Home Security goes High-Tech

Who says crime doesn't pay? Not the nation's major electric appliance manufacturers, which are looking to cash in on public unease over rising crime rates by developing state-of-the-art crime-prevention systems based on information technology.

The companies hope such systems will not only sell well in their own right, but also spur sales of Internet-compatible home appliances and identification systems.

The latest crime-prevention systems were unveiled at the Security Show 2004 exhibition that kicked off earlier this week in Tokyo.

Putting deadbolts and beware-of-the-dog signs to shame, the new systems feature high-tech functions that, for example, can identify 10 people at once.

A device displayed by Mitsubishi Electric Corp. enables homeowners to sound an alarm via their cellphones if they discover someone trying to break into their house-regardless of where they are.

When a security camera set up outside the home or apartment recognizes a person, it uploads the image to a Web site and sends an e-mail with the URL to the homeowner's cellphone, a process that takes about five seconds.

If the homeowner judges that the person is suspicious, lights can be switched on or an alarm sounded to scare the person away-all by cellphone.

Mitsubishi plans to market the security set, which will include one camera, for about 360,000 yen in December.

Hitachi Ltd. group's IT mansion, on the other hand, can send images from a camera directly to a cellphone when linked to a security system, and enable homeowners to control such items as front door locks via cellphone. The same cellphone can also operate an array of networked home appliances, including refrigerators.

The company says it is considering introducing a system that will control access to and from the premises using fingerprints or vein recognition instead of keys.

Omron Corp., meanwhile, showed off a security system that can identify the faces of up to 10 people simultaneously.

For businesses with a large number of entrances, Toshiba Corp. has developed an ID system that requires employees to register their faces on just one device rather than with each security system. Once registered, as many as eight other devices will be able to identify the user.(IHT/Asahi: March 5,2004)

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