Skyway family uses AI security system to stop potential intruder

Skyway family uses AI security system to stop potential intruder

Jackeline Nowell was with her three children at her Skyway home when her security system app notified her someone was outside.

She saw a shadow outside the windows, took her kids and fled to another room. Her husband Anthony Nowell, who was at work, said she was panicked, texting him and monitoring the video.

In the moment she couldn’t remember to call 911, she just focused on getting their young kids and crying baby out of what could be harm’s way.

Meanwhile outside, her security system kicked in and a live agent spoke to the suspect. A video of the incident is available on the security system’s YouTube channel. The agent asks if she can help the person with something, and then says they’re being recorded. The suspicious person keeps moving to the side of the house, but the camera can see their shadow. They are carrying some sort of paper bag.

The man says something inaudible, and walks off. You can hear their baby crying inside, as Jackeline watched it all unfold on her phone.

Both Jackeline and her husband Anthony were grateful for their new security system, which uses Artificial Intelligence technology to identify suspicious activity and alerts live agents who can interact with them through the camera. The system, called Deep Sentinel, was recently released on the market and the Nowells are early customers, installing it in February.

Anthony said he and Jackeline spent a while looking for security systems after buying their home in November 2018. The house had two break-ins before their move-in day.

Jackeline was interested in the popular alarm system SimplySafe, but Anthony said he wanted to look outside of an alarm system, to look at new approaches.

He then saw a demo video of Deep Sentinel. While other homeowners might be hesitant about using artificial intelligence, Anthony saw it as a positive. He himself is a director of customer engineering at Algorithmia, a software company that creates artificial intelligence codes for other enterprises.

Founder and CEO of Deep Sentinel Dave Selinger said the artificial intelligence in the security system acts as a filter, so live agents only see people and cars that are within the property, as seen from the security cameras. This product is something that wouldn’t have been available even three years ago, Selinger said, but thanks to new deep learning technologies artificial intelligence can more accurately filter out those irrelevant moments day-to-day.

Owners have control to also put cameras into privacy mode, otherwise Deep Sentinel runs 24/7 and requires no access codes.

He expected that more people would tell him they’re concerned about artificial intelligence in their home security, Selinger said, but he’s heard little of that. He guesses that’s due to the more passive nature of the AI, which filters what to send to live guards but doesn’t make other decisions. Anthony said he feels comfortable with the system and knows he can control it.

Selinger said he wanted to use artificial intelligence to offer the security of a live guard responding to suspicious activity while minimizing the human workload involved.

Anthony said he also didn’t want a traditional alarm system because of information he found about false alarms.

In some cities police refuse to respond to false alarms. Renton recently passed an ordinance charging alarm users for false alarms after Renton police reported it costs $350,000 a year, on average, to respond to false alarms.

Almost 96 percent of 911 calls were related to a false alarm in Renton, Armondo Pavone told city council in 2018.

Deep Sentinel has a guarantee of zero false alarms, according to its website. Selinger said he’s confident with that because real people, trained in recognizing suspicious activity, are watching and trying to talk to the suspect before a call is sent to police.

Anthony said the guard de-escalating the situation before calling the cops was exactly what he had wanted out of a security system.

“With any other system, everything that happened would not even set an alarm,” Anthony said. “Nobody would have known that yet.”

Anthony said he was a little nervous to be putting their family’s safety into the hands of a new company, but after the incident, he already feels better than if he’d picked a more established system.

He’s telling the story to coworkers and trying to convince them to look at artificial intelligence security. He said he thinks it’s a game changer.

“I am pretty convinced that within two or three years other security systems are all going to be doing what Deep Sentinel is doing,” Anthony said.

Learn more

More information on Deep Sentinel is at deepsentinel.com.


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