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Betreff: Arlo Smart Object Detection - Siren Still Triggered

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ryanhiggins86
Guide
Guide

I have a mode setup on my Arlo system that will trigger the siren on the base stations whenever the cameras detect motion. This feature works fine, but the problem is we don't want it setting off the siren when it detects animals. So, when I discovered the Smart plan and the Object Detection feature I assumed this would solve my problem, as I could just disable notifications for animal detection so that it would not send me a notification or trigger the alarm. However, it wasn't until I signed-up and paid for the Smart plan that I discovered that the Object Detection feature still sets off the siren regardless of motion. I honestly cant believe that this is not part of the Object Detection abilities. Why would anyone want to stop getting notifications on their phone from animal detection, but still want a loud siren going off? As expensive as the Arlo system is, on top of paying a monthly fee for these types of additional services, I just cant believe how this isn't part of the Object Detection features. With that being said, does anyone have any advice or information on this issue being fixed for a feature that would otherwise be great? I have already submitted a case to Arlo support, but am not expecting much back from them in terms of a proper response. 

Model: VMB4000 | Arlo Pro/Pro2 Base Station, VMC4030 | Arlo Pro Wire-Free Camera , VMC4030P | Arlo Pro 2 Wire-Free Camera
FrankNase12
Aspirant
Aspirant

I have exactly the same problem and it is very difficult for me to understand why this misconduct was not noticed and corrected in the course of the development of Arlo Pro 3 and in the process of tests and quality assurance. 

I raised a support ticket and currently I am waiting for a solution. Arlo Pro 3 makes no sense for me with this maloperation. 

If the firmware will not be corrected, I will send the camera back and not generally go from Arlo Pro 2 cameras to Arlo Pro 3 cameras as originally planned.

ryanhiggins86
Guide
Guide

@FrankNase12 wrote:

I have exactly the same problem and it is very difficult for me to understand why this misconduct was not noticed and corrected in the course of the development of Arlo Pro 3 and in the process of tests and quality assurance. 

I raised a support ticket and currently I am waiting for a solution. Arlo Pro 3 makes no sense for me with this maloperation. 

If the firmware will not be corrected, I will send the camera back and not generally go from Arlo Pro 2 cameras to Arlo Pro 3 cameras as originally planned.


Well, nobody from Arlo has even responded to my ticket I submitted almost two weeks ago. So I wouldn't expect them to reply to you either. However, I have found a work-around solution that corrects the issue and allows for the siren to only be triggered by specific detection. It does require a little bit of setup to get working, but so far has been a solid fix.

 

The fix involves using a free service provided by iFTTT.com, which stands for "If This, Then That" and is basically a service that allows for various routines to be setup amongst different smart devices, including the Arlo camera system. You can setup all sorts of different types of routines and functions across all of your smart devices to be executed based on criteria that you setup. For example, you could have smart lights turn on in your house if any of the Arlo cameras were to detect motion.

What I was able to do was setup iFTTT to trigger the Arlo siren based on an email Notification that would only contain the words I specified like "Arlo" "person detected" and "vehicle detected" - here's how it works...

  • I first change whatever Arlo mode I want within the Arlo app to be setup to send me an Email notification whenever a camera detects motion.
  • I setup my personal email to forward/redirect any email it receives that contain the words "Arlo" and "Person" or "Vehicle" to be sent to the iFTTT service.
  • I then setup my iFTTT account with a new task with the instructions to set off the Arlo alarm whenever it receives an email message from my personal email address.

So far this setup has been work perfect. The only small issue is that there is a longer delay from when the cameras detect motion until when the alarm goes off, somewhere around 30 seconds, but at least it works. In addition, you do still have to pay for the Arlo Smart service and enable the detection of whatever specific object you want or don't want.

If you have any questions about this or need further assistance just let me know. I hope others encountering the same problem discover this message.

