Metro, Business, Featured Story

With Innovative Cameras, Blink Offers Users Affordable Security

When it comes to protecting your family and your property, home security systems can be expensive and impractical. Blink, a Boston-based startup, is looking to change that.

In January of 2016, Blink introduced a home security system based around affordable, battery-operated cameras that connect to the users’ smartphone. There is no monthly subscription service either, setting Blink apart from traditional home security companies.

Blink’s selling point, however, is the cameras. Running on two AA batteries, the motion activated cameras can run for up to two years without running out of juice.

“This is one of the things that makes us very unique,” said David Laubner, Blink’s head of digital marketing & e-Commerce.

Each of Blink’s cameras has two lenses, one for taking video, and the other for detecting motion. Working under the principle that a homeowner doesn’t need to watch their empty house all the time, the cameras are only drawing power and taking video when they detect motion in the room, which is another unique factor of Blink’s product.

This means that, although Blink’s cameras only draw power from a small battery source, they can extend that battery life by drawing virtually zero power when dormant.

Blink is not alone in the battery operated camera market, but it stands alone when it comes to the nature of recharging their devices. Other companies on the market today sell cameras with rechargeable batteries, yet they require constant recharging.

“The analogy we use is, if you had to get a ladder out and change your smoke detector battery every two months, you just wouldn’t do it,” Laubner said, implying that the same principle would apply to rechargeable cameras. “I’ve personally been running a camera for a year and it still shows full power.”

This innovation stems from Blink’s roots, which began about six years ago. All of Blink’s founders are alumni of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and formerly worked on projects developing chips for use inside technological devices, including cameras like the ones Blink now sells, that have a significantly improved ability to draw power. The founders then decided to cut out the middleman and sell the cameras directly to consumers.

Blink launched a massively-successful Kickstarter campaign, raising more than $1 million to build their business. “We were extremely well received from the crowdfunding community,” Laubner said. “We’ve found a good, receptive community that has been willing to work with us.”

In fact, Blink has since doubled the size of the company, and the numbers are looking good for 2017. This, Laubner said, could be a reflection of the positive startup community in Boston. Growing Blink has not been without its challenges, however.

“Boston is very heavily focused in other industries,” Laubner said. “What people don’t know is there is a large consumer market out there.”

Another challenge Blink has faced is its geographical location. Located near Andover, Mass., attracting business from the Boston interior has been difficult. The online market, however, is the equalizer in this startup’s back pocket. Facebook, a non-traditional business tool, has actually been one of Blink’s biggest assets when it comes to acquiring new customers.

Blink has focused hard on transitioning its business to the ever-growing online market, meaning that it has had a large culture shift within the business. Dealing in the aforementioned chips, Blink’s founders were forced to make the transition from selling to businesses with specific needs to consumers over the internet. Blink’s customer base quickly went from the low hundreds to the low millions.

“For us, it’s been about the transition from the chip manufacture business to the consumer business,” Laubner said. “We’re talking about marketing to millions of people here, and that’s just a completely different environment.”

Despite these cultural shifts and transitional difficulties, Laubner is optimistic for Blink’s future. With plans to build its customer base and its business, Blink has several ideas as to how to remain a unique business while breaking further into the home security market. With the further implementation of smart technology, Blink is looking to usurp other, more established companies like ADT by creating other services besides its wireless cameras.

Those plans are further down the road, but as Laubner says, that’s the name of the game. Blink is a fast growing company with a plan for the future to continue providing affordable options.

Featured Image by Blink

January 25, 2017