Behind The Sentri Smart Home: Sentri Co-Founder Yen Tung

Sentri Co-Founder Yen Tung Speaks About Home Automation, Security, And Getting It All For $200

In just two days, the Sentri smart home team reached their kickstarter goal of $200,000. But the Sentri team is far from being finished with fundraising. With big goals in mind—like revolutionizing the home by completely interconnecting it to fit your needs—the Sentri team is looking to raise even more money to complete the first model, which is due to ship out in May 2015. Best of all, Sentri can synchronize your home for a reasonable price. Or so says Yen Tung, former HTC engineer and Co-founder of Sentri. With so much punch packed into such a small and economical system, I, too, was skeptical. Were Tung and his team visionaries or mad scientists? Wanting to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth, I talked to Tung about his system, including its security, setup, and synchronization capabilities:

SEE ALSO: Take Control Of Your Home With Sentri Home Automation

Where did the idea for Sentri come about? Yen Tung: As a team with extensive background in consumer electronics, we wanted to take our expertise and experience to create a product that safeguarded something we all cared about—our homes. Sentri was designed to revolutionize the home, and home security systems in particular, by bringing better intelligence and greater simplicity to homes.   Especially at a time where we can track virtually everything, it only made sense to us that we should have greater knowledge into our homes, and translate that knowledge into tangible insights/responses—giving way to Sentri. Sentri is ready to use out of the box, and unlike traditional security systems which can cost upwards of $1,000 to install in addition to monthly service fees, simply plug Sentri in, connect it to your home's WiFi network, and you're ready to go. In addition to traditional video cameras you'd typically find in security systems, Sentri also comes pre-loaded with a thermometer, humidity sensor and air quality sensor that truly tracks your physical state. We wanted something that blended art and technology, and one of the challenges we wanted to resolve was the design of home security systems themselves, and sought to create something a little more human. We invested a lot of our time in making sure that Sentri's look and feel was something that could blend into your home, whatever your style. How does a Sentri owner set up his or her system? How long does it take? Tung: It's ready to use out of the box! It should take someone with no prior experience no more than five minutes to set up—no professional installation required. We knew that in order for Sentri to be effective, it needed to first and foremost by easy and efficient. Simply plug in, power on, connect to your home’s WiFi network, and you’re ready to go. In your opinion, is Sentri better for an apartment or a house? Tung: Both. Whether it's an apartment or a house, it's still a home we want to protect. We recommend putting Sentri in the most conspicuous spots, such as your living room, kitchen, and main entrance, so it can monitor the physical state of your home and alert you of any irregularities. Since setting up Sentri is so easy, you can always bring Sentri with you wherever you move. Some guidelines we have:
  • One Sentri for a 1-2 bedroom apartment with one main entrance.
  • Two Sentris for 3-4 bedrooms house with two entrances.
  • Three to four Sentris for a bigger house.
There is really no limit or restriction on how many Sentris you can have in your house, and we've heard some backers prefer to put a Sentri in every room in addition to the entrance. Do you plan to expand the number of systems that can be controlled on Sentri? Tung: Definitely. We actually have stretch goals in place designed to not only encourage our existing fans and backers to spread the word, but also help determine the smart devices we connect with next. We'll always look to expand the number of devices we connect with, and are also looking forward to having our current backers be part of the process. Do you plan on integrating an alarm into Sentri? Tung: Sentri already has an integrated alarm, as it comes with speakers and a built-in siren. When Sentri detects an irregularity at home (e.g., fire, gas leakage), it will automatically trigger a siren to warn users. How secure is Sentri from cyber-attacks? Tung: Security is paramount to Sentri. Just as Sentri guards your home, all data and video transmission is secured and backed using state of the art 2048-bit RSA encryption, which is the standard protocol for most bank-level data transmission. It's an area we'll be closely watching as well to make sure we continuously evolve our security protocols as new encryption systems become available. Do you plan on offering a home monitoring package with Sentri? Tung: All software features (video streaming, real-time alert, and etc.) which we've mentioned on our Kickstarter are available free of charge. We have no plans to charge for our basic service plan.

SEE ALSO: Professional Home Security Installation vs DIY

Is there anything else you like our readers to know? Tung: Sentri wouldn't be possible without you. People who are interested in bringing greater intelligence to our homes to create smarter and safer homes! The support of our backers, particularly now, is critical to our long term success. Help be a part of Sentri by spreading the word and consider backing us! While we’ve done the heavy-lifting in building out the hardware and software to prove our thinking behind a connected home, we need your help to scale this vision and bring it to market at an accessible price point. Our ultimate goal is to build a community of Sentri-powered homes that lend itself to smarter and safer neighborhoods. We will be taking the funds from Kickstarter to move directly into tooling and production, and have agreements with OEMs in Taiwan to begin production as soon as funding is secured. We expect Sentri to retail for $349+. If you have any questions/thoughts, let us know—we'd love to hear from you ( Together, let's build smarter and safer homes.
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