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Canary motion detector uses iPhone for affordable home security

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
New York startup Canary aims to bring affordable and easy to use home security to iPad and iPhone users in a single canister-like device, which delivers 720p streaming video, motion detection, push notifications, and more.

Canary


Canary Chief Executive Adam Sager told AppleInsider that his experience with the military and corporate security industry led him to create an intelligent home security system anyone with an iPhone can set up and use.

Borrowing from Apple?s design cues and mentality, the $199 Canary packs in several sensors meant to give users plenty of information about their apartment or home when they?re away. With a 720p HD camera, wide angle lens and Wi-Fi connectivity, users can watch live video of their house streamed to their iPad or iPhone. Other sensors, such as a 3-axis accelerometer, microphones and humidity and temperature sensors are also used to alert the home owner of any unusual activity.

Much like the Nest thermostat created by "father of the iPod" Tony Fadell, Canary learns the daily routine of the house and adjust its alerts accordingly. For instance, if a family owns a cat or dog, Canary can begin to determine what constitutes normal movement and will send fewer false alarms.

Canary


Controlling the hardware is a free iOS app, which can be used to remotely sound an alarm or check a live feed if Canary determines suspicious activity. Should there be an emergency in the house, such as a fire or burglary, the Canary app will send a push notification and guide owners to contact the proper authorities.

Further borrowing from Apple?s ease of use mentality, Sager claims Canary can be set up in 30 seconds. Similar to Square?s mobile payment device, Canary connects to an iOS device via the headphone jack for initial setup. Once complete, information is fed directly to the iPhone app, which takes design cues from Apple's iOS 7 beta.

"If you can use an iPhone, you can use Canary," Sager said.

Canary


Information gathered by Canary is collected and stored for several weeks (or longer for an additional $10 a month) meaning the data can later be used to help identify burglars who may have broken in. Because security is at the forefront of everything Canary does, Sager said customer data stored in the cloud is encrypted and only accessible by primary users.

The company also plans to offer a multi-tiered monthly service for users to store extra data and video, as well as provide 24-hour call center support. If a fire or robbery occurs in the home while the owner is away, the call center can alert the proper authorities if the owner cannot immediately respond.

Sager claims one Canary can provide enough coverage for an apartment, but those who live in larger homes can buy more than one at a discounted price. Canary will only be available for iOS devices at launch, though Sager said Android support may appear sometime in the future.

The Canary Indiegogo campaign, which aims to raise $100,000, ends on September 20, with the company planning to ship the first batch of units by January 2014.
post #2 of 27

The big thing I have against all these type of devices (although this looks like the best so far), is that they always have a requirement to sign up for an account and they always want to store the information in their cloud.  Despite the protestations of how secure they are and so on, there are a huge number of people that simply don't want an unknown third party involved in the security system of their house.  It's just not sensible to have a device that can view and listen to anything going on in your house and have it connected to a cloud ... somewhere, run by ... who knows?   I don't get why everyone was so upset about the "always on" X-Box, yet no-one blinks an eye at this stuff.  

 

It's also yet another account and yet another password to remember.  It's getting to the point where we have so many online services to keep track of that we might as well be doing it all ourselves. 

 

It's not necessary to use the cloud for devices like this, the data could easily be stored locally on the home network or on a cheap flash drive on the device.  Communication could happen a variety of other ways as well.  Especially since it's using an iOS app in the first place, it could also use iCloud if it absolutely needed to use the cloud for some kind of signalling or long term storage.  

 

The need to sign up for a "service" with each device like this you buy nowadays is just a bad trend IMO. This looks like excellent hardware and good design, but I won't buy it for that reason and I'm sure anyone really serious about security wouldn't either. 

post #3 of 27
Quote:
For instance, if a family owns a cat or dog, Canary can begin to determine what constitutes normal movement and will send fewer false alarms.

If no other commercial product can do this, then that makes this worth purchasing immediately, doesn't it? I think it's pretty neat, at least.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #4 of 27
I think you want the cloud storage because then the thief can't steal the device along with any evidence that it may have captured.
post #5 of 27
So unless they receive orders totaling $100,000 they won't produce these at all. In other words, this is a product that doesn't exist and a company that doesn't exist either.

