Startup: World's First WiFi Intrusion Sensor

By Brian Rhodes, Published on Mar 18, 2014

Intrusion motion sensors have remained relatively static for years, but one startup wants to make them go IP and intelligent.

Zwobbx is raising money to deliver on a sensor that not only detects motion, but also flashlights, temperature swings, and smoke, but also triggers lights or even sprinkler systems to turn on.

Will this startup succeed? Will they render existing motion sensors obsolete?  We look closer at the device in this note.

Stand Alone

The key feature Zwobbx builds on is that it operates autonomously, with its own battery power supply, but communicates with other home automation systems via Zigbee or pushes notifications via wifi connected cloud servers.

Unlike traditional motion sensors, the device needs no panel to operate. As a result, it can be hung anywhere it has wifi access and still operate, including outdoors and remote locations.

Overview

The effort's indiegogo page includes this short concept video:

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

Essentially the sensors form a coverage area the company coins a "protective shield" that continually monitors the environment against intrusion or sharp environmental changes that signal trouble. If detected, the sensor can communicate with other systems (home automation) to turn on lights or even watering systems, or dial out to alarm monitoring companies, law enforcement, or home owners via mobile app.

Vague Details

Despite the firm workflow claims, much of the final design of the sensor is still being decided, including:

  • PIR Sensor Range: The biggest gap comes in determining just how far, and with what accuracy, the PIR sensor performs. Given the PIRs are notorious sources of false alarms, the fine details here are no small matter. The overall performance, range, and configurability of this sensor is the core of Zwobbx's value, and if executed poorly the idea could just be expensive junk.
  • Integrateability: The value in Zwobbx is that it stands alone, but that it can be incorporated into other systems. Early claims of Zigbee interoperability are fine, but the North American market increasingly prefers Z-Wave. Where does this leave the device working with other networks? The company has yet to decide one way or the other.
  • Battery Life: The device's early design calls for a double AA battery power source that it claims will offer 6 months of service.  This alone means that power management will be a chore for many users who will need to change batteries at least twice every year - a frequency that might be considered excessive where more than once device is installed.
  • App Design: Another key feature still in early development is the remote app. Not only are matters of 'push notifications' undefined, but the overall layout and GUI is not even in beta.  For this product to succeed, it will need to be easily navigable by the DIY crowd, since the primary configuration portal will be app, not web, based.

Not Turn-Key

Zwobbx's users will find the device is not a simple 'set it and forget it' type of sensor. In order to be useful, it needs to be properly configured for the environment (ie: given alarm setpoints) and integrated with other systems to be useful. Configuring Zwobbx is likely accomplished through the app, and the relative ease or difficulty of joining the unit with household systems is likely to be involved and require some technical aptitude to pull off.

At the current time, Zwobbx's team is focused on hardware development, and the software team is provisional with much to accomplish.

Cost

Another key factor: Zwobbx is relatively expensive at a pre-release price of ~$130 per sensor. Depending on the range of the sensor, anywhere from two to four sensors will be required to cover even a modest apartment or flat. While a total system cost of less than $500 is a steal compared to 'traditional' hard wired alarm systems, the same area could be covered for less total cost by another DIY system like Scout [link no longer available].

But... It Is Different 

However, the idea of making the sensor smarter is compelling, and maybe a design trend to watch. Given the buzziness of 'the internet of things' concept coupled with advances in more powerful, cheaper processing at the edge, products like Zwobbx could signal the end of the traditional hard-wired, centrally monitored security system.

Dead Before It Lives?

The biggest alarm may be found in that the effort only has raised ~$1300 of it's $100k goal after ~20 days.  This warning sign can mean Zwobbx is a half-baked idea, the design is fraught with flaws, the team is ill-suited for development, or the device just is not marketable in a segment awash with friendlier, less-obtuse DIY offerings.

In any case, we cannot ignore the pitiful showing this campaign has raised. While we are bullish on the idea, the execution is another matter entirely, and it appears Zwobbx is not likely to succeed in current form.

