Spark has begun selling a home security service that will send alerts to customers’ smartphones if alarms are triggered and let them view live video footage from their homes.
The service, Morepork, costs $999 plus $29.95 a month, or $49.95 a month if customers take up an option for professional monitoring by Whangarei-based company Alarm Watch.
Spark spokeswoman Gemma Croombs said Morepork was its first move into the “smart living” market, a category of services that can also include products to remotely control heating, lighting and home appliances.
The company is seeking ways to shore-up its revenues, which have been eroded by a plummeting contribution from landline calls and by stronger competition in the broadband and mobile markets.
However, Morepork will only be offered to Spark broadband customers, which comprise about 40 per cent of New Zealand homes.
Spokeswoman Lucy Fullarton said there was no technical limitation to offering it to customers of other internet providers but Spark was “committed to offering the cool stuff to our customers first”.
Specialist security companies such as ADT and Chubb already sell professionally-monitored home alarms that can send alerts to smartphones and there are plethora of products that let people set up cameras to keep an eye on their properties.
But discussing Morepork in June, Insurance Council operations manager Terry Jordan said packaging those services together could be a step-forward.
READ MORE: Spark readies home security service Morepork
ADT and Chubb have been contacted for comment.
Research company Tech Research Asia said in a research report last year that telecommunications companies around the world were pursuing the same opportunities in the smart living market with varying degrees of success.
It said they might not be able to afford to ignore the opportunity, but cautioned consumers could sometimes cobble together better and cheaper “DIY” alternatives themselves.
Morepork customers will get a “starter kit” with three door and window sensors, an image sensor designed to detect people in the home, a video camera for remote monitoring and a control panel.
All are designed to be installed by the customer and can be taken with them if they move home.
Fullarton said smoke alarms, extra sensors and up to four indoor video cameras could be added to the system. It was considering supplying a weather-protected camera that could be installed outdoors.
Clips from the video cameras could be saved and downloaded, for example if they were required to provide evidence of a break-in.
Morepork can be armed and disarmed remotely, by smartphone, and Spark said it would trigger an alarm if the power or phone lines to a house were cut.
To achieve that, the home control panel needs to be installed in an area covered by Spark mobile’s network.
Jordan said in June that he doubted technology was near a “tipping point” where it stopped people attempting burglaries.
“Whatever the ‘techos’ manage to devise, the criminals aren’t far behind. But there are certainly [advances] being made now with the internet,” he said.