Nice looking vapor ware though.
post #6 of 27
Looks promising. I have been looking for a quality home security video solution for awhile. Anybody have one they like?
post #7 of 27
I was all excited -- then I read Gazoobee's comment. I really don't want someone at a commercial company seeing what's going on in my living room. If it went straight to my iDevice I might accept that but even then how is the message protected? I don't think MMS uses any sort of encryption. And worst of all, why shuold I have to buy hardware at all? Doesn't the iPhone and iPod touch have a camera? I should be able to buy a $0.99 piece of software for my iPod touch which could sit in my house and have alerts and/or pictures emailed directly to me. I think I would pay up to $20 to pay for software that ran on my iDevice that protected my home and my privacy, but this solution scares me. I want both security and privacy. And I don't want to buy a piece of hardware if I already own perfectly functional hardware. Do I have to write the software myself? Any software developers out there? Hello?
post #8 of 27
Hey, it's the MacPro's little cousin.
post #9 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Information gathered by Canary is collected and stored for several weeks (or longer for an additional $10 a month) meaning the data can later be used to help identify burglars who may have broken in. Because security is at the forefront of everything Canary does, Sager said customer data stored in the cloud is encrypted and only accessible by primary users and the NSA.

 

Fixed.

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

  MA497LL/A FB463LL/A MC572LL/A FC060LL/A MD481LL/A MD388LL/A ME344LL/A

Reply

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

  MA497LL/A FB463LL/A MC572LL/A FC060LL/A MD481LL/A MD388LL/A ME344LL/A

Reply
post #10 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moodyjive View Post

Looks promising. I have been looking for a quality home security video solution for awhile. Anybody have one they like?

I ended up buying several - and they sucked for various reasons, one system was $900 for 4 cameras.

I ended up with drink (using about 9 DCS-932 and 1 DCS-942)

the iPhone and iPad app are quite good, and there is no monthly fee. The units are quite easy to setup. I have them in 3 entirely different locations, and each of my IOS devices is able to reliably view all the cameras, unlike the junk from Belkin (WeMo)

good luck

post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


If no other commercial product can do this, then that makes this worth purchasing immediately, doesn't it? I think it's pretty neat, at least.

 

Most normal alarm systems can do this.  I had a standard wired alarm system in the early 90's that could.  The trouble is they mostly do it badly which i think the reason behind the "can" and "learn" language in the advert.  They are saying that it will have some false positives at least at first and that it's theoretically possible (it is). I would bet the first buyers will be live testing that part. 

post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by kozchris View Post

I think you want the cloud storage because then the thief can't steal the device along with any evidence that it may have captured.

Sure, one would definitely want a secure, secondary backup. The point Gazoobee was making was that it should be somewhere under the control of the user of the system not necessitated to be stored on someone else's servers with claims of great security, etc. that can not be verified. And to actually believe the claims of some company's great security is to be quite naive these days in the age of numerous security breaches. Telling people that all of the data will be encrypted before being stored and that only the primary user can access it can sound great, but that only holds up if the keys are both generated and held only by the user of the system and is not stored in "the cloud" and accessible by the company selling the system. Otherwise, nothing stops them from getting a National Security Letter and decrypting the footage and handing it over to the NSA. Or someone malicious breaching the system and doing the same thing as well.


Edited by MikeJones - 7/22/13 at 8:29am
post #13 of 27
@gazoobee This is Adam from Canary. These concerns are absolutely of importance to us. This is something I also dealt with when working with some of the world's largest banks and non profit organizations. And while we will be sending you directly the latest alerts so you can respond from your phone, you don't need to sign up for long-term storage. That is totally optional. (Creating an account, though, is important as we provide you access to directly alerting the police, so they have to know who you are!) Thanks for commenting.
post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Sager View Post

@gazoobee This is Adam from Canary. These concerns are absolutely of importance to us. This is something I also dealt with when working with some of the world's largest banks and non profit organizations. And while we will be sending you directly the latest alerts so you can respond from your phone, you don't need to sign up for long-term storage. That is totally optional. (Creating an account, though, is important as we provide you access to directly alerting the police, so they have to know who you are!) Thanks for commenting.

