The Canary: Will New Home Security Device Take Off?

home_securityA new alarm system called the Canary uses features such as an HD camera with night vision and sensors that track temperature, humidity and air quality to protect homes. The device takes a few weeks to learn the patterns of its environment by sending texts to the homeowner asking them to confirm or deny if something is irregular. Once it knows the space and senses something out of the ordinary, the system, which is the size of a 24-oz can, alerts customers and sends them live video footage to their mobile device. We asked Zintro experts to discuss the potential efficacy of such a system.

Michael Khairallah designs and sells security products and systems and explains that “The protection of home and property uses the same basic criteria found in all commercial security measures: detect, deter, delay and respond to unwanted human activity. Obviously,” Khairallah continues, “a system like the one described above is intended to focus on the detection aspect of criminal intent. So if you have such a system and see a burglar breaking into your home, what will you do? Call the police of course…especially if you are away from home when the alarm is received on your smartphone. But how does that differ from an alarm company calling the police for you? Do you really want to be the 24/7 guardian of your property? What happens when you are not available or have your phone turned off? So there are some shortcomings to this approach.”

Khairallah points out that “Conversely, you may want to be alerted if someone is at your front door, a package you are waiting for arrives or an unannounced visitor shows up while you are away. There are reasons to want this information sent to you, but security is not always the reason. So, the answer to the question ‘Will this be as effective as it sounds?’ is, what are you trying to do? If it is home security protection, probably not…the system will work but the burden of monitoring falls to the homeowner and that is a heavy burden to bear.”

According to Steve McGeown, a video technology and cyber security design and marketing expert, “Creating friction for the average consumer customer renders any security solution untenable. The main issue here is an old psychological one for the industry: People, in general, believe good things will happen to them and bad things won’t. So time and investment in their own security will always have a very limited threshold.” On the other hand, “there are those in certain industries, casino security managers come to mind, whose job descriptions include ‘paranoia’ as a positive character trait. Banking and financial service will see security as an ROI equation to be solved, and therefore might also put in the time investment as the risk/reward makes sense. Perhaps there is an application in these spaces, but I do not see the consumer market participating in such a friction-filled solution any time soon – even if it were proven that such a solution would actually work.”

Furthermore, McGeown “remain[s] skeptical that the system could ‘train’ itself to differentiate between the person delivering advertising flyers and the person breaking into your house without massive friction on behalf of the customer. Is Fluffy the neighbors cat, not seen for weeks, an anomaly to be reported and provided feedback on? The list goes on to the point where the system may be ignored.” All in all, McGeown feels “The technology might have better applicability in traditional alarming services for company environments involving human security staff. Staff may find the technology worth pursuing to gain better efficiency and quicker response times to their customers and therefore would probably be willing to [commit to] the learning process effort up front.”

By Gabriela Meller

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