Bringing the magic of AI to everyone, and every home
Some of the greatest transformations in history have come from a desire to make the very best technology available to the masses, to help change people’s lives for the better. As a lifelong car fan, one of my favorite examples is that of Henry Ford and the Model T. It changed society forever, bringing the magic of mobility and the open road to more people than ever before. Henry Ford said, “When I’m through, everybody will be able to afford one, and about everybody will have one.”
If you’ve followed Lighthouse, you probably know that our founders, Alex Teichman and Hendrik Dahlkamp, helped build some of the first self-driving cars at Stanford and Google X. They saw how AI and 3D sensors could help cars see and react to the road as humans would. They also recognized the amazing possibilities in applying this technology to the home — possibilities we can’t even fathom yet.
But one thing Alex and Hendrik knew for sure was that this technology could make people’s lives better. It’s why they started Lighthouse. They wanted to bring the magic of AI, 3D sensors and cutting-edge hardware to everyone, and every home.
Where do we start?
Our first product is an interactive assistant made for your home — you tell Lighthouse what things you care about, and it shows you when they happen, like no other product before it. If you haven’t yet, check out our launch video and you’ll get the idea:
Let’s take a step back and get real about something that every consumer, including myself, thinks about when deciding whether or not they should buy something: the price. We’ve been conditioned to have companies tell us all the wonderful things a product does, and they basically say, “You get all that for x dollars. What an amazing value.”
With Lighthouse, let’s go the other direction and start with the price. The device costs $299 and the AI-powered service that makes Lighthouse, I would argue, better than any home camera ever built, costs $10/month or $100/year, bringing the total cost to about $399. Is that a good value?
You know what I’d say, of course. But to break it down, let’s first take the monthly subscription of $10/month. I can sense what some of you are thinking — subscription fees can be a pain. I know. I mean, we’ve grown accustomed to them with services like Netflix and Spotify. And you might be okay with that because it’s movies and music, and it puts a smile on your face every time (that’d be my reason, anyway).
When it comes to the dozens of home cameras you can choose from today, the reality is that even for the uber-affordable, sub-$100 models, you pay a subscription fee to enjoy things like being able to access your video history in the cloud, receive security and software updates, and use other features that, frankly, cost manufacturers money to maintain, improve and deliver reliably and securely to you. When you buy a product and use it for something as important as your home and family, you want to know that manufacturers will continue to invest in delivering an experience worthy of your home and family. And in the case of Lighthouse, I’d argue that being able to see heartwarming moments of your family, just by asking what happened while you were away, would also bring a smile to your face.
And Lighthouse just happens to do so much more than any smart home device you’ve ever used. Let’s tackle that next.
More value for your money
So, $299 for the device itself. Lighthouse features the first 3D time-of-flight sensor in a home device, with state-of-the-art, custom-built hardware that is, truth be told, difficult and expensive to build. But it’s absolutely worth it, because this 3D sensor enables an astonishing array of capabilities that never existed before:
- Creates a true, 3D map of what’s in view in your home, as well as all the people and objects that pass through it — something no other home camera can do. This means massively better data that Lighthouse’s AI models can analyze in an instant, providing you with more helpful, accurate and confidence-inspiring info about what’s happening at home. Lighthouse really does make you feel like you’re living in the future.
- Is powered by our encrypted AI service in the cloud that leverages learning models that have been trained for years and counting, accurately distinguishing people from pets, kids from adults, and whether someone is walking or running or your pet is jumping. And it recognizes gestures like waving, so your family can send you a hello in a very personal way, wherever you are.
- Doesn’t send you alerts triggered by lighting changes, shadows, inanimate objects and other things that you likely don’t want to be notified about (if you have a security camera from any other brand, you know what we mean. If you don’t, find someone who does — you won’t hear the end of it, much like their alerts).
- Sends you security alerts when it sees unknown people, allowing you to hit a siren or call 911, right from the alert.
- Makes Lighthouse the first smart home device that lets you ask questions about what happened at home (instead of scrolling through footage manually to figure it out for yourself). For example, “What did my kids do yesterday while I was gone?”
- Sends you updates automatically about specific activities you care about, particular to your life at home: “Let me know if the dog walker doesn’t arrive by 2 PM on weekdays when I’m not there.”
And you get a 30-day video history for the same monthly/yearly price as other cameras’ subscription services, which generally offer just 7 days of cloud storage, and very limited software capabilities for the same price. We did get a shout-out from the Build Your Smart Home blog who sums up the benefit of the device and service model saying, “While these subscriptions sometimes put off potential buyers, it is worth noting that onsite video storage is useless for protection against theft, and really, when compared to the functionality of other subscription services such as Google’s Nest Cam, Lighthouse is way ahead.”
That’s a nice list of marketing-friendly bullets and a good quote. All true, of course, but marketing-y nonetheless.
But these points don’t prepare you for the feeling you get when you use Lighthouse for the first time — you ask it a natural, everyday question about what’s happening at home. And in an instant, you get the answer you’re looking for that you can see and experience. You know you’ve never seen or experienced anything like it before. I know this because it’s how I felt the first time I saw a demo of Lighthouse. And I’ve seen the looks on people’s faces when they see it for the first time.
We think everyone deserves this kind of product and game-changing technology in their homes and for their families, and we’ve priced Lighthouse aggressively to help make that happen. Yes, $399 is still a significant amount of your hard-earned money. We don’t take that lightly. As our team readies Lighthouse for shipping in September, we are doing our darndest to make sure we provide you with a new and wonderful experience that can enhance your life in big ways and small, delightful ways, every day. We set out to make Lighthouse a great value from the start, with the very latest technology that really changes what you can do and what you should expect from a smart home product. And with our subscription service, the AI will get better and better over time, and those upgrades are included in your cost.
We’re just getting started. There are so many things we can already do with 3D sensors and this level of AI made for home — our homes and your own. But we can’t wait to get Lighthouse into your hands and get feedback on what truly new things you want to do with Lighthouse. We really want you to be part of the journey in helping us create the future we all want.
Let’s bring the magic of AI to everyone, and every home, together.
- Sean Lindo, Product Marketing