Home security systems have been around for ages, with plenty of homes still sporting "Protected By" signs planted out in the front yard, warning would-be burglars there's a loud siren and automatic notification system waiting for them if they dare enter. But it's only in the last couple of years we've begun seeing affordable and flexible devices designed from the ground up with online and wireless connectivity/access in mind, without the need for a patrol car and expensive professional installation...
New platform home security devices began appearing a few years back when independent developers realized mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, alongside the prevalence of always-on wireless home networks, opened up opportunities beyond last generation's professionally wired home security and monitoring systems. Affordable install-yourself systems like the Simpli-Safe, Scout, and simple network-enabled monitoring devices like the Belkin Netcam cut the tethers for home owners, and perhaps more importantly for budget-minded renters, searching for affordable home security systems.
Similarly, home environment monitoring devices like the Netatmo and Cube Sensors have appeared on the radar, providing home owners live feedback about the health quality of their interior...a "home security" related to health, especially notable for allergy sufferers or those with chronic health-compromised conditions.
Environmental monitoring devices like the Netatmo fill in one part of the home monitoring equation. Check out our review here.
So it comes as no surprise one company saw an opportunity to fold in both categories into an all-in-one solution. The Canary has already met its crowd funding goals, a smart home security system with a built-in HD camera with night vision, microphone, motion detection, air quality monitoring, and interior temperature/humidity readings. Once connected to a home's wi-fi network, the Canary takes everything from there, and becomes an informational hub with a smart trick up its sleeve: the system watches, learns, and adapts.
Just as Google documents and "learns" online activity and search preferences from each of their users to serve up relevant information, the Canary is an adaptive learning monitoring device. Occupant scheduling and activity patterns are documented and stored into an internal clould database in secure encrypted format using the array of seeing, hearing, and enviro-monitoring housed inside the 6" tall hardware. For example, Canary will note a home owner's normal wakeup hour is 8am and uses this information to determine suspicious vs. normal activity. Any abnormal activity is sent as a notification to connected smart devices for review by the home owner, complete with DVR video recording for review.
Theoretically, over time the system should become more accurate at determing which activities are "suspicious" and which are simply within the realm of normal personal activity. The Canary is still a little less than a year away from becoming a readily purchasable solution (May 2014, for $199), but its learning system makes it clear home security is entering a version 2.0 status with more relevant and accurate monitoring which may prove vital soon for home owners, renters, those living alone, and the elderly alike.
(Images: Canary, Gregory Han)