Could a new home security device stop burglaries forever?
Haomiao Huang thinks so. The co-founder and chief technology officer of the Kuna HD outdoor home security camera and smart light believes his device could make break-ins a thing of the past.
The camera, concealed within outdoor light fixtures, is configured to alert homeowners of activity outside their homes and to record video to the cloud. The system also has an intercom that enables owners to talk to people outside their doors on their smartphones, and a siren to startle intruders, if necessary.
"Burglaries are often crimes of opportunity, and so Kuna will detect someone when they come up to the door and send you a notification,” Huang said.
"You can see them [and] you can talk to them -- or if you don't want to talk to them, you can sound our alarm or play a pre-recorded message. And that's enough to make them go away, because they know someone knows that they're there. And so they'll go off and look for an easier target."
Or maybe they’ll just quit. If everyone had a Kuna, it could make burglaries obsolete, Huang said, because "nobody's going to try to break into houses anymore."
Huang said he and his co-founder Sai-wai Fu got the idea for Kuna after suspicious men approached his partner’s front door and asked for directions to the highway. Huang said his partner believed the men were actually "going around and casing the houses" in the area.
They consulted with police officers who told them that burglars often knock on doors, and if nobody answers, they break in.
"That's when we came up with the idea, let's get a camera outdoors, something that allows you to basically prevent the break-in instead of responding to it after it already happens," Huang said.
The Kuna system is easy to set up. Customers replace their light fixtures with new ones that have the camera built in, an installation that should take about 15 to 20 minutes.
When someone approaches the door, the camera system uploads video to the cloud that users can view in real time using the Kuna app on their smartphones.
"You can see live video of the person,” Huang said. “You can use the two-way audio to talk to them in real time, or you can actually sound an incredibly annoying, incredibly loud alarm that can be used to deter them."
Kuna includes pre-recorded messages such as "Hi, can I help you?" so owners don’t actually have to talk to the person outside. There are also sound effects available, like a dog barking.
Huang said Kuna has other practical uses, such "keeping an eye [on] when the kids have come home” or “know[ing] when the delivery guy came by."
The system has proved to be a big hit with Seattle homeowner Ryan Yokel, who has installed two Kuna cameras near his front and back doors. He said Kuna has been useful in a few situations, including an altercation in his backyard that he was able to show to the police on his smartphone.
“It’s really peace of mind more than anything else, just knowing that we are able to see what’s coming,” Yokel said.