Netgear branches into smart outdoor security lighting

Netgear is adding to its Arlo brand of security products with a new smart outdoor security light that can be triggered by motion.

Lights might not seem like a much of a high-tech product, but they’re part of a larger opportunity for Netgear. The company grew up making switches and routers, but it is broadening its reach to the Internet of Things, or making everyday products smart and connected. Patrick Lo, CEO of Netgear, and his executives talked about the opportunity as they made the lighting announcement at the company’s annual analyst meeting on Wednesday at Netgear’s headquarters in San Jose, California.

Certainly, some consumers may feel like they don’t need smart lights. But a quarter of Americans have home security devices now, and more want to install them. When you think about it, security cameras are more useful at night when the criminals are out and about. If you take videos with the motion-activated security camera at night, the video may not have sufficient quality to identify anyone.

Above: Netgear CEO Patrick Lo (with arms spread) at the company’s annual analyst meeting in 2017.

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

With the Arlo Smart Security Light, the lights will activate as soon as the motion is detected, and the smart camera can start recording the event with better lighting. The lights can be connected to the same smartphone app that sends you alerts when the cameras detect motion. You can set the alerts so that an alert is only sent if someone steps through a door of the house, or there is motion in a particular area in the large scene.

The battery-operated smart light products will debut early next year, possibly by March. The pricing hasn’t been set yet. Pat Collins, head of the Arlo products, said that the company considered putting the lights into the cameras, but customers wanted more flexibility in where to put the lights. On top of that, the battery life for the camera is impacted by the addition of the light, Lo said. This can be useful since a light might be activated before a camera is activated because it is in a different position from the camera.

The lights are weather resistant, are easily mounted, and have rechargeable batteries.

“It’s a natural transition for us and the wireless lights give customers a lot more flexibility in where to put their security lights,” Collins said.

The Arlo product line is an important one for Netgear, as it has allowed it to expand beyond its switching and routing products. Netgear has shipped more than 5 million of the cameras since 2014, and users are viewing more than 43 million video streams every day. The Orbi mesh Wi-Fi router extenders have also helped the company introduce a new premium brand for high-quality Wi-Fi, Lo said.

Above: Arlo smart light products.

Image Credit: Netgear

Arlo in particular can be extended to introduce more products that go beyond home security cameras and lighting, Lo said. Netgear has about 41 percent of the market in the U.S. for Internet-based security cameras, and it has built that position since entering the market in 2014. It did so by introducing wireless security cameras in 2016. That makes it a lot easier to install cameras outside of the home, Collins said.

“We are smaller and nimbler, but over the last 20 years we built a marquee brand in Netgear,” Lo said.

In October, Netgear introduced its latest Arlo Pro 2 cameras with 1080p video and the ability to limit alerts based on motion detected in certain zones. Collins said the company will extend that with new Arlo services in the spring. That will include cloud storage, instant camera live views, emergency call dialing, and person-detection notifications. Those services will be available for a premium fee.

Rivals in the camera business include Nest, Samsung, Night Owl, Ring, Lorex, Swann, Canary, and DPS.

“You can paint a zone to detect movement only when someone walks through a door,” Collins said, rather than detecting movement when a dog walks by the door. “We are excited about these new services.”

Christine Gorjan, chief financial officer, said that the IP camera market is growing faster than expected, and that the Arlo line will become a bigger part of growth and revenues over time. It will help the company meet its annual goal of 10 percent revenue growth per year.




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