Putting the “security” in home security with 911 APIs

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In the olden days (of less than 10 years ago if we’re being honest), home security involved a company coming into your home and installing keypads, contact points, motion detectors, and cameras that were all wired into your home phone (landline, of course).

These systems would contact the security system provider if they were tripped, who would, in turn, call 911 to have emergency services sent to your home.

It was, frankly, a lot. I should know, I had a system like this, and while the peace of mind of knowing my home was monitored was comforting (and helped with our homeowner’s insurance), it also required us to be locked into a lengthy contract and to maintain a landline phone long after we’d switched to mobile phones as our primary means of communications.

Fortunately, the way we think about home security is changing.

DIY Security

Thanks to the growth of wireless networks and high-speed internet, a new category in home security emerged — DIY or “Do It Yourself” security.

Instead of relying on a company to come in and install a system, you can buy a system off the shelf that you can then easily self-install and scale as large, or small, as you want. Companies like Ring.com, SimpliSafe, Arlo, and Google (through their Nest product line) have all seized on this trend and brought solutions to market.

For each individual customer, the appeal of DIY security can vary, but it allows the individual to buy the system they want, scaling up or down to fit individual needs. In addition, self-installation and connection through a home’s internet (instead of a landline phone) all reduce costs. Additionally, most DIY systems offer optional monitoring services, if that level of comfort is desired,  without having to sign up for a contract.

It all sounds pretty good, but there is a gap. If you need to call 911 from someplace other than your home, getting help may be a problem.

Seeing the problem

Imagine for a moment that you’ve installed a handful of security cameras around your home. You can monitor them remotely, they send a notification when movement occurs, and they even record for several days at a time, allowing you to review the footage if you need to.

But what if you see a serious event and need to call 911? If you’re at work and call you might be ok, and get connected to local emergency services that can then send appropriate emergency response to your home. However, what if you’re not at work or home? What if you’re not even in your home state, but on vacation, even traveling internationally? Your home may be in Seattle, but if you see something happening and call 911 from your mobile phone while in St. Louis, guess which local emergency service provider you’re going to get? That’s right, good old St. Louis.

How useful is your DIY home security system then?

Help when, and where, you need it

I know, it sounds like this is all doom and gloom, that your home will never be secure unless you install a system like those that homes have had for decades. Why bother with DIY to keep your home and possessions safe — leave your doors unlocked for anyone to come and go as they please because once far away from home, no help can be summoned.

There is, however, a better way.

These DIY security systems often offer monitoring services not unlike what a traditional security system offers (though usually without the lengthy contract), but they also offer something new — e911 integration in their apps.

The appeal of the DIY systems is not only the ability to install it yourself (which is awesome), but also the ability to monitor the system yourself. Yes, you can sign up for monitoring services that will alert emergency services when you’re not there, but thanks to high-speed internet both at home and on our phones, we can actively look in on our homes whenever we want.

So what about our scenario above? What if you see something and want to do something about it?

Companies like the ones mentioned above are working to put the security back in home security. Instead of just allowing you to check in and see what’s going on, they’re also giving you the power to call 911 if you see something and connect you with emergency services where your home is.

The best part? This is all done from within their app thanks to e911 embedding and 911 APIs.

Want to learn more?

Want to add security to your home security app? Want to implement voice or messaging into your app? Our team’s ready to talk! Give us a call and find out how you can disrupt your industry and give your customers the experience they want.

See how you can embed security!