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Spy on your pets with Comcast’s Xfinity Camera A.I.-powered pet filter

Comcast announced a new feature for the Xfinity Camera that makes it easier to watch your pets when you’re away from home. The furry friend spy cam announcement coincides with the release of The Secret Life of Pets 2.

Computer vision specialists at Comcast’s Applied A.I. team in Washington D.C. worked with Philadelphia-based camera engineers to develop the canine/feline motion detection filter in-house. The artificial intelligence developers used machine learning algorithms to distinguish pet movement from other activity in the camera’s range. Last year Comcast introduced face and license plate detection to capture and send to the police video footage of thieves stealing home deliveries from porches and front steps.

Comcast didn’t just ask their A.I. division to whip up the video surveillance pet filter to add to the Xfinity Camera feature set. Earlier this year Wakefield Research conducted the Comcast Pets Survey with 1,000 dog and cat owners who use a security camera to monitor their pets.

Among the survey sample, 94% reported that “checking in on their pet is one of the best parts of their day.” While 68% said they scoped out home front pet activity via the Xfinity Camera app more often than they logged in to social media to find out about friends and family, 84% reported sharing pet video clips on social media platforms.

When pet owners monitor their four-legged best friends with the Xfinity app, 88% discovered forbidden behavior. According to the owners, the most frequent bad behaviors, in order of occurrence, were sitting in a “forbidden place,” making too much noise, eating people food, damaging furniture and home goods, hiding and moving things inside the home, relieving themselves in totally unapproved places, puking, and getting stuck someplace in the house.

As much as pet owners love to find (and share) video clips of good or bad animal behavior, 65% said they would appreciate a feature to help find footage of pets-in-motion faster and easier. Such a filter, the owners said, would relieve the hassle of searching through hours of footage to find times when their pets weren’t sleeping.

The Xfinity Camera’s new pet filter feature is a direct result of the video-surveilling pet-owner survey, according to Comcast.

“We developed this feature to help our customers quickly filter motion-triggered events by people, vehicles, or pets because we wanted to bring them the video clips that matter most even faster,” said Dennis Mathew, Comcast Xfinity Home vice president, and general manager.  “It’s an intelligent home security solution that enables our customers to easily check in on their loved ones from anywhere, anytime.”

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Digital Trends Contributing Editor Bruce Brown is a member of the Smart Homes and Commerce teams. Bruce uses smart devices…
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