Alarm.com to develop drones

Aerial robotics will work in tandem with company’s new data fusion engine
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Thursday, January 19, 2017

TYSONS, Va.—Alarm.com announced at CES in January that it will develop drone applications for smart home and business security that work in tandem with the Qualcomm Snapdragon Flight Drone Platform, and with the company’s newly developed Insights Engine, a multi-sensor learning capability that recognizes and proactively responds to unexpected activity around a property.

Alarm.com’s Insights Engine applies machine-learning algorithms to the growing data set generated by devices and sensors in a connected property.  

“The Insights Engine can be looked at as a new engine that we have running inside of our cloud that takes all of the data coming off the home or property and builds a model of what is going on in your home in particular, and is then able to pick out unusual events that we think you might want to know about without actually requiring that you do any configuration,” Dan Kerzner, Alarm.com’s chief product officer, told Security Systems News. “So you are getting responsiveness out of your home, and your home becomes an active helper as opposed to you having to give it direction.”

To do that for the millions of homes that Alarm.com serves, “We are processing a ton of data in order to be able to provide that insight in real time on a personal basis, which is a great way to leverage the cloud versus what you might have done traditionally,” said Kerzner.

He continued, “With a collection of data streams coming off the home from a variety of sources, and they all flow into the Insights Engine, over time dealers are in a position to do value-added services recommendations. And the customer can dial-up and dial-down the engine based on what their preferences are, and we are finding that the more engaged the customer is, the more value they will see in the system, which is correlated with longer account lifetime—and lower attrition rates for dealers.”

Alarm.com intends to leverage these insights to intelligently deploy video-enabled drones to the location where unexpected activity was detected or when an alarm was triggered. Strict, opt-in privacy controls will enable the property owner to easily share the video feed with a central monitoring station and emergency responders.

“The idea is the system itself is giving you better situational awareness and then the drone gives you the option to go and get more information than you would typically have with fixed cameras,” said Kerzner. “While it is true that a lot of people have outdoor and indoor IP cameras, most people don’t want to cover their house in cameras, just have them in key places, so the drone gives you the ability to get awareness of what is going on in and around the home with more capability than a fixed camera. There are a lot of neat applications for the drone.”

Kerzner said Alarm.com is targeting a late 2017 release for the drones.

“We will be able to take the technology that we are developing with Qualcomm and deploy it across lots of different drone form factors—a small indoor one, a larger outdoor one—there is a lot of flexibility there,” said Kerzner, who noted that the Qualcomm platform has a specific drone software layer that helps with flight control and navigation. “We are working with them to tie that into those overall smart home use cases. And we will go out and have the drone manufactured under our direction with a third party.”