Broadband at home, motion sensors and high definition video cameras led to a renaissance in home security systems over the past decade.
But big problems remain in residential security, says Alex Pachikov, CEO and cofounder of Sunflower Labswith CTO Chris Eheim. Stationary cameras dont detect would-be intruders until they are close or activelytrying to enter the home, he said.
Palo Alto-based Sunflower Labs has raised a seed round of $2.1 million to build a home awareness system that monitors homes beyond the doorway, yet is easy to install.
Major home improvement retailers are selling smart cameras and smart doorbells from companieslike Nest, Logitech, Ring, Canary or Oco. But theseare positioned ata homes entryways, and stationary.
The Sunflower System uses a different approach. Itincludes what the company is calling Smart Lights and Flying Cameras.
Its sensor-laden smart lights are solar-powered, and can detect motion, sounds and vibrations while illuminating the perimeter of a property or its walkways.
The lights communicate with a camera-equipped quadcopter. Whenever theres uncommon activity identified by the smart lights, the quadcopter flies to where the action is, to capture video and transmit it to the cloud.
Users of the Sunflower System get notifications via a mobile app when theres activity detected on their property. The app learns, over time, what kind of commotion is routine and which is abnormal.
Users can ignore alerts for routine occurrenceslike a spouses car coming up the driveway or their own kids playing basketball in the driveway. But they can opt totake a deeper look at the video if something aberrantis happening.
The idea is to identify suspicious activity only, and do something about it before trouble arrives at your doorstep, says Pachikov. We also want topreserve our usersprivacy. We have come up with a way to do this without recording 24-7.
General Catalyst led the seed round in Sunflower Labs.
Evernote founder and Managing Director with the firm, Phil Libin, said he backed Sunflower in part because he knew the founders well. Pachikov worked for Evernote for a decade, and recruited other former Evernote employees to his startup.
But Libin also relishedthe concept behind the Sunflower System.
Home security is one of those industries where products havent been living up to their promise.The current systems for monitoring your whole property do not enhance your enjoyment of your home as much as they make you paranoid. By tying together really smart sensors, drones, and artificial intelligence you can have a house that looks out for itself and gives you more awareness as to whats going on, Libin said.
The investorexpects Sunflower Labs to use its seed funding to prove out itstechnology.
Pachikovadded thatthe company will be selling direct to consumers online, and working with smart home installers and electronics retailers to distribute its systems in 2017.
The Sunflower System can be reserved for $25 online today. The company plans to charge a monthly fee for its services rather than sell the hardware as a one-off.