The battle of the Goliaths; Google upgrades Nest to compete with Amazon

by Mark Bailey

Google is amping up its game to compete with its biggest contender in the home security market: Amazon. As these behemoths battle it out, consumers can expect better functionality and more competitive pricing.

The home security market is huge. In 2018, it was estimated to be a $46 billion industry, with expected increases of more than 60% up to 2023. And this drive is pushed by the accessibility of the IoT (Internet of Things) and a desire to feel safer in their homes.

Are you safe in your home?

As long as you’re not living in a destabilised country, such as Myanmar, Afghanistan or Venezuela, you’re actually living in one of the most peaceful, safest times in history. Around the world, almost 70% of people trust their local police, and 68% of people feel safe walking alone at night in their neighbourhood. In fact, only 5% of people worldwide reported an assault or mugging. Statistics from many cities, districts and countries back this up; we are safer in our homes than ever before.

So why are so many people feeling unsafe?

In the 1970’s, Dr George Gerbner created an explanation for this called the ‘Mean world syndrome’. This is when people think the world in inherently more dangerous than it is. This is largely due to the media reporting more crimes (if it bleeds, it leads), more violent TV shows and people thinking there is more crime – even when there’s not. This over-reporting and saturation of violence can increase depression, anxiety, anger, and fear.

For many, this unsubstantiated fear can be offset by a home security system. And the big tech giant of Google entered with its DIY bolt-on system, Nest, while Amazon has a similar system called Ring. Combined with smart home systems, these pieces of tech provide peace of mind and extra functionality and ease for your life.

What is Nest?

Nest is Google’s systems of security cameras, smart displays, alarms, doorbells, and digital locks. They are all designed to seamlessly integrate with Alexa, your Google products such as WiFi, speakers, thermostats and your central control panel.

The system comes with a variety of subscriptions that give you a range of different functions, including 24/7 camera recordings stored for periods of time. For $5, $10 or $30 a month, the video recording is kept for 10, 30 or 60 days. But this subscription needed to be paid separately for each device, meaning front and back door cameras, for example, needed two subscriptions.

What changes have Nest made?

The new Nest Aware subscription model has changed. There are two plans to choose from. One costs $6 a month, giving you 30 days to access camera recordings of ‘events’, rather than continuous recordings. The $12 a month plan gives 60 days of ‘events’ and ten days of 24/7 recordings. If you pay annually, the amounts drop back to $5 and $10 per month.

However, the biggest change that will please many users, is that both subscriptions include unlimited devices, including cameras, displays and speakers.

It’s also adding audio monitoring to their speakers, so breaking glass or a smoke detector going off will update the user via the app. This app also allows users to dial 911 if they aren’t home, routing the call through the call centre nearest your home, not your current physical location. You can also set up the system to give you alerts on elderly family through their Nest Hub Max.

What does Ring from Amazon offer?

Amazon has a very similar system to Nest, but their plans were far more streamlined than Googles’. Their basic plan is $3 a month, and it offers 60 days of ‘event’ history for any single Ring device. Or, for $10 a month, the Plus plan allows users to add as many Ring devices as they wish, and access 24/7 monitoring.

As yet, it doesn’t give users the ability to access 24/7 recordings, although this appears to be underway.

What’s best for you? Amazon or Google?

With Google’s new plans and added functionality, they are trying to slowly ease Amazon out of the market. But for those wanting a more secure home with more devices and better features, Google is appealing. But a basic Amazon plan at a cheap-as-chips price of $3 is affordable for a home with a single device.

Currently, 70% of smart-speaker households have an Amazon Echo device, and only 32% have Google brands (some have both, accounting for 102%). Clearly, this is a trend that Google are trying to reverse, and consumers are the winners.

At this point, what you choose for your home really depends on how many devices you have. The more devices, the more appealing Google’s new plan is. But for a single device, Amazon is cheaper for now.






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