Mobility

Canary home security system: Convenient surveillance in a small package

If you're looking for the most user-friendly home and small business security device on the planet, Canary may have just what you're looking for.

Imagine having a full-blown security device in a single, small package ready to deliver mobile video surveillance, intruder alarms, intelligent notifications, and much more. That's what you get when you take on the Canary home security system.

For $249 you get everything you need for visual and audio surveillance which will cover a single room or point of entry in your home or small business (you can add more devices as needed). Once in place (and set up), you can watch the Canary live, record what you see, and, if you see suspicious behavior, you can sound the siren or place an emergency call. Canary will also start sending notifications (on your Android or iOS device) when movement is detected.

It's a solid system, and if you're looking for the means to protect your home or small business, this might be the answer.

Setup

One of the biggest selling points for Canary is its setup. Here's how it works:

  1. You unpackage the Canary
  2. You plug in the Canary, using the supplied micro-USB cable, to a wall outlet
  3. You install the Canary app from either the Google Play Store or the iOS App Store
  4. Run the Canary app and tap GET STARTED (Figure A)
  5. Create an account and tap NEXT
  6. Connect the Canary device to your Android or iOS device with the supplied yellow ⅛ inch phone plug
  7. Select either ethernet or wireless connection
  8. If using wireless, select your network and enter the password when prompted
  9. When prompted, turn your mobile device volume all the way up
  10. Wait for the Canary to communicate with the Android or iOS device
  11. When prompted, walk through the welcome screens

Figure A

canarya.png
Getting ready to set up a Canary on a Verizon-branded HTC One M8.
Image: Jack Wallen

That's it. You are now ready to start interacting with the Canary device.

Option configuration

There are a few options you'll want to take care of. Do do this:

  1. Open up the Canary app
  2. Log in (if prompted)
  3. From the main window (Figure B), tap the overflow menu in the top right corner
  4. Tap Settings
  5. Check through the various settings to make sure they are all correct (specifically: Address and Emergency numbers)

Figure B

canaryb.png
The Canary main window.
Image: Jack Wallen

In this same location, you will also notice the Location Plan. This is the one caveat against the device. Out of the box you get a free trial for cloud storage and saved clips as well as video recording in disarmed mode. Once that 7 day trial is up, you'll lose the ability to record in disarmed mode (but you can still record when the device is armed) and you can only access events from the last 12 hours. If you need more from your Canary, you can check out the plan details here.

From the main window, you can do the following:

Arm/disarm the device: Tap the shield in the bottom left corner to switch between modes (Figure C)

Figure C

canaryc.png
Switching modes on the Canary.
Image: Jack Wallen

  • Check your status: Tap your profile button (your initials) and you can see your current location
  • Add other occupants: Tap the + button to tell Canary if you live alone or if you live with others (Figure D—this is actually important)

Figure D

canaryd.png
Inviting users to your Canary.
Image: Jack Wallen

  • Watch Live: Tap the button in the center of the screen to watch live Canary footage
  • View your timeline: Swipe up to view a timeline of activity detected by the Canary (Figure E)

Figure E

canarye.png
The Canary timeline feature in action.
Image: Jack Wallen

In order to get notifications, you must set the Canary to Armed. Once you've done that, all motion within the visible range of the device will be recorded and you will be notified via your Android or iOS notification system (Figure F).

Figure F

canaryf.png
Android notification from Canary.
Image: Jack Wallen

And that, in a nutshell, is Canary. It's an outstanding, cost-effective security system that anyone can set up in minutes and depend upon to alert them to suspicious activity. You can purchase one directly from Canary or from Verizon Wireless.

Also see:

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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