Many homes today are fitted with security cameras and sensors to alert the owners if someone is moving on their property, be it a family member, a mail carrier or an intruder. French company Netatmo has designed a smart home camera that recognizes familiar faces and alerts owners if a stranger has entered their home. The face-recognition camera has helped at least one man catch a thief.
The smart camera can let parents at work know that their children have returned home from school, or that a package has been delivered at their door. It can also let them know if an unknown person has trespassed on their property.
"Current security cameras are not that smart. So, they can tell you if something is moving but they don't necessarily know if it's a human being or if it's your kids; they don't know the difference. So, they will alert you all the time, also if lighting conditions change and it can be very annoying. But, if you're a very busy working professional, you want to know what's going on at your place," explained Janina Mattausch, a product marketing manager for Netatmo.
When family members enter a home, the smart camera "recognizes" them and sends information to the owner's smartphone. The owner can check the information at a convenient time. But if an intruder enters a home, the camera will send an alert that will sound an alarm on the owner's smartphone.
That's what happened recently to smart home camera owner Damien in Paris.
"On a Friday I was at work, attending a big monthly meeting at work. When my phone vibrated, at first I told myself; 'Oh, it must be a wrong alert, maybe I have to do some adjustments, but the notification on my phone was telling me that there was a movement in my flat and also a face that the app did not recognize," said Damien.
So the French businessman put the video on and was shocked with what he saw.
"I saw a person I did not know with his shoes on, which is totally forbidden in my apartment. I was watching it live on video. So I felt totally frozen, stupefied. I asked a colleague to take me back home as fast as possible and I called the police on the way,” he said.
Damien showed the video of the intruder to the police and they found him later in the day. The burglar was sentenced to nine months in prison.
The French smart home camera is part of a growing trend of the so-called connected technology, which enables various devices to "communicate" with one another via the Internet.