ShayneS
Arlo Moderator
Arlo Moderator

The Siren feature utilizes the cameras PIR sensor to detect & immedietley  trigger the siren. The features does not send the footage to the arlo servers for object determination allowing for the siren to be utilized immediately. This  may help with an unwanted objects/intruder being deterred immediately. 

 

Please contact the Support Team if you have further questions. You will find several options for contacting support in the provided link. Arlo Tech Support

FrankNase12
Aspirant
Aspirant

Hi Shayne, 

 

with all respect: This is a SERIOUS BUG, not a feature. 

 

Who wants a sirene alarm in the night when it heavily rains oder an insect crosses a "smart" camera when looking for unauthorized persons?

 

That must be fixed, otherwise Arlo Pro 3 is not usable and worthless.

 

If this will not be fixed, I will return the camera(s) and will write a preview that prevent others  to fall into this trap.

ryanhiggins86
Guide
Guide

@ShayneS wrote:

The Siren feature utilizes the cameras PIR sensor to detect & immedietley  trigger the siren. The features does not send the footage to the arlo servers for object determination allowing for the siren to be utilized immediately. This  may help with an unwanted objects/intruder being deterred immediately. 

 

Please contact the Support Team if you have further questions. You will find several options for contacting support in the provided link. Arlo Tech Support


Your attempt at trying to explain why the issue with the siren is instead an intended "feature" is very sad, and honestly you should delete your post.

 

The PIR sensor in the camera is what detects motion for all functionality of the system, whether it's to send a push notification, an email, or trigger the siren. You explaining how the PIR sensor triggers the siren directly is the problem at hand. If the system can't be modified to trigger the siren based on object analyzed notifications instead of immediate motion detection from the camera, then just say that and admit it is a flaw. Instead you seem to be trying to prove to us why the issue really isn't an issue, and it's not working.

 

Also, to try and explain that the reason the siren goes off regardless is so that it will be triggered "immediately" is also lame. When a camera of mine detects motion, I get a push notification (including with object detection) almost immediately. So to try and argue that this is intended use in order to have the siren go off a couple seconds sooner is once again sad. Even if some people wanted the siren to go off immediately regardless of the object, instead of seconds later but only for certain objects, then make it an option in the app for the user.

 

If you guys at Arlo really thought a paid feature to avoid annoying notifications for unwanted object detection was a good idea, but thought a loud siren going off regardless was still ok, then you guys need help. Especially if you are then going to try and argue your point by just using bad information and poor explanations. Either tell us the system is in fact flawed, or show us that you're working on the problem. 

FrankNase12
Aspirant
Aspirant

Hi Ryan, 

 

I agree to all your points. 

It is unfortunate and a failure to provide customer orientation that a customer publishes a workaround here and Arlo does not provide feedback on when the bug will be fixed.

My last exchange on this topic with the support is a few days ago and we tried to deactivate the activity zones. Unfortunately, this did not change the misconduct. Moreover, this lead to another issue:

 

New micsonduct:

Configuration: No activity zone, Smart alerts for persons only (all other movements deactivated),

Rule: If motion then record video, sirene alarm, sirene alarm on base station, push notifications, mail notification

Result/Misconduct: For ANY motion (instead only for persons as desired and selected) the entire rule fires (video, mail, sirene alarm, sirene alarm base station)

 

Misconduct 2 (this is the one we disuss here)

Configuration: Activity zone, smart alerts for persons only (all other movements deactivated)

Rule: If motion then record video, sirene alarm, sirene alarm on base station, push notifications, mail notification

Result/Misconduct: For movements with persons the rule works as desired. For ANY other motion (DESELECTED in smart alerts) both sirene alarms (camera, station) went off (no video, no notification, no mail as desired)

 

I urgently called Arlo for action to correct the second error as soon as possible, i.e. to correct the firmware to avoid of the wrong sirene alarms.