Thank you for coming on here to respond to posts. What about my statement about how keys are handled? Are those only under the control of the user and not stored in "the cloud" as well (obviously unless I choose to do so)? It's great that the content is encrypted when uploaded to your storage, but if the keys are not totally under my control and are stored on your servers that provides no guarantee, other than one's word (which can always be changed through a TOS update), that what is uploaded can not then be subsequently decrypted (whether by breach, malicious employee or a law enforcement request) because your company also has access to the keys.

post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by davesmall View Post

So unless they receive orders totaling $100,000 they won't produce these at all. In other words, this is a product that doesn't exist and a company that doesn't exist either.

Nice looking vapor ware though.

Not how indigogo works. They have flexible funding so they may be able to use the $$ even if they don't reach $100k
post #16 of 27
I love this idea and will back it. I love the Nest as well and have no regrets of buying it.
post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by allenbf View Post


Not how indigogo works. They have flexible funding so they may be able to use the $$ even if they don't reach $100k

IndieGoGo works both ways actually. You can either do flexible funding or fixed funding.

post #18 of 27
I've been using an IZON wifi security camera setup at my restaurant for over a year now. Their software and back end improvements have achieved a stable system. Each camera handles video and audio (no night vision) and costs $129 each, $99 each when they have a promo going on. iOS software works cleanly and allows me to access all of the cameras anywhere, anytime. I highly recommend them. More info at www.steminnovation.com. If you have any questions about them, just ask. I'm glad to see more choices coming to market, it will only improve the quality and features of these devices for all of us.
post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeJones View Post

IndieGoGo works both ways actually. You can either do flexible funding or fixed funding.

Yes. The Canary project is flex funding.
post #20 of 27

If I hadn't signed up to followup, I probably would have echoed @gazoobee's sentiments. Based upon your response, I was preparing to commit to the reseller package but I feel you missed the mark.

 

I appreciate that you came here to comment. I also appreciate the spirit of what you are aspiring to do with the Canary. I've built a frankenstein-eque capability like this for my home building upon skills I picked up working with embedded sensors in the military. I genuinely want to get behind this product.

 

But you didn't address the concern that the collected data MUST exist in the cloud. My concern isn't whether it is stored long term, the NSA will handle that. My concern is that it exists anywhere outside of my home. Nothing you say or do will move me past the belief that the data can and will eventually be breached. Too many secure systems have already been. There is no need for the video data to be outbound anywhere other than my mobile device. I would give that up if it meant I got alerts, notifications, and metadata from the sensors rather than there being any remote access to what I do inside my private residence.

 

If you mentioned support for cutting that comm path to your cloud for video I'd jump in and champion the idea (what little that matters). I'll manage security of the data locally, to include placement such that this ninja burglar threat model I've seen presented could be mitigated. 

 

Care to further address the stance on this? It's either built for folks like me or it isn't. No hard feelings. I just want to know before I spend $5000 and look for 20+ people who might have the same concern.

post #21 of 27

If I hadn't signed up to followup, I probably would have echoed @gazoobee's sentiments. Based upon your response, I was preparing to commit to the reseller package but I feel you missed the mark.

 

I appreciate that you came here to comment. I also appreciate the spirit of what you are aspiring to do with the Canary. I've built a frankenstein-eque capability like this for my home building upon skills I picked up working with embedded sensors in the military. I genuinely want to get behind this product.

 

But you didn't address the concern that the collected data MUST exist in the cloud. My concern isn't whether it is stored long term, the NSA will handle that. My concern is that it exists anywhere outside of my home. Nothing you say or do will move me past the belief that the data can and will eventually be breached. Too many secure systems have already been. There is no need for the video data to be outbound anywhere other than my mobile device. I would give that up if it meant I got alerts, notifications, and metadata from the sensors rather than there being any remote access to what I do inside my private residence.

