IoT- Internet of Things · Camera

White labeled solution for Home Security or launch my own service based on open source?


May 4th, 2016

Over the last 2 years I've been working with an awesome team of folks to build out and improve a very popular open source DIY surveillance solution (for CCTV/IP cameras etc). A lot of work has gone into it, and we have developed both the server side and a great mobile app. The server is developed on open source GPL (that is how the original author developed it) but the app, which is really powerful is not on GPL (I developed it and own its IP. I've open sourced it as CCSA-NC and charge for the mobile app on app/play store ). The server has over 50,000 users. The mobile app was launched in Dec 2015 and gets around 400 new paid users each month, steady run rate so far. In other words, we know the software is good and we are playing in a niche - DIY surveillance, work with any camera, own your own data (avoid cloud fees, data theft)

We have been discussing how to commercialize this. There are a few options:
a) We launch a cloud hosted version of the existing server and charge monthly subscriber fees
b) We try and make money from support to the open source
c) We break this down into a library that is white-label friendly for OEMs looking to enter the DIY surveillance market (Forbes values it at $1.2b and all that blah)

I've been in discussion with the original developer of the server software and he is building a great new "v2" of this open source which is componentized and really suitable for a headless library and fits my vision for part c. He is also open to making the license similar to my mobile app (CCSA-NC + commercial license). Going down this path would mean 3-4 months of more development while a) and b) can be done right away.

I seriously feel c) is a good option as its hard to make money with a) and b). What would you think ? Given the success of the current open source and my app, would you suggest I go the route of making it a cloud hosted product ? I am not convinced this is a sustainable area as there are many players and margins are thin.

White labeling to OEMs with an NRE on the other hand seems more attractive.

Would love thoughts there. 
The team at

Tom Cunniff Founder at Cunniff Consulting, B2B Brand Consultancy

May 4th, 2016

IMO the white-label option is a fantastic option and the one I'd go with if I were you. If you go that way, then some key issues are:
  • How will you identify and sell to the channel partners?
  • What's the right balance of product vs service?
  • If you decide to have a service wrapper, how will it drive value and help differentiate you -- and insulate you -- from competition?
  • What will your value prop be?

Hope this is useful.

P.S. I looked at your website. As friendly feedback, consider dialing back the "we're disrupting" language and look at it from your prospects' POV. For them, it's all about a potentially easy way to enter a new market and drive incremental revenue. Focus on what your prospect needs. 

P.P.S. If you can, do some grandmother research. Talk with four or five potential prospects and ask what their priorities are so you can reflect that in your marketing. It will be anecdotal, but better than flying entirely blind.

Steve Procter ... Venture Technologist Tech Entrepreneur seeks sales & referral partners for

March 18th, 2017

Only recently joined cofounderslab and saw this post. How are you getting on since last May? I am moving into infosec arena so would be great to hear the latest on your story...