I am pretty sure most people have a special kind of hatred for home alarm systems. The complicated installation, the endless maintenance and the needlessly complicated operation is beyond frustrating. If you think about it, it seems like alarm systems have not really kept up with the pace of innovation we find in other industries.
Luckily one startup is looking at giving the home security industry a shakeup. The Canary is a small sensor loaded device that you simply place in high traffic areas of your house, and then provides you with details regarding your home. Inside the little cylindrical case there is a HD camera, infrared (motion detection), wifi, thermometer, air quality meter, humidity sensor and a microphone. Setup is as simple as giving it power, and creating an account (which is free). This all then connects to your home network using wifi – and then the magic starts.
Canary uses a smartphone app (iPhone currently) to then communicate to you if anything out of the ordinary happens at home. And unlike your ADT alarm at home, the system actually learns the environment and when things typically occur. The canary sends these user patterns to their servers, and keeps track of it all for you.
Canary’s servers also backup any video recordings if certain conditions are met. For example – if you and your wife’s iPhone are not in range (like when you leave the home), it will automatically arm the system. If your dog walks by, it will not go off, because it knows your dog’s size. If a intruder walks in, video recording starts, gets backed up to Canary’s servers, and alerts you via an iPhone push notification.
The Canary’s multitude of sensors do allow for some interesting smart home features as well. It can let you know if there is a sudden spike in temperate and poorer air quality (which might indicate a fire), a accelerometer can sense sudden vibration (earthquake). There is still many other opportunities. The device in its current form is ideal for apartments and small homes, but you can connect up to 4 of them in larger homes.
We do want a few extras though – and I hope the Canary guys will expand on these soon: I want to be able to connect it to existing home alarm systems – for example, send a signal to ADT for emergency response. Right now it only informs the user and sets of an alarm. So no emergency response. Canary’s builders are also looking at potentially integrating with SmartThings, which is another crowdsourced product which enables home automation.
The Canary is still in funding stages, so you can be part of the crowdfunding for around $200 (on Indiegogo) , and shipment is around May 2014.