In the state of the residential security market today, we see many who are offering home security packages that rely on numerous sensors and multiple devices to provide a comprehensive coverage of the home and provide peace of mind. Each individual sensor or device within the package provides a specific functionality, and the user finds himself burdened by an overwhelming amount of sensors and devices.
This overload is intensified by the penetration of additional IoT and smart devices into the home, such as pet-cams or smart speakers that add to the burden of installation and maintenance. In addition, we are witnessing the rise in popularity of DIY security devices, indicating that users are looking for models and technologies that provide both contract flexibility and simplicity of use.
The past years have seen major advancements in radar technology, which have brought the formerly military technology into the consumer space. Radars provide interesting prospects for home security and smart homes due to several inherent characteristics which give it an advantage over existing technologies.
The resolution of an advanced radar sensor enables not only presence detection, but also provides advanced features for security, automation and well-being
Advanced security and automation features
Of primary importance, a consumer designed radar sensor provides the user with full privacy, but the use of radar is also beneficial because it is indifferent to environmental, temperature and lighting conditions. In addition, radar signals (at certain frequencies) are capable of penetrating through almost any type of material, enabling concealed installation, robust monitoring in cluttered spaces and even the coverage of several separate rooms with only one device.
In terms of capabilities, simple time of flight 2-antenna radar sensors, which have been around for a while, do not provide much additional value in comparison to existing solutions and are not necessarily competitive in terms of pricing. However, the new generation of radar sensors are also opening up new capabilities previously achieved with optics only.
Today, the resolution of an advanced radar sensor is high enough to enable not only presence detection, but also to provide advanced features for security, automation and well-being, all in one. Imagine for example, that the security sensor installed in your elderly parent’s home could also detect a fall having occurred, monitor the breathing of a baby or even leaks in your wall.
Due to the unique field of view that radar provides as well as the multi-functional potential, this technology will be the key to the awaited convergence of smart home functionalities and minimisation of home devices.
The security sensor installed in your elderly parent’s home could also detect a fall having occurred
Secret of the consumer radar
A radar sensor’s accuracy and its ability to support wide functionality and applications is determined initially by its resolution, which is based on two key factors: bandwidth and number of channels. The wider the bandwidth and the more channels the radar supports, the more accurate the data received. Imagine the difference between a 1990s television model and a 4K 2018 television model - As the resolution is ever improving, the sharper and more detailed is the image.
When looking at the short-range radar sensor market, prominent companies such as Texas Instruments and NXP are offering radar-on-chip solutions supporting 2\3 transmitters (Tx) and 3\4 receivers (Rx), mainly utilising frequency bands of 77-81GHz, as they target mostly automotive and autonomous driving applications. Another company that develops such radar-on-chip solution is Vayyar Imaging, an Israeli start-up, founded in 2011, that developed a radar sensor for 3D imaging.
Vayyar Imaging directly targets the smart home and security markets with its radar-on-chip, developing modules and products for intruder detection, automation and elderly care (fall detection). Providing not only chips, but complete systems, the new model makes radar technology highly available and accessible.
The radar-on-chip technology opens the door to installation of security and well-being devices in locations where privacy or environmental conditions pose an issue
The radar-on-chip solution supports 72 full transceivers, an integrated DSP and radar bands between 3-81GHz. The resolution provided by this type of specification is high enough to provide subtle information about people’s real time location posture (lying down\falling\sitting\walking), and breathing, and enables to classify pets from humans, but it is low enough as to not compromise privacy.
This type of technology opens the door to installation of security and well-being devices in locations where privacy or environmental conditions pose an issue, such as in bathrooms or heavily lit environments.
Moreover, utilisation of this technology allows to dramatically minimise the numbers of sensors installed in the home, as it provides full home coverage with just one or two sensors and enables using the same HW to support additional capabilities such as breath monitoring, fall detection and highly accurate automation.
Using AI and machine learning, the data derived by these sensors can be leveraged to provide smarter, verified alerts on the one hand and whole new insights on the on the other. The sensor can be tuned to learn the location of the house entrances or boundaries, where the inhabitants are expected to be at night, or where they should be expected to enter from into the home, adding new logics to the traditional yes\no decision making.
Home security is widely regarded as a necessity, provides peace of mind to people and is integral to people's day to day lives
Additional smart home services
Among the evolving home technology verticals, security is by far the most relevant and integral to people’s day to day lives. Home security is widely regarded as a necessity and provides peace of mind to people.
Being a legacy industry with many well-known and well-trusted brands, security players are well positioned to introduce new technology into the home and have the ability and credibility to expand their offerings to additional smart home services by utilising existing infrastructure and channels.
With technology giants entering the security arena through the smart home door the DIY security solution market expected to explode with a CAGR of 22.4% (according to a report by Persistence Market Research). Now that new pricing and service models offer minimal commitment, traditional security players will need to step up.
Security companies will need to explore new technologies and expand their offering if they intend to stay relevant and competitive in a market trending on functionality converge and minimisation of maintenance and installation costs.