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Canary promises a sophisticated home-security system for the 47 percent

Michael Brown | July 23, 2013
Contrary to what you might think, higher-income households are actually less likely to be burglarized, according to an analysis by the Department of Justice.

Contrary to what you might think, higher-income households are actually less likely to be burglarized, according to an analysis by the Department of Justice. So folks of lesser means are not only at greater risk of being ripped off, they're also less able to afford a home-security system. The team at Canary doesn't think that's fair, and they're working on a device that could level the playing field.

The company launched a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo today to bring its inexpensive home-security system--also called Canary--to market. I spoke with Canary's CEO, Adam Sager, about the new product last week. Sager, a former sergeant with the Israeli Defense Forces, provided security consulting services to a number of large corporations before cofounding Canary.

The six-inch-tall Canary features an IP camera and a broad array of sensors.

"The idea of home security hit home for me about a year and a half ago," said Sager. "I was returning from a vacation and I got this feeling of vulnerability, because I didn't know what had gone on inside the house while I was gone. I was shocked to discover that there's really no such thing as a consumer security product. The market is dominated by the major installers with expensive, complicated solutions on the one hand, and by DIY systems which for the most part are pared-down products from the major installers on the other."

As Sager points out, one of the reasons these types of systems are so pricey is that they rely on placing expensive sensors all over the house, which are connected to a costly central control panel. Canary is an all-in-one system that Sager says can be set up in just 30 seconds and will cost just $199.

While the system will have a connection to the cloud, there will be no monthly service fees tied to the device--unless you want additional features, such as 24/7 central-office management for dispatching police and fire personnel if the system can't reach you (most insurance companies will discount your policy if you have an alarm system with that capability).

Inside the soda can

Canary is a cylindrical device that's jam-packed with an array of digital sensors, plus an IP camera that can see in the dark, a microphone, a 100-decible siren, and an 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi adapter for connecting to your home network. Although it measures just six inches tall by three inches in diameter, Canary also houses an air-quality sampler, a motion detector, a three-axis accelerometer, a humidity sensor, and a temperature gauge.

Similar to the Nest learning thermostat, Canary will feature algorithms that learn about and adapt to activities inside your home. Using geolocation data from your smartphone, it will be able to tell you who's at home at any time. And its motion detector will learn to differentiate humans from pets, so that it can alert you when it senses someone is in the house when you expected it to be empty.


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