Mark Vena is a Moor Insights & Strategy senior analyst covering the smart home, home automation, security, and console gaming.
“Home security” is a broadly defined moniker that in my view does a disservice—no single company owns the home security ecosystem because it is so large, and glutted with many “me too” products. The sheer expansiveness of the category can overwhelm the average consumer, and the amount of very similar smart products (door locks, security cameras, sensors, alarms, thermostats, etc.) from different companies on the market only exacerbates the aggravation.
With that in mind, I was glad to see that Paladin Armor, Inc., a San Jose-based startup, is trying to add real value to the home security space by focusing on an overlooked dimension of smart home automation. Oddly, smart homes (especially ones that automate household functions), still ultimately rely on old fashioned humans to control outcomes. The thought leaders behind Paladin Armor raised an important question: if smart home solutions are truly going to maximize their value, shouldn’t their chief focus be on genuine autonomy? In that spirit, Paladin Armor’s mission focuses on developing the platform and the relevant technologies for a genuinely intelligent and autonomous home experience.
What does this all mean in a practical sense? Take the Ring doorbell for example, one of the most popular and high-volume home security solutions that has emerged on the smart home scene in the last couple of years. While it (and other similar solutions) unquestionably give peace of mind to folks who wish to monitor their front doors while they’re not at home, one incredibly annoying side effect is false alerts. I have some personal experience with this. I installed one for my mom, but even with the motion sensitivity settings and zones dialed down to very modest levels she was getting multiple false alerts a day. A smart doorbell with integrated camera isn’t really so smart if it goes off when the mail is getting delivered or the front lawn is getting cut.
To alleviate this, Paladin Armor’s product strategy utilizes sensor arrays, artificial intelligence, deep learning, and rich data to detect actual presence and intent for home security solutions. It is designed to be “always on” and “always learning,” continuously protecting without the need to manually arm and disarm. In addition to smart doorbells, it’s easy see to how this algorithmic approach could be applied to other security flashpoints within the home (windows, for example).
Paladin Armor’s approach to home security hardware is also refreshingly honest, transparent, and agnostic. Its embedded intelligence can apply to any smart home or home automation solution that plays in the Paladin Armor ecosystem. In my view, the chief challenge that the company faces is that most consumers don’t realize that home security solutions must be “armed” or “disarmed” to work effectively.
Out of the huge number of vendors showing off home security solutions at CES 2018, I really didn’t see anyone focusing in the same areas as Paladin Armor. While the company has a significant opportunity (the home security category is an $8 billion market in the United States alone), it should be noted that Paladin Armor is also focusing on the “aging in place” and “health and wellness” markets, where its technology is similarly applicable.