Everything you need to know about AI security cameras
Security cameras that leverage AI have taken the home security world by storm. You may be wondering what exactly this technology is and how it works. There’s a lot of confusion about what AI is — even amongst AI camera owners. Let’s take a look at what AI security cameras are, what they can do, and how they help home security.
What is an AI security camera?
An AI security camera is a camera that uses complex video software to analyze objects and behaviors on video. This happens automatically with computers either onboard the device or on a cloud platform. AI can trigger an action when it finds a certain event or object. The camera could be set up to take a picture or video, send an alert, or trigger an alarm. Some AI-powered security systems can even send a video to a monitoring center for identification. By comparison, an AI security camera gives the users automated real-time monitoring while a standard security camera just lets you see the stream.
How does AI security camera work?
The AI systems of most security cameras don’t learn on their own. They first have to be taught by an engineer. We call this “supervised learning”. Supervised learning is done by giving a huge amount of data to a system with information about that data. For a home camera like SimCam 1S, tens of thousands of photos and videos of faces were supplied. The software was told, “these photos and videos are faces” while being shown each piece of data. It was also shown photos and videos of other things while being told that they are not faces. After seeing all of that information, the camera can easily pick out faces on the fly. This same process is used to create all types of AI.
What can a security camera do with AI?
An AI-powered security camera can detect all sorts of objects and behaviors. Almost anything can be found after the software has been trained well. There are a few types of detection that are popular in security cameras, though.
Person detection is the most common use of AI in security cameras. In this case, the software is trained to find human beings. It’s useful for sending an alert when a person is missing or trespassing. Cameras like SimCam 1S can even track a person’s figure by panning. The Nest Cam IQ and Arlo Ultra cameras can zoom in on a person’s form and track them. Some people set up these cameras to notify them when a person enters a certain location like their yard. There was even a discontinued camera called Lighthouse that could determine a person’s sex and age.
Facial recognition is another popular feature of AI. A facial recognition camera can map a person’s facial features from a photo or video. It then finds a match by comparing the information with a database of faces. The database has to be created on setup. Cameras like SimCam 1S make this happen by simply uploading a picture of the face to the device. Other Cameras like the Nest Cam IQ can learn faces on the fly after a training period. With this technology, the user can be notified of familiar faces or strangers on their land.
Vehicle detection allows users to be alerted to vehicles entering or exiting an area. It can be used to identify bicycles, cars, trucks, and buses. You may think this feature is only used for traffic monitoring and self-driving on the roads. In fact, vehicle detection is very useful in both residential and business settings.
Security cameras with animal detection can help people identify when a pet enters or leaves an area. They can also determine what type of animal it is. Animal detection can help you keep tabs on your pets at home. It can also notify you of unexpected wildlife visiting your garden.
Modern animal detection does have its limitations. You will notice the name of this feature is animal detection and not pet detection. Currently, the technology is not there to find specific pets or if that pet belongs to you. Perhaps in the next few years, we could expect a facial recognition technology exclusively made for pets.
This is a very new use-case for AI. Cameras with parcel detection can alert you when a parcel is delivered at your door. It can also alert you when someone takes a parcel away. Some cameras also use a similar feature to detect the motion of an object. However, this technology is not mature at this moment. AI might identify any box-shaped object as a parcel and trigger false alerts.
Not only can AI be trained to identify objects, but also some human behaviors. Cameras have been used to track simple actions like smiling or waving. Some more advanced uses include identifying fights or even shoplifting. Google allows users to turn on and off system their Nest Hub simply with hand gestures. However, behavior recognition is limited because people behave differently and can be hard to predict. It’ll be fun to see how this area develops into more complex uses in the future.
Why do today’s security cameras need AI?
Between all of these crazy features, it’s hard to deny that AI is the future of home security. These abilities will only get better over time as more training is done. In addition to these features, there are some other clear advantages to AI cameras over old security cameras. AI is better than humans for boring and simple tasks like scanning video. The core functions of a security camera include just that.
Reducing False Alerts
Old school security cameras would use simple motion detectors to set off alarms or send alerts. You can imagine how annoying that would get during a windy day! All of those false alerts make a security system next to worthless. Over time, the user starts to place less weight on alerts and might ignore real threats. AI detection is much more accurate than the old way of doing home security. Many popular AI cameras boast 99% accuracy in person detection and facial recognition.
Compared with old motion detection, AI vision provides more valuable and actionable insights.
It Saves Time
Let’s face it, you don’t have the time to stare at a live stream of sift through hours of video. AI cameras can be set up to only record when they detect something. These cameras leave you with only the clips that you care about. This makes it much faster to find the video you want of whatever you’re monitoring.
Cloud AI versus on-device AI?
You may be unaware that there are two major ways that AI software happens. Understanding these two methods and their differences is key in finding the right product. Here’s a breakdown of the two types:
- Cloud AI happens on a server away from the camera. The camera first sends the video data to the Cloud server for processing. The server then sends data back to the camera to trigger events.
- On-device AI happens right on the device itself taking out any transfer time to and from the cloud. Local AI does, however, require more computing power and thus better hardware to execute.
The Pros of Cloud AI
- Cloud AI requires lower-tier hardware.
- You don’t have to worry about storing your data.
- There’s more data available to software running on a cloud server.
- Cloud-based solutions learn over time, improving accuracy every day.
The Cons of Cloud AI
- It’s going to require an internet connection at all times.
- Your internet usage is going to increase.
- Time to process will depend on your internet speeds. If you have a slow connection you may be waiting a while.
- There can be privacy concerns about sending your video data to a company server.
- Most cloud-based cameras, like Nest Cam IQ and the Arlo Smart series, require a subscription service to use their AI features.
Why is on-device AI better for home security?
- You won’t be waiting for data from a server. The analysis will happen much faster.
- It’s more reliable. You won’t have to worry about Internet blips.
- You’ll enjoy saving money. There’s no subscription plan required.
- If you worry about privacy, you can relax. You own and manage your data.
- It will put less strain on your Internet bandwidth.
On-device AI also has its drawbacks. The biggest is that the hardware requirements are higher. For example, a great on-device AI security camera is the SimCam 1S. Setup with this camera will cost a bit more than some cloud solutions. However, SimCam 1S is blazing fast and is super reliable. It saves your cost in the long run.
The Future of the AI-Powered Smart Home
With current technology, everything we call “AI” still requires input from humans. With time, we’ll approach the self-teaching AI that you see in science fiction films. These programs will be more accurate, smarter, and more reliable. It will be able to make decisions on its own with a high level of accuracy.
Today, we can use AI cameras for smart-home applications. Cameras can adapt to the behaviors of homeowners or their families and pets. We can automate how we live by setting actions in all sorts of devices. AI cameras can unlock doors or turn on light to improve our lives.
In AI home security, we usually see AI cameras as a form of passive protection. We use them to find criminals after they have committed their crimes. People are working on ways to create active protection systems. These products may predict crimes based on behavior or facial expressions before they happen. Perhaps these solutions can trigger alarms or notify police in advance to crimes. This is the next step for AI.
Are you ready for the AI-powered home of the future?