The famed product creator sits down with CNET to talk about the new devices he's producing for startup August, as well as the design areas he'd love to tackle. SAN FRANCISCO -- Yves Behar, one of the most famous industrial designers of the past two decades, has a lot to say not just about the way products should look, but what problems they should solve. Since beginning design house Fuseproject in 1999, Behar has worked with companies such as Apple, General Electric, Herman Miller, Movado, Prada and Samsung. He is chief creative officer at fitness-band maker Jawbone and chief designer at charity program One Laptop per Child.
The company, developed as part of Samsung's accelerator program for startups, takes gadgets you already own and turns them into simple home-monitoring devices, The free software, released in beta Wednesday, is initially compatible with PCs and standard USB webcams, as well as with smartphones, tablets and digital cameras running Android 4.1 or higher, In the coming months, the software will spread to iPhones, iPads, smart TVs iphone case open bottom and traditional security cameras, "Our goal is to be the easiest way to get started doing home monitoring," Perch CEO Andrew Cohen told CNET, "You're able to set up in a matter of minutes and take a device and keep an eye on your kids while they're playing in the next room."Perch is the latest company to emerge from Samsung's New York accelerator, In 2013, the South Korean electronics giant established two centers, one in Manhattan and the other in Silicon Valley, to help entrepreneurs get their products out the door, In return, Samsung owns a stake in the companies and gets easier access to their technologies, So far, no big hits have emerged from Samsung's accelerator..
Cohen and Perch hope they can change that and do so in smart homes, an area getting a lot of attention from Samsung, Apple, Google and other tech giants. Analyst firms project that in 2018, people will spend $100 billion on smart home technology and 45 million smart home systems will be in use. It's a major part of the concept known as the Internet of Things, which links not just computers and phones to the Net, but also doors, washing machines, cars, traffic signals, security cameras and sensors.
Perch isn't the first company that lets you monitor your home via old gadgets, Cohen said what sets Perch apart from rivals is its video technology and what it lets you do, such as turn on your lamp by tapping on a video image, Perch also is working on technology that can tell the difference between a pet and a person, preventing false alarms common in home monitoring, Cohen said, Many home-monitoring video services have a slight lag between the time an action is happening and when it's broadcast to your iphone case open bottom phone or computer because they use Netflix-style buffering technology, Perch uses technology akin to a persistent video chat service, like Microsoft's Skype or Apple's FaceTime, which means it operates with less-than-a-second lag versus up to a 10-second delay from other video monitoring services, Cohen said..
And because what you're seeing is in virtually real time, you can also take timely actions. You can set a zone that triggers a reaction, like automatically turning on the TV every time your dog settles in for a nap on the couch. Or if you see your kids goofing off, you can initiate a video chat with them through the device in the room where they're playing. "On a lagged connection, if you do a conversation, it's more like a stilted walkie talkie," Cohen said. "With our system you can have a very natural video chat conversation with your children."Perch integrates with home automation software like Wink and Samsung's SmartThings to let you control your Internet-connected appliances. You can turn off a smart lamp in your living room just by clicking on an image of the light in the video.