Two In Three Pet Owners Use A Camera To Check In On Their Pets For A Daily Pick Me Up

A nationwide survey finds that pet owners use home cameras to check their pets more than their front door. A new ‘pet filter’ security camera feature from Comcast makes finding clips featuring animals simple and easy.

Comcast today released new survey results and a product feature that responds to Americans’ increasing obsession with watching their pets on their security cameras while away from home. According to the nationwide study of pet owners, nearly half (44%) of those surveyed check in on their pets four times a day or more, nearly 2 in 5 (38%) take a peek at their pet(s) during work, and 94% say checking in on their pet is one of the best parts of their day.

To make it easier for Xfinity customers to keep tabs on their pets, Comcast has launched a new ‘pet filter’ feature on its Xfinity Camera. The filter uses artificial intelligence to quickly sort through hours of footage to identify just those with pets in them out of the more than one hundred motion-triggered video clips a typical camera can generate each day. Click here for more information on Comcast’s AI technology.

“We developed this feature to help our customers quickly filter motion-triggered events by people, vehicles, or pets because we wanted to bring them the video clips that matter most even faster,” said Dennis Mathew, Vice President and General Manager of Comcast’s Xfinity Home. “It’s an intelligent home security solution that enables our customers to easily check in on their loved ones from anywhere, anytime.”

The survey, commissioned by Comcast and conducted by Wakefield Research, also found:

  • Pet owners love furry distractions. Nearly 3 in 4 (73%) pet owners who check their cameras do so while on vacation to sneak a peek of their pet(s) whenever possible. Nearly 3 in 5 (59%) have checked while at a party or social event; more than 2 in 5 (44%) have checked during a workout; during a meeting (38%); while talking on the phone (38%); and while out on a date (32%).
  • Pet(s) more entertaining than family and friends. More than two-thirds (68%) of respondents reported checking in on their pet(s) more than social media to see what their family and friends are up to. More than 4 in 5 surveyed (84%) also reported they have shared video clips of their pet(s) on social media platforms. 
  • Pet(s) lives not so secret. Eighty-eight percent of respondents have checked in on their pets and caught them doing something naughty such as sitting in a forbidden place (39%); making excessive noise (36%); eating human food that has been left out (33%); damaging furniture or accessories (30%); hiding or moving objects around the home (30%); relieving him/herself on the floor or on the furniture (26%); vomiting (19%); or getting stuck somewhere (17%).
  • Pet owners want ways to find videos of their pet(s) quickly. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of respondents reported it is a bigger hassle to search hours of video clips of their pet(s) with no way to filter them, than to not have any clips of pets because their camera only has live feed, and they would like a filter feature to help them find clips faster.

Jill Rappaport, award-winning animal advocate, network journalist, best-selling author, and proud parent to six rescues, four of which are seniors, said, “My camera gives me a great sense of comfort and relief in knowing my fur angels are safe at all times. I feel the extra eye on them can be a lifesaver and it gives me needed insurance when I can check in on them from anywhere, at anytime. Camera technology has really evolved and is an amazing way for pet owners to check in, especially for people with puppies who need constant monitoring or senior pets that often have health issues.” Click here for more pet care tips from Jill Rappaport.

Xfinity Internet or Xfinity Home customers can purchase the high-definition Xfinity Camera and opt-in for continuous video recording, which provides access to up to seven to 10 days (depending on market) of video history. The continuous video recording service uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to zoom in on the activity and create a smart thumbnail image of the pet, vehicle, or person, which makes it easier to review later on. As a result, users can spend less time searching through raw footage and more time watching relevant clips.

Artificial Intelligence is a complex technology that’s at its best when it makes our lives simpler. That’s why we’re so excited about the new AI-powered features of our Xfinity cameras which can spot your dog, and make it super easy to find clips where he’s doing something cute…or something naughty. 

Today, we announced the addition of a filter that allows customers to easily check in on any movement caused by their pets. So, for the 94 percent of camera users in a recent survey who said checking in on their pets was the best part of their day, simple pleasures just got simpler. 

This is just the latest AI innovation in our cameras.  In 2017, we launched better thumbnails for customers who opt to use our 24/7 video recording feature that dramatically improved our customers’ ability to find relevant motion events.  Last year, we refined that feature further with enhancements to our computer vision models that allow Xfinity cameras to automatically detect when movement is triggered by people or vehicles … and now, pets.

The “pet filter” feature itself is simple and fun – at least according to our engineers, who have been testing it out on their own pets for the past several months – but the technology behind it is the result of a lot of hard work.  

Computer vision PhDs from our Applied AI team in Washington D.C. worked with engineers from our camera team in Philadelphia to build the feature. Using an advanced form of machine learning called “deep learning,” we analyzed hundreds of thousands of home security camera clips donated by our employee testers. The goal was to build an algorithm that could quickly and consistently detect movement from a pet, and clearly distinguish it from a car, or a person, or anything else that might trigger motion detection. 

Initially, we looked into commercial solutions that might work for our cameras, but we weren’t  satisfied with the accuracy we were seeing. Detecting a dog photographed from five feet away, standing still in perfect lighting isn’t the same as detecting one running across the backyard 30 feet away, and we needed an algorithm that could do both – so the cameras could reliably spot … Spot.