Smart Home Security from Canary


Smart home security has been the goal of a number of companies over the past few years. We’ve had home security systems for decades. We’ve also had smart home technology for a little over a decade. Canary has merged these two fairly well to give you home security that is smart, and easy to use.

Let’s do a little review on what smart home technology entails, and then discuss this new system from New York startup Canary.

Smart Home Technology Allows You Greater Control

Smart home technology is basically anything that helps you take greater control over your home. This can be something as simple as a wireless device to open and close your garage door without having to exit the car, to devices and sensors that allow you to maintain a constant temperature in the house and make sure the pets have enough food and water, while you’re on vacation in Japan or Borneo.

We’ve done a number of articles this past year covering various home security systems from companies like ADT, Comcast, and others. All of these systems have one drawback, though: They have a fairly steep learning curve and they require you to install and configure a variety of devices.

With most alarm systems, you either have to cut and patch walls to run wires or hang pretty unsightly sensors on the walls that stand out like sore thumbs. Next you have to configure these sensors and switches, and if you go with a wireless system, you also have to configure the wireless connections. Now, for someone like me with years of experience at it, this isn’t really a big deal, but not everyone can afford my rates for consultation, let alone what I charge for construction/installation services and I’m on the lower end of the price range with both.

Canary is Smart Home Security

Although,Canary lets you monitor a number of systems and parameters in your home, it really isn’t smart home or home automation technology, per se. It is, however, plug and play home security that is smart and easy, hence smart home technology. Canary also seems to have a bit of artificial intelligence in it that once you plug it in, it starts learning the rhythms and routines of your household. That’s unique in the home security field.

Also unique to home security field is that it’s plug and play. Simply place it in a centralized location in your home, connect it to your Wi-Fi network, and then go about your daily life. With the Android or iOS app (What? No Windows Phone yet?) installed on your mobile device, you’ll receive updates when something out of the ordinary happens.

What Can Canary Do?

As I mentioned, Canary learns your routines. Let’s say you like to keep your home at about 70 degrees year-round. Canary has a temperature sensor in it, so if the temperature climbs or drops suddenly, it will send an alert to your phone/device, along with HD video so you can see what’s up. Maybe the kids outside were playing baseball and their ball broke your window. Or, maybe, a burglar has broken the window and climbed in. Canary gives you an in-person view of what’s going on so you can make the correct calls.

The premise behind the system is that traditional home security systems will tell you when an abnormal condition such as an open door or window occurs, but it won’t tell you what’s happening in your home. Sure, there are systems that have mobile apps that can alert you, “Hey, it looks like a door that you locked just opened.” However, the important information of why that door looks like it just got opened is missing. Did someone break in, or is it just a switch or panel malfunction?

Canary is a relatively small “box” that is fully self-contained. There’s nothing external to it. The device looks similar to a smallish stereo speaker, so it won’t stand out like a sore thumb and people (bad guys) won’t notice it until you have their picture to give to the police. The full HD camera built into the device has a wide angle, distortion-free lens on it, so you can see even into the corners and far reaches of the coverage/viewable area.

Canary Has More Sensors Than I Can Count

Ok, that’s an exaggeration. However, there is an absolute boatload of sensor technology built into this. There’s a microphone, so if you receive an alert, not only can you see what’s going on, you can hear what’s going on. For parents, that also means you can send video messages with the kids to your significant other, so they don’t feel so lonely on that week-long business trip.

One of the problems with regular alarm systems is that they only alert you to an abnormality in the system, with no clues as to what that abnormality means. If the system is monitored or has an auto-dialer hooked up, this can get expensive with false alarms. With this system you have control over what type of response to abnormal conditions or situations occur.

Temperature spike? Canary also has an air quality sensor that will alert you to the presence or lack thereof, of smoke. Simple alarm systems with thermal sensors would end up calling the fire department, who, if you’re not home, will break your door down to investigate the cause of the alarm. When the firefighters discover that the temperature increase is the result of an air conditioning system that malfunctioned and shut off, you’ll be presented with a bill for their time. Not with Canary.

Because this system has no wires or sensors to install, it’s perfect for apartment dwellers. Even though it’ll end up most likely putting my installation business out of business, I can’t help but recommend it.