Resembling an ordinary smoke detector, the small Point system made by Scandinavian startup Minut is designed to change the way people view home security. Point does it all without using cameras.

Home Surveillance: Point system works without video

A recent survey from Rapid7, a security data and analytics solutions provider, entitled ‘Hacking IoT: A Case Study on Baby Monitor Exposures and Vulnerabilities’, revealed that huge security breaches have taken place and that monitoring cameras have been regularly hacked into by people wanting to get hold of the images for their own purposes. Given these serious concerns that security systems may actually undermine personal privacy, Malmo, Sweden-based startup Minut decided to develop a home security system without any cameras at all. The Point device developed by Nils Mattisson, a former Apple designer, and his team at Minut looks rather like a standard smoke detector on sale in a supermarket. However this little ‘smart house-sitter’ is packed with sensors designed to capture all kinds of data from your home and figure out everything that is happening there. 



Sensors and algorithms for ‘soft security’

Point works non-stop, capturing sounds and recording a range of other data on temperature, humidity, smoke, air quality, etc. Algorithms do the rest and work out what is currently going on at your home. The company’s founders set out to do without intrusive technology such as cameras and rely on what they call ‘soft security’. So for example when someone enters the room, Point takes note and if that person has the app loaded on his/her mobile device, the system can even identify who it is.

The app linking up with Point tells the user about everything that is happening in his/her home

The app enables the householder to access all the data collected and can also be set to send an alert if, for instance, the system detects a broken window by identifying the smashing sound plus a change in temperature, a break-in, an unlocked door, a fire, etc. The user receives these alerts on his/her smartphone, and the Point system is also equipped with a loudspeaker and LED lightning.  

Protecting sensitive private data

However, Minut still has to deal with the sizeable challenge of protecting sensitive data. In order to avoid any data leakage problems, Mattisson and his team have ensured that the raw sound data recorded by the microphones does not pass from the smartphone into the Cloud. The only data sent to the Cloud is on air quality and humidity. Of course the company must convince potential customers that their system is fully reliable – a challenge facing rival startups in the field, such as Angee, creator of an ‘autonomous’ home security system which is about to launch a crowdfunding campaign, and Novi, with its centralised surveillance system. So far, consumers and investors seem quite enthusiastic about Point. The Minut Kickstarter campaign reached its funding target within a few hours and shipping of the product is scheduled to begin in October.

By Guillaume Scifo