Can an AI burglar alarm predict break-ins before they happen?

Deep Sentinel uses AI to predict a break-in and raise the alarm before it happens. — AFP pic
Deep Sentinel uses AI to predict a break-in and raise the alarm before it happens. — AFP pic

SAN FRANCISCO, May 3 — In the Steven Spielberg film Minority Report, a team of detectives, led by Tom Cruise, are able to swoop in and arrest criminals before they commit a crime, thanks to having three people with pre-cognitive future-seeing capabilities on the team.

But whereas that’s science fiction, David Selinger, the co-founder and CEO of a company called Deep Sentinel, believes that by leveraging artificial intelligence he can make the scenario science fact — at least when it comes to those that may be targeting an individual’s home.

“Deep Sentinel uses sophisticated AI, including computer vision and deep learning algorithms, to predict and disrupt crimes before they occur,” said Selinger, who as well as being an AI expert, is a former Amazon executive.

Deep Sentinel redefines cameras’ use in a traditional burglar alarm setup. Rather than passively recording what they see, footage is analysed via a proprietary AI programme that searches for patterns and visual red flags that in turn should be able to predict that a property-based crime is about to take place — such as a break-in or a vehicle theft from a driveway.

“By removing threats before they escalate, Deep Sentinel will reduce crime and bring peace of mind to millions of American homes,” said Selinger.

The idea may sound far-fetched but the company has just completed a US$7.4 million (RM31.9 million) round of venture capital funding and could be coming to market at exactly the right moment.

Despite all of the talk surrounding smart, connected homes and the Internet of Things, according to analysts and research firms, the only area where the technology is really gaining traction with consumers is home security, an area where the benefits are clear.

Parks Associates research shows that almost one-in-four US broadband homes has an active security system installed and that percentage is growing rapidly as systems develop to offer remote interactivity via apps and other connected features.

“The security industry is the leading channel for smart home services,” said Tom Kerber, Director of IoT Strategy, Parks Associates.

“Interactive services have fuelled growth in the security industry over the past five years and will continue to do so over the next five years.”

However, many systems currently on sale are simply Internet-enabled upgrades of existing services that now have apps or live video streaming support, and this is where Deep Sentinel believes it can really shake things up.

“Home security is a multi-billion market that is radically underserved by often antiquated legacy providers and solutions,” said Jason Pressman, Managing Director at Shasta Ventures and member of Deep Sentinel’s Board of Directors.

“Artificial Intelligence is changing what is possible in home protection, and Deep Sentinel is right at the forefront of driving this change.” — AFP-Relaxnews

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