June 8, 2003

DBS ‘s Watchdog captures, ‘translates’ and integrates the behavior of the dog to present knowledge and alerts of security breaches.The folks at Israeli startup DBS don’t think that ‘dog is a man’s best friend’ is merely a quaint saying.

They prove it with their new technology called Watchdog, an integrated biometric alert sensor which turns almost any alert canine house pet into a sophisticated warning system that can detect an intruder and take action even when no human being is at home.

DBS ‘s Watchdog captures, ‘translates’ and integrates the behavior of the dog to present knowledge and alerts of security breaches. Watchdog uses advanced detection algorithm technology developed after extensive testing to determine the nature and source of a dog’s bark.

“Dogs have far superior senses to man. They have better night vision, a sense of smell that is 50,000 times greater than humans’, and a sense of hearing 20,000 times greater,” said DBS CEO Eyal Zehavi, explaining how natural it is to utilize our four-legged friends for surveillance.

To back that view up, Zehavi cited Bob Dameworth, head of the Pentagon’s Military Working Dog Program, who recently claimed that even with the rapidly increasing levels of high-tech development in the security industry, “the dog is probably the most effective means of detection we have at our disposal.”

Zehavi explained how he and his colleagues at DBS became acquainted with the use of watchdogs during their army service in the Israel Defense Forces.

“We had personal connections with people in the government sector who utilized watchdogs to guard location sites. From there, we were introduced to the problems that arose time again in debriefings following security breaches. In some cases, the watchdogs actually transmitted the information of a security breach, but for many reasons it did not reach the command center. Either somebody ignored the dog barking, nobody was in the area to hear the dog, or was simply not paying attention,” said Zehavi.

Watchdog’s computer-based security system, which can be integrated into existing security systems such as central control systems, home alarms, and CCTV monitoring systems, monitors the barking of dogs to provide information about security breaches..When a dog senses an intruder in the vicinity of his territory he starts to bark or growl, and the Watchdog system goes into operation.

If the intruder tries to break in, or actually breaks in, the dog’s barking rises in intensity, and the technology goes to full alert, sending out details of the security breach. For home owners, the system can either set off the house alarm, alert a local security company, or send an SMS to the home owner’s telephone.

The heart of the technology is a series of proprietary data processing algorithms, which digitally sample the signals, identify, filter and analyze the data profile according to predetermined parameters. The system can determine the alert state of a specific dog (in a specific area and location), including if it is in a state of suspecting or engaging intruderescaper. The system is comprised of 3 principal units:

** a sensor input unit
** a processing and analyzing unit
** a user security terminal

“The algorithms can differentiate between a dog barking at a cat, another dog, or even someone he knows,” said Zehavi. This is significant, because in some cases guards or homeowners using dogs for security cannot distinguish between the bark of a dog that has spotted a cat, or the bark of a dog that has spotted an intruder, and as a result, sometimes ignore the dog.

“The dogs don’t need any special training, nor do they need to be developed or trained in a certain environment, and it doesn’t matter the type of dog or the sex,” said Zehavi.
“What does matter is the dog needs to be responsive. Some dogs are simply not meant to be watchdogs. If your dog doesn’t react to strangers trying to break in, then the device won’t be effective.”

The patent pending system can be installed in the dog’s collar or stationary sensors, and is operational in all weather conditions. Tests so far have proven the system to be accurate in more than 93 percent of cases.

The need for additional homeland security devices has been growing rapidly in the past decade, but in the wake of September 11, 2001, awareness has intensified and people are looking for new, cost-effective ways to secure their property.

The Freedonia Group research firm forecasts that the world market for security products and systems will expand 11% per year through 2006, approaching $80 billion.

Zehavi believes Watchdog’s product can be used in all sorts of environments, from homes to government facilities and commercial institutions. Many of these places already use guard dogs. So far the company, which was founded in 2000, had launched an Alpha site at a governmental operational facility in Israel and a first test site at an Israeli military base.

“The system is dramatically increasing the security level at a low capital investment. It’s attractive to a business or home owner – no place is Ft. Knox, everyplace in penetrable. The question is ‘how much do I invest’ and ‘how much security do I get back?’ That’s our strength. With low investment you can get a dramatic increase in the level of security,” said Zehavi.

The company plans to launch a commercial version of its product in the last quarter of the year in Israel. Zehavi admits that the company views the Israeli governmental market as an operational “seal of approval,” and a launching pad to the US, European, and Far East markets.

Once the company has entered the commercial market, it then plans to focus on the residential market with a product that will cost under $100. There are 79 million pet dogs living in US homes alone, and with DBS’s help, they can all soon turn into ‘Watchdogs.”

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director