The home security device that’s always listening

For Airbnb hosts who want
to keep tabs on their homes, a full
home security system might be
overkill. They’re expensive, and live
cameras and motion detectors
invade guests’ privacy. So how do
they make sure guests keep the
volume down, aren’t smoking inside
and don’t ransack their home?
A new device called Point combines
microphones with environmental
sensors to detect anything out of the
ordinary in your home while you are
away. A broken window while you’re
at work, the sound of your teenagers
throwing a raging party, Grandad
sneaking an unauthorized after-
dinner cigar.
“They want to have peace of mind
and know that everything is fine, but
they don’t want or need full security
systems,” said Nils Mattisson, co-
founder of Form Devices, the start-up
that makes Point.
Small, round and plastic, Point looks
like a traditional smoke alarm
crossed with a speaker. Sounds are
matched with data from the other
sensors to figure out what might
have happened — a loud crash
followed by a drop in temperature
might mean a window was broken. It
hears when an existing smoke
detector goes off and sends an alert,
though it’s not certified as an
official smoke detector on its own.
It has a microphone that can detect
sounds outside that the human ear
could pick up. Environmental sensors
pick up temperature; the particle
sensor can tell what’s in the air.
When Point detects any notable
changes, it sends an alert to the
owner’s smartphone. The mobile app
also shows a timeline of all events,
so someone can quickly scroll
through the day to see when people
were in the home. All the
computation takes place on the
device; there is no live-streaming
audio, no way to eavesdrop on your
home and no overwhelming amount
of data to sort through.
Mattisson worked in the Exploratory
Design Group at Apple for seven
years, where he helped build
prototypes for early, experimental
product ideas. He left the company
last year to start Form with co-
founders Marcus Ljungblad, Fredrik
Ahlberg and Martin Lööf.
Together, they wanted to create a
new genre of smart-home device. The
original idea started with Airbnb
hosts, but it’s for anyone who wants
a lightweight security option for
their home or office. It’s meant for
anyone who doesn’t need a complex
security system, or who isn’t
comfortable with images from inside
their home being stored on the
Internet-connected cameras like
Dropbox are a popular alternative to
full security systems, but images and
videos stored in the cloud can be
vulnerable to hackers. For example, a
Russian website is hosting hacked
streams of strangers’ video cameras.
Point doesn’t store audio
information, processing it all directly
on the device.
Form has raised $150,000 on
Kickstarter and is working with a
manufacturer in China on the first
production run, though it has tested
early prototype devices. Early next
year, the Finland-based company will
ship the device to its first pilot
customer, a management company
that rents offices for short periods.
Form hopes to test it with a hotel
soon after that, and make it
available to consumers by next
Tech companies including Apple and
Google, and traditional home stores
like Lowe’s and Home Depot, are all
pushing smart-home products as the
next big thing. Mattisson saw that
big companies were taking existing
products like thermostats and
refrigerators and adding Internet.
“We felt there was a need for
something that was simple,” said
Mattisson. “And we don’t have to
make products that are in the same
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The home security
device that’s
always listening
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Point is a new kind of home
security gadget that listens
constantly for unusual
It can pick up a window
breaking or loud talking and
send an alert to a
Co-founder Nils Mattisson
spent 7 years in Apple’s
Exploratory Design Group



Form Devices co-founders Nils
Mattisson and Marcus Ljungblad
holding their home security listening
device, Point.


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