|Headquarters||Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.|
|Products||Home security systems|
SimpliSafe is an American home security company based in Boston, Massachusetts. The company produces and sells self-installed security systems that connect to a central monitoring center.
SimpliSafe was founded in 2006 by then-Harvard Business School students, Chad and Eleanor Laurans, after several friends in the Cambridge area experienced break-ins, but couldn’t find a security company that was designed to help renters. Prior to Harvard, Mr Laurans attended Yale, where he majored in electrical engineering and graduated in 2000.
The couple worked on SimpliSafe in their own home from 2006 to 2008. Mr Laurans designed the system and tested it at friends’ residences for feedback. SimpliSafe launched in 2009 with initial funding from angel investors.
In May 2014, Sequoia Capital invested $57 million in SimpliSafe through a Series A round of funding. As part of the investment deal, Sequoia partner Scott Carter joined the SimpliSafe board. The same year, the company was reported to have more than 100,000 customers and was listed as the second-fastest growing company in the Boston area on the Inc. 5000 list.
Products and services
SimpliSafe systems include a base unit and a keypad, and a variety of peripheral sensors including door sensors, motion detectors, and smoke detectors. Other SimpliSafe products include glassbreak sensors and temperature monitors. One SimpliSafe base unit supports up to 41 sensors. Systems are installed in a DIY-fashion by the homeowner. The systems are wireless and run on lithium batteries. As a standalone product, SimpliSafe systems function as a noise-only alarm system. The SimpliSafe base unit emits an 85-decibel siren. Monitoring services are provided for a monthly fee. SimpliSafe products are sold on their website and in select stores such as Best Buy and Walmart.
In February 2016, IOActive reported a potential vulnerability in SimpliSafe systems that could result in a system being remotely disabled. According to a response published by SimpliSafe, the situation is not unique to SimpliSafe alarms and is inherent of other systems using similar technology. In the scenario outlined by IOActive, the operator needed specialized equipment, expertise to program a chip using custom code and precise timing to execute. At the time, there had been no reports of anyone attempting this with their system or other systems outside of “a controlled testing environment.” SimpliSafe listed several ways that their systems protect homeowners from the most common types of burglaries, along with other steps to prevent the type of situation outlined by IOActive. As of 2018, the third generation line of SimpliSafe products can be updated over the air, which would allow fixes for similar situations.
SimpliSafe released a beta camera that integrates with existing SimpliSafe systems in 2016, and officially launched the SimpliCam in June 2017. An existing SimpliSafe system can support up to four cameras, or the cameras can function as standalone devices.
Third generation system
At CES in January 2018, SimpliSafe introduced the third generation version of its product line. SimpliSafe partnered with design firm IDEO to redesign its system. The updated sensors are half the size of the previous version, and have twice the range. Previous systems worked on a cellular connection, while the third generation system runs off of both cellular and Wi-Fi. The company also announced plans to launch a video doorbell, smart lock, outdoor camera, and integration with Amazon’s Alexa.
On November 6, 2017, workers at SimpliSafe's customer service call center in Boston, MA posted a petition relating to an ongoing bedbug infestation in their workplace. They claimed that SimpliSafe's office was a "disease breeding place" and that the company had known about an ongoing bedbug infestation for months, but done little to address it. On November 8, workers in the office held a protest in the office after SimpliSafe tried to fire one worker. Another worker was arrested during this protest, and three workers suspended. SimpliSafe acknowledged that there was a bedbug infestation in the office, and said that they have hired a licensed pest-control company to handle the infestation. However, the office remains open, and workers continue to complain of bedbug sightings and bites.
Racism in the Workplace
In December 2017, DigBoston published an article which detailed numerous accounts of racism in various SimpliSafe departments. The article highlighted the experiences of a number of workers at the company's warehouse in Charlestown, MA who were harassed by managers. This harassment included managers sharing fliers that contained images of Pepe the Frog and other references to the Alt-right. According to DigBoston, workers who complained about these "openly racist and extremely hostile" managers, were targeted with further harassment, while one of the managers was promoted. Workers at SimpliSafe's call center in Boston, MA also complained of similar treatment.
Partnership with the NRA
In the wake of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting SimpliSafe came under pressure from gun control activists because of the company's partnership with the National Rifle Association. SimpliSafe had previously offered two free months of professional monitoring service to customers with NRA memberships. However, on February 23, 2018, SimpliSafe decided to discontinue their existing relationship with the NRA.
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