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Intrusion detection by way of … Wi-Fi?

Intrusion detection by way of … Wi-Fi?
This article explores the benefits and future potential of detecting motion/intrusion by way of Wi-Fi.
We’ve been discussing perimeter protection/intrusion detection extensively of recent. Various visual and motion sensing technologies are used in this regard. But what about the technology that’s nearly ubiquitous – Wi-Fi? This article explores the benefits and future potential of detecting motion/intrusion by way of Wi-Fi.
Intrusion detection is a key aspect of security. End users are alerted of abnormal motion/movement and can respond accordingly. Various technologies are used in this regard, including PIR sensors, thermal/visual cameras, radar and lidar.
Now Wi-Fi is also used to make this possible. In a Wi-Fi environment, end devices and wireless routers are communicating via Wi-Fi radio signals; a change in signal patterns may indicate movement or motion. Using this principle, Cognitive Systems has come up with a Wi-Fi sensing solution called WiFi Motion.
“WiFi Motion is a software-only solution that is loaded onto a router equipped with a WiFi Motion-compliant chip. With no additional hardware, our technology … identifies disruptions in Wi-Fi signals. These disruptions can be detected once WiFi Motion is layered onto a home’s existing Wi-Fi through its main gateway (that is, router or modem),” said Taj Manku, Co-Founder and CEO of Cognitive Systems, adding AI is also applied to determine what the object disrupting Wi-Fi signals might be.
“WiFi Motion is able to classify movement through our artificial intelligence algorithms. As people or objects move around a space, they affect and change the regular wave patterns of Wi-Fi signals. Our AI algorithms then take these classified motion events and pass them through a filter that identifies the type of motion based on known patterns,” he said. “We've conducted significant QA testing and tested WiFi Motion in diverse environments to verify that we identify human motion accurately and can filter out motion from pets and mechanical motion, such as a fan.”


Using Wi-Fi as a motion detection technology has many advantages, one of which is leveraging a technology that is already widely used. “That immediately means that this type of sensing is not only more accessible but also more affordable. WiFi Motion, for example, can be enabled in any space with WiFi through a simple software update,” Manku said. “Furthermore, because WiFi Motion uses an already existing network in the home, it is simple to use and does not necessitate any complicated setup or the purchase of additional devices in order to function.”
Areas of coverage, as well as privacy, are additional benefits for using Wi-Fi motion detection. “One of the most common object sensing technologies right now is passive infrared motion sensors (PIR), which require line of sight. Wi-Fi signals can travel through walls and have no issues with limited light conditions,” Manku said. “Wi-Fi sensing is also far more private. Users don’t have to worry about microphones, cameras, or other recording devices in their home.”
Another benefit is localization. “Localization, which is specifically the ability to identify which section or ‘room’ of a space the motion occurred in, is a feature not commonly found in other object-sensing technologies. Through our software solutions, users can quickly know where motion occurred,” Manku said. “Our technology is able to identify where in the home the movement is happening based on how close a Wi-Fi signal disruption is to a given smart device connected to the WiFi Motion network. For example, WiFi Motion could localize motion in the kitchen based on motion near a smart speaker in the kitchen versus motion in the bedroom where a smart TV might be set up.”


Security is a main application for WiFi Motion, which covers the entire house, is undetectable to intruders, and reduces false alarms. The cost reduction and the elimination of false positives saves money for home owners and security companies alike.
But applications are not just restricted to home security. According to Manku, WiFi Motion can be utilized in many Wi-Fi-enabled spaces where tracking and monitoring motion can provide valuable insights, whether it's for security, eldercare, energy savings, or smart home enablement.
“Our newest application, for example, Caregiver Aware, is focused on monitoring loved ones as they age in place by allowing caregivers to set up customized notifications based on the senior’s daily routine to monitor what’s most important to them,” he said. “We are also building on our current solutions to develop new applications in the enterprise space for small businesses, hospitality, and multi-dwelling environments. For example, you could use motion data to efficiently deploy cleaning services to high traffic areas during low traffic times, or you could increase energy savings by adjusting temperature settings based on motion data.”
While Wi-Fi-based motion sensing has not been widely adopted, its future potential is not to be ignored.
“As Wi-Fi technology improves, standards advance, and the market grows, Wi-Fi sensing will become a standard component of the future smart home. We believe that WiFi Motion will be standard in 5 years, meaning motion capabilities in nearly every router or gateway,” Manku said. “The possibilities for motion sensing using Wi-Fi are endless, and those possibilities will become a reality as the infrastructure grows. As with any technology that is growing, we will start with basic functionality that will organically grow the more it is used, allowing for improvement that will lead to advanced use cases.”

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