x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

High-tech security looks to the future

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon have been working to create so-called intelligent software that would recognise human activity in security footage while it is recording.

A screen grab shows ADT's home security system smartphone app.
A screen grab shows ADT's home security system smartphone app.

Make way for the next generation of the "nanny cam".

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in the US have been working to create so-called intelligent software that would recognise human activity in security footage while it is recording. It would then predict what might occur next and help prevent a crime before it actually happens.

The "activity forecasting" research is being funded by the United States army and, while it is still ongoing, it could be used down the road in civil environments, according to Phys.org, a tech and science news service that reported on the research.

Security analysts say the high-tech world of home surveillance is growing increasingly sophisticated, with consumers in the United States then Europe adopting new features the fastest. Within the US, installed home security systems generated at least US$4 billion (Dh14.69bn) last year, up from about $3.5bn in 2008, according to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

Today, some companies that sell home security offerings are taking what they already have and overlaying connectivity features so that homeowners can lock the door or activate motion detection sensors, for example, from afar.

"Everyone is adding connectivity to their product," says Tom Kerber, the director of research for home controls and energy at Parks Associates, a market analysis and consulting firm.

ADT offers an "interactive solutions" package that enables homeowners to power on or disarm a security system through a smartphone or other mobile, Web-connected device. People can also receive an SMS or email during an emergency, such as a home invasion, fire or dangerously low temperatures.

"Consumers are looking for more conveniences these days," says Steve Koenig, director of industry analysis at the CEA.

An increasing number of apps are now also able to monitor and control home security systems remotely. People Power, a start-up based in California, offers a free app called Presence that converts an old smartphone into a wireless camera.

It streams video footage online to any other tablet, mobile or computer and also sends alerts when children arrive home from school or someone bangs at the front door, for example.

 

nparmar@thenational.ae