Artificial intelligence (AI) has come a long way in the last decade, with nearly every industry — from healthcare and fintech to entertainment and retail — incorporating AI to some extent.
The booming smart home industry is no different. Burglaries and residential crimes are on the rise.
According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, victims of burglary offenses suffered an estimated $3.6 billion in property losses in 2015. The average dollar loss per burglary offense was $2,316, and burglaries of residential properties accounted for 71.6 percent of all burglary offenses.
Understanding that most home security systems don’t cost nearly this much and help prevent a burglary from happening in the first place, more and more homeowners are now investing in a home security system.
Let’s see how AI contributes to home security systems, its future potential, and whether it’s ready to become the linchpin of home security.
The Current Use of AI in Home Security Systems
As of now, artificial intelligence boasts just two concrete applications in home security systems.
First, AI is used for facial recognition in systems integrated with consumer video cameras. Here, AI helps determine whether the moving object is an intruder or a known face.
Basic machine learning algorithms are applied here wherein the system analyzes detected objects in the footage against a predefined set of uploaded and approved images. The system compares these images to alert the homeowner if the facial features of someone entering the house do not match the uploaded images.
Second, AI is used in home security systems that are integrated with a voice assistant. AI enables a system wherein the user can send voice commands to the security system and ask about the security status. For this, several AI techniques are used to create the required skills in the voice assistant so that the communication between the user and the device is smooth.
Potential Uses of AI Home Security Systems
As you can see, applications of AI are currently in their infancy when it comes to home security systems. However, AI has many potential applications in home security systems that can supercharge our sense of security and comfort in the near future.
AI can help develop a smart home capable of understanding the habits and preferences of the homeowner and automatically adapt the settings to accommodate both normal patterns and idiosyncrasies in behavior.
Current home security systems still depend on preset scenarios that the user or installer must set up, and any changes to the settings also require manual intervention. But with AI, system actions can be performed without the user’s input, which could create a truly smart and secure home.
An AI-powered system can also actively monitor activity in the house and alert the owner if the property remains unlocked and unoccupied for more than a specified time period.
Furthermore, AI can be used by alarm receiving centers to build a database of all incoming alerts, which could then be analyzed to predict and minimize false alarms. So, an initial pre-assessment of an incoming alert by AI could help the operator respond faster to alerts that are least likely to be false.
Simultaneously, the AI-powered system will be able to determine the shape and type of a false alarm, thus helping to minimize the resources that are wasted to deal with false alarms.
Another extremely crucial use case of an AI-based home security system can be its ability to assist in the prevention of kidnapping.
Intrusion systems with cameras can help protect children (or even pets) against an approaching kidnapper by sounding an alarm if an unknown person is in unusually close proximity with the child. At the same time, it will also send the image and/or footage to the relevant law enforcement authorities or monitoring centers to help with the identification of the kidnapper and recovery.
Areas of Concerns
As outlined above, AI is certainly useful and can help boost home security in many ways. It can do tedious tasks quickly and recognize patterns that humans can’t. But AI isn’t yet completely reliable.
For instance, AI-powered facial recognition can often be flawed, especially when it comes to gender identification. An MIT study found that in commercial AI systems, light-skinned males were misidentified as women 0.8 percent of the time while light-skinned females were misidentified as men about seven percent of the time. For dark-skinned females, the error rate was as high as 34.7percent.
Clearly, facial recognition technology still isn’t completely infallible. Plus, facial recognition can also pave the way for privacy breaches.
Moreover, when you integrate an AI-powered security system with a smart home, you need the system to be powerful enough to also protect against cybersecurity threats. Smart homes use IoT technology to connect various household appliances such as door locks, lighting, thermostats, etc., so you can control them conveniently with an app.
Such a system makes life easier but also makes you more vulnerable to hackers. From the consumer’s perspective, an AI-powered home security system will also be expected to deal with such virtual threats.
Finally, what if the data collected by the AI-powered video surveillance system is used against you? As unlikely as it may seem, if your data reaches the wrong hands, it can very well be used to stalk or harass you. It can be used to understand your activity pattern and then break into your home when you’re away.
Not to mention digital AI assistants in smart homes like Alexa and Google Home record plenty of data about you, such as when you leave your house or what room temperature you prefer, which enables those companies to build an extremely accurate profile of who you are and what you do.
Is the extra convenience worth the risk of invasion of privacy? That’s still up for debate.
Judging by all the existing and potential applications, it is clear that AI-powered home security systems are going to take center stage in the coming years. Artificial intelligence is surely set to boost the levels of home security and convenience in the near future.