A Canary to Tweet About

Canary blends  in with almost any environment

Canary blends in with almost any environment

A few weeks ago Verizon sent me a Canary. Not the type that eats birdseed, but a handsomely designed home security system that you control from your smart phone.

The first time I set it up at our house, it was a snap and took fewer than 10 minutes—a very different Canary appexperience from the Belkin Netcam HD Camera  we’ve been using at our store, Alki Surf Shop  in West Seattle. By simply connecting a cable between the Canary and the headphone jack of my iPhone, then following the prompts on the Canary app, it was super easy to get it up and running.

When I moved the Canary to our store, it was a different story. I was unable to get it to work because of the Comcast firewall in place there. It was disappointing because the Canary has so many great features that our Belkin is missing. The Canary support team tried to help, but at the end of the day said there was nothing they could do.

The Canary says it’s smart home security for families, renters, homeowners and travelers, grandparents, dog lovers, workaholics, and everyone in between.

But they don’t list “businesses,” and I can see why. The set up could require troubleshooting with service providers, and I didn’t have a clear indication that it could easily be resolved. It’s too bad because I could see small businesses as potentially a terrific market for them.

Both the Canary and Belkin offer:Canary in box SM 20150531_223005

  • HD Camera
  • Microphone
  • Motion detection
  • Night vision
  • Wi-fi enabled
  • Ability to record video
  • Ability to send notifications of movement

The Canary also boasts a 90+ dB siren and the ability to measure

  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Air quality

The Canary has a wide-angle lens that will capture a span of about 147 degrees, which is great. Also, the quality of the video is excellent. One disadvantage is, there is no way to rotate the angle of the camera, so it needs to be located on a plane that looks out into the environment from a fixed point-of-view.  We like placing our cameras up high (above eye level and out view), and it’s not possible to do that with the Canary.

Canary packaging SM 20150531_223108

Spot UV on a dull suede-like stock

That being said, the industrial design is sleek, and speaking as a graphic designer, the packaging is sturdy and attractive. There is one superfluous layer of packaging—a clear plastic surround that I think was meant to protect the box, but isn’t always successful.

Canary is beautiful device that can seamlessly blend in on a book shelf or table. It offers users peace of mind, allowing them to see and hear what is going on in their homes/environments when they are not there. And it can be set up to alert you when there is activity.

If you’re looking for mid-range priced solution for your home, the Canary is worth a look!

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26 thoughts on “A Canary to Tweet About

    • Hi, BW. Comcast tells us our business account’s firewall would need to be disabled before we could connect the Canary. Then, if we keep the Canary connected, our modem would be without a firewall, exposing our network. The only way around it is to pay $19.95 a month for a static IP address. We don’t want to pay $120 a year to accommodate the needs of a “free” camera, so we will stick with the Belkins.

    • Hi, Doc. It is a beautiful camera. The industrial design is sleek and unobtrusive. It seems ideally suited for apartments and homes where one has the need or desire to monitor what is going on in one’s absence!

    • LOL. Mott, I will try to film it and share. Thank you and BTW, I was wondering if I could talk to you about which brands of sunblock are sold in the surf shops in your city?

  1. Leave it to Comcast to come between you and your Canary! Sounds like a great system – something I would definitely like to try in my townhouse. Usually the ‘barrier to entry’ on these types of apps is not cost but the ease [or lack thereof] in the set-up. Anything that requires a time-consuming learning curve normally gets a thumbs-down! Thanks for comprehensive overview Terri.

    • Ron, thanks for the comment. For homes and apartments I think this device has a lot going for it. I really think it’s missing an opportunity by not having better support for the potential business customers.

      Today I spent a lot of time on the phone with an escalated level of Comcast tech support. On top of everything else, Comcast’s business class modem automatically creates a wifi hot spot for the general public. So all of our neighbors now have free wifi because we pay a ridiculous amount for our service. There is no way to opt out. 😦

      So much fun here! Good luck on the drawing!

  2. I would love to win this to monitor my dog at home while I am out. She is very old and needs care, but if I could see that she is still asleep on her bed, I could stay out longer.

    • Pamela, the Belkin I’m giving away is not as sleek as the Canary, but we have it in the back of our store to monitor inventory, and you can set it to different levels of sensitivity so you’ll be notified via email of movement. On the other hand, you can simply open the Belkin App on your iPhone or Android and watch your dog anytime you want. In fact, you can even speak to him/her. Good luck in the drawing!

  3. Pingback: A Canary to Tweet About | El blog de Juanjo Pereyra

  4. My husband and I are designing a green smart house and are planning to use this technology. The most amazing aspect for most would be the peace of mind, eliminating the fear of leaving your home unattended for long periods of time, knowing all is secure. I bet it will be even more useful with customized recipes from IFTTT if they ever decide to create a channel in the future.

    • Stacy, some devices are compatible with IFTTT but I don’t know if either the Canary or Belkin Cameras are. I know I set up an IFTTT recipe for our Belkin WEMO, a smart plug that you can set up to turn stuff on and off. Good luck. You could find yourself the recipient of a Belkin Night Vision Camera!

  5. Looks like a Viable Solution for my Wife and I Terri. Being on a Fixed income it offers affordability and reasonable Security for our Condo. We travel often and are sometimes gone more than 30 days .Thanks for the info !

    • Sully, It’s idea for people who travel. You can literally look in on your house anytime you want — day or night. The night vision camera on the Belkin is black and white, kind of like infrared photos you’ve probably seen. You can also listen in. Best of luck to you and many thanks for the meaningful comment!

    • D4, you can set up the sensitivity of WHAT triggers a notification. Movement in various levels of scope can be triggers for emails notifying you of movement. You can also record video. I recently saw a boutique owner in Portland use a security camera like the Canary and Belkin in her store, and she actually caught a shoplifter on tape. The image capture was shared amongst boutique owners via social media, and the shoplifter was caught. Sometimes technology can a solution to problems 🙂 Are you in the U.S.? If so, I’ll let you know if you are the winner. Thanks for the comment!

  6. Pingback: Why “Better” Matters | Stories, Social media & tech

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