordinates, we tossed in a number of other questions to get a profile of our contributors and what their expectations are from us in the future.
There were some surprising results, and one in particular really caught us off guard. We asked what additional accessories or services our contributors would like to see next from us. We presented 11 options, and the top ten fell into 3 tiers of interest. And then there was one option that stood very alone in a distant last place, with half as much interest as the 10th place finisher. And the loser was - call center monitoring at $10/month! And we were generous in pricing it at $10, with most monitoring in the marketplace priced much higher.
What's also interesting is that our contributors skew relatively affluent, with half showing annual income over $90K. And they also skew a little older than expected, with the 35-44 and 45-54 age groups outpacing the 25-34 age group. They are also over 80% homeowners. This relatively affluent and middle aged homeowner demographic aligns neatly with guess who? You got it - the ADT's of the world. And the ADT home security demographic just told us they have no interest in call center monitoring, even if it's priced to sell.
This all leads to a simple question. If people start to lose interest in call center monitoring, how do the big players justify $40/month for 3 years? Now granted our contributors have been exposed to Korner's Security Circle concept, which allows users to leverage connections with their community to respond to alerts. It is quite likely that many purchasers don't yet realize that there is viable alternative to old school call centers. But as the Sharing Economy expands, more and more people are becoming aware of, and comfortable with, organic communities and their capacity to meet basic needs, it is inevitable that these traditional models will come under pressure.
Although this is early days, our contention is that this is a canary in the Smarthome industry's coal mine, an early signal of what is to come. And with the traditional players' business model so deeply entrenched around the call center, it will be very interesting to watch them adjust.