Breaking Down Canary

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If you are in the market for a smarter Dropcam, then the $249 Canary may be the connected camera system for you. The device is an IP camera that also contains a mic, temperature, humidity and air quality sensor.

It is a good little product that connects to your home WiFi network. The system has three states: armed, which means you get a notification and a recording whenever something triggers the camera; disarmed, which means you get a recording when something triggers the camera; and privacy, which means the camera and mic are off. As you can see the difference between armed and disarmed is the notification.

When you do receive a notification you have the option to open the app from the notification, check the video and are given the option of saying everything is good, sounding an alarm or calling the police. This is what is mean by a DIY security system, you are doing the monitoring.

The camera has a wide angle lens, 147 degrees, that is good during the day and at night. However, the system does have a few bugs like the camera will stop recording before the action is complete. Other times not all notifications are getting through to the apps and sometimes the apps themselves needed to be restarted before updating.

The biggest bug is the learning algorithm. A pet is a big trigger of false positives. Even though the user spends the time and energy training the Canary it just could not filter through the information and stop sending the false notifications. A large portion of the products quality will rest on the quality of the learning algorithm.

One other concern was that if a notification was sent the system relies on the user making the decision on what to do. This means that every Canary notification had to be checked. Many of these bugs are to be corrected by the end of this year.

The Canary does have the makings of a very smart connected camera that could give Dropcam reason to sit up and take notice.


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