Add brains to home security
Cloud functionality and intelligent monitoring add a new dimension to off-the-peg systems
A Cape Town security technology startup based in has spent nearly four years developing Sentian 3i, a system designed to make off-the-shelf security smarter – while at the same time simpler to operate.
Sentian 3i connects your alarm, CCTV and home automation to the Cloud and to your phone, allowing these systems to do things they cannot do individually:
Identifying what has triggered an alarm by sending the user a 12-second video clip.
The ability to respond to an alarm event, even remotely, by carrying out actions such as pressing a panic button, opening gates, turning on security lights or viewing CCTV.
Substituting multiple, outdated and often counter-intuitive keypads and systems to access and control your alarm, CCTV or home automation with a single, intuitive interface, available on multiple platforms.
“We live in a world with the iphone, artificial intelligence and drones,” says Teague Little, who developed Sentian 3i with fellow engineer Trevor Lewis. “We have access to vast amounts of information at our fingertips. Now go take a look at your alarm system. Your alarm system is analogue when the rest of the world is digital and, over 98 per cent of the time, it falls short at the one thing it is designed to do, to let you and your armed response company know when there is an intruder on your property.”
Little and Lewis built the Sentian Cloud services, the API, the firmware, the frontend app, the backend installer app and the hardware right here in SA. A Raspberry Pi forms part of the system, which in addi- tion to handling standard RF home automation is also Z-wave capable. It’s suitable for controlling lights, plugs and heavy current devices such as geysers or pool pumps and flood sensors.
Their creation can be viewed as a realtime, curated, information system, which through home automation and links to armed response, allows you to respond to what you see at your property. “There is something amazing about being able to look in through the live feed and open your gate and watch it all happen, from the other side of the world, ” Little says.
Two particularly intriguing features are user-specific notifications and share access. “I can set up notifications for my property that only I am interested in (ie, I don’t bug my wife with them),” says Little. “Share access is perfect for Airbnb, housesitters or staff: you can very simply hand out access to your property through our app, and specify the time frame they are to have access for.”
A typical standalone four-bedroom house alarm system, with indoor and outdoor sensors, will cost you anywhere between R20 000 and R40 000 installed. Add at least R10 000 if you want CCTV.
Sentian costs R 19 995 once-off for the hardware, with an ongoing R159 monthly service fee to cover the 2 GB of Cloud storage, unlimited email and SMS communication and access to ongoing system and app software upgrades. Installation takes two to three days.