Goodbye video surveillance! Hello audio surveillance devices
Point is a new kind of home security gadget developed by former Apple designers that listens constantly for unusual sounds. It can pick up a window breaking or loud talking and send an alert to a smartphone.
For some residents who want to keep tabs on their homes, a full home security system might be overkill. They’re expensive, and live cameras and motion detectors invade guests’ privacy. So how do they make sure guests keep the volume down, aren’t smoking inside and don’t ransack their home?
A new device called Point combines microphones with environmental sensors to detect anything out of the ordinary in your home while you are away. A broken window while you’re at work, the sound of your teenagers throwing a raging party, Grandad sneaking an unauthorized after-dinner cigar.
“They want to have peace of mind and know that everything is fine, but they don’t want or need full security systems,” said Nils Mattisson, co-founder of Form Devices, the start-up that makes Point.
Small, round and plastic, Point looks like a traditional smoke alarm crossed with a speaker. Sounds are matched with data from the other sensors to figure out what might have happened — a loud crash followed by a drop in temperature might mean a window was broken. It hears when an existing smoke detector goes off and sends an alert, though it’s not certified as an official smoke detector on its own.
It has a microphone that can detect sounds outside that the human ear could pick up. Environmental sensors pick up temperature; the particle sensor can tell what’s in the air.
When Point detects any notable changes, it sends an alert to the owner’s smartphone. The mobile app also shows a timeline of all events, so someone can quickly scroll through the day to see when people were in the home. All the computation takes place on the device; there is no live-streaming audio, no way to eavesdrop on your home and no overwhelming amount of data to sort through.