CES 2019

From drone patrols to AI surveillance: 15 home security innovations from CES 2019

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Adam Bannister is a contributor to IFSEC Global, having been in the role of Editor from 2014 through to November 2019. Adam also had stints as a journalist at cybersecurity publication, The Daily Swig, and as Managing Editor at Dynamis Online Media Group.
January 11, 2019


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Nearly 110 million smart home devices were shipped worldwide in 2018, according to Futuresource Consulting – and security products are an increasingly important driver.

“Not only is the security and monitoring segment shipping in high volume, it also boasts the highest average prices per unit,” said Filipe Oliveira, market analyst at Futuresource Consulting.

“Our forecasts suggest it will be knocking on the door of $10bn (£7bn) in trade value for 2018. Penetration rates will continue to climb, with 7% of homes worldwide having at least one smart security device installed by 2022.”

The centrality of security to the smart home ecosystem extends beyond connected cameras, alarms and door entry locks and devices. Connected to home Wi-Fi, all home automation devices are potential attack vectors for cybercriminals.

IoT products, which routinely gather and store sometimes sensitive data in the cloud, frequently fall woefully short when it comes to cybersecurity. However, the industry is belatedly waking up to the threat and the issue has been a hot topic at CES 2019.

Developers need to design security measures into the devices themselves of course, but a raft of supplementary security products are emerging to provide additional layers of security.

Here are 15 of the most notable security products on show at CES 2019, the world’s largest consumer electronics show that takes place annually in Las Vegas.

1. Aerial home monitoring courtesy of Sunflower Labs’ drone service

Done properly, a combination of security cameras, security lights, perimeter fencing, intruder alarms and door locks are a pretty effective deterrents to intruders. Short of hiring your own security or getting a guard dog, security measures have for decades involved some combination of the aforementioned.

However, a firm that “combines Swiss craftsmanship and engineering with Silicon Valley startup culture” is adding a mind-boggling new dimension to this time-honoured mix: the drone.

Sunflower Labs combines high-tech garden lights with a camera-equipped drone that patrols your property. I say ‘your‘ property, but unless you’re very wealthy this not likely to be a practical option for you – at least for the foreseeable future.

The drone – called the ‘bee’ –  recharges its batteries in a hub station or ‘hive’, which connects to your Wi-Fi router. The lights – or ‘sunflowers’ – have built-in motion and vibration sensors that, so the developers claim, can distinguish between people, pets and cars.

If suspicious activity is detected, the hive sends you an alert, and you – or a professional monitoring service – can deploy the bee with a press of a button in the app. Drone aviation laws proscribe the drone from automatically investigating incidents.

You can mark points of interest, like your front door or driveway, and customise alerts based on time of day, type of motion, and location.

2. Keyhero

The makers of Keyhero, a digital back-up for physical keys, say people much more frequently lock themselves out of their home than lose their keys.

KeyHero will scan and upload an image of your key to the cloud. This image is then encrypted and linked to a phone number or email, rather than a home address.

Should you lose your key, its image can be recalled via a mobile phone app and recreated in a shop – thus avoiding the eye-watering cost of calling out a locksmith.

The service is free but can only be accessed in one of the firm’s partner stores across the US.

The image can be shared with anybody who needs access to your property, whether friends, family or trusted professionals.

3. Deep Sentinel Smart Home Surveillance System

California-based startup Deep Sentinel is showcasing a home surveillance system with a difference.

Through the LiveSentinel surveillance service the Deep Sentinel Smart Home Surveillance System uses proprietary artificial intelligence to predict situations that may lead to criminal acts, creates a virtual perimeter around the home and learns how to spot false alarms.

“Our LiveSentinel surveillance team has eyes on intruders from the second they step on your front yard, making Deep Sentinel the only home security solution that includes active security guards whose job it is to shout criminals off your property,” said David Selinger, CEO and co-founder of Deep Sentinel. “Equipped with cutting-edge A.I. technology, LiveSentinel guards jump into action to confront intruders and alert authorities when suspicious activity is detected.”

The system comprises three wireless 1080p full HD cameras with night vision and PIR motion sensors, a smart hub, four rechargeable batteries, three wall mounts, and old-fashioned signage warning would-be intruders of what they’re up against.

4. BlackBerry Secure for IoT cybersecurity

IoT device manufacturers have long been excoriated for failing to prioritise security from the design stage onwards.

Kindly offering to help them out BlackBerry has unveiled software that can provide adequate security for IoT products, liberating IoT manufacturers from developing the cybersecurity technology internally.

Products that have integrated BlackBerry’s tech – called Secure Enablement, Foundations, and Enterprise Feature Packs – will be able to stamp themselves as “BlackBerry Secure.”

“IoT device manufacturers can address security and privacy concerns head-on and stand out in the cluttered IoT space by bringing to market ultra-secure products that consumers, retailers, and enterprises want to buy and use,” said Alex Thurber, senior vice president and general manager of mobility solutions at BlackBerry, in a statement. “This new service is a pivotal point in the company’s software licensing strategy and underscores BlackBerry’s evolution from providing the most secure smartphones to delivering the trusted security for all smart ‘things.'”

