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Will a telecom provider be guarding your house?

How will digital transformation impact our security? Can you be a taxi driver at 1PM, at 2PM a mail man, at 3PM a security guard and a dogsitter at 4 in the afternoon?

A couple of years ago a telecommunications company contacted our innovation factory. They had one simple question: “As as telco, we have a large network of families and companies for which we offer internet and phone services. How can we leverage this existing network to make more money?”

After analysis and discussions, we proposed them three ways to make more money:

First: provide audio and video services, like video on demand.

Second: provide cloud services. As telco you control the line between your customer and his data. So, you are in a better position to secure data than other cloud providers.

These two proposals were implemented by our customer, and by many other telco’s around the world. Our third proposal is yet to be adopted by many providers. The third proposal was: supply security services.

Remote surveillance

Your average telecommunications company has multiple devices installed in the homes and buildings of its customers: decoders, set-top-boxes, wifi stations and the likes. Add a new device per room, and the telco can setup remote monitoring. An additional service, for which an extra fee can be charged on the monthly invoice. At the same time customer loyalty is increased. Because if a customer needs to change every room in order to switch provider, switching provider becomes cumbersome.

In addition the telco can use data-analytics to propose even more services. Like managing the temperature in your home, based on your presence. This data can be anonymized and sold to energy companies, so the latter can adjust production to real-time demand.

Civilian as security guard

How much could a telco charge for this kind of additional services? To what extent should home owners have to pay for security if no events occur? Consumers are no longer willing to pay for waiting taxi’s, not since we can just summon ordinary people to drive us around.

If you have a phone and an App, you can become an Uber taxi driver. So if you have a phone and an App, are you a security guard? Possibly. In the future, a person might get paid just to go take a look when an alarm goes off.

So you, with a phone and a set of apps, you can be a taxi driver at 1PM, at 2PM  a mail man, at 3 PM a security guard and a dogsitter at 4 in the afternoon.

You don’t even have to get paid for taking a look. You might just get points for every inspection you perform. And if you call on the network and someone else stops by your house, you’ll just use the credits you earned.


The possibilities extend way beyond protecting your house. Imagine an App that allows you to take pictures of the things you like: your kids, house, bike, car, … And if you are worried, just fire up the App to ask a member of the network. Is someone walking close to your car or house while you are at work? Ask the App and a member will send you a photo. You’ll be at ease and can continue working.

All for free. And always someone close by. Imagine how many people would want to get basic security if it is free? And conversely: how many people would be willing to continue paying for basic security when it is available for free?

In my head, this App already exists. I even named it “See”. Because sometimes we lose sight of the things we love, just for a
moment. And then we would like to be able to look through the eyes of others to find them and get reassured.

Products like Microsoft PhotoSynth will allow us to join and merge pictures from multiple guards into a single virtual world. We’ll be able to gaze through the eyes of all bystanders. We’ll be able to increase our security even more by connecting and integrating the people and devices with the robots that will soon inhabit our homes.

Digital transformation has the gigantic potential to make our lives better and safer. It is the right time to think how your organization can evolve, integrate in an ecosystem and add value. The right time to think, and the right time to act!

  • W. De Groote
    Wim De Groote
    Leading in Digital Business
    +32 (0)2 538 92 92