2014 has been an amazing year for Airbnb. The site that lets you rent your home to strangers over the internet has become insanely popular, serving over 20 million guest in 800,000 listings in 34,000 cities.
While most people have no problems with the service, when things go wrong, they can go very wrong.
But home owners are restricted in what they can do to monitor their property. They aren’t allowed to, say, secretly videotape guests to make sure they aren’t misbehaving. That’s not only a violation of their privacy, and of Airbnb rules, it could be illegal.
Todd Morris, founder and CEO of BrickHouse Security, has come up with an interesting solution. BrickHouse is a New York company known for selling spy gadgets.
The company has created what it says is the first home security system specifically for Airbnb hosts. It calls it “the The MORzA Airbnb package.“
If there’s a party going on it will alert you without violating your guests’ privacy.
It consists of a bunch of sensors that you can put around your house, a smart lock for your door, and an app.
You can attach the sensors to doors, for instance. “If the door is opened and closed excessively in a short period of time, a guest might be hosting a party without your permission,” the company’s marketing materials say.
With an optional package, you can add sensors that detect vibration (loud music, dancing) or a tilt sensor that will alert you if an object is being moved (like your couch).
The smart locks let you change codes after each guest leaves. And to help you comply with Airbnb rules and other laws, the package includes a carbon monoxide detector, a smoke/heat/freeze sensor, a flood/freeze sensor, too.
The base package lists for $US900 (although it’s on sale now for $US300) and it requires a $US40/month security monitoring service.
We haven’t tried the tech, so we can’t vouch for how well it works. But we like the idea of using technology to solve the problems that an innovative internet startup has created.