5. Valida fraud detection from Gradiant

Valida uses sophisticated forensic analysis technology to detect manipulation in multimedia documents.

This makes it an invaluable tool for online user verification, digital onboarding and Know Your Customer (KYC) processes, the latter having become more important for compliance in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal.

Valida automatically analyses any form of identity document, plus payroll, invoices, receipts and other digital files, and detects evidence of impersonation and forgeries.

6. Elecpro US:E Smart Lock

The US:E deadbolt has a built-in camera with facial recognition. Whether its friends, family or caregivers, the lock builds a database of trusted faces for whom it will unlock the door.

7. TrustBox router and IoT gateway

The CES 2019 innovation award for cybersecurity and personal privacy went to Scalys’ TrustBox, a router and IoT gateway designed to secure IoT devices on home networks.

Using a system-on-a-chip (SoC) router and IoT gateway that combines hardware and software security, TrustBox offers “military-grade security”, according to Scalys. So though it is pitched as a home security device, TrustBox can also be used on business and industrial networks.

Microsoft and semiconductor manufacturer NXP helped incorporate the NXP Layerscape LS1012A networking processor, an SoC with hardware security features including secure boot, secure software provisioning, and secure storage. Microsoft’s open source Open Enclave SDK, meanwhile, gives businesses the option of building trusted execution environments.

TrustBox’s portability makes it useful for securing edge hardware or devices that are regularly relocated.

8. Array By Hampton Video Coach Light by Hampton Products

Within the lantern style light hides an HD camera with a wide-angle, low-distortion viewing lens and night vision capabilities. A motion sensor will trigger the camera and alert you to activity, which you can view through the Array app for iOS or Android.

You can communicate directly through the light thanks to built-in speakers and a microphone.

9. Home Security System by Tuya Smart

Tuya Smart’s Home Security system incorporates facial recognition and can alert you if there’s a stranger at the door.

A hub works in concert with myriad sensors and a smart doorbell.

The system is compatible with voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.


10. Altro Smart Lock

A genuine first in home automation: a smart lock and video doorbell in one.

The Altro Smart Lock offers keyless control of your deadbolt, two-way audio, remote control – including with voice commands via Alexa and Google Assistant – and motion detection, which triggers the video to record.

The deadbolt can be configured to lock automatically when it detects that you’re inside.

The video doorbell will send your phone an alert whenever someone rings. You can then view the app’s video feed to see who’s at the door and talk to them if you wish.

It packs a lot in, which does suggest, according to CNET, that it could be “pretty power hungry“.


11. Security Key NFC from Yubico

The Security Key NFC adds NFC to Yubico’s existing blue Security Key, bringing USB-A interface two-factor authentication and tap-and-go functionality to the key.

The key is immediately compatible with hundreds of websites, services and applications – Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Dropbox to name a few – plus a growing number of password managers and FIDO2/WebAuthn and U2F compatible services.

The Security Key NFC, which is hermetically sealed using injection molded reinforced fiberglass for tamper resilience, supports authentication for FIDO2/WebAuthn and U2F services and eschews reliance on less secure SMS or mobile app authentication techniques.

12. Maximus Answer smart doorbell

The Maximus Answer’s USP is having two built-in cameras to give users a broader field of vision – with the front-facing camera seeing who’s at the door and the bottom-mounted camera spotting the arrival of packages.

13. Door View Cam from Ring

Have your ambitions to make your home smart been thwarted by restrictions imposed by your landlord? Anticipating this problem for renters, Ring has launched a front-door camera that can be attached via an existing peephole, eliminating the need to drill holes in the door.

It also has a sensor which notifies you if someone knocks on the door instead of ringing the bell.

14. SimCam from SimCam Labs

The SimCam home security camera uses AI for facial recognition – which SimCam labs claims is 94.4% accurate – as well as pet monitoring and more via location training.

You can also integrate the SimCam with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant for voice command control and to connect with other smart home ecosystem devices.

The SimCam boasts a 5-megapixel image sensor with night vision for still images and 1080p HD video; an ability to rotate 360 degrees while tracking objects; and an IP65 waterproof-rating.

Image processing takes place at the ‘edge’ – in the camera rather than the cloud.

An Intel Movidius VPU microprocessor uses machine learning and artificial intelligence, which means it doesn’t need traditional infrared motion detectors.

Video clips and images are stored on SD memory cards so there are cloud storage fees.

Users can apparently train the camera to monitor specific locations, such as driveway or back door, in its viewing area. Two-way audio gives occupiers the ability to talk to visitors, delivery personnel or intruders.


15. xFi Advanced Security from ComCast

The Comcast xFi platform’s latest addition is xFi Advanced Security, a cybersecurity service that monitors Wi-Fi traffic and alerts users to threats. The system notifies customers of threats and issues recommendations for bolstering security.

Harnessing AI and machine learning, it monitors online activity not just on smartphones, tablets and laptops but all IoT devices too.

It’s built around the xFi Advanced Security Gateway, a device that plugs in and connects to your home network.


Download: The Smart Door Locks Report

Do you know how ready the security market is for smart door locks? Covering the drivers for adoption – as well as potential barriers and how to overcome them – this free, exclusive report brings you the latest on the smart door lock market and how you can adapt to this rapidly changing landscape.

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