Perspectives

Feeling at home with video analytics

Greg Baldauf, VP Strategic Alliances

I recently read an article mentioning the fact that if the human eye were a digital camera it would be equal to a 576 Megapixel camera at a 120 degree field of view. The comparison is simplistic, but it does highlight the fact that while the human eye is the best way to see what is going on in the home, we homeowners can’t always be there to see what’s going on.

Home cameras are an interesting product within the Smart Home product category because they are perhaps the only product that attempts to mimic what most of us have done all our lives: see, hear and comprehend.

Watch any news program today and you know the world is becoming a more dangerous place. People have a fundamental need to know what’s happening at home. To help meet this need, homeowners, IP cameras have become one of the fastest growing markets globally. Today, there are millions upon millions of IP cameras in market in homes and businesses all over the globe. Home cameras have not only become ubiquitous, they’re becoming a necessity. In my own area, local police this month came out with a program encouraging homeowners to install security cameras as a crime deterrent.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, my home security cameras assisted in finding evidence of a neighborhood break-in. One of the biggest challenges within the IoT, and connected home space is to create real value for homeowners. Crime-solving aside, service providers and camera manufactures are looking to help homeowners make sense of all the video data being recorded. How do service providers take video data and make it useful in running the smart, connected home?

One of the primary value propositions (advertisements) for home security cameras focuses on the ability for a consumer to receive a notification (text, email, or push) when the camera detects motion. When a consumer hears or sees that well-crafted commercial, they translate it in their own minds to fulfill a specific need or use case such as:

  • Alert me when the dog is actually on the couch, and not just walking through the room.
  • Notify me when the kids first get home, but not the 20 other times they walk by the camera.
  • Catch the thief who stole the package off my porch.

Unfortunately, after a consumer buys a camera based on a specific use case, they quickly learn they are sent a text, email, or push notification each and every time ANYTHING moves, and depending on the camera, even sudden changes in light such as the sun moving across the floor will trigger a notification. Unfortunately, the advertised value and use case answer disappears.

After a week or two of 20+ notifications a day, most consumers end up turning off motion detection notifications and realize the product purchased didn’t really solve the specific issue in mind. And that makes me wonder:

  • What if these problems could be reduced or even solved? How much more value would be created for the consumer?
  • What if the camera learned who trusted family members and pets are, and alerts were only sent when non-trusted individuals were detected?
  • What if the camera alerted you to the issues you wanted alerts on, and not the general day to day activities of your family?

I leave you with these points to ponder, but will be back to address them in my next post.