 

If you mentioned support for cutting that comm path to your cloud for video I'd jump in and champion the idea (what little that matters). I'll manage security of the data locally, to include placement such that this ninja burglar threat model I've seen presented could be mitigated. 

 

Care to further address the stance on this? It's either built for folks like me or it isn't. No hard feelings. I just want to know before I spend $5000 and look for 20+ people who might have the same concern.

post #22 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeJones View Post

Thank you for coming on here to respond to posts. What about my statement about how keys are handled? Are those only under the control of the user and not stored in "the cloud" as well (obviously unless I choose to do so)? It's great that the content is encrypted when uploaded to your storage, but if the keys are not totally under my control and are stored on your servers that provides no guarantee, other than one's word (which can always be changed through a TOS update), that what is uploaded can not then be subsequently decrypted (whether by breach, malicious employee or a law enforcement request) because your company also has access to the keys.

In the end anything with a network connection running software/firmware that is not open source could potentially contain backdoors. What is the difference between the NSA asking Indigo to hand over stored data and the keys or if the NSA asks Indigo to build a backdoor into their firmware? 

 

The difference is likely that even the NSA will go after the easy and large-userbase targets first. And that hiding a full backdoor in software might not be as easy a simply siphoning off encryption keys. In particular if you want to sell to banks or defence contractors, they might have a good look at what devices do, monitoring traffic etc. and thus making it harder to put a backdoor in.

 

And I don't think the NSA is that comprehensive yet that it requires every networkable device to have a backdoor in it, yet. 

post #23 of 27
I use two companies for my home security in a weekend home. Simply Safe for door and window sensors and the like. The different sensors are a la carte and fairly inexpensive. I chose not to have it monitored. So far I have been happy with it. My only complaint is that it doesn't have any kind of iOS monitoring solution. I'd love to know when the alarm is going off and be able to enable/disable remotely.

The second company I use is Dropcam. My weekend place is pretty small so I have only one. It too has a subscription service to keep 7 days of video in the cloud, which I pay $9.99/mo. The iOS integration is great. Alerts for motion and sound sensing. Auto enable/disable when I arrive/leave. Two way audio, 720p video, night vision. (I don't work for the company, I've just been very happy with it.)

Both solutions I use only when I'm not in the house, so I don't have much concern with anyone hacking into my camera and seeing what's going on.
post #24 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

If no other commercial product can do this, then that makes this worth purchasing immediately, doesn't it? I think it's pretty neat, at least.
some other things don't harm on certain size animals (smaller less problems).

Quote:
Originally Posted by 22July2013 View Post

I was all excited -- then I read Gazoobee's comment. I really don't want someone at a commercial company seeing what's going on in my living room. If it went straight to my iDevice I might accept that but even then how is the message protected? I don't think MMS uses any sort of encryption. And worst of all, why shuold I have to buy hardware at all? Doesn't the iPhone and iPod touch have a camera? I should be able to buy a $0.99 piece of software for my iPod touch which could sit in my house and have alerts and/or pictures emailed directly to me. I think I would pay up to $20 to pay for software that ran on my iDevice that protected my home and my privacy, but this solution scares me. I want both security and privacy. And I don't want to buy a piece of hardware if I already own perfectly functional hardware. Do I have to write the software myself? Any software developers out there? Hello?
yes it is workable but do you want your IOS device sitting there recording and set for them to steal thing immediately and in most cases delete the footage
post #25 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by noirdesir View Post

In the end anything with a network connection running software/firmware that is not open source could potentially contain backdoors. What is the difference between the NSA asking Indigo to hand over stored data and the keys or if the NSA asks Indigo to build a backdoor into their firmware? 

 

The difference is likely that even the NSA will go after the easy and large-userbase targets first. And that hiding a full backdoor in software might not be as easy a simply siphoning off encryption keys. In particular if you want to sell to banks or defence contractors, they might have a good look at what devices do, monitoring traffic etc. and thus making it harder to put a backdoor in.

