LAS VEGAS — Eight days after beginning a pilot program with Vivint Smart Home’s new app, Streety, residents of a normally-quiet Las Vegas suburb awoke to find their cars had been burglarized.
One homeowner quickly pulled up his app and shared the footage he’d captured on his security cameras with the neighbors. Within minutes, other neighbors began sharing their footage and soon the community had six different videos, each depicting a young man going from car to car attempting to break in.
Families that didn’t know they had been burglarized now suddenly had that information, which was soon passed on to authorities, said Clint Gordon-Carroll, vice president of product management at Vivint.
“It was a powerful experience, and that was only in the first eight days of launching this,” Gordon-Carroll said.
“This is how you neighbor” is Vivint Smart Home’s mantra for the Streety app — which the company publicized for the first time during the Consumer Electronics Show Tuesday through Friday in Las Vegas.
The Streety app is meant to bring a neighborhood together, Gordon-Carroll said, and allows users to connect with fellow homeowners within a 300-yard radius of their house. The app is free and anyone can download it, whether or not they own smart home technology — though they must undergo third-party verification to be admitted as a member.
Residents can share or request security camera footage (of all brands, not just Vivint) and can approve neighbors to access their footage for whatever reason — whether they need to occasionally check on their kids playing outside or figure out who ran over the mailbox.
Neighbors can also communicate in a “feed” where they’re able to post questions or queries.
To help CES conference-goers visualize Streety, Vivint built a “smart street” on the tech conference showroom floor and walked people through the different aspects of the app.
“It’s the same way you move into the neighborhood and take brownies and say, ‘Hi, I’m Clint,’” Gordon-Carroll said. “You take the analog of that and create a digital experience.”
Streety will officially launch on Android and iOS phones March 1, and Vivint hopes to continue adding to the functionality of the app by collaborating with local police departments, schools, other home security brands and home care services.
“The PC era in the '90s was a pretty boring era until they networked the PCs together, and they got internet, and all of a sudden that was unleashed,” Gordon-Carroll said. “It’s the same thing with these cameras on our homes. By themselves, they help one person, but if you network them together, you basically unleash a huge amount of value that neighborhoods get stronger, communities get stronger.”
But Vivint knows having connected cameras won’t be enough. Nobody wants to sit around looking at camera footage all day, said Jeff Lyman, Vivint’s senior vice president of product experience.
Instead, Vivint is working on training cameras to identify certain behaviors so they can notify an app user immediately — whether it’s the approaching garbage truck on a day they’ve forgotten to take out their trash cans or someone stealing packages off the front porch.
The cameras will also be equipped with facial recognition technology so they can alert designated neighbors if packages are dropped off while a homeowner is out of town, then let the homeowner know which neighbor has picked up their package and remind them when they return to go collect them from the neighbor's house.
“I think that’s the magic of where this stuff is going forward. It’s not, ‘Hey, you want to see your camera?’ It’s, ‘Tell me what my camera is seeing,’” Lyman said.