iDoorCam has had an amazing run on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo, reaching its goal within a day of launching. Still the campaign has just over a week remaining and looks to be winning over investors in solid numbers. iDoorCam is so much more than your basic doorbell. It’s what I imagine the Jetsons would have in the home of the future. It is part motion sensor, part security camera, and, of course, part doorbell. The best part is, you can keep tabs on your family and home even when you’re not there. We had the opportunity to sit down and interview the co-founders of iDoorCam, Andrew Thomas and Desiree Mejia, to talk about the product and its success on Indiegogo.
So what can you tell us about iDoorCam as a product and what sets it apart from alternatives on the market?
Well with alternatives, there are products out there that share the need to have technology to help us stay connected to our homes and check the door. I’m sure our competitors can definitely agree on that point.
Where I think where we are proud of iDoorCam standing out is in a couple of design elements and feature sets that we think are pretty cool. Let’s look at the motion sensor, the motion sensor sort of ties in wanting devices that are smart. With minimal action, the device does the thinking for us. The motion sensor allows us to fill call initiations, alerts, images, video, all initiated through motion detection rather than always requiring a button press or some other manual process. This adds another element of intelligence that is really cool that is not available on another platform.
Another difference we find, we designed iDoorCam is to be minimal, a small form factor, we wanted to resemble a doorbell so it doesn’t stand out. We think this familiarity is pretty nice.
We used plastic instead of metal, which is less likely to rust and interfere with the Wi-Fi signal. The materials are appropriate for the usage case. It works on G/N Wi-Fi.
What was the inspiration of the iDoorCam?
I found when I travel, I would not be able to connect with anything at home. I like to shop online, and I get a lot of deliveries, and beyond that I want to know who’s ringing my doorbell. I want my family members or the baby sister to have the opportunity to know who’s at the door without having to be there. It is really about having a high-low systems control over my home, being connected to the home when I’m not there.
How long did it take to dream up, develop and promote iDoorCam?
It has taken us four or five months to get us to where we are today.
Wow. That seems like a really quick turnaround for a product to get to market.
Oh, yes. We’re really proud of how far we’ve come. Fortunately, we’ve spent a lot of time establishing relationships with really good manufacturing and design help beforehand to get us here.
What happens when you lose power or Internet connection?
Well, if Wi-Fi were to drop, due to the server, router going down, the traditional doorbell sound would still work. People would still know that someone is at their door. We would want consumers to note and think, “Hey, why didn’t I get alerted on my phone?” and in turn check the iDoorCam. The iDoorCam has an LED alert that will indicate that the health of the device or the connection needs attention. If the connection is lost, the LED will turn red. Then they will know to address this. In the case of power, if it goes out, you are left with the quandary whenever power goes out, pretty much nothing works.
On the device currently there is a reserve battery on it for only intermittent power only and we’re holding to see if that is a feature set that will roll out in future iterations. We would like to have that for certain, but before we address that we want to make sure for this first iteration that the core features are as flawless as they can be.
So on the Indiegogo video we saw that you are currently in development on the app for iDoorCam, what can we expect to see on the app? What platforms will you have it available for?
We’re going to do iOS and Android. The features will be very robust, we go over those in detail in the demo video.
The apps will be pretty true to our plans and expectations that we’ve outlined on Indiegogo. People will be very pleased. We placed a very high importance on usability and simplicity, so we’re confident people will find the device to be as useful, thoughtful while being easy to use as possible and hopefully not too intrusive. We’re developing the app with a high level of flexibility for the user, different settings. We’re going to give users the ability to change a lot of things. Users will be very pleased.
So you’ve seen a phenomenal amount of success through Indiegogo, what made you go that route versus say a more traditional funding, sales, distribution method?
One of the great things about crowd-funding is that it is easy to share your ideas and get immediate feedback from the people that are going to use it. You are kind of testing our your market messages before you get the product in larger setting. The most important thing for us at iDoorCam is the customer, especially the voice of the customer. You are getting and gauging comments on a daily basis from not just customers, but your supporters. Another great thing is you’re not just funding an idea, you’re funding products. You get something, you’re getting in on the ground floor in an opportunity that otherwise you’d see years from now. You really focus in on the product, what you’re committed too. We create a timeline and we deliver on that timeline. This model is a precursor to retail, and you will get an indicative response you’d get from the general population.
What immediate feedback have you seen that you’d like to see for future iterations for iDoorCam?
I think one of the great things we’ve seen from the campaign, is the desire and affirmation for the product itself. In addition to that, we’ve been seeing it from around the world.
One cool thing about this feedback is we’re hearing from people in Norway and the United Kingdom. People with the same needs here in California, of a system that keeps tabs on your front door. People are asking about compatibility, power, and set-up. And we’ve designed it to be seamless, in the U.K. market, with Europe. People have been very pleased in markets outside of the U.S. I think with this first iteration, people are very pleased about what they are hearing/seeing so far. That’s been the overwhelming feedback so far.
Do you find that users from different markets have different needs/requests?
I think one of the best things that we’ve seen is that the need for this product exists across a general market. There is a lot of synergy with what we need here and elsewhere. This is really about being connected to what you love. The overall need and desire to protect your home, your family. From a mom’s standpoint, there is nothing more important to me than to knowing I have the ability to know who’s ringing that doorbell, and to give my family guidance if needed. Moms want to be connected.