Ecobee offers home security system
Ecobee, known for their well-designed and high featured Wi-Fi smart thermostats that include Alexa voice support, has launched new home security products and a cloud monitoring service. With the addition of the company’s entry sensors, Wi-Fi connected camera, and cloud service, it is now able to offer a complete, integrated home security system to rival other DIY offerings from Nest, Ring, Simplisafe and Honeywell. The home security system market is getting more crowded, and more interesting. CNET
dis-rup-shun: Ecobee products are well designed, so this system may turn out to be a better experience than similar DIY offerings. What’s most interesting is to watch device makers, such as the Ecobee of five years ago, add more and more products and features to their ecosystem. The question is, will these systems continue to grow in functionality to rival more complex and complete systems such as those provided by ADT/Alarm.com and Vivint? Do Ecobee’s and rivals’ DIY systems compete with professionally installed security systems, or are these buyers as different as buyers of SUVs and Priuses?
Verizon to buy video conference platform BlueJeans
In what could be one of the first post-pandemic restructurings, Verizon will pay $400 million to acquire the internet video conferencing platform BlueJeans. BlueJeans boasts 15,000 current customers. Verizon sees the platform as a logical add-on to its 5G offerings, as more workers are expected to work remotely after the pandemic. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: This may be one piece of evidence that the corporate landscape will change as a result of COVID-19. Verizon is counting on the increased popularity of video conferencing tools to be more than a temporary uptick, and to become a permanent and important part of the core telecommunications offerings. Expect to see a large brand reach out to acquire the superstar Zoom in the next six months as the pandemic dust settles.
Peacock streaming service launches
NBCU Comcast has launched its own answer to the video streaming wars. The Peacock streaming service has multiple forms: a limited, free, ad-supported version, a $4.99 ad-supported version for non-subscribers to Comcast/Cox pay TV, and a premium ad-free version for $7.99. The service is now part of the pay TV bundle from Comcast and Cox — included in their pay TV offerings. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: It feels as if NBCU is late to the streaming party, with Disney + having gained so many subscribers who may have decided to be three service households with Prime, Netflix and Disney +. To squeeze in a fourth service, or to prefer Peacock over other services seems unlikely at this point. NBCU was wise to use this service as a value-added sweetener for those who have not, and maybe will not, cut the cord. Investing in core customers is wise, and NBCU’s strategy seems to be to straddle the old and new worlds of TV services.
Fitbit adds features and no bulk in Charge 4
Fitbit has added a new, slim fitness tracker to its lineup. The Charge 4, for under $200, provides GPS and heart rate alerts. For core fitness fans who want a slim, attractive device and don’t want the bulk of a smartwatch, this is a new alternative. CNET
dis-rup-shun: Fitbit is doing a good job of finding niche markets within the niche of wearables. Just emulating the Apple watch is a tough strategy, so creating more specialized devices for micro-segments is a good way to expand the market into spaces that are likely not on Apple’s road map. Fitbit is building highly specialized fitness trackers for fitness enthusiasts who have very particular size, weight and feature requirements. Stay tuned to watch the divergent paths of the swiss-army-knife Apple approach, versus the specialist approach of Fitbit.