Smart home security device gets even smarter over time

Jul 28, 2013 by Nancy Owano report

Wouldn't it be nice to have an intelligent home system you can control from your phone? A system that is smart enough to know what is normal? A system that averts false alarms that fray the nerves of responders? A "smart" home security system called Canary is in the wings as an Indiegogo crowdfunding project. Canary seeks to convince people that it can be used as a standalone, well-featured system they can confidently continue to use, unlike some other alarm systems that send off repeated false alarms that discourage users from sticking with their alarm systems. Canary has a built in HD camera with night vision and wide-angle lens and monitoring sensors. Sounds, air quality, humidity, and temperature can be monitored. Sudden changes in temperature, for example, could mean a fire.

This is a six-inch tall, three-inch wide device with "bank-level encryption" that can be connected to the resident's Wi-Fi network, synced with an IOS or Android smartphone. The app for the iOS or Android phone manages the device. The user can use multiple phones with the system; the app is free.
If the system picks up intruders, it will send the user a text. The user is free to decide to sound the siren or call police, or ask neighbors to check.

"Over time," say the creators, "Canary learns your home's rhythms to send you smarter alerts." That is a competitive edge the creators hope to gain. "While other home-security systems rely on binary sensors that can only tell users if a door or window is open or closed, Canary applies complex algorithms to the data it collects to understand what qualifies as a notable event, and then communicates to the user why that event happened and what action should be taken," according to the company. "Canary is a learning system; the longer the device is owned, the smarter it becomes."

But does the system exist? So far they have working prototypes. The Canary founders want the crowdfunded Indiegogo campaign to provide money so that they can start production of the device; the target date for shipment is May 2014. Prices are from $199 up. A $199 pledge gets a single device, ideal for a typical apartment, for example, along with the free mobile app. A $580 pledge is designed for big homes, providing three such devices.

Canary is a New York-based startup. Founders of the new device are Adam Sager, experienced in embedded security for the Israel Defense Forces and in security advising to companies; Chris Rill, CTO, who built electronics for the U.S military; and Jon Troutman, design director, former product design lead at General Assembly.

"Our mission was to change the way we think about security in our homes, to make something both affordable and intuitive," they said.

Explore further: Apple's shadow looms large at Berlin electronics show

More information: www.indiegogo.com/projects/can… -device-for-everyone

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User comments : 8

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btb101
2 / 5 (1) Jul 28, 2013
how would this work with domestic animals?
will it be available outside the US? say, Europe?
Power supply.. is it batteries or mains?

bit more info would be nice. :)
philw1776
1 / 5 (4) Jul 28, 2013
Besides WiFi, the device needs to function as a cell phone on a family plan. Folks leaving their homes for extended periods (e.g. winter) often disconnect their expensive cable services so no router running WiFi.
Lischyn
1.8 / 5 (5) Jul 28, 2013
There is already cloud based WIFI cameras and thermostates that can do this. Uniden has 4 cameras for ~$400, Honewell has thermostates. This is nothing new. But philw1776 has mentioned, a bigger problem is internet services while leaving homes for any length. Routers and modems go down and cannot be restarted by themselves.
K M
5 / 5 (2) Jul 28, 2013
An intelligent home control system that could learn? Didn't that work out rather poorly for Dave Bowman and Frank Poole?
VendicarE
1.8 / 5 (5) Jul 28, 2013
"how would this work with domestic animals? " - Btb101

Domestic Animals? You mean American Conservatives?

Doesn't work. They are rapidly getting dumber over time, and are now hardly able to think clearly enough to feed themselves.
alfie_null
not rated yet Jul 29, 2013
Routers and modems go down and cannot be restarted by themselves.

Network equipment that doesn't recover from power outages, rejoin partitioned networks or otherwise requires manual intervention should be considered broken and replaced.

I'm slightly concerned (security perspective) about the design's reliance on wireless communication though. Easy to DOS from a distance without an intruder ever showing himself.
alfie_null
not rated yet Jul 29, 2013
Should also add: wireless is easy to detect (e.g. that a device of this type is near by) from a distance too.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Jul 29, 2013
Routers and modems go down and cannot be restarted by themselves.

Have you ever had this happen? I mean: ever?
I've been owning modems and routers for decades now. Never had to restart any of them.
This is nothing new.

The self-learning ability seems kinda new to me. I'm not aware of any other system on the market that does that. (Though I could already envision a few ways to badly abuse this 'feature')

That said: I've never felt the need to control my home from afar. Whatever for?

Easy to DOS from a distance without an intruder ever showing himself.

I'm not sure how a DOS attack would help. Especially if the device caches any information/video-feed for later analysis. Which would be sensible if it were to be used as a security system. The only drawback would be that you don't get immediately alerted in Hawaii or wherever you are. Not that that would do you any good in any case.