The Sentri offers smart home security with a personal twist
By Stu Robarts
June 19, 2014
Smart home and security devices like the Piper and the Vivint Sky provide a host of clever and useful functions, but can be tricky to describe concisely. The same goes for new arrival Sentri, though its makers claim that it's the smartest around. Users can geofence their home, check in on a live video and audio feed, monitor ambient conditions, view trends and stats, set up alerts for "irregularities" at home, control other smart devices, and even personalize its appearance to blend in with the decor.
In order to deliver all this functionality, Sentri features an HD video camera with night vision capability, a microphone, a speaker, a motion detector, an accelerometer and sensors for temperature, air quality, light and humidity. Based on the information it generates from these inputs and from its interaction with the user, Sentri is programmed to continuously refine its behavior.
The device itself measures 9.4 x 9.4 x 1.5 in (24 x 24 x 4 cm), and can be placed on a shelf using its kick-stand for support or mounted on the wall, and is designed to work pretty much straight out of the box. Users supposedly need only plug it in, switch it on and connect it to their Wi-Fi network. Sentri will then monitor the home and build up a picture of its normal conditions. Information is presented on the device's screen and is also relayed to the Sentri mobile app.
Once the device is up-and-running, users begin receiving notifications from Sentri. These could include information about home temperature fluctuations that might indicate energy efficiency issues or a potential fire, warnings that a door has been unlocked for a set amount of time or an alert about unexpected motion or noise that could signal an intrusion. Going forward, the number and type of notifications will be tailored based on user's responses.
Sentri's developers say that its simplicity, in the sense that it is an all-in-one solution and requires no complicated setup, and its intelligence, in that it learns about the user, are two aspects that set it apart from its competitors. While that may indeed be the case, there doesn't appear to be anything radically different in these respects to the aforementioned Piper or Vivant Sky devices. One area in which it does differ, though, is the option for users to personalize its look.
According to the company, the Sentri device, "is designed to fit into your home, based on your individual style." Where similar products can appear bulky and conspicuous, it says, users can customize Sentri with pre-loaded themes so that it fits in with the look of their home. The device's background, clock style and dashboard layout can all be changed based on the user's preferences.
Sentri is currently raising funds on Kickstarter for improving and finalizing its prototypes, and going into production. As of writing, the fundraising goal has been met and, for a pledge of US$249, backers can get their hands on the device, assuming all goes to plan.
The video below is Sentri's Kickstarter pitch.
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