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Tech | Home Security | Smart Home

If It’s So Private, How Smart Can WiFi Motion Really Be?

Data protection and security of personal information in security systems

You might be wondering how WiFi Motion can be akin to other smart technologies if it doesn’t collect identifying information. We talk a lot about our technology’s built-in privacy, but how does it learn behaviours if it’s not sensing the same contextual information as a camera or smart speaker?

A benefit of smart home networks is that they adjust certain functions of the home according to behaviour patterns and preferences without the need for manual adjustments or voice commands. WiFi Motion does this too, it just does it differently.

Balancing privacy and intelligence

WiFi Motion detects less distinguishing context than cameras and microphones, but more context than regular motion sensors (PIR) for the perfect balance of privacy and highly accurate motion detection.

It establishes a baseline of the home environment, and when there is movement in the home, ripples are created in the RF signals and are classified as motion. WiFi Motion doesn’t “see” shapes, walls or furniture, so it can’t determine the layout of your home, who is in it or what they’re doing. It only “sees” changes in RF signals, allowing it to sense motion in the dark and through walls. While WiFi Motion can’t identify who is moving around inside the home, it can differentiate between human motion, pet motion and mechanical motion, such as a ceiling fan.

As time passes, it uses artificial intelligence (AI) to learn normal patterns of movement, identify trends and predict behaviour. WiFi Motion learns when the house normally wakes up and goes to sleep by monitoring a seven-day view of motion patterns. It can also identify routines, such as someone coming home for lunch every day. This information provides enough context for WiFi Motion to trigger other smart home functions automatically, like turning on WiFi-enabled devices when someone enters a room or adjusting lighting and HVAC systems. Learning these patterns is a key aspect of WiFi Motion’s wellness monitoring capabilities, which can send you an alert if an elderly relative hasn’t gotten out of bed at their usual time.

What happens to the data?

WiFi Motion does collect and interpret some data that helps it learn the difference between normal and abnormal behaviour. Although WiFi Motion doesn’t detect or collect identifying information (like names, addresses, account numbers or billing information), the motion data collected is further anonymized and highly encrypted according to stringent industry privacy standards. Additionally, when WiFi Motion is integrated within a consumer product, there are extra layers of privacy protection in place.

WiFi Motion is the technology behind Plume Motion, which uses our technology to display movement patterns in the home for the previous seven days, but does not store any long-term motion data. Their system shows levels of motion and proximity to devices in real-time via the Plume app, but that data is only used temporarily to identify patterns. Plume stores their customer’s identifying information, but that information is never shared with Cognitive Systems, so connecting our motion data with a specific person is simply not possible.

All communications between our cloud and our partner’s clouds are encrypted per industry standards, and the end user has the option to retrieve or delete their anonymized data from our cloud at any time.

Accuracy does not have to come at the cost of privacy

Consumers often enjoy the convenience that smart home technology provides and the way it can improve their quality of life at home, but they also worry about the cost to their privacy. WiFi Motion proves that the two do not have to be mutually exclusive.

More Resources for WiFi Motion and Privacy

Here’s how Cognitive Systems is leading the discussion and working with key partners to keep security top of mind.

WiFi Motion doesn’t collect contextual information, making it private by design. Learn more.

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