Any step that Apple takes — from new patents to new releases — tend to get the rumor mill churning. Nevertheless, a series of recent moves by the tech giant has some people wondering whether Apple will tackle the home security market.
Last month, it was reported that Apple purchased the patent portfolio of Lighthouse, a former home security camera company that shut down at the end of 2018 citing a lack of commercial success. Even though Lighthouse couldn’t compete in the crowded security camera market, its products did boast noteworthy artificial intelligence (AI)-driven features, such as facial detection and smart motion detection.
AI has huge potential for security cameras and other security products. If home security systems become “smart” enough, they would make professionally monitored services obsolete. If a system could reliably identify a real hazard and alert the relevant authorities, there would be no need for a human to actively monitor the security feeds.
According to a briefing from The Information, Apple did not only buy up Lighthouse’s patents, but it also made a grab for its people. Lighthouse founders Alex Teichman and Hendrik Dahlkamp, along with approximately 20 members of its software team, are now said to be employed by Apple. Teichman and Dahlkamp are experienced in AI research and self-driving car technology.
Additionally, Apple is continuing Lighthouse’s research into AI and machine learning algorithms. In an email earlier this week, Lighthouse co-founders reached out to its camera testers requesting their permission to share video and sensor data with Apple, according to The Information’s report.
The Lighthouse acquisition brings to mind a similar move by Apple, its purchase of the artificial intelligence startup company Silk Labs in 2018. Silk Labs focused on bringing AI to everyday mobile technology.
What do these purchases mean for Apple aficionados? While we don’t expect to see an Apple-branded home security system hitting the shelves in the immediate future, we do think it’s likely for AI-driven camera features to reach the Apple HomeKit and perhaps even the iPhone down the road. Given the company’s emphasis on privacy and the bigger tech trend toward home automation, this expansion seems inevitable.