I will keep you informed. A security system with wrong (unsmart/unwise) sirene alarms make no sense.

dougblair
Star
Star

Ryan, Frank, Shane,

 

Hope you don't mind my jumping into this, but I disagree. It's not a bug. It's a big job. The immediate trigger of the siren is intended as a motion detector noise to scare a potential bad actor in an otherwise unattended location, like a warehouse, store or perhaps a basement. That siren would be very annoying in the backyard triggered every few minutes by rabbits and squirrels, and besides, sirens don't bother the animals after the animal realizes it will not be eaten by a mere stationary noise :-).

 

The image processing involved in pattern recognition in near real time is complex (Motion? Person? Animal? Package? Leaves? Tree branches?), which is why Arlo needs to send it up to the more powerful cloud servers to do the work, and it takes a while to get the response back. Perhaps at some point Arlo will build that processing power into a base station, but it would cost more. Maybe we could do it on a local Raspberry Pi that would share access to the storage device plugged into the base station? Perhaps someone with an interested (and who is not a retired IT guy who enjoys the "retired" part) could take that on for the community?

 

In the interim, it's a decent solution for the "make a noise that will let the intruder know we have already captured their face on video and they should leave now" issue. And we might have released the dragon, so they really should leave right now 😉

 

Doug

 

 

 

FrankNase12
Aspirant
Aspirant

Hello Doug,

this is a poor attempt and I almost assume that you are an employee of Arlo.

 

The days of selling bugs as a feature are actually over in the software and hardware industry. To continue your thoughts, a permanent siren would be the best solution. And as Ryan said so nicely, if Arlo thinks they can sell this story, the company urgently needs help.

There is no objection to offering different options for the siren, but the expected functionality for a smart function is to trigger the siren alarm ONLY for the selected objects such as animals or persons. And this already  works with push notifications and mails. And of course that has to work for the siren as well.

 

By the way, I am a computer scientist and work for one of the world's largest cloud providers and I also have a lot of know-how in the field of artificial intelligence. That said,  it is easy to implement the function in such a way that it works perfectly for the siren as well.

 

Customer orientation would mean announcing a date where this feature works correctly and taking the opportunity to thank Ryan for the workaround.

 

Since the support is no longer coming forward, I will  draw the attention of Arlo's management to the misconduct in the meantime.

ryanhiggins86
Guide
Guide

@dougblair wrote:

Ryan, Frank, Shane,

 

Hope you don't mind my jumping into this, but I disagree. It's not a bug. It's a big job. The immediate trigger of the siren is intended as a motion detector noise to scare a potential bad actor in an otherwise unattended location, like a warehouse, store or perhaps a basement. That siren would be very annoying in the backyard triggered every few minutes by rabbits and squirrels, and besides, sirens don't bother the animals after the animal realizes it will not be eaten by a mere stationary noise :-).

 

The image processing involved in pattern recognition in near real time is complex (Motion? Person? Animal? Package? Leaves? Tree branches?), which is why Arlo needs to send it up to the more powerful cloud servers to do the work, and it takes a while to get the response back. Perhaps at some point Arlo will build that processing power into a base station, but it would cost more. Maybe we could do it on a local Raspberry Pi that would share access to the storage device plugged into the base station? Perhaps someone with an interested (and who is not a retired IT guy who enjoys the "retired" part) could take that on for the community?

 

In the interim, it's a decent solution for the "make a noise that will let the intruder know we have already captured their face on video and they should leave now" issue. And we might have released the dragon, so they really should leave right now 😉

 

Doug

 

 

 


You're right - it's not a bug, because a bug would imply that Arlo at least tried to implement the feature. Instead, it's worse and is just a complete oversight by Arlo to implement standard functionality into their product.

 

I don't know why you guys keep repeating yourselves with the same explanation of what the siren is suppose to be used for and how it works - we as the users already know what it's suppose to be used for. Also, the more bad excuses you guys keep giving us, like it's a "big job" and "it takes awhile to get the response back" from the cloud servers, is just making the situation and Arlo look worse.