 

And I don't think the NSA is that comprehensive yet that it requires every networkable device to have a backdoor in it, yet. 

The point isn't just the NSA. If they hold the keys all it takes is a malicious employee or a security breach for someone to grab those keys and your encrypted footage is now no longer secure.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Curtis Hannah View Post


some other things don't harm on certain size animals (smaller less problems).
yes it is workable but do you want your IOS device sitting there recording and set for them to steal thing immediately and in most cases delete the footage
 
False dilemma. Not wanting your footage stored somewhere that you don't control is not the same as wanting no secure backups.
post #26 of 27
The problem with today's home network services comes from the fact that internet service providers do not hand out DNS names for the external IP addresses associated with our home networks, so we cannot easily remotely connect to services sitting on the internal home networks. Further, without the ability to punch holes in home routers to allow external access to particular services.

The solution seems to be home devices are logged in to vendors' servers and remote users must communicate via the vendor servers. That is a big problem.
post #27 of 27

It seems evident to me that there are a few critical misunderstandings here. I'm going to separate the matter to make things more explicit. The lack of a response from Adam Sager was sufficient for my concerns. I won't purchase this product. But for clarity's sake:

 

One issue would be the use of accounts and credentials in connection with the device and a service. This is not really my concern. I am comfortable maintaining an account with Canary as a user of their product and/or services.

 

Another issue is the transmission of video data from my private residence to Canary's remote servers. This is not necessary for functioning of the device, nor is it preferable. A Canary cam that captures and stores locally is plenty sufficient to address quite a large portion of the problem set defined by Canary. 

 

From the Canary copy:

 

 

 

Quote:
Security means different things to different people. So we didn’t design a rigid one-solution-fits-everyone product. Instead, we fitted our device with the core features you want and put the power in your hands to decide when and how you use Canary.

 

I expect a solution that is NOT rigid AND puts the power in my hands to decide HOW I use Canary would be one that does not REQUIRE video streams of my home to be uploaded to a remote server. My desire for a smart, innovative home security solution is not an invitation to a company to observe my private behaviors. This is a tremendous aspect to the HOW I use a recording device. As it stands, I have no say over how it is used. I have a say over how I respond to the information it produces. That's not the same. That's a rigid one-solution-fits-everyone product.

 

While the Canary team cites statistics centered around false positives and break-ins, they are ignoring statistics of startups that unexpectedly shutter 9-18 months after startup. They are ignoring statistics of data integrity issues that could be mitigated by the data remaining local. There's no need to worry about a breach of a large target when none of your data exists there. And there's less reason for an individual to be a target. 

 

Now, for the NSA. It was a joke. But to your question about the difference between a firmware backdoor and keys to stored data I reason it's tremendous. The NSA exploiting a backdoor in firmware requires one to exist. If it is there for the NSA and exploited by another individual, Canary is finished. So they would prefer the keys to stored data model, which is why I don't want them to have any stored data. They don't want the backdoor. I don't want to share video data.

 

The NSA, as far as sensationalized journalism would lead me to believe, doesn't require a backdoor. They require access to streams of data. If the data is encrypted, they break or decrypt with a private key. If the data is at rest on a personal system closed to the internet, they do not have access. Again, though, I'm not concerned about the NSA, I am concerned about a company that requires access to video of me in my home for any length of time. How much of my capped data plan with my ISP is that going to expend? What impact will that have on my household bandwidth? What serious benefit do I enjoy by sharing my video data with a third party?

 

Canary wants to position as simple and affordable. They look good doing it. But they come from military and banking backgrounds. The more serious the individual about security, the more likely they are to be aware of privacy considerations. Canary's success marketing a remote monitoring device presents an opportunity to a company that provides a comparable product that does not require the upload. The worst of it is Canary hasn't produced a viable unit. There's no certainty it will work as advertised. There's less certainty it will ship on schedule. The price is considerable for something that exists as a render and concept. To miss the mark with privacy isn't promising.

 

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