New home security smartphone app to debut this summer

Canary promises 'simplest' home security product

NEW YORK CITY - Americans collectively spend more than $20 billion each year on home security systems, but a new company is adapting home security to the mobile age and trying to cut consumer costs in the process.

Canary, a New York City-based firm, will officially release their new smart home security device until the end of this summer, according to a spokesperson. The device uses a high definition video camera, microphone, audible siren and multiple sensors to keep a home or business safe, at the control of a smartphone app.

The Canary device can be set up anywhere, provided there is access to a power source and Internet access, and left alone to do its work. The system will alert users to a disturbance through push alerts, text messages or email, according to Canary’s website.

Using the smartphone app, users will be able to monitor disturbances in their home using the motion-activated camera and can sound the devices onboard siren remotely to scare potential burglars. In addition to security disturbances, the Canary’s sensors detect sudden temperature changes that may indicate a fire, according to specs on Canary’s page at Indiegogo.com.

Last year, US News & World Report stated that the home security industry is expected to grow to $34.46 billion per year by 2017. Services from leading security firm ADT start at $28.99 per month, but a required 36-month contract means it will cost at least $1,000 to users. Canary charges a one-time fee of $249 per device, with the company recommending a device on each floor.

Potential drawbacks to using Canary include the fact that it shuts down during a power outage, whereas ADT’s system runs on a backup battery for several hours if your home loses power. The service also relies on users to receive its notifications and call the authorities themselves.

As the Canary is a new device, the company is still working to address potential issues such as detecting the difference between pets and intruders.

“Canary is designed with pet owners in mind,” a statement from the company reads. “We are building the Canary system … to recognize normal patterns in your home.”

The system also disarms itself automatically when the user arrives home, using a geofence created by the user’s smartphone.

Video recorded by the Canary is stored in a data cloud, which can be accessed through the company’s mobile app. It’s unclear how much video will be stored in the free service but the company plans to introduce premium monthly plans that will allow more video storage, according to its website.

Company officials said there was no date set for the Canary's release, as of Tuesday.

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