Melbourne based Swann Communications is an Australian manufacturer that is delivering double digit growth in the security category for retailers such as Harvey Norman, JB Hi Fi, Dick Smith, Masters and Bunnings in Australia and the likes of Walmart and Best Buy in the USA.
The Company whose products have been sold in Dick Smith stores for nearly a decade initially as a DIY product gets 85% of their business from US and European retailers who are witnessing increased demand from consumers concerned over the security of their home and small business and retailers who are looking for full HD CCTV cameras to track customers and stock.
Swann executives said that in the past their products were typically sold as components in professionally installed home-automation networks or as simple off-the-shelf DIY projects today they are being sold as packaged goods at mass retailers.
Swann said that one of the fastest retail growth categories was hardware stores such as Bunnings and Masters.
Swann was established 27 years ago and is a privately owned Australian technology Company that flies under the radar according to analysts.
Established in 1987 the Australian Company has become the world’s number 1 brand in do-it-yourself surveillance.
From humble beginnings making modems in the basement of David Swann’s family home in Melbourne, the business now has a presence in over 40 countries on 6 continents. Swann has offices in the USA, Canada, Australia, UK, Hong Kong, China and Russia.
Marketing Vice President Jeremy Stewart said that Swann had double digit growth last year and that major retailers around the world are currently expanding their range of Swann products to include a new generation of Full HD surveillance and monitoring cameras.
A major exhibitor at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Swann has a mix of security products in their range including both consumer and professional offerings, the Company is currently developing new technology that delivers better recording app and storage capability.
Analysts claim that CE retailers need to embrace the security category if they want growth.
Keith Oldridge, Swann President, USA said “ROIs vary, but a typical return for retailers would be somewhere between 20 and 50 percent on the cost of sales. Three-quarters of Swann’s consumers do it themselves. In other words, they research the category, make the purchase and do the installation themselves. There is an opportunity for retailers to offer an up-sell or expanded service through installation”.
“Retailers in both Australia and overseas now see security as a growth category. We do not know the size of the market in Australia as GFK does not collect enough data but with any new category it is a case of walking before we run, we are getting good growth and retailers like Dick Smith who have been in the security category for eight years and have a strong heritage are witnessing extremely good growth, their staff are knowledgeable and well versed in the products we sell” Travis Bedford, Swann Vice President, Asia Pacific said.
“JB Hi Fi and Harvey Norman are new to the category and are still learning. Both have had extremely successful launches of the category and they both can now see the potential of the products we manufacture. They are starting to put more resources and marketing into the category and this will pay off going forward” he added.
Scott Browning the Marketing Director at JB Hi Fi said that Swann made an excellent product and that the category was contributing “excellent” growth for the retailer.
“We see this as a brand and a category that has potential” he added.
Bedford said that a new range of Full HD products that delivered clearer images, better utilisation of memory and were linked to a new app were currently being launched by the Company.
He said that the development of new Swann products was based on delivering “better smarter and easier” to use products.
“We are looking at how people use the products and what they want from the products. HD is delivering better quality images but it is using up more memory so we are looking at delivering new memory management capability” he said.
“We are currently transitioning from analogue to digital technology where apps deliver new capability for users. Apps were the major driver over the last two years, the next two years will be about delivering smarter capabilities, better management and services such as cloud based storage”.
“We will keep storage costs down with our new technology and this gives us a competitive advantage” said Stewart.
Industry watchers said today’s gloomy economic picture increases the risk of break-ins and home invasions, fuelling customer demand. “The Prime Minister is talking up the security risk to Australia and every night TV networks are running crime stories showing CCTV footage, this frightens consumers who in turn are now buying a new generation of security products for their home or business” said a NSW Harvey Norman franchisee who said that he is getting “significant” growth from selling Swann security products.
Beyond the typical home security package the category offers solutions for business owners looking to monitor inventory, and for parents wanting to look in on teenagers left home alone, or sleeping babies or even babysitters, among a host of other situations.
Stewart claims that today’s systems deliver the reassurance of being able to remotely access real-time or archived footage from a personal smartphone, tablet, laptop or even a smart TV, anywhere in the world.
“The biggest change in the video-surveillance market in recent years, and in home-automation technology in general, is the transition that has taken place from systems that had to be installed to more modular components that allow adding on pieces and capabilities over time,” said Ben Arnold, NPD Group industry analysis director.
“The emergence of linking to mobile devices, Wi-Fi and improvements in ease of use really has home video security and home automation poised to gain traction.”
The ability to make a home more secure from break-ins and robberies was the top driver overall (37 percent) among consumers with smartphones and tablets considering home-automation products, according to NPD research.
In the US market where Swann has a strong presence at stores such as Walmart, Fry’s, Best Buy and on Amazon Swann recently introduced a small HD RemoteCam which is a security camera designed to resemble a car remote with key chain. The HD resolution device allows users to discreetly record high-definition videos, photos and audio at the push of a button and then share the images online.
The camera has a built-in microphone and a fixed-focus lens that captures colour HD (1,280 by 720p) AVI video as well as still photos (1,600 by 1,200 pixels).
Recordings and images can be shot with a quick press of the button and for video all a user has to do is hold the button down.
The HD RemoteCam is equipped with a 2GB MicroSD card to store up to 20 minutes of video.