 

It's like I mentioned in a previous post - either tell us you're working on the issue or tell me exactly why it doesn't work and why it cant be fixed with detailed proof. And if it's going to be the latter option, then make that information official for the Object Detection service. 

 

The answer as to why it doesn't work because of the lengthy time it takes for the Object Detection to get sent from the cloud is complete BS. My phone gets an Alert almost immediately whenever an object is detected, so why cant the base station receive that same information? If it really did take so long, then the whole service would be pointless. So please stop giving that as the reason. 

 

dougblair
Star
Star

Hi Frank,

 

You've made a couple of assumptions. First, I'm not an Arlo employee (though I do have some Arlo (net)gear that says Vue-Zone on it). I'm a retired IT guy, and my career included data centers, service desks, network operations and some tools that these have in common (and did NOT include Solar Winds 🙂 ) More important, you've made an incorrect assumption about how this model is designed to work. We agree that it would be useful if the siren could respond to Person events. While we're at it, how about "Unknown Person" events, which would imply some facial recognition?

 

My complaint about surveillance infrastructure in general is that it relies on a lot of back and forth traffic to cloud servers to get things done. That makes any system vulnerable to mechanical things like a cable cut with a backhoe or a power failure. That's a vulnerability I'd like to avoid, as the first thing a modern bad actor will do is cut the wires. 

 

The simple noisemaker siren will work even if all the wires are cut. I think the Arlo camera siren would also work, at least for a while, if someone tried to steal the camera itself.  If you want that function to depend on classifying the motion then the current Arlo architecture will send the images to the cloud and wait for a response (through the severed cable?) which might make an alarm too slow to be useful.

 

As mentioned, the AI task of processing detected motion is large and complicated compared to the simpler process of detecting just movement. The camera uses the same infrared movement detector used to trigger the camera itself to trigger the siren (per Shane, above). That's very simple motion detection, and its done on existing hardware with just a firmware patch. And it reacts quickly, which I think is an advantage. Processing differences over a second or two of video frames is much bigger, and recognizing objects in those frames more complex still. It's too big to be done on the existing camera hardware and I suspect too big to be done on the base station (which is essentially a wifi hub with enough CPU to route the traffic and keep a local copy, but not much more than that).

 

(sidebar: it might be interesting to know where in this chain processing activity zones takes place. If it's local, less data to send back and forth. If it's all in the cloud, more processing to do there.)

 

I see this capability as a design opportunity for Arlo, and our discussion will underscore customer's (our) desire for this functionality. The sweet spot is a new base station with enough extra horsepower to do all the pattern recognition, to act entirely locally, autonomously, disconnected from any cloud, to send its own emails and push notifications, to sniff out and use your neighbors guest network when yours has failed during an upgrade, has a built in 5G cellular modem with a preconfigured backup account, built-in RAID storage and sits on a giant UPS battery. Gosh, I'll bet we'd pay an extra $5 or even $6 for that, right?  🙂

 

Seriously, making the camera siren respond to Person events is a really good idea, but I don't think it can be done on the existing Arlo infrastructure. (Please, prove me wrong!) Going up to the cloud and back, especially through some store-and-forward protocols like email, introduces a time lag and external dependencies not helpful in a security situation. And Arlo's probably not going to build something like my pipe dream security base station as it would interrupt their cloud subscription revenue stream. That's a business, not a technical, decision.

 

I do not think it proper to categorize this situation as misconduct. Arlo built functionality that could be technically implemented on their existing, installed, platform, and they may have plans to do more but other projects in the pipeline. Perhaps they could have worded the marketing literature to emphasize what this release can and cannot do, which would cause this situation to be categorize as an enhancement request (which is a good idea I'd support!) rather than a bug pr failure to deliver advertised functionality.

