In October last year I introduced Welcome, a face-recognising webcam by Parisian company Netatmo. I was sufficiently impressed by its ambitious technology that I have been using Welcome for a year now to monitor a 90-year-old relative with mild dementia and a stream of carers coming in and out of her flat.
It has been about 95 per cent reliable at identifying her visitors and informing various members of the family when an unrecognised face (a new carer) is in the apartment. That level of reliability is remarkable given that WiFi, on which Welcome depends, is still, in truth, flaky.
Netatmo has now introduced a significant add-on to Welcome – a trio of door and window sensors that in our case are providing an added layer of worthwhile information on the relative’s welfare and security. The waterproof, battery-powered sensors are unusual in that they are one-piece units (rather than the usual two-piece kind that detect when the pieces are separated by, say, a door being opened). Netatmo Tags have an accelerometer to detect when a door or window is open and a vibration sensor to identify when the opening is being touched or tampered with. The Tags are prone to giving false positives, but you can adjust their sensitivity from the Netatmo phone app. Technology well worth giving a try if you already have the Welcome.