24 December 2016

REVIEW: Cocoon

Hearing is believing.

If you have a home security system, be it traditional or smart, the chances are that it uses window and door contact sensors and motion sensors and cameras to keep you safe. As we've discovered in the past, getting all that kit installed into your home can be a faff – which is why Cocoon really caught out eye. We check it out.

Cocoon is but a single device, the same size as a cricket ball. As the website suggests, one device is all you need to monitor the coming and goings of your entire house, as it uses the way the air moves throughout your home to detect changes. In reality, the gadget itself combines a 1080p HD camera and ultra-sensitive microphone together with some clever AI programming.

In essence, the Cocoon sits in your home and broadcasts what the camera and microphone detect to a smartphone app (iOS and Android), allowing you to check in from wherever you are in the world. BIG DEAL, right? But how Cocoon differs from other smart security cameras is in the way it 'learns' how you live and what happens in your house on certain days. By doing so, it reduces the number of false alarm alerts.

For example, if you get up at around 7am each morning, the Cocoon will learn that an increase in activity around that time is normal. It will also learn to take into account regular changes like weekends, when you might get up and go to bed later. If you have a cleaner come into your house on Tuesdays and Thursdays, it will learn to expect that too, and not issue alerts to your phone when activity is detected around those times. However, all this means that for the first couple of weeks or so, Cocoon will be a little nervous about the things going on around it, having not yet learnt what regular events to expect.

At time of writing, we've had the Cocoon set up in Test Pit Towers for about three weeks. It is only in the past few days that everything has calmed down and the AI knows what goes on around here. Prior to that, we have had a few notifications pop up saying there was unusual activity taking place... while someone we knew was in. To be fair to it, they are rather usual people, even at the best of times.

This is all monitored by Subsound technology, a level of sound sensitivity that our rubbish human hearing can't perceive. So if you pop home at lunch time unexpectedly and try to tiptoe into the house, attempting to sneak by the Cocoon, it will have probably detected your presence as you were walking down the drive. It is that sensitive, and although we were a little dubious about the 'one device' security claims, it seems to be true; just one of these things can monitor an average sized home.

On that note – and quite unlike other security systems – Cocoon will arm the moment you (or rather your phone) leaves the house, and disarm when you get back. This is a brilliant God-send, and means that you never have to worry about physically arming it in the app. It also means you never really have to think about the Cocoon itself, unless you get an alert or if you want to look back over the cloud-stored footage. It's just there, doing the job. We think is pretty cool.


Available from www.amazon.co.uk


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