 

Do I sound too much like a corporate IT guy? Guilty as charged, but retired 🙂  (and I am more like Dilbert than Wally)) If you, as an AI expert working for a cloud service provider (I assume it's not one Arlo uses), can make this function perform on all these little cameras with no hardware changes I an certain Arlo would love to hear more from you, but this forum isn't probably a good place to submit your resume....

 

Doug

 

 

FrankNase12
Aspirant
Aspirant

Hi Doug,

 

> ... Seriously, making the camera siren respond to Person events is a really good idea, but I don't think it can be done on the existing Arlo infrastructure. (Please, prove me wrong!) Going up to the cloud and back, especially through some store-and-forward protocols like email, introduces a time lag and external dependencies not helpful in a security situation.....

 

Ryans workaround (see above) works and the time lag is 10-20 seconds, altough it involes email and IFTT services. Furthermore, mail notifications and push notifications work out of the box (as expected) on selected objects (e.g. persons, animals). The delay is only a few seconds. So the simplest way for Arlo is to use the same method for the sirene as for mail and push notifications. This is a simple fix of the bug and requires no extra hardware. If someone likes your "immediate sirene not-smart option", Arlo can offer this as an option in the App. I am not interested in this option, because I do not want sirene alarms on heavy rain etc. with no video etc. Moreover, my neighbours are not interested in this option as well. They want to sleep if nothing really happens with unauthorized persons on my property. 

 

So once again, in the context of smart object detection it is a severe bug and misleading marketing if a company only  offers this functionality for mail and push notifications but not for the sirene.  

 

 

 

 

KirkL
Aspirant
Aspirant

This issue goes beyond just systems with an alarm on the base station/cameras. If you’re in the ios ecosystem, it is very difficult to use arlo’s smart alerts in a way that would wake you up at night if a person were detected. What I had to do:

 

1. Send to personal email

2. filter based on person, forward to att email to text (must use mms)

3. This results in a message from “me” in ios. Set myself contact to have alarm sound for message sound, set emergency bypass on so this gets through do not disturb

 

This still isn’t great because if you are wearing the apple watch it will only ding the watch and nothing will play on your devices. There is a good amount of lag time as well. If arlo could get their app to play an alarm sound, or perhaps call you (like the doorbell does)  this would be far faster. I’m not entirely sure what the limitations are on ios apps though. 

 

If android users can configure per app notification sounds I could see that being a far better solution. I might even consider buying a cheap android device for this purpose if anyone here has good things to say about it.

KirkL
Aspirant
Aspirant

By the way, I should add if Arlo is listening. One of Arlo’s major selling points is its smart alerts. It encourages people to buy your subscription. It’s a great way to make money for arlo. But you have barely scratched the surface of how users can use them. As it is, they’re so hobbled (in part because of ios’s notifications implementation) that many users find them almost useless. 

KirkL
Aspirant
Aspirant

Well, the above hack I made seemed good until it took an hour for att to deliver an email to text. So... that’s completely unreliable. I switched to forwarding it to an icloud account and using the ios mail app for this soul purpose, as it can have its notification sounds changed to an alarm. Not great because do not disturb can’t filter this like it can messages/callers. But, I’ll just have my ipad only make notification sounds for the ios email app.

FrankNase12
Aspirant
Aspirant

I want to summarize my unfortunately sad experience on this subject: I opened a support case in September 2020 because - as it turned out at the very end- the siren does not support Smart Object Detection. For months, the support tried to make suggestions that should help. All those hints were not successful. Arlo advertises the siren function of the Arlo Pro3 as Built-In Smart Siren. After many months, the Arlo support has now told me that the behavior I observed should be the expected behavior. What is smart about the siren if it only responds to general movements and does not support smart object recognition? This is misleading marketing. In addition, customers even offer a workaround via the IFTT service (see above) to realize the really expected Smart Siren functionality reasonably well. This should work out-of the-box! Now, I filed a complaint to the national consumer council on misleading marketing and I will inform the trade journals that Arlo cites as a reference (cnet etc.).