Tech

What is Subsound®? The “AI” part.

Cocoon Labs

Cocoon’s secret sauce is Subsound®. We created it to make home security much simpler to use, but also much more powerful. Because of this unique Subsound® technology, protecting your home has never been easier. With Cocoon you can feel safe knowing it will alert you when it matters.

Subsound® technology works by using three things:

  1. Sound
  2. Artificial Intelligence
  3. A smartphone

Here we’ll explain how Subsound® uses Artificial Intelligence to detect unwanted activity. Learning to better protect your home and alerting you instantly if something unusual happens. You can read Part 1, on the “sound” bit of Subsound® here, and Part 3 is coming soon.

Why Cocoon uses machine learning

Machine learning allows Cocoon to better protect your home and avoid false alarms. Only alerting you when you need to know. Distinguishing between your everyday sounds and anything that seems suspicious.

How often have you walked past a building or car as its alarm blasts out? That sound is so frequently false that 76% of Brits have admitted they now ignore burglar alarms. Why are they so often false? It’s because most security systems rely on sensors that detect movement. These are sensitive enough to be triggered by an insect, or even a shadow passing over this sensor. They are not smart enough to know that these are not real threats, so the alarm sounds.

We want to eliminate the perception that all sirens are false, and in so doing create a more peaceful and safe society. The way we’re doing this is by making Cocoon smart.

Cocoon detects movement through sound, which gives you multi-room protection from one device but also means that it is very sensitive to movement throughout your home. If we didn’t make Cocoon smart enough to understand what was normal and only alert you when you need to know, it would send you alerts all the time!

What Cocoon learns about your home

Cocoon listens to sounds at low levels that we can’t hear. Through these, it detects movement across the rooms and floors of your home. It learns by finding the patterns of the sounds when your home is empty, compared to the first 15 minutes of it being occupied when you arrive home.

The comparison is important. Machine learning needs two sets of data that it can compare. With these it can put two and two together, to answer a question. In the case of Cocoon, this is “are these sounds worrying enough to send an alert”. Cocoon compares the sounds of you coming home, to the sounds of your empty home. It is not listening to what’s said, but detecting the sounds made by how the air moves. If Cocoon detects sounds usually created by a person moving through the air of your home, when no one from your household is there (more on how Cocoon knows this in Part 3), it sends you an alert.

While your house is empty, it still has sounds. The modern philosopher Alain de Botton wrote in The Architecture of Happiness about a house, after the family leave in the morning, giving ”signs of enjoying the emptiness… clearing its pipes and cracking its joints”. If it didn’t have AI, Cocoon would alert you to all these normal sounds. Or a dog padding through your kitchen. But through AI Cocoon understands that these sounds make your house your home.

How long does Cocoon’s AI take to learn the sounds of your home

In a typical home, Cocoon takes 7-10 days to build a good picture of the sounds of your home. To do this it needs to have examples of your home when it is empty, and of you arriving home. If a new Cocoon sits in an empty home for many days or one which is always occupied, it can’t learn the differences in sounds. So it can take longer to settle in and learn the sounds of your home.

Essentially, when your Cocoon arrives, it has a blank brain. Like a newborn, the first week it spends learning everything about its surroundings so that it can do its job. It never stops learning, but after that week has a foundation on which it can make decisions as to when to alert you.

During that first week, you will likely get a few false alarms. More things will worry Cocoon until it’s learnt what to tune out, and when it’s worried it lets you know. Until it learns about your home it is better to alert you, just in case.

The power of AI for smarter home security

The power of AI in your home security means it’s smarter. Avoiding false alarms and only alerting you when you need to know. Cocoon set out to make you feel safe, giving you home security without the hassle that’s simple but also incredibly powerful. We had to eliminate the hassle of false alarms, and Artificial Intelligence is how we do that. AI is part of our Subsound® technology, giving you smarter home security.

And smarter home security is something people want. Cocoon is now looking after homes in 65 countries worldwide, and many of our customers love Cocoon so much they share great reviews.

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