Current Issue
This Month's Print Issue

Follow Fast Company

We’ll come to you.

1 minute read

This Intelligent Housesitter May Render Old Security Systems Homeless

The spy cam-like Canary keeps a watchful eye—texting, live-streaming—on your place while you’re out.

  • <p>Canary, a reassuringly intelligent home security system, launched this week on Indiegogo.</p>
  • <p>The hardware-and-app system consists of a wide-angle lens camera that stays rooted in the home and software that lets you keep in touch while you’re out.</p>
  • <p>Simplicity is Canary’s priority: In sharp contrast to traditional security systems, this one calls for practically no installation. Users just have to open the app to track activity happening at home.</p>
  • <p>“Ninety-nine percent of alarms are false alarms. That becomes such an annoyance that people turn their security off," says Canary CEO Adam Sager. "To us that’s absolutely crazy.”</p>
  • <p>Besides unusual activity, Canary can also track temperature, humidity, and air quality for full control over the environment at home.</p>
  • <p>The technology gradually adapts to the user. After a learning curve of a week or two, Canary can predict what movements a user might dismiss (say, pets) and what events are cause for alarm.</p>
  • <p>Canary will cost $200. See more over at the <a href="http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/canary-the-first-smart-home-security-device-for-everyone" target="_blank">Indiegogo campaign</a>.</p>
  • 01 /07

    Canary, a reassuringly intelligent home security system, launched this week on Indiegogo.

  • 02 /07

    The hardware-and-app system consists of a wide-angle lens camera that stays rooted in the home and software that lets you keep in touch while you’re out.

  • 03 /07

    Simplicity is Canary’s priority: In sharp contrast to traditional security systems, this one calls for practically no installation. Users just have to open the app to track activity happening at home.

  • 04 /07

    “Ninety-nine percent of alarms are false alarms. That becomes such an annoyance that people turn their security off," says Canary CEO Adam Sager. "To us that’s absolutely crazy.”

  • 05 /07

    Besides unusual activity, Canary can also track temperature, humidity, and air quality for full control over the environment at home.

  • 06 /07

    The technology gradually adapts to the user. After a learning curve of a week or two, Canary can predict what movements a user might dismiss (say, pets) and what events are cause for alarm.

  • 07 /07

    Canary will cost $200. See more over at the Indiegogo campaign.

Canary may be the self-described "first smart home security device," but the gadget-and-app duo actually behaves more like an efficient and reassuring house sitter. Unusual movement in your living room? Canary shoots you a text: "Expecting anyone?" Feeling paranoid? "All is calm at home," Canary can soothe.

With a launch on Indiegogo this week, Canary is a somewhat inevitable addition to the home automation market. Like the Nest Thermostat, and some even more recent revisions of lock-and-key hardware, it’s designed to replace the outdated user experience of the traditional home security setup.

"Installed systems cost a few thousand dollars, they’re complicated to install, and they’re complicated for users," says Canary CEO Adam Sager. "Ninety-nine percent of alarms are false alarms. That becomes such an annoyance that people turn their security off. To us that’s absolutely crazy."

Bad security systems mean homeowners simply opt out of protecting the house. With that in mind, the Canary team is intent on perfecting the gadget’s sensors for finely tuned pattern recognition. After a week or two of use, the Canary familiarizes itself with the nuances of its home’s sounds and activities. Each cylindrical piece of hardware (The shape calls to mind the Apple’s new Mac Pro—do we smell a trend? ) has a wide-angle lens, and syncs to an app that sends push notifications. It can also live-stream video and audio from the home. When events occur, the user can decide to sound the alarm, call the police, or dismiss the fuss. Each reaction is a learning cue for Canary.

The onslaught of the Internet of Things may bring with it some automated-home fatigue. But if Canary’s campaign succeeds, it brings a crucial feature to market: A renter-friendly way to protect apartments. The mobile system needs zero installation (keeping landlords at bay), and its rather narrow range of vision can still cover the average urban apartment.

Over time, neighborhoods and streets will develop security profiles. "Once we detect patterns, we hope to inform people about how to stay safe in their surroundings," Sager tells Co.Design. "Then we’re able to empower individuals to control their whole home environment."

Canary will cost $200. See more over at the Indiegogo campaign.