1 report cite this report:

The New Generation of Crowdfunded Security Startups on Sep 02, 2014
New entrants to the security market are few and far between. However, there...
Comments (5) : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Verkada Access Control Tested on Sep 09, 2020
Verkada raised $80 million earlier in 2020, expanding from video into access...
Ultra-Wideband (UWB) And The Future of Mobile Electronic Access Control on Oct 07, 2020
In the last year, Ultra-Wideband (UWB) has gained support from new phones...
US Startup Fever Inspect Examined on Aug 03, 2020
Undoubtedly late to fever cameras, this US company, Fever Inspect, led by a...
Magos Presents AI Radar Object Detector on May 08, 2020
Magos presented its AI radar object detection at the April 2020 IPVM New...
LSP Presents 2nd Generation FP Power Supplies on Apr 29, 2020
Life Safety Power (LSP) presented its FP2 power supply in the April 2020 IPVM...
JCI "Fever Camera" Partners With China TVT on May 19, 2020
Johnson Controls (JCI) is the next big player to get into the 'fever camera'...
Sony Launches AI Camera Sensors on May 18, 2020
Weeks after exiting the branded video surveillance business, Sony is making a...
YCombinator AI Startup Visual One Tested on Apr 02, 2020
Startup Visual One, backed by Silicon Valley's powerful Y Combinator, aims to...
SafeZone Tech Presents AI Gunfire Detection on Jun 15, 2020
Safe Zone presented its AI gunfire sensor the May 2020 IPVM Startups...
ProCam Low-Cost Open Thermal Temperature Project on May 12, 2020
An engineering professor in Switzerland is building what he hopes will be the...
Breaking Into A Facility Using Canned Air Tested on Jan 28, 2020
Access control is supposed to make doors more secure, but a $5 can of...
USA's Feevr Thermal Temperature System Examined on Mar 31, 2020
This US company has burst on to the scene, brashly naming itself 'feevr' and...
Directory of 97 Video Surveillance Startups on May 20, 2020
This directory provides a list of video surveillance startups to help you see...
Startup Solink $17 Million USD Fund Raise Expands To Mass Market on Jun 24, 2020
Solink has raised ~$17 million USD, a sizeable round for the company that...
Ubiquiti Access Control Tested on Oct 21, 2020
Ubiquiti has become one of the most widely used wireless and switch providers...

Recent Reports

ISC Brasil Digital Experience 2020 Report on Oct 23, 2020
ISC Brasil 2020 rebranded itself to ISC Digital Experience and, like its...
Top Video Surveillance Service Call Problems 2020 on Oct 23, 2020
3 primary and 4 secondary issues stood out as causing the most problems when...
GDPR Impact On Temperature / Fever Screening Explained on Oct 22, 2020
What impact does GDPR have on temperature screening? Do you risk a GDPR fine...
Security And Safety Things (S&ST) Tested on Oct 22, 2020
S&ST, a Bosch spinout, is spending tens of millions of dollars aiming to...
Nokia Fever Screening Claims To "Advance Fight Against COVID-19" on Oct 22, 2020
First IBM, then briefly Clorox, and now Nokia becomes the latest Fortune 500...
Deceptive Meridian Temperature Tablets Endanger Public Safety on Oct 21, 2020
IPVM's testing of and investigation into Meridian Kiosk's temperature...
Honeywell 30 Series and Vivotek NVRs Tested on Oct 21, 2020
The NDAA ban has driven many users to look for low-cost NVRs not made by...
Ubiquiti Access Control Tested on Oct 21, 2020
Ubiquiti has become one of the most widely used wireless and switch providers...
Avigilon Aggressive Trade-In Program Takes Aim At Competitors on Oct 20, 2020
Avigilon has launched one of the most aggressive trade-in programs the video...
Mexico Video Surveillance Market Overview 2020 on Oct 20, 2020
Despite being neighbors, there are key differences between the U.S. and...
Dahua Revenue Grows But Profits Down, Cause Unclear on Oct 20, 2020
While Dahua's overall revenue was up more than 12% in Q3 2020, a significant...
Illegal Hikvision Fever Screening Touted In Australia, Government Investigating, Temperature References Deleted on Oct 20, 2020
The Australian government told IPVM that they are investigating a Hikvision...
Panasonic Presents i-PRO Cameras and Video Analytics on Oct 19, 2020
Panasonic i-PRO presented its X-Series cameras and AI video analytics at the...
Augmented Reality (AR) Cameras From Hikvision and Dahua Examined on Oct 19, 2020
Hikvision, Dahua, and other China companies are marketing augmented reality...
18 TB Video Surveillance Drives (WD and Seagate) on Oct 19, 2020
Both Seagate and Western Digital recently announced 18TB hard drives...